Sherlock and Irene
She had heard him ask the question, she knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when is senses caught up to him. Her tea cup rested on her lap, untouched as she fixed the hem on her dress. Irene placed her cup on the table, being careful not to spill any of the tea still in cup, getting colder by the second. Her eyes locked with his, her lips stretched into a smile, and she leaned forward a bit.
“Can’t a dead girl visit the man who didn’t save her?”
Her tone was joking and light, but hidden behind the sarcasm was a truth that she didn’t want others to know. The real reason she kept coming back to play the game. Not just for the joy, or the fun. Not just for the challenge or to win. There was a bigger reason, one she would take to her grave, one that kept her up at night. She dared to hope that it didn’t show on her face, that Sherlock hadn’t picked up on it, for once. She enjoyed his company, no other man could or would challenge her so much with just a look. She kept coming back because deep down she knew there would be no one else to match him, no one else to see that glimmer in his eyes, no one else to play this great game with. She stuck by him, she even came back from the dead from him, she would do it all again. They were dangerous together and she knew it, she knew they would never truly be together but just being able to move his chess pieces was enough for her.
She got up from the chair, and leaned against the fireplace, taking a look at the skull. She couldn’t look him in the eye anymore, he would know everything if she did. She didn’t want to leave but she didn’t want him to know. Struggling with herself, she trailed her finger along the mantle, walking towards the bookcase. While she waited for Sherlock’s reply, she glanced at his book collection. Irene took in all the book titles, running her fingers over the spine. In her head, she either commented on how she had read it or that she had no interest in reading. It only took a minute for her to catalogue the whole bookcase in to neat little sections in her mind. She glanced at Sherlock from the corner of her eye, those blue eyes had nearly done her in more than a few times, and don’t even get her started on those cheekbones. His mind was also another thing she also had to watch out for, it was probably the most dangerous out of them all.
Her thinking was interrupted by her phone buzzing in her pocket, she made no attempt to go answer it, not that she didn’t care who was calling. Well not that she cared much, but whoever it was, could wait for now.
He huffed a little at the reply, as to indicate his lack of patience for such trivialities. After all, that which she as indicating was sentiment - something he had very little time for. Not to be misunderstood, he was fully aware of the jokingly light tone and he did not take the words seriously. Irene had stood up and moved towards the fireplace. Sherlock leaned back again, still observing her from the corner of his eye. His posture relaxed, palms flat against each other before his face in what John had dubbed his signature pose. But nonetheless, looking when he thought she wasn’t looking, quietly observing until she’d moved beyond his range of vision.
She hadn’t come here on a whim; arrangements had been made, they hadn’t exactly run into each other on the street by accident - though when one was dealing with Irene one must question even an occasion as that to be accident. She definitely had her reasons for being here, there was no question about it. Alas, she had chosen not to share them with him. He’d expected no different, but had perhaps hoped for a bit more of a clue. For a second he wondered if there was something about the note he might have missed, thought if perhaps he’d been to quick to burn it. But there was no use in considering that now, the note was gone.
Seconds of silence passed, Irene feigning interest in his bookshelf - unless she’d actually developed an interest in one of the very few silly whims he allowed himself. Perhaps it was some form of subconscious unintended reference as to how she was literally trying to read him. He deleted most of the books after he’d read them, but he found that not only was the process in itself gratifying but it also served a certain purpose by helping him understand the motivation of different characters. There were no detective stories among the books, something that sometimes surprised people. Sherlock thought the reason obvious - their sole purpose was to mislead before finally revealing the answer, and when the misdirection failed as it was bound to with the younger Holmes brother they became dreadfully boring very quickly. She was now only a blurry figure in the very outskirts of his vision, but he refused to show any great interest by re-adjusting. This was his home, after all, and he wouldn’t skitter around to please her. She must’ve known he’d see through such a power play.
It became clear that Ms Adler had no intention of further elaborating on her statement, however much his silence was meant to prompt her.
"Well I trust you’ll let me know what’s going on before trouble breaks down my door.”
False. He didn’t trust the woman in front of him, not in the traditional sense. They were playing a game, and all games had rules. There were certain things that were not allowed to be brought into play between them, too. Adler would take precautions that her moves didn’t affect more than Sherlock; John, Mrs Hudson and even Mycroft were off-limits - of course, if Mycroft decided to play his own games that was an entirely different matter, and quite irrelevant now that she was ‘dead’. Sherlock, in return, had let her death bring a fresh slate, cancelling out any wins and losses up until then. It was more fun when neither party had bitterness festering. So yes, while he trusted the brunette to follow these very basic rules, he expected nothing more. He hardly had data for any further conclusions.
In the relative silence he heard the phone buzzing, but as she made no attempt to answer he waved his hand dismissively. “Go ahead, but do let them know you’re a little tied up at the moment.” He almost managed to hide his smirk.
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