The clicking of Louboutins echoed throughout the lobby of the hotel, it was one of her usual five star meeting places, the only difference being it was in London rather than her new home of New York. She glanced around at the faces that passed her, her beautiful face hidden behind her designer sunglasses.
Being back in Britain made her heart race slightly, but her mask of ice never melted for a moment. She was Irene Adler. Sexual predator to the ones who could afford her, discretion and coolness were her job. Her exterior would remain impenetrable… Out of the bedroom at least.
She swiped her room key into the door that she had been directed too, following the instructions of the letter that had made its way to her apartment in New York. The letter contained a time, date, a room key, and a considerable amount of money as a deposit. People often contacted her like this. They're so predictable, distant and demanding until it came to sex, where she could turn even the most steely eyed business extrodainaire into a melted heap of desperation. It was this aspect of her lifestyle she enjoyed most, the power she had over the people who considered themselves the most authoritative on earth. It was this that gave her pleasure, not the sex. Never the sex.
She straightened up and sank into her dominatrix guise before slowly opening the door, striding inside and throwing her coat on the couch to reveal a corseted top and a semi-transparent floor length skirt which was split to the top of her thigh, making sure the suspenders were clearly visible underneath. She expected some kind of reaction from her client, but when she turned around to face them she was disappointed to find the place empty. What a waste of an entrance. She huffed over to her handbag and as she removed her blackberry to check her appointment she heard a toilet flushing, a door close and someone clear their throat. She put back on her best seduction face and slowly turned round, only to drop her act instantly. Standing there, complete with umbrella, was the oldest of the Holmes brothers.
"Mr Holmes" she cooed, "This is unexpected. What a pleasant surprise" her eyes roamed his person for any evidence of a weapon. She clasped her handbag tighter so that she could feel her small revolver through the thin material. "Is this meeting for business or pleasure?"
"Miss Adler." He nodded in greeting and sat himself down in an armchair. "Or should I say Miss Baker? I must confess your new alias doesn't do you justice, such a familiar name. I'm sure my brother would be flattered." Smirking he poured himself a cup of tea which had been laid out on the table. "Business. I'm not interested in the services you provide Miss Adler, not my style. However I do have a proposition for you, only one which requires you to keep your clothes on. Please sit. Help yourself to tea."
Irene ignored the offer of tea but laid herself out on the sofa, evidently still playing the seduction game. Mycroft rolled his eyes. "My dear, you really can drop the act. I can assure you it will have no effect. Since our last meeting and your foiling of the government's plans your charm has been somewhat lost on me. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for my younger brother"
Irene's eyes flashed as she sat up. "Ah yes, how is the sexier Holmes? Surprising how much appeal he has. For a virgin."
Mycroft grimaced at her remark and took a sip of his tea. "I'm afraid he's still under your spell somewhat, your manipulation seems to have taken firm hold over him since he rescued you from your execution. He keeps your wiped camera phone on his desk. As a reminder I imagine. I cannot say I approve, Sherlock's not one for feelings, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Your presence in his life could only do more harm than good."
"Then why have I been summoned to London?" Irene inquired bluntly "I can assure you I had no intention of returning permanently anytime soon, I'm all set up with a new home and identity in New York as you're well aware."
Mycroft opened up a briefcase which had been placed under the table, and clicked it open to remove what appeared to be somebody's file. "Jim Moriarty." He stated, searching for some kind of reaction. Which he duly received, Irene's breathing stopped for the merest of moments, but it was enough for Mycroft's keen eye to catch. "We are aware that he has been in contact, and I regret to inform you that you are in immediate danger. As a member of the British government I'm offering you protection which the United States cannot. He is our criminal, and our responsibility. It does not matter where you are in the world; he has contacts in every continent. You are not safe. At least here we can keep a closer eye on you."
Irene's eyes narrowed as she listened to Mycroft's offer. Moriarty had indeed been in contact, he'd offered her a considerable amount of money to be his personal plaything. He'd let her know he was flying to New York on 'Business' and he was aware of her new identity. He'd also sent her pictures of her with clients that he somehow had got hold of, evidence that he had eyes everywhere. She wouldn't let him control her though, she made a living out of being the one in charge and she would not let herself be scared by some megalomaniac in a Westwood suit. She knew flying back to England was a risk, but so was staying in New York. "How did you know he'd been in contact with me? And what's the catch? Why offer me protection when you know what a naughty girl I am? I ruined your plans, blackmailed the government, and manipulated your own brother. What do you want in return for protection?"
Mycroft signed and ran his hand through his receding hair line, he knew Irene would be difficult to deal with; she was sharp as a knife and just as dangerous. "He has also been in contact with Sherlock. He made a threat after their first meeting; he threatened to burn out his heart. I'm afraid your connection to my younger brother has amused Moriarty somewhat. He's sent Sherlock a countdown and a human heart, with a message 'For when yours breaks. Lots of love, Jim xxx' the heart has been identified as one which was stolen from Mortuary at a few days ago. What we require from you Miss. Adler is information about Moriarty, and contact as soon as he gets in touch with you. Which we're certain he will. The clock is ticking."
Irene leant back and smirked, "so in return for protection you want my help in one of Jim Moriarty's little games? I don't have much information to give you I'm afraid, discretion is part of my business. And as for Sherlock's heart, I doubt very much he has one. But very well. I've missed England, and even some of my old clients. I'm willing to stay, but I have a few conditions." Mycroft shifted in his seat. "One; I want to stay in London, Two; I would like a certain amount of freedom. Secrecy is my profession; I will not be followed or spied on. And three, you have to pay me. Time is money and my time is worth a lot."
Mycroft stood as though to leave and said "Very well Miss. Adler, you're co-operation is much appreciated. You shall be residing in a townhouse in Kensington which is equipped with basic protection; bullet proof glass, alarms that connect straight to the secret service, and your own bodyguard who'll be waiting for you when you arrive. I'm also placing Anthea as your P.A, as I know you like to have one, she's one of my finest employees and will alert me to anything suspicious, she's also fully trained with a gun and has an incredible right hook. I'll wire an agreed amount of money into your account, and there is a taxi waiting for you outside. Good day." Mycroft held out his hand, which shook as she stood up.
"A pleasure as always" Irene winked as she fastened her coat and turned to leave.
"One more thing" Called Mycroft as Irene opened the door, she turned back round to face him. "Stay away from Sherlock." Irene smiled as she breezed out the door and down the staircase, gliding into her awaiting taxi.
"Home Miss Baker?" said the cabbie
She glanced up at the window of the room she was in minutes before, and smirked at the sight of Mycroft Holmes watching her intently. "No" she said "221B Baker street"
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