Well, I have to owe it all to 'A Scandal in Bohemia' for introducing me to Sherlock. Watched that episode and I was hooked. I loved the chemistry between Irene and Sherlock. I know that their relationship is probably nothing but genuine admiration and appreciation for each other's brilliance but...there's just something between them that can't be written off as simply them liking each other's brains.
Of course, it could be just me...
Irene unconsciously taps her fingers against her phone's keypad, teeth nibbling ferociously at her lower lip as she thinks, her eyes fixed intently on the blank screen.
She wants to contact him again, to have a conversation with him however one-sided it is on her part. Frankly, she's getting absurdly bored with her new identity. There's nobody good enough, smart enough, to be able to challenge her intellect like he once had. She's thought about texting him so many times in the past but, in the end, she always came up with an excuse to leave it and procrastinate. The excuses varied from whether he may be busy or that he simply might not want to ever see her again. It wasn't fair on him if she barged straight back into his life without so much of a warning...
Irene smirks slightly as she opens up a new blank text on her phone's screen.
Monday 19th March, 3:15pm
Missing me, Mr Holmes?
She holds her baited breath, wondering if he'll reply even though she knows that he won't. Sherlock rarely replies to her texts, save for the occasional one. So why would he start now?
Her head snaps up as a sudden message alert rings though the silence of the room, the corners of her lips perking up in excited anticipation. She quickly opens up her new message, missing the slightest of tremors in her fingers.
Audrey, where r u? Ur l8 4 your shift!
Irene waits a few minutes more, her body frozen tensely before grabbing her bag and leaving the apartment, stuffing her phone into her coat pocket as she ignores the smallest twinge of disappointment within her,
It's fine if he doesn't reply. It's all part of The Game.
Thursday 22nd March, 2:23am
Can't go to sleep. How do you manage?
Thursday 22nd March, 2:25am
Forget it. Can't be bothered to sleep anyway. I think I'll go for a walk instead...
Irene reads her message over once more before scrambling out of bed, pulling on her jeans and shirt and tugging on her boots. She grabs her phone and jacket, absentmindedly checking the device for any new messages. None. Typical.
She steps outside and observes her surroundings. Deserted. Everyone's sleeping. Like she should be.
She makes it to the end of her road when her phone beeps, signalling the arrival of a new message.
Thursday 22nd March, 2:36am
Never knew you cared, Darling.
Irene sends her message and promptly turns back. Her walk can wait until tomorrow.
Sunday 25th March, 5:03pm
Just occurred to me; did you use the name of your street for my surname? I'm touched. Honestly.
Tuesday 27th March, 2:37pm
Witnessed a pathetic attempt at a bank robbery today. Was half-tempted to participate and show them how experts really do it. Police came in before I could. Too bad. Would've been quite spectacular.
Thursday 29th March, 4:32pm
John's blog is certainly amounting to something. The Hounds of Baskervilles. Catchy. I can't believe you locked him in a cage, the poor thing. Hallucinogenic fog, eh? I'll have to try that some time...
Sunday 1st April, 9am
Happy April Fools Day! I can bet you that John will be plotting something against you. Be on the lookout!
I already am.
Irene rolls her eyes at his message, so typically egotistical and arrogant.
...She loved it.
Another beep is produced by the phone, bringing her focus back down to the new message.
Happy April Fools Day to you too.
Wednesday 4th April, 7:54pm
If someone gave you reason to murder them and you were absolutely sure you'd never be caught by the police or the law, would you?
Wednesday 4th April, 8:05pm
No reason. Would you?
She can't deny the feeling of being lost and frustrated when no new messages arrive for the ret of the day. Her eyes flicker over to her bed where a plain black dress lies, alongside a simple black cardigan before turning back to her phone. She needs his help.
The next day, Irene attends the funeral for Maria Jones, the person who had helped her settle down and survive when she first arrived. Many come to pay their respects but she's sure none had really known her. She hides in the back and stares down at her hands folded calmly in her lap throughout the whole service, unable to look up at the priest for fear of whether he'd see right through her and locate her sins. She hardly registers his speech or the family's.
She jumps along with everyone else when her phone rings and interrupts the mother's voice, flushing a deep red as she escapes with her chin held high to show how unaffected she is by the dirty looks shot her way. She walks out of the church, breathing in the fresh open air as she clicks on her message.
Irene feels oddly comforted by that word, opening the gate that separates the grounds from the street. She isn't planning on going back to the funeral. She won't be able to handle the temptation of hunting down the burglar and doing something particularly nasty to him. Especially when she has Sherlock's blessing to do so.
Sunday 8th April, 6:43am
Feel like my IQ's rotting away here with every passing minute.
Tuesday 10th April, 8:14am
I'm thinking about travelling the world, seeing the sights. What do you think?
Tuesday 10th April, 8:19am
So you'll come with me?
No reply. She isn't expecting one anyway.
Wednesday 11th April, 10:20am
In the hospital. I guess travelling the world will have to be postponed for a while...such a shame.
Nothing too serious, I hope?
Wednesday 11th April, 10:27am
And I thought sentiment and caring were weaknesses?
I don't have any weaknesses.
Wednesday 11th April, 10:35am
Ah, the arrogant Holmes trait shows up once again. Tell me, did you and your brother drive your parents crazy when you were younger? Can't say the same for me. I was an angel.
Wednesday 11th April, 10:45am
I fell down the stairs in my apartment on the way to work but I'm fine. Thank you for...caring.
Thursday 12th April, 4:52pm
Want to have dinner?
Irene can't help the small grin that stays on her face for the rest of the day as she sends the message, reminiscing about the old times, when this had been a regular flirtation routine between the two of them. She doesn't expect him to accept. He never accepts outright when other men (and women) do so immediately. It, he, fascinates her immensely.
I'm not hungry.
Thursday 12th April, 5:04pm
Good. Let's have dinner.
God, she misses those times.
Saturday 14th April, 7:02am
Does John know?
Saturday 14th April, 7:05am
About us communicating.
Does it matter?
Saturday 14th April, 7:08am
I suppose not.
Friday 20th April, 3:42pm
I've always wondered, why are you a detective when you could be the most successful villain ever? Why did you choose to be...well, you instead of someone like...Moriarty?
Irene scans her words once before sending the text and quickly wrapping an apron around her waist once more. She heads into the kitchens, her phone tucked safely away in a small side pocket. She grabs an empty tray and enters the front of the cafe, placing it on top of a stack of trays underneath the counter.
She turns around at the sound of her fake name, smiling brightly when the Head Chef walks her way.
"Afternoon, Chef Manning."
He grins at her, eyes waggling suggestively and she feels like she has to laugh for the sake of politeness. But she doesn't.
"Well as in 'well, what's your answer'?"
"Answer to what?" She asks, deliberately playing dumb.
"To my offer for a date."
Irene cocks her head, silently working out how to go from here on. To be truthful, she entirely forgot about him asking, too preoccupied with...well, with Sherlock. Previous experience tells her that Bruce isn't exactly smart, that he wouldn't be able to challenge her mentally, that he wouldn't be able to make her gaze at him with total awe (not that she's ever actually done that before...).
"You have three stoves," She begins, a calculating look in her eye. She almost bursts out laughing when a puzzled look appears out of nowhere on his face, "a gas stove, a wood stove and a coal stove but only one match. Which would you light first?"
Bruce stares at her for a moment.
"What are you one about?"
"It's a riddle. Answer it right, I'll go on a date with you. Wrong and it's a rejection."
He stares at her again, spluttering at the news.
Irene glances at the clock behind him, certain that this will take all day if he doesn't get a move on. She starts walking towards the cash register but is forced to stop when his hand wraps itself around her forearm.
"Wait, at least let me try!"
She looks at him again, amusement clearly written on her face.
"Well?" She mocks, using his own word against him.
"So, three stoves right? Gas, wood and coal...," He thinks about it for a moment, running the riddle through his head before the answer hits him. He winks at her, certain that he's right. "It's the gas stove."
He's taken aback, not expecting her to ask him why but just accept his correct answer.
"Because...because a gas stove is better than the wood and coal. Trust me, I'm the Head Chef, remember?"
Irene gazes at him before turning back towards the register.
"Where are you going?"
"Back to work."
"But...what about our date?"
Her level gaze penetrates him and he feels uncomfortably exposed to this woman.
"There's no date. You got it wrong," She replies calmly, counting the money in the register, ignoring how his face seems to be going a rather funny scarlet shade.
"Then it's the wood!"
"But...but that's all there's left!" He hisses, aware that some of the customers are watching their little drama unfold.
"No, it isn't. I gave you the answer in the question. You just haven't thought about it properly meaning you haven't really used your brain, have you?" She asks, not bothering to even face him. He breathes deeply for a few minutes before stalking into the kitchen, no doubt to curse her out in front of his mates and have a good laugh about her. She releases a sigh, rolling her shoulders gently to ease the uncomfortable tension in them.
Her phone beeps causing her to pick it up and open the new message received.
It's the match.
She frowns, her heart suddenly having found a reason to hammer wildly against her rib cage. He couldn't be talking about what she thought he was talking about...could he?
Friday 20th April, 3:56pm
Your riddle. The answer is the match. You have to light the match in order to work the stoves. Easy. And rather dull.
Irene's eyes widen in shock, her eyebrows pulling into a frown as she re-reads the message over and over again. She can't understand how he knows about her riddle but he does...
It's all giving her a bit of a headache, really. Another beep. Another text.
Really, Miss Adler. I thought you would've figured it out by now.
Look to your left.
Irene does as he says, looking cautiously at her left side. She sees nothing-or no one- particularly interesting.
Your other left, Irene.
She glares at the phone before whipping her head over to her right, wariness gone out the window. She wants to know how he's doing this and she wants to know now because it's getting on her already frayed nerves.
She scans the room, again resulting in nothing. She's about to text something rude back to Sherlock when something, or rather someone, catches her eye. She walks up to him and sits down on the chair opposite, stealing a fry from his plate as he does so.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was under the impression that you'd come up with something far more interesting than that little riddle," Sherlock smirks, taking a rather large gulp of his coffee.
"Jealous, are we?"
"I thought I told you, I'm not one for caring."
"Neither am I."
The detective leans forward, locking his eyes with hers.
"Now, we both know that isn't true. I seem to remember a certain phone with a certain password..."
She glares at him, swiping another one of his fries.
"I was just playing the game."
"And I was just good at winning it. Still am."
She can't help it. A small laugh forces its way out of her mouth, no matter how much she doesn't feel like laughing with him in the first place. She notices how the corners of his mouth upturn into a hint of a smile but she doesn't comment on it.
"I'm gathering our texts aren't enough for you?" She teases, an eyebrow raised in curiosity.
"Actually, they're rather...interesting," He replied. "What happened to the person in the text you sent on April 4th?"
"Which one was that?"
"The one about murder."
Irene nods, a faint memory becoming more vivid as she runs through that day's events.
"Why do you assume there was a person? It could've been purely hypothetical."
"You're Irene Adler. You don't do hypothetical."
She laughs then, a huge grin blossoming onto her face.
"You know me well, Mr Holmes."
"Nothing. I left it alone."
He studies her meticulously, taking in her changed appearance. She seems to have lost some weight (probably from stress) and grown a bit though she still isn't quite as tall as him.
"What brings you here, Sherlock?"
She waits for him to expand on his answer with details but he doesn't. She's not surprised.
"When are you leaving?"
"...How'd you find me?"
He smirks before taking another sip of his coffee.
"It wasn't that hard."
"Miss Adler, posting information on Facebook for everyone to see really isn't the smartest move to make. Even under a fake name like Audrey Baker."
"So, you didn't use your powers of deduction?"
"Induction. And on something as easy as that? Please," Sherlock scoffs, dismissing the idea with a wave of his hand. Silence descends on the pair, each staring at the other with a smirk or a smile adorning their faces. She reluctantly drags her eyes away from him and towards the clock. It reads 4:25pm.
"Sorry, am I keeping you from your job?"
"No, it's fine. Stay."
"Nah, I've got to go anyway. The case won't solve itself."
"Want any help with that?" Irene asks wistfully, missing the days of thrills and excitement. The most exciting thing that's happened to her since she came here is Sherlock's arrival. That and falling down the stairs. It was disturbingly enjoyable.
"No, I've pretty much got it sorted," He states, getting up from his chair and heading towards the door. She watches him leave before quickly rushing after him, throwing her apron off of her body and onto her chair as she does so.
"Sherlock, please! I can help!"
"I know you can," He replies, not bothering to stop walking or to face her. She runs in front of him, blocking his pathway.
"Then why won't you let me?"
He glances at her and, though she tries to not let it show, she can feel her resolution slowly breaking within her. Staying here has made her pathetically weak.
"Because you are not Irene Adler anymore. Irene Adler is dead," Sherlock whispers, leaning uncomfortably close to her and enunciating every word. "You're Audrey Baker, a normal, every day woman who doesn't get involved in murder cases or bomb threats. You're the type of person expected to live in a nice, normal house with a nice, normal husband and a nice, normal family with a nice, normal job," his voice is low and dangerous, spitting out the word 'normal' as if it disgusts him to his very core. She half expects that it does. "You need to get used to it."
She frowns at him, determined to not let him have the last word but, for once, all her arguments escape her. She realises that he's right. She doesn't bother saying anything to defy him. Instead, she simply walks away.
Sherlock watches her go until the moment she vanishes from his sight. For once in his life, he feels like the idiot.
Solving the case was too easy. Easy and agonisingly boring.
Apparently, John's getting married in a few months. And you thought he was gay...
Happy Birthday, Irene.
The wedding was...alright. Though the guests were rather dull. Shame you couldn't have been there to keep me company.
I get it. You're ignoring me because you're still mad.
Will it make you feel better if I apologised?
You were unnecessarily putting yourself in harm's way.
...Are you dead?
Irene doesn't believe it when she scans the article, dismissing it as simply something created by a bored journalist. However, when more and more keep cropping up all over the place, she's forced to admit that something really doesn't feel right. She picks up her phone, biting her lower lip in anxiousness before she remembers that this is how it all started. In this very same apartment with her doing the very same actions. She lets out a bitter laugh. The beginning and the end...how ironically fitting.
Tuesday 28th August, 3:15pm
Really, Sherlock! Falling off of cliffs with your 'arch-enemy'? I thought John was the dramatic one...
She waits expectantly for his reply back in which he admits everything and she goes back to ignoring him for his hurtful words. She waits and waits and waits.
But the reply never comes.
Wednesday 29th August, 6:45pm
I know you're not dead, Mr Holmes. You may have the media fooled but I'm different and you know it.
Thursday 30th August, 4:29pm
Does John know? No, he doesn't does he? He believes you're dead like the rest of the world. Well, you're not fooling me. Doesn't John deserve the truth? After all, he's your partner in crime...
Friday 31st August, 2:43pm
Come on, Sherlock! Reply! I know you're out there!
Tuesday 25th September,7:09pm
I will not give up on texting you every day of every week of every month of every year until you reply back, admitting that I was right all along, Sherlock! I will annoy you into submission!
Friday 12th October, 6:43am
Went by to see John today. Wore a disguise, of course. He didn't recognise me at all, the poor man. He's devastated! Mary (that is his wife's name, right?) seems pretty upset too...God, you're a heartless bastard.
Wednesday 31st October, 9pm
Hope you're alright...wherever you are...
Monday 19th November, 5:23pm
I just remembered, you still haven't answered my question about why you're a detective and not a villain. You'd be amazing as a villain...we could become an unbeatable pair...if you stopped this stupid little game of yours!
Friday 30th November, 2:59pm
Isn't it Mycroft's birthday today? Shouldn't you be wishing him well? You're a terrible brother.
Sunday 16th December, 8:29pm
Stopped by Baker Street again. Thought I'd check up on your friends if you're not going to. That landlady of yours is doing well...well as can be when her favourite tenant (yes, you!) has 'died'. COME OUT OF HIDING ALREADY!
Tuesday 25th December, 7am
Merry Christmas, Sherlock Holmes. I hope Santa dropped by and gave you a bag of coal. You deserve it. xx
Tuesday 1st January, 6:25am
Happy New Year's! My resolution is to bust you before the end of this year. You're not dead, Mr Holmes. You and I both know it.
Sunday 6th January, 4pm
Happy Birthday, Sherlock! ...I miss you.
Monday 11th February, 3:23pm
You are pulling this off all rather nicely. I'm even starting to doubt your existence...but I know you're alive somewhere! If you helped me disappear, then you can do it to yourself too.
Thursday 14th Februay, 9:30pm
Happy Valentine's Day, Darling!
Tuesday 19th March, 4:15pm
Do you remember? It all started on this very day. Happy Text-Aversary, Mr Holmes. I will catch you.
Monday 1st April, 8:34am
The world isn't even aware that you're pulling the biggest prank of all on them...you do know that the prank's supposed to end at 12 in the afternoon, right?
Sunday 19th May, 11:10pm
We should have dinner when you come out of hiding.
Wednesday 5th June, 2:09pm
I'm getting worried, Sherlock.
Saturday 22nd June, 7:45pm
Give me a clue.
Friday 5th July, 9:10am
Tell me you're alive! Trust me!
Wednesday 10th July, 5:12pm
Come on, already! It's absurd! Everyone's given up on you! It's bloody pathetic...well, you can count on one thing; I'm not giving up until I'm damn well sure you're dead. I'm going to need your dead corpse at my feet to believe it...even then, it's going to take some convincing...
Friday 12th July, 10:12am
YOU. ARE. ALIVE.
Tuesday 16th July, 12:14pm
Are you happy? You've reduced me to tears. Finally. You've got me begging like you wanted me to. Will this bring you out?
Friday 19th July, 7:34pm
Irene sighs, resisting the urge to throw her phone against the nearest brick wall, effectively smashing it into pieces. Except...she needs it to keep in contact with Sherlock because there is no way on earth she is letting him get away with this game of his scott-free.
She doesn't even know whether she ought to applaud him for his brilliance or break a couple of his bones when she finds him.
Instead, she decides to work off her anger on the punching bag in her local gym. She'd be lying if she said she hadn't imagined it to be Sherlock's face for the majority of the time. By the end of her session, she's sweating profusely with an acquired crowd of people surrounding her at a safe distance, looking on in shocked amazement. She wants to tell them all to 'naff off' and mind their own business but she can't find the appropriate amount of energy within her to do so. As a consolation, she pushes past them to the exit, rudely shoving a few shoulders out of the way as she does so. It's oddly satisfying.
Her anger level is steadily rising once again when she can't seem to locate her flat keys in her stuffed bag, blowing a few annoying strands of loose hair away from her face as she frustratedly shoves items aside in her search. Finally, when she's basically on her knees on the floor scavenging through her bag, Irene resorts to using one of her bobby pins for access, slamming her bag down onto the sofa once she's inside. She heads straight for the shower where one or two unnoticed tears fall down her face. It soon gets muddled with the rest of the surrounding water and slips down the murky drain.
She can't recount how many minutes she spent in there, her body too reluctant to actually step out of the bathroom.
She finally manages to get out and walk towards her bedroom in nothing but a towel, intent on falling asleep as soon as she's ready. The cold air from outside makes her shiver involuntarily and she frowns; she can't remember having opened the window earlier.
Irene reaches for the clothes she'd placed on her bed but stops immediately, her breath quickening with the beginning surge of adrenaline entering her veins. Her eyes dart around the room suspiciously before coming back to rest on the pile of clothes. And the small leaflet placed haphazardly on top.
She warily picks it up and inspects it in her hand, quickly coming to the conclusion of it being nothing more than what it is. A simple Chinese takeaway menu. She scans the attached yellow post-it, a hint of a smile gracing her lips.
Work out where I am and we'll have dinner, Miss Adler.
Irene doesn't bother with her current state of undress as she rushes to her living room to scrounge her gym bag, anxious to find her phone. She finds no text messages but she's not really bothered about that either.
Friday 19th July, 10:43pm
Aren't you supposed to be the detective, Mr Holmes?
Solve it by a week today and I'll send you the details for dinner.
Friday 19th July, 10:46pm
What if I fail?
You're about as brilliant as me. Think.
Friday 19th July, 10:50pm
Is that a compliment?
P.S I was right about you being alive. Want me to tell John or should we keep it as our dirty little secret?
Not a compliment. Fact. And, no. I expect John will figure it out soon enough on his own. He is rather clever. Deal?
Friday 19th July, 10:54pm
I'm not hungry, Mr Holmes.
Irene waits for his message to come a second or so later like all the other ones. When it doesn't, she wonders if he's given up on her and gone back to not replying. And she's strangely disappointed. She gets up to get changed when something stops her.
A new text.
I really hope you enjoyed that. Shipping Irene/Sherlock so bad right now...need to come with a name for them...
I know some things may seem a bit weird about Irene's characterization here but think about it. She's had to relocate to a whole other country and come up with a somewhat whole new personality to make sure she's different and that no one recognises her. With her also not being allowed to do the stuff she used to do before, I thought that maybe she'd get a little bit...I want to say weaker but that's not the right word for her...a bit more connected with her emotions (?).
Any-who, hope you liked it. Review, my fellow Sherlock fans :)