Word Count: 786
Beta'ed and Brit-picked by the lovely theonewiththeobsessions


The shortest distances between two points
Is the line from me to you
Between Two Points, The Glitch Mob


i.

It's possible it happens like this.

They're in America. It's November and chilly, and people are just beginning to put their holiday decorations up. John buys a hotdog from a local vendor while Sherlock scans the area and mutters to himself in a way that John has long since learned to ignore. They're both so occupied that neither of them notices the petite women with the red lipstick and heels too high behind them.

"Mr Holmes," she says; her fingers brush against his coat and he turns to face her.

To the average eye she doesn't even come close to resembling The Woman he once knew; short, straight hair frames her face, dark sunglasses hide her eyes and a perfect American accent dances off her tongue. No, the average person would never recognize her.

Fortunately, there is nothing average about Sherlock Holmes.

"Miss Adler," he answers with an amused smirk. "Still alive, I see."

Irene replies with her own smirk. "So it seems. Let's have dinner."

ii.

Or maybe it happens like this.

Six months after her supposed death, she sneaks back into the city. It's mad and foolish, and completely against what he told her to do, but Irene Adler's never really been the obedient sort of girl, so she does it anyway.

She waits until it's too late for even him to be awake before she sneaks in. It isn't difficult to enter the building. No, the difficult part is figuring out where exactly he put the bloody thing. Let's see, she calculates, the study is the most obvious choice. Probably where he was when his brother or John brought it to him.

She starts in the bedroom.

The clock rings three times as she slips through the door and into his room. She stops the moment her eyes land on the empty bed, and she turns around just in time to see Sherlock Holmes, complete with blue pyjama bottoms and god awful bedhead, close the door.

"You're looking for this, I presume." He holds up her camera phone. "You shouldn't be in London."

"Yet here I am." She smirks and tucks her phone into her coat pocket. "Dinner?"

"It's hardly dinner time."

"Maybe I'm hungry."

"I'm not."

"Good. Neither am I. Let's have dinner."

iii.

Who's to say it didn't happen like this?

They're in his hotel room in Karachi on the night he saves her. The next flight out of the country isn't for another thirteen hours and they should sleep, but they don't. There's too much adrenaline circulating through their bodies, too many unanswered questions they need to ask. Far too many other things they should probably discuss.

"Let's have dinner," she says instead.

"We can't," he answers automatically, sitting down. "You're dead."

"Hmm, and yet I'm still hungry."

"How unfortunate for you."

She follows him to his chair. "Mr Holmes, I nearly died today," she explains, resting her hand on his knee. "Have dinner with me."

He stares at her, but he doesn't move. He doesn't lean forward to see her pupil, doesn't take her hand to feel her pulse. He doesn't move away, doesn't mention room service. He only sits there and stares at her. Finally after a moment, he nods.

She smiles.

iv.

But really, it happens like this.

Years pass. There are no text messages, no secret meetings, no dinner temptations. He returns to his work in London and his flat with John; she changes her name and accent with every country she moves to. Their lives move on until Irene Adler is nothing more than a distant memory buried in the depths of their minds.

Sherlock and John are having dinner at a small café in Berlin, celebrating another solved case. He's barely had two bites of his meal when he spots her. She's already finished her dinner and is slipping her coat back on when she sees him.

Their eyes lock, and even though it has been an age since they've last seen one another, they know. It doesn't matter that she speaks perfect German now or what he's even doing in Germany. They know. Still, neither of them moves. There are no smiles, no nods, no movements of any sort. They simply stay there, their eyes locked on one another. A moment passes, then another. A minute, an hour, a lifetime passes between them.

"Sherlock? Who are you looking at?" John asks, turning around to see.

He blinks and the moment he does, she's gone, the few Euros on the table the only trace that she ever stood there. "No one," he mumbles. "No one."

He returns to his dinner.