My first attempt at Sherlock Fanfiction… I'd been playing around with this idea since I saw A Scandal in Belgravia and since Irene and Sherlock seemed to have such a connection, I dreamt this up.

I don't own any of the characters, the all belong to BBC.

I do want to say that while I enjoy Johnlock, Irene and Sherlock seemed to have an absolutely electiric connection onscreen. It was all the eyesex. (I know, I know, Benedict Cumberbatch will have eyesex with anyone) And the general seductiveness of Irene.

This is AU, in a way, but it does follow canon. You'll see.


Contrary to popular belief, the first time Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler met was not in a sunlit sitting room in Belgravia.

It was in a garden on a raining night. Sherlock was eighteen. Irene Adler was sixteen.

He was high. Gloriously high. This time the drugs sent his mind past its normal alertness and into hyperdrive and past that into glorious omnipotence. He saw everything, processed everything, knew everything.

The party had been boring, but now it was fascinating. The music throbbed in his spine, colors blurred, and yet, everything was in sharp relief.

Including her.

He didn't know her, but for some reason, his eyes stayed on her longer than anyone else in the room. She had the slimness of youth but he could tell that one day she would be stunning. Her hair was falling down her back in a tumble of curls, her skin was free of spots, and her eyes were snappish. She was also too short, her fingers rather long, her skin rather pale.

In short, she was nothing special and yet she intrigued him.

When she broke away from a group of people and walked into the garden, he followed her lead.

When she turned and noticed him, he froze.

When she stood and beckoned him to a niche in the garden wall that was half hidden by a grove of trees, he came.

When she tilted her head up and kissed him, he followed her lead.

When she undid the zip of his pants, he froze.

When she wrapped her legs around his waist and bit his neck, he came.

Afterward they lay in the damp grass, breathing hard. The rain and the cold pebbled her skin, the drops sliding off the paleness of her throat and into the hollow between her breasts. He vaguely remembered unbuttoning her shirt and kissing and sucking there.

He felt boneless; he couldn't move as she stood and buttoned her blouse and smoothed her skirt. He made an effort to rise, then fell back on the loamy earth.

"No, no, no," she crooned, bending down to smooth his hair away from his forehead. Her face was in shadow, but glints of light on her earlobes revealed marquise cut diamond earrings. "It's been a pleasure. Don't spoil it. This is how I want you to remember me." She said something else, something that he didn't catch, and was gone.

That night, the night he lost his virginity, was a riotous haze in his memory. There was only the faint impression of her bite on his neck, a sensory memory of rain and cold and a lithe warm body, and her face, shadowed in the dark but lit by the moon.

He never saw her again. Never learned her name.

As time passed the memory faded, aided by plenty of drugs and boredom. Eventually Mycroft threw his arse in rehab, after he got himself thrown out of university.

Sherlock Holmes began to solve crimes. He worked with St. Bart's, and then the Scotland Yard. He grew acquainted with Lestrade, with Donovan, with Anderson.

And then John Watson came into his life.

Sherlock believed he was the happiest he had ever been in that time after he met John. He had a flat mate (friend) who put up with his eccentricities, crimes to solve, and experiments to do. All was well in his world.

After a few more experiments in high school and then uni he had decided that the body was a shell- the important thing was the brain and thus only the essential needs of the body were to be take care of. Sex was not one of them; he deleted every experiment he had performed on the subject.

Except the first, but that wasn't a memory, not really.

Time passed.

Moriarty came into his life.

Irene Adler did too.

In the sunlit sitting room in Belgravia he didn't recognize her. He felt a strange sense of déjà vu as he took in her features.

She was on top of him, wearing nothing but a pair of black heels and marquise cut diamond earrings, his fake clerical collar between her teeth, when John entered and distracted her- and him. He had been a second away from remembering- and then it was gone.

Until she drugged him and whipped him with a riding crop and was standing over him, caressing his face with the cool leather.

"No, no, no," she crooned, and suddenly it clicked. "It's been a pleasure. Don't spoil it." He arched his back and tried to rise, and she pushed him down again. "This is how I want you to remember me. The woman who beat you."

Their eyes met, and in that instant she knew that he remembered.

And then she was gone.

Oh, Irene Adler fascinated him. He spent hours examining every memory of her from every angle, building her a room in his mind palace.

She was a dominatrix. That made him perversely angry, before he dismissed it as irrational and unnecessary. Dominating people was her profession, to become as good at it as she was, she needed to be able to read people. To know what they liked. He could admire that.

To attract the attention of a "sweet little posh thing" like royalty, she had to be exceptionally good. She had beauty, knew how to use it. She had brains, and knew how to use them too.

In short, she was captivating. Their battle of wits had ended with no clear winner- in his mind anyway. He had won, found the pictures, but she had gotten away, with the pictures, and yet there were no repercussions, all was safe. It was perfect. They would hear from her no more.

He could almost forget that she existed- if it hadn't been for the texts.

The texts burned at him, confused him, made him a strange kind of pleased. He never answered- for once, he didn't know what to say.

He was sure that she had recognized him- probably immediately. There had been something like recognition in her eyes, which he had attributed to his recent fame in the papers and on the internet. But there had been more.

"Oh, it's always hard to remember an alias when you've had a fright. There now. We're both defrocked… Mr. Sherlock Holmes." It had been there, in her eyes, as she said his name.

And then a flash of something else when he replied. "Ms. Adler, I presume."

It had been niggling at him before John interrupted, and then again when she ran her hand down his arm before she drugged him.

Yes- she had gotten the upper hand. But for some strange reason he didn't resent her for it. It had been a delightful game between them. The wordplay in the room, the deductions, and his idea with the fire alarm had been brilliant. Then the Americans had come and things had gotten interesting.

In that split second before they were going to shoot John, they had a moment of exhilarating communication. It wasn't often that he could read social cues, but with Irene Adler there had been almost instantaneous understanding.

The instant of realization had been harsh, brutal as he strained against his weakening body as she crooned down at him. The combination of that voice, her face outlined in the strange play of shadow and light, and the familiar rush of endorphins and drowsiness caused by the drugs had brought the memory back in a flash.

The faint sounds of music and chatter from the house. Her heavy breathing in his ear.

The scent of wet earth and the green sharp smell of broken grass. A strange mix of their sweat and her perfume.

The weight of her, heavy on his chest where she had landed when the two of them, exerted and exhausted, sank to the ground. The fast thump of his (or maybe it was her) heart.

The taste of her tongue in his mouth, and a bit of blood from where she had bitten his lip.

The moon and the stars and a white face surrounded by a cloud of dark hair.

And now all was back to normal in Baker Street.

Except for the texts.

I'm bored. Let's have dinner.

I like your silly hat.

Even clever detectives in silly hats have dinner.

I'm in Paris. Let's have dinner.

I'm not hungry. Let's have dinner.

I am hungry. Let's have dinner.

It's the middle of the night. Let's have dinner.

It's raining. Dinner?

Until Christmas.

Mantelpiece.

He had just verbally eviscerated Molly Hooper, then suddenly realized her present was for him. The glare John (everyone) was giving him made Sherlock put the box down and apologize. He realized that if he wanted to stay in Molly's good graces and keep receiving his illegal body parts from the hospital, he had some making up to do.

Sherlock kissed her cheek. She smelled like powder and a cheap perfume, nothing like The Woman's perfume. This one was too flowery, it would irritate him if he was around it all day.

The text alert noise couldn't have come at a more inopportune time- but he checked it (ignoring John's "Fifty-seven?").

There, on the mantle, was a scarlet box, held together with black cord. It was the exact shade of her lipstick- a connection she was deliberately trying to encourage. For some reason, the black cord made him think of bondage- another deliberate coincidence. He swallowed hard, pushing emotion down as he plucked at the cord.

It was her phone.

The rush of pure, undiluted sentiment that ran through his body repulsed him. To settle it, he called Mycroft.

Molly was in the morgue as he identified the body with Mycroft. It was true- her face was "bashed up" as Molly had put it.

"Let me see the rest of her," he demanded, keeping his voice and face impassive. Molly hesitated, then brought the sheet down around her hips.

32

24

34

Freckle on the inside of one breast

Prominent collarbone

"It's her," he said, then stalked away. Behind him he could hear Molly as how he could identify her from not-her-face.

Because she stood in front of me nude.

Because she took my virginity.

The violin helped him think. He made a melody for her, one that in his head he called "Irene's Lament." It was achingly sad, so much that it made John worry. For once, Sherlock didn't care that his emotions were showing he just didn't care.

When he spoke about her (which he never did) aloud she was always The Woman.

The phone was an interesting puzzle. He didn't take any new cases for three weeks as he perched on a chair, nicotine patches on his arms as he considered the passcode, the precautions she would have taken, and Irene Adler herself.

He analyzed her character, what he knew of her life, what he had learned about her from her house. Nothing came up.

He X-rayed her phone, and found the charges- either explosive or acid, he figured. Explosive, probably, it seemed more dramatic, if there was any way of quantifying what Irene Adler was, dramatic was certainly part of it.

Sherlock didn't know why he followed John that day- he only knew that it certainly wasn't Mycroft who had called the meeting. Mycroft was in Greece for some reason (politics) and yet, Anthea was there, with a posh car. It was… suspicious.

She met John in a warehouse, not too far from where they had first met at the party. Sherlock was gratified by the way John demanded she tell him she was alive- the attacks of sentiment concerning the army doctor were getting more frequent, and while it worried him occasionally, most of the time they left him vaguely pleased.

I'm not dead. Let's have dinner.

Happy New Year.
SH.

The next time he saw Irene Adler, she was curled up in his bed with damp hair and smelling of his shower soap. He quickly stored the scene in his mind palace and called John.

"There are people who want to kill me."

"Who are those people?"

"Killers."

She gave him no quarter with words, but her eyes told him more. She was truly scared for her life. He wondered who could want her dead, who could want the information she got from "misbehaving."

In the flat at 221B Baker Street, she looked innocent, helpless. Her hair was still damp and curling on her back, and she was dressed in his dressing gown and her (now trademark) pair of marquise cut diamond earrings. And yet, there were people who were willing to put a bullet through her brain (and his) to get to that camera phone.

Mycroft.

The Americans.

Probably most of the major governments around the world.

Perhaps- even Moriarty?

She showed him the email. He applied his considerable brainpower when he noticed her lips coming toward him- he knew that as soon as they touched his face all train of thought would be halted.

The spot on his face burned, and he blurted out what he discovered.

"I would have you right here, on this desk, until you begged for mercy twice." Her eyes were on his as she said it, and he could see the truth in them.

He ruthlessly squashed his own emotions. There was something bothering him about the code… "I've never begged for mercy in my life."

"Twice," she said.

He knew in his heart of hearts that if he was to beg for mercy from anyone, it would be Irene Adler.

"Flight 007," John said, and his mind went into over drive.

John left, he noticed and yet didn't at the same time. He knew that Irene was watching him.

"Coventry," he said suddenly.

"Never been. Is it nice?"

He explained. She, apparently, caught on immediately. The light in the room was dim, more red toned than he had ever noticed it being before. She was still in his dressing gown, and he wondered what she was wearing underneath.

"Have you ever had anyone?" she asked, eyes narrowed and the darkest blue he had ever seen them.

No- he had seen them darker. Her head was tilted back but her eyes were wide open and staring into his as she exploded.

"Sorry?" he asked, confused and distracted for a moment.

"And when I say 'had' I'm being indelicate," she responded, perfectly serious.

It seemed like an innocent question- had. Implications of had: owned, kept, possessed. Possible sexual connotations. Wrong: she knows I've had someone- her. Not sexual, then. Owned, kept, possessed. I've never owned anyone.

"I don't understand," he said, as much as those words rankled him. The room was warm, and he felt hot. His stomach was twisting in a manner he didn't fully comprehend.

She stood gracefully. "Then I'll be delicate," she said, voice dropping a timbre lower. "Let's have dinner."

There was such connotations to those words, and yet he didn't understand. "Why?" he breathed. She was getting closer. Dinner. Connection, communion. Creating a bond between host and guest. The act of eating together symbolizes something-

Her lips weren't painted red, and they looked tempting anyway. "You might be hungry," she said, voice promising things that he didn't know. Where was the easy communication, the melding of minds that had happened in her sitting room? He longed for the clarity of the sunlight and the crisp lines that his intimate, dark sitting room lacked.

"I'm not," he answered, and her hand touched his.

"Good," said Irene, leaning into him.

Why? Going back- possible sexual connotation. Check for signs of arousal. Skin- flushed. Breathing- heavy. Pupils dilated. Must take her pulse without her noticing. "Why would I want to have dinner if I wasn't hungry?" His own voice had lowered, almost against his will.

Her hand was smooth and soft, the skin of her wrist tender and vulnerable. Sherlock caressed the fragile skin over the throb of her blood rushing through her body.

Pulse- elevated. Definite arousal. Is she prepositioning me? "Oh, Mr. Holmes," Irene was saying, and for some reason there was sadness intertwined with the hunger in her gaze. "If it was the end of the world- the very last night- would you have dinner with me?"

She was intoxicatingly, dizzyingly close. He could smell the scent of her skin and his body wash- the possessive beast in him reveled in the subtle differences in the way it smelled on her and the way it smelled on him. He knew it would react differently with her body chemistry, but he would have never guessed how much he loved the smell. Her eyes were fixed on his, her smile melancholy, her breasts mere inches from his chest.

Yes. He opened his mouth, only to hear Mrs. Hudson.

"Too late," she breathed, lingering above him for a moment longer before pushing off, just as Mrs. Hudson entered.

"It's not the end of the world," Sherlock retorted with no real venom in his voice. "It's Mrs. Hudson."

The look she shot him showed that she knew that he understood and he was playing dumb- and that for them, for some reason, it was the end of the world.

The men arrived to pick him up, Mycroft's men, and led him into the airplane. The plane smelled strange, like formaldehyde and the sickly sweet smell of death and like Molly- which he realized after a second meant that the room smelled like the morgue. Dead people. All the passengers were dead.

The man who was supposed to be on the plane to Dusseldorf.

His mind was leaping and making connections and intuition after deduction until he had a relatively clear picture of what was happening.

Mycroft appeared, sneering. "One lonely, naïve man, desperate to show off, and one woman clever enough to make him feel special."

He didn't want to believe it, couldn't believe that Irene had tricked him. It seemed to improbable, so impossible, that he couldn't believe it even as she appeared behind him.

"Mr. Holmes. I think we need to talk." She was in a designer dress, tall heels, and those sharp, marquise cut diamond earrings.

He started to say something, but she brushed passed him. "Not you Junior, you're done now," she said, dismissing him.

As she discussed the details with Mycroft, he sat and stared at the fire.

"You've been very... thorough. I wish our lot were half as good as you," Mycroft said, the words clearly leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

Irene stood. "I can't take all the credit. Had a bit of help," she looked at Sherlock, and to his surprise, although her words sounded playful, he could see something there, in her face. "Jim Moriarty sends his love."

Mycroft brushed it off. "Yes, he's been in touch. Seems desperate for my attention. Which I'm sure can be arranged."

She made her barbs, The Iceman and The Virgin. There was another flicker in her face as she said that- at least two people in the room knew he was anything but.

Mycroft bandied about his various options, which Irene shot down one by one. Sherlock's mind was racing- perhaps- maybe- he had an idea.

"Here you are, the dominatrix who brought a nation to its knees. Nicely played," Mycroft was saying.

Sherlock readied himself. He knew what had to do. "No," he said, almost under his breath.

"Sorry?" Irene said, and he could see the vestiges of closely contained panic.

"I said, no," Sherlock said, empathizing his words. "Very, very close, but no. You got carried away. The game was too elaborate. You were enjoying yourself too much.

She gave him a naughty smile, to hide her fear. "No such thing as too much," she bantered, hand clenching her skirts in a reflex before she loosened it quickly.

"Oh, enjoying the thrill of the chase is fine. Craving the distraction of the game, I sympathize entirely. But sentiment, sentiment is a chemical defect found in the losing side," he was being cruel, deliberately. Mycroft was watching with interest, and if he was to have any chance of getting her out alive he needed to believe what had happened with complete certainty.

"Sentiment," Irene repeated, a bluff Sherlock saw through in a moment. "What are you talking about?"

Only Irene would be able to see the pity in his eyes. "You."

She saw the pity and it infuriated her. "Oh dear god, look at the poor man. You don't actually think I was interested in you? Why? Because you're the great Sherlock Holmes? The clever detective in the funny hat?" She mocked him, but he forgave her.

Sherlock stepped closer, bending down and taking her wrist. "No. Because I took your pulse," it rose again as he breathed on her ear.

He explained, for his brother's benefit. "When we met you told me that disguise is always a self-portrait—how true of you. The combination to your safe, your measurements. But this, this is far more intimate. This is your heart. And you should never let it rule your head. You could have chosen any random number and walked out of here today with everything you worked for. But you just couldn't resist it, could you? I've always assumed that love is a dangerous disadvantage. Thank you for the final proof." His face hardened as he punched in the numbers, and some part of him regretted it deeply.

She put a hand on him, eyes pleading. "Everything I said, it's not real. I was just playing the game."

He knew. He understood completely- so much made sense.

"I'll make you rich. Lie to me, and I'll make you into shoes."

"I know. And this is just losing." His voice held not an ounce of compassion as he showed her the unlocked phone.

"There you are, brother," he said, handing the phone to Mycroft. "I hope the contents make up for any inconvenience I may have caused you tonight."

Mycroft accepted the phone with solemnity that such a powerful device deserved. "I'm certain they will"

"If you're feeling kind, lock her up. Otherwise let her go. I doubt she'll survive long without her protection," he made to leave the room.

Irene was close to tears. "Are you expecting me to beg?" she asked, jaw clenched. She was a dominatrix, it was completely against her nature.

I'd have you right here on this desk until you begged for mercy twice.

Sherlock paused. "Yes."

She begged. "Please. You're right. I won't even last six months."

Mycroft was looking him, evaluating him. He looked Irene in the eye. "Sorry about dinner," he drawled, waiting until the recognition dawned and he left.

Had: owned, kept, possessed. She was asking if I've never loved anyone. Being delicate by being indelicate. She knew that I didn't love her all those years ago, there was no sentiment between us. She was asking if I owned anyone, if I had possessed anyone the way I possessed her, on that night so long ago.

As soon as he arrived at 221B, he contacted everyone he knew in every country, every homeless network he had built, every person he had ever helped. As soon as Irene Adler left the country he would know.

He tracked her silently as she left for France, then across America and through Peru and Argentina before staying in Japan and Korea. She evaded capture in each place, through ingenious methods. He was… proud wasn't the right word. He admired her.

John had stopped asking about Irene Adler. She was The Woman and nothing more to him.

But when she was captured in Karachi, he planned.

One of his homeless network robbed John's mother's house. He arranged for Mrs. Hudson to go on vacation. They both left to go sort things where they were needed, and Sherlock left for Karachi.

He was standing behind her as she sent her last message- and then he froze as he realized that he hadn't turned down the volume on his mobile. She looked up, and their eyes met.

"When I say 'run,'" he whispered, "Run!"

It was dangerous, it was exhilarating, it was the complete opposite of boring. Other than a long and shallow cut across his chest, he escaped just fine, and tracked Irene down to a hotel in the city.

"You came for me," she stated baldly as he entered the room.

Sherlock stared at her impassively, unsure of how to respond. "We never got to have dinner," he said finally.

She understood. There was no need to say more. "Shall we?"

"I'm bleeding," Sherlock said, stripping off the heavy black garb. "Another time."

She cleaned his wound, and he shrugged out of the rest of his clothes and into a pair of tailored pants and a pressed purple shirt. As he buttoned it, he sat on the edge of the bed as she curled up on the side of the sofa.

"You've changed since high school," she remarked, eyes focused on the vee of pale skin that was quickly being covered by the purple shirt. Sherlock almost jolted upright in surprise.

He swallowed roughly. "We are going to acknowledge… that?" The memories were as fresh as the day he stored them in his mind palace.

"The night you took my virginity?" Irene asked, raising a dainty eyebrow.

Sherlock was silent as he considered. "I remembered it as the night you took mine," he admitted finally.

They were both quiet and they reevaluated what had happened that night more than fifteen years ago. Sherlock turned it over in his mind, vaguely recalling Irene's fingernails biting in his back as she hissed, then urged him on.

"You remembered?" There was a dry tone to her voice, a tone of incredulity.

"I was high," Sherlock said, voice almost a growl. "Not entirely."

Irene sighed. "I did," she said. "Always. It was the reason I chose my profession."

That intrigued him. "How?" he asked.

"The anonymity was thrilling," she said, hesitant. "Although I found out your name later. There was also a certain thrill in the naughtiness of it. And…" her voice trailed off.

"You enjoyed having power over me," Sherlock finished, deduction hardly a leap. "You found immense power in luring me, bending me to your will without much effort, and leaving me instead of the other way around." There was no judgment in his voice, no anger.

Irene's blue eyes were turned on him. "That is true," she admitted. "There were plenty of other factors in the decision, but that night was definitely one of them."

He could make a thousand deductions from all the information she had given him, both willingly and inadvertently. Instead, he remained silent for a few moments.

"I have documents for you. An American passport. You will catch a plane to Beijing tomorrow morning, and then from there to Paris, and finally to America. In America there is a bank account in which nearly a million from your Swiss account was transferred. A hotel room in New York City, for you to stay in until you decided what you want to do."

"You have a forged American passport?" Irene inquired, surprise on her face. "Those are supposed to be the most difficult to replicate. What did you do for a picture?"

"Don't worry about it," Sherlock said dismissively. "It will work. Your new name is Elaine Derr."

Irene accepted the packet he gave her, quickly perusing the documents. "These are fantastic," she exclaimed. "How did you do this much? Why?" Her eyes darted toward him, then looked away. There was a question in there, one that he couldn't quite grasp, and again Sherlock yearned for the ease of theat day in her sitting room.

Instead of answering, he beckoned her over. She rose from the sofa, and he noted she was again dressed in only his dressing gown. He stood and offered her his wrist.

She understood, moving closer until there was hardly any space between their bodies. If she moved, her breasts would have brushed across his chest. As it was, her head tilted up to look him in the eye, she was overwhelmingly close already.

"Your pulse," she whispered. "Elevated."

"Pupils?" he prompted her. He was half surprised by the low rumble that was his voice- it was deep, yes, but not that deep normally. Vocal cords vibrating at a lower frequency because of attraction.

She smiled slowly. "Dilated," breathed Irene. Her own pupils were large, threatening to overtake the blue.

He didn't return her smile, but he reached up with his free hand and brushed her hair back from her face. "I remembered you," he whispered, voice barely there. "It was a haze, but I obsessed over the details I could remember."

She closed her eyes, head tilting almost imperceptibly into his palm. "Does that make me special? John seemed to think so."

"Yes," he said, with no hesitation. John was right in the area of feelings more often than he was, yes, but he knew that there would never be anyone else like Irene Adler. She was The Woman. The Woman who mattered.

It seemed natural then, despite the overarching strangeness of the situation, to bend his head and kiss her. She wound her arms around his neck and arched her back.

"A bed, instead of against a garden wall would nice this time," she breathed. "What do you say, Mr. Holmes?"

He was busy with her neck, but he responded by picking her up and settling both of them on the bed.

It seemed a haze, an illusion, that night in Karachi. They both dozed, briefly, but never sank into the true depths of sleep. The heady combination of bone deep weariness, a fierce desire to stay awake, the drowsy leaden pleasure, and the warmth of the room turned the night into a waking dream.

Sherlock memorized her body, noting the small changes (she had lost half an inch from her hips and waist) and the details he had failed to notice on her body double (she has a small freckle under her right breast not to the side, small scar on her right wrist).

Irene seemed to be doing the same, knowing with wicked precision exactly how to make his hands clench and the muscles in his neck grow taunt. She enjoyed the power, he knew, but she did nothing to stop him when he did the same.

They were equals, and they both knew it. There were very few people on their level (Mycroft and Moriarty, perhaps) who saw the world in the way they did.

"We are like gods amongst mortals," Irene had said, voice slurring deliciously. "Why do we do what we do?"

"Because we'd be bored otherwise," Sherlock replied, more preoccupied with her fingers on his hipbone. "And bad things happen when we are bored."

Irene's eyes met his suddenly, with a flash of fear. "Be careful with Moriarty," she whispered. "He's dangerous."

"I will be," Sherlock promised, before turning his mouth to hers.

In the morning, they waited until the sun was up before leaving for their separate trips. There was no farewell, no tears. They just looked at each other, holding the other's gaze until all that needed to be said was said.

Sherlock returned to 221B Baker Street. Mycroft was adequately fooled by Irene's 'death,' as he should have been. The only person who could have fooled him was Sherlock Holmes, and according to all reports, Sherlock hadn't left the flat in the time that John and Mrs. Hudson were gone.

He knew as soon as John said that she was in America that he was lying- and yet he was telling the truth, Irene was in America. He took her phone, as a sort of memento. He would give it to her the next time he saw her. He didn't know when that would be but…

There was one rather interesting case with H.O.U.N.D. and Baskerville- it held his attention for a few days. Other cases came. His fame grew.

Sometimes he thought about her, about the hazy illusion that was Karachi and warm skin, or the night in the garden.

Moriarty returned.

Sherlock wasn't fooled- something was wrong.

He contacted Irene.

"I need your help," he said brusquely into the phone. "It's Moriarty. I need to know where you got your body double."

She put him in touch with the right people.

Molly was brought into the plan, after she conveniently gave him an opening not far into the case. He asked for a slot in the morgue, one that would hold a body that he would injure afterward. Just in case his plan didn't work out. Just in case.

As it turned out, Moriarty killed himself. Guns were trained on John and Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade- there was nothing he could do but jump.

And so Sherlock Holmes, the clever detective in the funny hat, fell from the roof of St. Bart's and crashed on the pavement below, body broken and bloody.

Molly patched him up. She did a fine job too- he had been slightly apprehensive in trusting his body to a woman who did postmortems.

He slipped away in the dead of night, and was soon on his way to America.

"Sherlock."

"Irene."

She looked different, he noticed. Her hair wasn't up in the strict and carefully controlled style she used as a dominatrix, nor was it down in her loose natural curls. It was shorter, and straight. She had regained the half inch and a bit more on her waist and hips. Her makeup was light and natural.

But she was still dressed expensively, with marquise cut diamond earrings at her ears. Her way of looking at him was the same, her way of tilting her head as she evaluated him.

"I heard you died," she said, inviting him inside her large flat. "Would you like tea? Or if you're feeling American, coffee?"

He refused. "I need you to tell me everything you know about Moriarty's network."

She did.

"I'm going to hunt them all down," he told her. "Or they'll hurt John."

She crossed the room to him, holding his bruised face in her hands. "I'd expect nothing less out of you," she whispered. "If you need anything I'm here."

He had planned to leave immediately after acquiring the information he needed, but instead he stayed with her until the next morning.

It took three years. She (and Mycroft and Molly) was the only one who knew he was alive, the only one he talked to.

She grounded him, made him remember the person he had been before Moriarty and Moran. She didn't distract him, she cleared his mind, aided him, gave him anything he needed.

And when he returned to life at 221B Baker Street, she returned to London. To life.

She had her camera phone as insurance. (Someone had gotten into Mycroft's databases and there had been an accident and a large amount of still to be decoded information had vanished.)

They would make some kind of arraignment work. There had been doubt, but after Karachi they both knew. She was The Woman because she was the only one that mattered. She was special.

Soul mates weren't something either of them believed in. That didn't matter- they knew where the other stood well enough and everything that needed to happen would happen. No vows would be said, no children born, no shared residence.

Sherlock was a man of singular relationships. John was the Best Friend. Mrs. Hudson was the Responsible Adult. Mycroft was the Brother. Lestrade was the Colleague. Moriarty had been the Enemy.

And Irene Adler was The Woman.


Please review, let me know what you think.

If anyone knows any good Irene/Sherlock or even John/Sherlock stories that are long and well written, let me know!