Well, I set out to write a oneshot. And then it grew to twenty pages. And then twenty five. And I wasn't even done with the plane scene. And I had already written a snippet of Karachi. So... this is going to have another chapter. This is only part one (and it was about 16 pages long).

This follows canon closely- it's not plausible but it certainly is possible.

I will warn you that it does get a little... adult... and that especially in the beginning I'm a bit heavy on the narration and not the actual plot.

Please note that the italics can be thoughts, or they can be subtext. When two characters are talking (Irene and Sherlock) and there are italics addressed to one another, it's what they mean for the other to glean from their words. If it's during a character's narration, it's their thoughts.

And the line breaks aren't working. Darn.

I want to thank Francesca Wayland (the author of the BEST Sherlock/Irene story I've ever read) for reading and review my last Sherlock story and giving me encouragement. And inspiration in the form of pictures on tumblr.

Also, I made a beautiful discover in the transcript of the entire episode (a fanfiction author's gold mine) done by Ariane DeVere on livejournal. It was incredible helpful. I'd put a link, but this site erases it. :)


Their relationship was beyond the ken of mortals, the love of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler. The truest and deepest emotions of the gods among men were told in subtext, the hidden and barely there, hardly detectable to the ordinary, the boring, the dull.

John, perhaps, was not the best example of an ordinary human being. Sherlock was not a man who would suffer fools- even Anderson, bleeding idiot that he seemed, was quite intelligent. When one stayed around Sherlock long enough, it was possible to forget that the people he interacted with had to be at least competent to get where they were.

Take Molly Hooper, for instance. Sherlock treated her like a little girl, like an ignorant follower, using her for spare body parts and a lab. But she was a Medical Doctor, she worked at St. Barts, she was a bloody smart woman. And yet- Sherlock reduced her to ordinary. Sherlock reduced everyone to ordinary.

John was a companion, a friend, the only true friend Sherlock had. He was unique- he craved the danger of Sherlock's life, he held no reservations about expressing his amazement at Sherlock's deductions. That in and of itself was something special- admiration rather than dislike or fear- until Irene Adler.

"Brainy's the new sexy."

She had said it with a perfectly innocent expression, completely fooling him. She was just as brainy as he was.

That entire first meeting had been the beginning of a love affair, the likes of which the world had never seen. Of course they hadn't- there weren't very many minds of Sherlock's- or Irene's- caliber. When minds like those met, it was always cataclysmic.

For Irene, preparation was the work of several days, even weeks. She gathered information about the man, his tastes, what he liked.

Through the newspapers and the blogs, she had discovered a mind that worked in a fascinating counterpart to her own. She could almost feel his brilliance, and reveled in it. She was strangely nervous about their meeting.

The only person she had ever met that was even remotely like herself was James- Jim- Moriarty. Over the phone, surrounded by the assurance and safety of her role as a dominatrix to one of the most important women in Britain, he had made her blood run cold.

James Moriarty terrified her as much as he fascinated her on an intellectual level. She knew, almost instinctively, what he liked. They were so alike, people like Moriarty and Mycroft, her and Sherlock.

Pain. Chaos. The thrill of the game.

Pain, she could appreciate. There was something human in the most exquisite of agony, something she hungered after just as much as Moriarty did. It was something they all had in common- her, Moriarty, the Holmes boys. There was a disconnect from the mundane and natural human outpouring of emotion, the price of a brilliant mind. Pain was alive, pain was universal, but most of all, pain was power. She could appreciate power, she could respect it, and therefore she could respect Moriarty.

Chaos. On that point, they differed. Irene Adler liked to misbehave, but she preferred that chaos be left in her wake. She disliked disorder in her own life, although she enjoyed caused people discomfort. Perhaps that wasn't quite the right wording- Irene Adler enjoyed causing people discomfort when it meant that she could manipulate them to serve her will. Disquieting people for the sake of disquieting people was Moriarty's job- and he was slightly insane. No, Irene preferred careful analysis, and then applied knowledge. She could figure out what made someone tick within minutes of casual conversation, or internet surfing, and then apply her knowledge to make them dance to her tune. Moriarty enjoyed disorder for the fun. Mycroft tirelessly worked against it. Sherlock- and she- caused it.

The thrill of the game. All of them- the pantheon of the great- craved it. Needed it to distract from the horrors of boredom, the sluggish dullness of ordinary life. It was their ambrosia, their honey and nectar. Moriarty liked to cause trouble because Sherlock opposed trouble. Honestly, if Sherlock was inclined to cause trouble, Moriarty would be the one teaming up with the police to stop him. He played the game to pit himself against Sherlock. The only other mind that could match his, that could catch his clues. Irene played a subtler game- the one that was dawning was her most hidden yet. Moriarty occupied himself with the tricks and schemes of the upper echelons of the British government. Sherlock with solving interesting crimes.

They were all alike, the four. Irene, James, Sherlock, and Mycroft.

He had been sitting on a cream couch, in a sunlit sitting room in Belgravia when he first saw her. Disguised as a vicar with a bleeding face, Sherlock Holmes had lost all thought at the sight of her.

Apparently, she had been planning on it. Her battle-dress, as Irene called it, had been appropriately chosen.

"I was sorry to hear that you'd been hurt. I don't think Kate caught your name." The smirk that had graced her face at the sight of his would have enraged him, had he the time to properly process it.

It wasn't Irene Adler's beauty that astounded him- no, although she was beautiful, he had seen legs and breasts and hips before. It was the utter confidence with which she held her body, to be expected in a dominatrix, but still captivating. The tilt of her head, the smile in her eyes, the way her hips swayed and the contrast of white skin and dark hair and red lips. All she was wearing was a pair of black heels, a silver ring on the middle finger of one hand, and a pair of marquise cut diamond earrings.

The words he had been saying died in his throat.

"Don't worry. It's always hard to remember an alias when you've had a fright. Well, there, now. We're both defrocked. Mr. Sherlock Holmes." She said his name with a lilt and a grin, striding over to him with no compunctions and straddling him in a smooth motion. It was to his credit that his eyes never left her own, even as she pulled away his clerical collar.

It discomforted Sherlock the way his voice dipped down the register when he spoke. "Ms. Adler, I presume."

She barely nodded, more intent on studying his features. "Oh, look at those cheekbones," she crooned. "I could cut myself slapping that face. Would you like me to try?"

Irene was trying to a reaction out of him, testing the waters. When his features didn't even flicker, she took the collar between her teeth with an audible click.

That was the moment John chose to enter, carrying a bowl of water and a towel. Sherlock felt a surge of almost irrational anger- something that completely surprised him. He didn't normally feel feelings- sentiment- but it had been happening lately, with John and Mrs. Hudson. He could rationalize that away, but it in a box that supposed it was evitable having known them and lived with them for months, but to feel a base human emotion over someone he hardly knew- a woman- was something completely foreign.

She was gracious, as she walked away, covering herself up in John's presence. The fact that she did move to hide her body belayed the disinterested manner in which she did it.

And while she was doing this, she was engaging in a battle of wits with Sherlock, acknowledging the fact that she had known where he was. Had him followed.

I have important connections, Sherlock meant. I'm here because of the photos.

I know. I've been tracking you. I know what role you play in all of this, countered Irene.

I know that too.

Of course, it all went completely over John's head.

She was inscrutable, unreadable.

In other words, a challenge.

He looked to John, reading him accurately and quickly. Then back to her.


And then she proceeded to analyze him in plain view.

"I think you're damaged, delusional, and believe in a higher power. In your case, it's yourself," she told him, eyebrows arched and blue eyes wide.

How did you do that?

I have my ways.

"Somebody loves you," she added, wicked delight in every line of her body. "If I had to punch that face, I'd avoid your nose and teeth too." Her eyes deliberately slid to John, a clear acknowledgement of exactly how Sherlock had obtained the cut on his face.

Not even five minutes and she knows more about me then I know about her. Sherlock was as uncomfortable with that realization as John was with Irene's nudity.

At John's plea to cover up, Irene narrowed her eyes and delved into the veteran's mind.

"I don't think he knows where to look," Sherlock said dismissively, rising and offering Irene his coat.

Irene was more focused on John as she stood and sauntered over to him. "No. I think he knows exactly where." Clearly she gleaned something from the blonde man's expression, because she returned her attention to Sherlock, accepting the coat.

"Not sure about you."

She questioned them about the hiker, beginning a battle of wits unlike anything Sherlock had ever seen. He was thankful that she gave him the opportunity to show his particular brand of intelligence.

Sherlock snapped at her. "Stop boring me and think. It's the 'new sexy,'" he drawled. Irene obliged, daring him with her eyes to revise her opinion of her as someone who catered the whims of the pathetic and would take her clothes off to make an impression.

The business with the Americans only made the entire affair more interesting. The moment of complete shared understanding with the safe combination roared through him, igniting his bones and mind and body. He was joyous, ecstatic, alive. He had outsmarted the Americans, outsmarted her, and saved the day. The rush of adrenaline and the slight ache of his muscles from pistol whipping the American was still alive, and it had been a joy seeing a savage expression on Irene's face as she did the same to the man holding her captive.

Irene tried outsmarting him once more, and failed. His ego inflated.

And then she brutally deflated it, dancing her fingers down his arm with one hand and stabbing him with a syringe with the other.

In that room of darkest blue and ivory, she retrieved her phone, taking fierce pleasure in smacking him, first with her hand and then with her riding crop.

"This is how I want you to remember me," she crooned, caressing his flushed skin with the smooth cool leather. "The woman who beat you."

No one's ever done that before.

I'm not just anybody.

In that moment, Sherlock Holmes fell in love.

Not the sappy sweet love of romances and Molly Hooper, the love of pink hearts and kittens and strawberries.

No, it was overwhelming and unsettling and raw, a complete admiration of her mind and rejoicing in the kinship of finding someone like him. There had been Mycroft, growing up. He was starting to get a glimpse of what Moriarty was capable of. But Irene Adler was different… and a woman.

Sherlock was not a man of the baser lusts. He didn't think about sex often, but nor was he ignorant of the pleasures that could be found in a woman's arms. He just didn't need sex- he found it to be distracting and a waste of time, a drain on his mental function. His celibacy was reinforced by his lack of desire- he didn't look a pretty woman and notice her figure, he noticed what she had eaten for breakfast and how many pets she had.

But Sherlock Holmes wanted Irene Adler.

The burn of lust was unsettling, but the keening of the soul for a similar being overpowered him. He craved discussion with her, he wanted to plunder her mind and test her limits. He wanted to play the game, with her as his opponent.

The way she solved the accidental murder of the hiker made him burn more. She had a gift different from his- he saw the events, the physical actions. She saw the motivations, the desires, what made people tick.

She had tipped out the window, escaping in only his coat.

The coat that she had returned, with a solved mystery and a personalized text message alert.

The first few times she texted, he had been flummoxed. He had no idea what to do with a flirting woman. But the game started two full weeks after they had first met.

John was out on a date. Sherlock had decided to eat out- well, decided wasn't quite right. Mrs. Hudson was out, for once he was hungry, and there was no one to cook.

He caught a cab, which took him to Angelico's. Sherlock knew the owner- had solved his wife's sisters' case- and always ate free there. (That was the way he had survived for so long before John- he made a point of helping out the food industry and they fed him for free.)

Angelico's was a higher class place- perhaps the type of restaurant that Irene Adler would frequent. Sherlock didn't bother denying, in the safety of his own mind, that he was hoping to run into her.

He was seated, ordering without popping open a menu. He was at a small table, just for two, the only one in the restaurant eating alone.

Except for one person.

She was three tables away in a slinky black dress, sipping some kind of alcoholic beverage from a long-stemmed flute. Her hair was up, like it normally was, and diamonds glinted at her ears.

It only took her a moment to notice him. Her eyes widened, and then she smiled, red lips opening to reveal small white teeth.

His eyes didn't leave her own until the food arrived. Her eyes flickered to his dish, and she beckoned a waiter. He brought her the same thing.

They ate together, across the room. He found a strange kind of excitement, watching small bites of chicken disappear between those red lips, tasting his own upon his tongue, knowing that they were experiencing the same thing at the same time.

She ordered dessert first- a chocolate mousse. He wrinkled his nose but did the same- he wasn't typically fond of sweets.

That changed when he watched her enjoy it, curiously tasting the lightness of chocolate in his mouth. She, apparently, loved chocolate. There was something sensual about the duskiness of the makeup around her eyes as she closed them and smiled widely.

Sherlock signed the waiter, and nodded at Irene Adler. "Her tab too, if you will," he said in a low voice.

Although the waiter sneered (like all good English wait-staff) he nodded. "My orders were 'anything for Mr. Holmes,'" he said, and gave a little bow.

He watched as someone told her, nodding once when she acknowledged it with an incline of her own head. He took his coat, and left.

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

Sherlock stared down at his phone, completely confused, then put it away before John could notice and comment. He spun through an extensive list of the restaurants in London, wondering which one she would be at.

The Golden Spoon. Recent view by food critic Gustave Di'an stated, "Even if you aren't hungry, this place will make you want to have dinner." Text sent at 7:21 AM. The Golden Spoon opened on July 21, if you go by the American system. Place, established. Time?

The time before, they had seen each other at eight.

Just before eight, he slipped out, throwing an excuse to John that the older man accepted with a sigh, not particularly caring. He had a date with the one with the spots anyway.

When he arrived, Irene Adler was seated at a small table for two near the back. He sat two tables away.

She ordered first that time. They took turns, always getting what the other ordered. He got to choose dessert this time- he wasn't interested in anything in particular, but ordered the mousse for her.

They had conversations with their eyes, with tilts of the head, with a smile or a smirk. It was fun- a game. Not one with life or death stakes, but a game nonetheless.

Sherlock paid her bill again. Irene sighed, looking at him.

I am rather rich, you know.

I know. I don't care.

Must you pay?

Oblige me.

Fine. If you wish.

The next time was a few days later.

I'm bored, in a hotel. Join me. Let's have dinner.

It had been satisfying, guessing correctly which hotel she would be at. The restaurant at the hotel was fine enough, but he was more entranced with the play of light and shadow on Irene's skin. The dark atmosphere of the room lent itself to fascinating patterns.

This time, when he left, she followed him outside. She was in purple this time. Her shoulders were bare to the fall winds, and she shivered slightly.

They looked at each other for a long moment, staring into eyes that were so like their own. Irene's were dark blue, almost violet in the lack of light in the street. Sherlock was unaware that his eyes had taken a greenish cast, darker than they normally were as well.

In a sudden movement, he bent down and kissed her firmly. He was no stranger to kissing (mostly deleted experiments from uni), but pulled away quickly, turning and walking away. There was a self-satisfied smirk on his face.

He had made the first move- Irene had not expected that. She had envisioned many long dinners and talks before he would be secure enough around her to show affection. She had almost assumed that she would have to be the one to introduce the physical into their- well, it was a kind of relationship.

It was so like him to kiss her first just because she thought it would be her duty.

She smiled and stopped herself from brushing her lips with her fingertips. She wanted the imprint of him to remain there for as long as it could.

John's blog is HILARIOUS. I think he likes you more than I do. Let's have dinner.

Sherlock 'confiscated' John's computer as soon as he could, hastily pulling up the doctor's blog. The last entry had mentioned a small Greek restaurant they had visited a few days ago for a case. It made him happy that she was following his cases.

She was there, as usual, at eight sharp. This time, they sat one table away, separated by an old couple who were speaking French. It was a bit harder to see what she was ordering, but he managed, as usual, utilizing his powers of deduction to figure out exactly what it was.

The food was good, but he was more concerned with Irene Adler.

After dinner, he didn't immediately signal a cab and leave for Baker Street. Instead, he waited for her in the shadows of the building.

She emerged moments later, looking around for him. With a rise of smug happiness, he realized that she was disappointed that she couldn't find him.

He stepped out of the shadows, and cleared his throat. "Ms. Adler," he said, voice hardly a rumble in his chest.

"Mr. Holmes," she responded, his favorite wicked smile on her face. She stepped closer to him, and he looked down at her face, his own expression impassive.

It was her turn.

She stretched up on her tiptoes, pressing her lips to his gently, teasingly. Then, without warning, she sucked his bottom lip between hers and bit him lightly. Immediately, his arms went around her shoulders and waist, crushing her to him as they both moved to deepen the kiss. Her hands moved to around his neck, fingers curling into the soft hair at the nape of his neck.

They kissed passionately for a moment more, and then Irene drew away. "Until the next time, Mr. Holmes," she said, blowing him a kiss before darting away.

I can see the tower bridge and moon from my room. Work out where I am and join me.

He was in the lab, but thankfully Molly Hooper was performing an autopsy in the other room and was therefore unable to see him.

No invitation to dinner this time, he mused. What does she want? That provided several interesting images, which he examined in his head for a while before turning the question on himself. What do I want? Typically, the idea of sex was nearly repulsive to him. It was just the frenzied and ignoble slapping of flesh, the loss of dignity for a few moments of mindless lust and the spilling of seed.

For a moment, Sherlock allowed himself to image what sex with Irene might be like. His vivid imagine supplied perfectly preserved images of her naked body, and the text alert sound from his phone.

And for some reason, it didn't seem like it would be so bad.

It was the work of moments to figure out where she was staying. He returned to the house, took a shower, and dressed carefully. It was strangely reminiscent of the anticipation before their first meeting.

The text had been sent at 2:21 in the afternoon. He took the elevator to the second floor, and found room 221. He knocked twice, sharply.

She opened the door- she had been waiting for him. He sucked in a breath- she was half-dressed in a kind of lacy green thing, with a deep lace-lined vee in the front that dipped to her waist. The rest of the material was sheer, allowing him to see all her curves. Her hair was down, and her face free of makeup. She was even more beautiful in a way- her features weren't exaggerated by colors, but were still captivating. He supposed he was drawn to the way she seemed to be letting him in- he suspected there were very few people who had even seen Irene Adler without makeup of some kind.

"Mr. Holmes," she said in greeting, her eyes fixed on his.

"Ms. Adler," he responded, and paused for a moment. "Are you going to invite me inside?"

She cocked her head, considering. "Is it what you want?"

Sherlock stepped in close, so close that their chests were almost brushing. "I know what I want."

"Very well," she said, voice hardly a breath.

That night was seared into Sherlock's memory as a melding of flesh and mind, a supreme cohesion of body and spirit, the likes of which he had never known.

It was the first time he had crushed the soft, rounded curves of a woman's nude body to the hard planes of his own with a passion that made it seem as if they were going to fuse into one. It was the first time he had ardently kissed someone who responded with just as much fervor. It was the first time he had given in completely to desire.

She was everything to him- red lips that left marks on his skin, elegant hands that scratched lines down his back, indigo eyes that only left his when her back arched and her head tilted back with pleasure.

He took obscene delight in learning to play her body like he played his violin. He committed every sigh and moan and intake of breath to his memory, finding the tender spots on her neck, the particular section of spine that made her shiver, the pressure at which his fingertips dragged along his sides made her gasp.

In return, she used her extensive knowledge to make him insensate, all though processes reduced to her hands, or her breasts, or her body. He had thought that this narrowed focus, the drowning out of all higher thought, was what made sex degrading.

He was wrong.

"You are more than I could have ever imagined," he told her in a groan, letting his head hang down as he moved over her.

Her arms twined around his neck, and her eyes widened. "It isn't always like this."

"It's you," he agreed. "Only ever you."

They didn't talk more.

After they were done, still struck from the absolute pleasure, they fell asleep. She was curled on her side, and he curved around her, protective.

In the morning, he woke her with tentative kisses to her shoulder and neck. It was all new to him- he had never woken intertwined with a woman, a woman who he respected, a woman who consumed him entirely.

"John will be missing me," he mused, voice a rumble that made her purr in response. "I must go."

"If you must," Irene said with a sigh. "A proper kiss before you go, then."

He obliged.

Irene Adler stared down the street at where John Watson and Sherlock Holmes were walking. John was struggling slightly to keep up with Sherlock's energetic pace and longer legs, a slight frown on his worn face. Sherlock, on the other hand, wore the second-most intense expression she had ever seen on his face.

His hand between their bodies as he stared down at her.

His face as he fought his own instincts to bring her along with him.

She hesitated, then followed them, carefully. It wouldn't do for John to see her and Sherlock together.

"It's quite simple, John! As ever you see but-"

"I don't observe or comprehend, I get it, Sherlock. What exactly about the right shirttail of the man makes him the murder? You're going to need to give Lestrade more than that." John's voice was full of stressed affection. It made Irene smile, knowing that the abrasive genius had someone in his life who cared. Someone to watch over him.

Sherlock let out an aggrieved sigh, and went on an impressive monologue that apparently only made sense to him and Irene. John struggled vainly to grasp how, exactly, the brand of shirt and the brand of tobacco one smokes is connected, but eventually admitted defeat.

Listening to Sherlock's annoyed yet still patient (normally he wouldn't explain once, let alone twice) tone while talking to John suddenly hurt her. She turned abruptly, walking in the opposite direction.

What do I know about Sherlock Holmes?

He observes people, makes a study out of them like a scientist with a zoo. He studies their habits, their idiosyncrasies, the expressions they make.

He imitates them.

Sherlock goes through the motions, but doesn't quite grasp how the emotional side of everything is connected to what they do. He only has a basic knowledge of human connections, from what he can glean from conversations and books and what is expected. Sherlock Holmes does not understand the why- he understands the who, the what, the when, the where, the how. But not the why.

And yet, that is not to say he cannot have human relationships. He has a brother- but he only tolerates Mycroft. I highly doubt that whatever affection Sherlock has for Mycroft Holmes is greater than simply the familiarity that comes with knowing someone your entire life.

John. There's John. They're an old married couple, him and John. They care about each other, they live off one another. They need each other- that's a definition of a couple if I've ever seen one. For Sherlock to function- to remember to sleep and eat and not need drugs- there needs to be John. He's a stabilizer. As for John, Sherlock gives him someone to live for. John craves excitement, and yet, is mostly a rational creature. He's loyal, but he needs someone to be loyal to. They're perfect for each other.

Lucky for me John isn't gay. They're relationship is loving, but it isn't sexual.

And ours is.

Irene would admit that sex had been bloody amazing. Celibate he may be (had been), but Sherlock knew what went where.

But perhaps the best part of their- she supposed it really was a relationship now- was after the sex. Where they would share a cigarette or two and talk for hours. She admired the way he could stay awake for days on end. On the nights he visited her, they hardly ever slept. The exception had been the first time.

Their conversation covered almost every topic except that of Moriarty. Childhood was fair game. His problem with drugs. Her problem with drugs. Their travels. New theories in various fields. Literature. She educated him on the solar system, and he taught her how to recognize a pilot by his right thumb.

If I'm not careful, I may very well fall in love with him.

When she returned to her hotel room, she texted Sherlock quickly.

I saw you on the street today. You didn't see me.

When Sherlock appeared at room 221B at eight o'clock sharp, he appeared distressed.

"I saw you," he blurted out as soon as she opened the door. "I noticed you."

Irene couldn't stop the shock from showing on her face. "I was sure you hadn't."

"I'll always notice you," he said, the intensity in his face turning the statement into a promise.

She reached up, curving her hand to his face and stretching up to kiss him deeply. He responded with a tenderness that surprised her again, a tenderness that made her want to hold him and cry.

That night, he was gentle with her. He traced every line with his fingertips, as if he was tracing the outline of a soap bubble. She understood what he was trying to say- she was fragile, he knew, and he would be careful. That he wasn't sure where it all was going, but he cared.

When he finally entered her, her face was half-wet with tears and the sighs she let out sounded more like sobs. She kissed him with a fierce need, and he replied in kind.

"What are you doing to me?" she asked, shuddering.

He gazed down at her, caressing her skin. "Memorizing you," he responded truthfully. "Building you a room in my mind palace."

"Remember me forever," she begged, pleaded like she never did in real life. But this, whatever it was she had with Sherlock, didn't seem like real life. It was a dream world, where she could exist and breathe and live and there was someone else doing it all with her.

"Forever," Sherlock repeated, ducking to suck at her neck.

You do know that hat actually suits you, don't you?

That text led to a particularly fun hunt through a series of department stores, as he chased down her clues and met her for dinner in an outfit she picked out for him. She had always though that he would look rather dashing in a grey suit, and he did.

Oh for God's sake, let's have dinner.

He met her in a Japanese restaurant across from a church. That one had taken some working out- he was enjoying their game more and more with each text.

I like your funny hat.

He showed up at her hotel room in the suit she had picked out, and she undressed him slowly. He did the same, covering her body with kisses and memorizing each detail. He had painted a thousand nudes of her in his head, hung them in her growing suite of rooms in his mind palace.

I'm in Egypt talking to an idiot. Get on a plane. Let's have dinner.

He couldn't actually get on a plane, but he met her at the airport when she returned. They had locked eyes across the terminal, saying what they needed to say, and then he left. When she returned to her hotel room, there was a bowl of mousse in the fridge and a note saying, Talking to idiots leaves a bad taste in my mouth. – SH

You looked sexy on Crimewatch.

Sherlock had worn the suit she got him for the pictures. He smiled smugly when he saw the text. Irene had laughed when she saw the special. She teased him about it later, and he had threatened to use her own riding crop on her.

Even you have got to eat. Let's have dinner.

She had patiently waited until his current case was over- this one had lasted for five days, and even with John's expert prodding Irene fully expected that Sherlock had completely forgotten to eat. It was true- when the met later, she had given up on keeping up with his frantic pace.

BBC1 right now. You'll laugh.

She stopped laughing a few minutes after she sent the text, when she got the phone call from Moriarty.

"Hello, my dear. How goes things in the world of the professional dominatrix?"

She had laughed lightly. "Weaving my web, whipping a few sprightly young things."

"And with the Virgin?"

"I suspect that after our encounter, he is firmly ensnared. I've been stringing him along." She kept her voice disinterested.

"Lovely, lovely. But I grow impatient, and so do my friends in the Middle East. When will you have the code deciphered?"

Irene tapped her long red fingernails on the wood of the desk. "My plans take time, Jim. My MOD man said that nothing would happen until spring. You'll have it by then."

"Remember, my darling. Your skin tone lends itself to a rather delicious pair of loafers."

Irene shuddered, and hung up. She resisted the temptation to throw her phone at the wall, setting it down carefully before burying her head in her hands and crying.

Of course, Sherlock noticed the signs right away. "What's wrong?" he asked, brow furrowing.

"Promise me something," she said, pressing his hand to her chest. "Remember me. Memorize me. Every detail."

The furrow deepened, but he nodded. "I promise."

She kissed him. "Best get started, then."

Irene looked at the photos of the girl who was now her body double in almost every way. There was a rather fabulous plastic surgeon in Egypt who had obligingly provided her with a junkie that looked exactly like her, except for a few small details.

The face would be ruined completely, so that wouldn't matter. But this man was a master at the smaller details, the freckles, the shading. She knew what he liked. He knew that she had exactly thirty-seven freckles and moles, and had placed thirty-eight of them on her body double.

One extra, over the heart.

Irene supposed it was heartless, looking at the pictures of the girl and knowing that she was going to die soon. But she didn't care- Irene was going to die soon as well. She needed to disappear.

She pulled out her phone and texted Sherlock.

I'm thinking of sending you a Christmas present.

Sherlock let his lips brush the powdery flushed cheek of Molly Hooper, a small twinge of embarrassment flicking through him. He hadn't meant to mock her (yes he had) and he hadn't meant for it to turn out this way (John was giving him the 'disappointed' look again he hated that).

His phone let out a particular sound he was incredibly fond of, and he pulled back hurriedly.

"Oh- no! It's wasn't me!" Molly gasped.

"No- it was me," Sherlock said, reaching into his jacket pocket and ignoring Lestrade.

John peered up at him curiously. "Fifty… seven, was it?"

"Thrilling that you've been counting," Sherlock retaliated quickly, glancing at the text.


There, on the mantelpiece, was a small box, wrapped in red paper and tied with a black cord. He knew for a fact it was the exact color of her favorite shade of lipstick (Pomegranate Temptation) and the cord was a silky black thing that made him think of her, spread eagle on a bed, wrists tied to the headboard.

They had taken turns. She had her way with him, and he had his way with her. It had been fun. They had agreed to do it again sometime, but hadn't quite gotten around to it.

He fled to his room, a growing sense of excitement and dread growing in him. The last time had seen Irene, she shoved him down and rode him furiously, leaving marks on his chest and neck that had been nearly impossible to hide from John and Mrs. Hudson.

There, in the box, was her camera phone.

It was a strange sense of his entire world crashing down on him, while everything remained exactly the same. He knew it was because the grief would be his and his alone. Mycroft would be glad to be rid of The Woman, and John and Mrs. Hudson had no idea what was going on. Everything would change, and yet, everything would remain exactly the same.

He had to be sure, though. He had to be one hundred percent sure before he lost his mind to mourning. He could feel the oncoming storm, the fury and rage and sorrow that was beginning to build in the deepest recesses of his mind.

Sherlock clenched his fists and slowed his breathing. I need to be sure. Mycroft would know, or he could find out.

In the morgue, he asked Molly Hooper to show him the rest of her. Don't let it be her, don't let it be her, don't let it be Irene.

Molly pulled the sheet down to the corpse's hips, and Sherlock scanned the body.

32, 24, 34. Small scar on the skin covering the fifth rib. Moles on the curve of the right hip, under the ribcage, and- no. She doesn't have a freckle there. But- what did she say? Memorize me. Every detail. She wanted me to know her inside and out so when I saw the body I would know. But only me. Why?

"It's her," he said curtly, spinning on his heel and leaving the morgue.

Molly Hooper's timid voice echoed behind him. "How did he recognize her from… not her face?"

He missed Mycroft's reply, waiting for his brother to find him in the corridor.

Irene needed to disappear. That was what everything that happened earlier was all about. She's alive. She just needs everyone to think she's dead. It must have something to do with something dangerous.

Why didn't she tell me?

She did, in a way.

The sudden rush of fear for her safety didn't surprise him. He knew he cared for her. It would be the same for John or Mrs. Hudson.

To calm himself, he accepted Mycroft's offer of a cigarette.

"This is low tar," he said with disgust.

Mycroft raised an eyebrow. "Well, you barely knew her."

If only you knew, Mycroft, Sherlock thought bitterly. Until we meet again, Irene Adler.

Even though she wasn't dead, Sherlock composed in Irene's honor. He called the haunting melody "Irene's Lament" and wrote it with the pain he had felt when he had thought she was dead, the look on her face when she told him to remember her, the tears she thought he hadn't seen. All the while he tried to solve the mystery, to figure out what was so big that she needed to hide.

John and Mrs. Hudson were concerned about him- he wasn't eating, hardly talking. He had a case to work out- what would make Irene Adler fake her own death.

Naturally he was suspicious when John left in a black car. Mycroft was in Greece, working on some crisis. Perhaps... I should go along just to be sure.

He followed John to the abandoned shell of the Battersea Power Station. Irene looked out of place there, beauty surrounded by desolation.

John was furious on Sherlock's behalf, and he felt a warm rise of affection for his friend.

"Tell him you're alive," John half-ordered, half-begged.

Irene's eyes darted to where Sherlock was concealed in the shadows. "He'd come after me," she said, voice hesitant. Don't come after me.

"I'll come after you if you don't," warned John.

Again, she looked at Sherlock. "I believe you," she said. He's good, this one. I trust you, Sherlock.

Confusion won out over John's rage. "You were dead on a slab," he said, baffled. "It was definitely you."

"DNA is only as good as the records you keep," Irene replied.

"And I'll bet you know the record keeper," connected John, with a sigh.

Irene shrugged. "I know what he likes," she admitted. "And I needed to disappear." I was desperate, Sherlock, or I wouldn't have done it.

"Then how come I can see you, and I don't even want to?" John asked, throwing his arms up.

She had enough. "Look, I made a mistake. I sent something to Sherlock for safekeeping, and now I need it back, so I need your help." My camera phone, Sherlock. Is it safe with you? With John?

Sherlock didn't pay attention to the rest of the conversation, until she started reading her texts to him to John. That felt… odd.

Amusingly, John was rather aghast. "You… flirted with Sherlock Holmes?"

Irene was still looking down at her phone. "At him. He never replies." You don't need to, do you, Sherlock dear?

That confused John. "No, Sherlock always replies. To everything. He's Mr. Punchline. He will outlive God trying to have the last word."

Irene laughed bitterly. "Does that make me special?"

Watching from the shadows, Sherlock wanted to scream it out. Yes. You are special. You are The Woman. Mine.

However, John wasn't so clear on the subject. "I don't know," he said with another heavy sigh. "Maybe."

"Are you jealous?" Irene asked, meeting John's eyes. She didn't look at Sherlock- this was her perfect opportunity to study John's view on his and Sherlock's relationship.

John frowned. "We're not a couple," he insisted, dodging the question neatly.

"Yes, you are," Irene countered nonchalantly, glancing down at her phone again. Without giving him any time to reply, she held it up. "There. 'I'm not dead. Let's have dinner.'" She pushed the send button.

It didn't distract John. He stared at her, then sighed. "Who- who the hell knows about Sherlock Holmes, but- for the record- if anyone out there still cares, I'm not actually gay."

"Well, I am." Irene met the soldier's eyes. "Look at us both."

I thought I could only be attracted to women. John thinks he is only attracted to women. Is Sherlock changing his sexuality, like Sherlock changed mine?

No. They may love each other, but John doesn't think of Sherlock that way. Yet.

As John laughed ruefully, a sigh echoed through the room. Her sigh. John started, moving in the direction of the text alert. Irene held out a hand to stop him. "I don't think so. Do you?" she asked gently.

Irene waited half an hour to order dinner, willing herself not to blush in anger or shame. To the restaurant, it looked like someone had stood her up. Sherlock had stood her up.

It wasn't that the game was too complicated for him- this choice of restaurant had been particularly simple and not especially clever- no, Sherlock Holmes knew where she was, waiting for him, and had decided not to come.

She ordered something small, and decided against dessert. She was angry, upset, and hurt- she wanted to get home to her hotel room and hide.

Considering the fact that Irene Adler was supposed to be dead, she had taken quite a risk showing her face. All for a man who wouldn't bother to come, after finding out she wasn't dead.

Perhaps he was angry with her.

Irene chose to walk to the hotel, having chosen a restaurant within walking distance so that she and Sherlock wouldn't have had to take a cab. She was turning the entire afternoon over in her mind, and slightly regretting the outfit she had worn. It looked stunning, but she was cold, even with her fur coat.

Her phone buzzed.

Happy New Year. – SH

Irene smiled broadly. He hadn't forgotten her- there must have been something he couldn't escape without someone noticing. Or something had happened- a case, maybe. She would check the news when she returned to the hotel.

Two weeks later, Irene left England. It was too dangerous for her there. America was safer.

When she reached her hotel room, there was a glass bowl full of chocolate mousse in the fridge, with a note attached. Until we meet again. – SH

And so ends Part One. Part Two will be up as soon as I write it.

If you want me to explain anything, I'm on tumblr. Find my blog on my author's page. Message there. If you just want to comment, leave a review. :)

Thank you for reading! The next part will follow soon!