Title: Seasons of Change
Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock Holmes- that is the property of Conan Doyle and the writers of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Fandoms: Sherlock Holmes/Mystery Series
Timeline: During and after the events in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Summary: Things happened a little differently in Game of Shadows
Author's Note: WARNING! Major spoilers for plot points in the new Sherlock Holmes movie…do not read if you don't want to know what happens in the movie
Two brilliant adversaries were at the chessboard- a mere personification of the imminent chaos occurring in the room just beyond them. The chill in the air from the waterfall blew across the patio as they eyed each other and the game laid out in front of them.
Moriarty moved his bishop into position and tapped the time clock. He knew Holmes' little friends were endeavoring to find his assassin before that one could incite global war. But he was supremely confident that all his pawns were in place to keep the more powerful players in check.
"By the by, however did you manage to remove Ms Adler's body from the morgue?" he asked as he countered Sherlock's queen gambit with one of his rooks. "I was under the impression that my donation of her handkerchief was the first notice to you."
Holmes smiled thinly as he countered with a knight. "I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about. I've been far too busy keeping track of you to concern myself with her funeral arrangements," he replied with an offhanded shrug.
James quirked an eyebrow in question as they continued to maneuver their pieces across the board. "And yet, she is no longer interred at the morgue, and all the coroner would tell me is that her body was released into the care of a relative- a Claude Deveraux."
"Intriguing, since, as we both know, that is not one of my known aliases. Curious," Holmes murmured as he focused his mind back on the game.
From the memoirs of Dr John H Watson
August 16, 1922
As I look back on all I have been blessed to do and see in my seventy years on this blessed Earth, I can count my friendship with Holmes as one of the greatest, surpassed only by my love for Mary (may she forever rest in peace) and Joan, at whose goading I have come out to Sussex Downs for one last visit with my boon companion. I had thought at one time, and had mentioned the same to Mary, that perhaps the reason it took Holmes three years to return to England after the unfortunate events in Switzerland was to get over the death of Ms. Adler. He may not have mentioned much to me- although, in my own defense, I was preoccupied with my own wedding at the time- but I do believe she challenged him as few others did. Therefore, quite logically, I would assume that such an attachment would require a period of adjustment, not withstanding his miraculous recovery from his plunge over the falls.
But then, after Mary died and I returned to Baker Street to once again assume my place as Holmes' Boswell, I would notice a curious behavior- from time to time he would descend into one of his more depressive states but then disappear and be gone for days on end. However, every time he returned, he appeared more relaxed and clearheaded, so I refrained from comment, as whatever he did to remedy that state was curiously effective.
I broke from my musing as I approached and knocked on the front door, to have it opened by someone I could have sworn I knew, and yet I had never seen this woman in my life before.
"Oh, Doctor Watson, do come in. I apologize- Sherlock had said you were coming, but he wasn't certain exactly when. Let me introduce myself- I am Celine Deveraux. I live two manors over and Mr. Holmes and I share a mutual interest in beekeeping," the older woman commented as she led me through the house.
Surprised at her apparent familiarity with my old friend, I merely assumed she was a local widow who had befriended him in his twilight years, since I was unable to attend to him as much as in our younger years. She showed me to the garden and left to get the tea things from the housekeeper as I sat down next to Holmes.
"She seems rather nice. I don't remember having met her the last time I came down here," I mentioned as I gazed out at the beautiful landscaping.
Sherlock brushed dirt from his trousers and smirked before replying. "That is because she was otherwise occupied on the continent overlooking some of her family's holdings from after the war when you requested my help on the behalf of the Queen."
He looked up as the rattle of the tea tray reached his ears and smiled brightly at the approaching Mrs. Deveraux. Setting it down, she sat in between us and picked up the pot.
"Shall I play mother?" she asked.
I nodded as I leaned back and watched them interact. Holmes was happy and content, and that was all I could ask of for him.
After Watson had left, the couple enjoyed a light supper before heading up to bed. Holmes watched her at her toilette as she cleaned her face free of makeup and spirit gum. Cracking her neck after removing the heavy hairpiece, Celine turned to him and smiled. "Better, my love?"
"Much. I dislike that it is necessary, but however else are you to hide in plain sight at your age?" he responded as they got into bed and faced each other.
"I just don't understand your preference for me without the makeup," she countered with the tone of an old argument.
Holmes cradled her soft cheek gently. "I lost you once. It was only by pure chance I found you again. I love the fact that the face of the woman I…cherish will always stay young and beautiful. It's the least an Immortal like you can do for an old man such as myself, Irene."
Irene smiled at him tenderly as they kissed. "As you wish, love. As you wish."