I wrote this for x-Avarice-x. The Professor made me do it! XD Hope you like it. :)
I own nothing!
This wasn't the TARDIS.
She'd been in almost every room on that ship at least once, and while some of them looked rather different or out of place like the two-story library or the olympic swimming pool, she certainly knew her way around the Old Girl's interior, and this, she was sure, was certainly not the TARDIS.
It was a stately, brightly lit sitting room. Each of her footsteps echoed against the hard wood floor as she walked to the window, moving aside the lacy white curtain to peek outside. It was London, by the looks of it, around twenty-first century at that. But the exact date didn't really matter to her anyway; whether it was 2003 or 1852, it didn't change the fact that her vortex manipulator had taken her radically off course for no apparent reason. She looked down at the device around her wrist and fiddled with it.
It was still recharging; she'd need to wait a few minutes before making another jump, and anyway she needed time to figure out what was making it go haywire and fix it so that she wouldn't wind up in the middle of a supernova when she tried again. Absently, she wondered if this house belonged to anyone as she sat down on one of the cream-colored couches.
The question was answered when she heard somebody approach.
High heels, from the sound of it, clacking against the wooden floor boards. A confident stride, light and agile, but assured and intimidating none the less. Female, undoubtedly. But missing, River noted, was the often-present swish of fabric against skin that normally accompanied the steps of any person walking around anything halfway substantial.
She stood, looked up, and saw the reason why.
The woman standing in the doorway was gorgeous, to say the least. Her face was the picture of confidence and seduction, her eyes stormy and sparkling. Every inch of her skin was flawless, without blemish, from her gently curved shoulders to her long, shapely legs. And, most notably, she was wearing nothing but a pair of high heels and some ruby lipstick.
"Oh," the woman said in surprise, her eyebrows arching. Despite her obvious shock at River's presence, she made no attempt to cover herself. River wondered if she'd somehow stumbled onto an eerily Earth-like planet whose inhabitants had failed to discover how to make clothing, or had deemed it unnecessary. "I was expecting...never mind."
"I'm sorry," River managed to get out. "I must've..." She cleared her throat. "...taken a wrong turn."
"Well I'm assuming you're not trying to steal my mantlepiece," the woman said. "You're not exactly dressed like a burglar for one. Although..." She approached, forcing River to look her right in the eye as she spoke. "Appearances aren't everything. Perhaps you've been more wicked than you let on."
"Do you make a habit out of greeting everyone like this?"
"To be fair I wasn't really expecting you. I would have dressed for the occasion."
"And what occasion is that?"
"I don't know. What occasion would you like it to be?"
"I get the feeling that whomever it was that you were expecting had something in mind." River glanced down momentarily to make her point before meeting her gaze again. The woman didn't seem fazed.
"I doubt it. But maybe I did have something in mind for him."
"There's a him?" River asked, quirking one eyebrow.
"Not in the way you might think. Although that is within the realm of possibility. I can be quite...flexible when the situation calls for it."
"It would seem so."
"I get the feeling I'm not the only one."
They stared at each other, eye to eye, for a good amount of time before the woman extended a hand.
"Adler," she said, her painted lips turning up in a smile. "Irene Adler."
"River Song," River replied, taking her hand and shaking it.
"Well then, River Song, I suppose I have to ask what brings you here. Not that I mind all that much, to be honest." She gave River a none too subtle once-over with her eyes, glancing down and back up again. "Mind you, that hair...I could get lost in that hair. Properly lost, I mean. Though it could be a spot of good fun trying to find my way out again. Who knows what kinds of thoroughly entertaining places I might stumble upon?" Her eyelids drooped seductively. River merely grinned.
"Didn't you say you were expecting someone? If there's going to be somebody else coming-"
"Oh, yes. Without a doubt. But who that will be still remains to be seen." She sauntered over to the couch and took a seat, crossing her legs delicately. "Well as long as you're here...have a seat if you like. If you're in the mood for some tea, I can always-"
"No," River declined. "Thank you, but...I actually do have somewhere I need to be."
"And you just wandered in here on your way to his flat, did you?" River quirked an eyebrow.
"How do you know it's a he?"
"Is he not?" Irene asked, sounding somewhat intrigued. River opened her mouth to reply, but her vortex manipulator chimed, alerting her that it was ready for the next jump. But she couldn't just go dematerializing in front of this Irene Adler, and she wasn't ready to trust the manipulator just yet until she'd gotten the chance to find the cause of its error that had landed her here in the first place.
"Does he live far from here?" Irene asked when River looked up from the device around her wrist.
"Farther than you'd believe."
"In that case I find it even harder to believe that you found your way here by accident."
"I'm sorry," River quipped, smirking. "Was I meant to make an appointment?"
"Most people do, yes," Irene replied. "Though, as you can see, I try to be hospitable either way."
"Hospitable is certainly one word for it." Irene smiled mischievously. "Speaking of hospitality, when is your next...guest meant to arrive? If he were to come in and see this...well...I wouldn't want to give anyone the wrong idea."
"Perhaps the right one?" Irene offered.
"You seem awfully trusting of me when you have absolutely no idea who I am," River pointed out. At that, Irene quirked an eyebrow, standing up and bringing her shoulders back confidently.
"I wouldn't say nothing, River Song," she said, enunciating her name with exquisite detail. "Either you really did wander in here by accident or you came here for a specific reason. You've got a gun at your side, well-worn too, but still in good condition, so that tells me you know how to use it. If you came here to harm me or anyone else you would have done so already, am I right? I mean I can't exactly fight back, can I?" She stepped ever closer with every spoken syllable, looking River up and down time and time again, a smirk ever present on her ruby lips.
"So if you didn't come here to kill me or my maid, I can only assume that your visit really was unplanned. Nobody goes around carrying a gun like that in plain sight unless they're trying to intimidate or get themselves arrested, and you're too clever to do either of those things, aren't you?" River had to smile at the irony of that statement.
"Although..." Irene mused after a moment, studying her carefully. "Like I already said, appearances aren't everything. You have a delicious wickedness about you, I think."
"I'm certainly no saint," River said with a smirk.
"Nor am I. I would love to get the chance to prove it to you."
"Pardon me for saying, but I think it was already fairly obvious."
"My thoughts precisely," Irene replied. "Maybe the burden of proof would lie on you, then. To be honest, I might be envious of it if that were the case."
"Regardless, I'm afraid it will have to wait."
"Is that a promise?" Irene asked as she quirked one eyebrow and folded her hands behind her back.
"I've never been a fan of promises," said River. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Irene Adler. Now if you'd be a dear and give me back my handcuffs..."
Irene grinned and took her hands out from behind her back, River's shiny handcuffs dangling from one finger.
"I'm tempted to make you beg," she said.
"I don't beg."
"You haven't given me a chance yet." River took the handcuffs; Irene made no attempt to keep them from her.
"You know, I'm beginning to think that we could get along quite well if you stayed. Shame I have another appointment to keep."
"Shame indeed," River said.
"Oh," Irene said in surprise. "You think so too?" River grinned over her shoulder as she walked away, saying nothing else on the matter.
It was a faulty wire, that was all. Just one faulty wire in her vortex manipulator that had caused this whole thing. She fixed it easily – a temporary solution, but one that could be made more permanent when she got to the TARDIS – and prepared to make the jump as she strode out around the block and into a back alley.
Perhaps she could learn a thing or two from this Irene Adler, she thought. Oh, the Doctor's face...it would be absolutely priceless!