Sherlock Holmes once had a young female assistant named Samantha who was killed tragically. What will happen when after five years, he finally learns the truth of what happened to her?
Samantha closed the small leather bound journal she owned and tucked it away in a locked compartment within her desk drawer.
Irene, a tall stunning brunette, materialized at the blonde’s side.
Samantha smiled at the use of her alias before she responded. “I’m going out to reacquaint myself with our dear Holmes. Be sure you are as vigilant as ever while I am out, agreeable?”
“Good, now, how is my appearance?”
Irene placed a couple of loose curls, straightened the extravagant cobalt dress and nodded her approval.
“You are sure to cause a stir.”
Samantha smiled, gently checked the necklace she concealed under her dress, and exited the lavish apartment. After walking the few blocks to Baker Street, she turned silently into the shadows and walked quickly until she reached the desired house.
Using a key she procured from her necklace, Samantha slipped inside, and rustled up the stairs to the study where she poured herself a drink before taking a seat facing away from the door.
Samantha looked around the room and smirked at the picture of Irene, before calling Gladstone over to her. She absentmindedly stroked the dog as she nursed her drink, and kept her senses sharp.
After a couple of hours the wheels of a carriage rolled to a halt in the street directly outside and a pair of voices could quickly be heard making their way up the stairs. They stopped the second they were in the study, and Samantha smiled.
“Hello Holmes, did you miss me?”
She rose and turned around, freezing slightly at the sight of the detective’s companion.
“Ah! John! I was hoping you might make an appearance as well!”
Holmes straightened to his full height and having recovered from his initial shock, took a menacing step towards Samantha.
“I haven’t the slightest idea as to who you are, or how you got in here, but I suggest you leave before you come to any harm.”
Samantha pouted her lower lip slightly. “I was hoping you would remember me. Well, I suppose it has been a while, let me see… five years now. My how time flies…”
Holmes struggled to remember, so she gave him a hint.
“Last time we met it was a smashing time.”
“No. You can’t be her.”
“You’d be amazed by what can be.”
“She died. I saw her die. She died protecting me.”
Samantha smiled in a sickly sweet way. “Say the name Holmes. Let John in on our secret. You know who I am.”
Watson inhaled in shock and evaluated the girl more fully as she smiled. “I’m glad to see you haven’t forgotten me or the events that took me away from you.”
“You seek revenge then.”
“What? No! I do not! If I sought revenge I would not be so foolish as to reveal myself. Besides, I do not wish you any harm. I came here first to reacquaint myself with you, and second to ask for your assistance.”
“You require our assistance?”
“Yes. I believed I was capable of caring for my own affairs, but I’m afraid I am not.”
Sherlock studied Samantha carefully, and then shook his head slightly to signal his disbelief.
“You still doubt who I am.”
“You resemble my former assistant on but four counts: your height, your hair color, your inquisitive green eyes, and your engaging smile.”
“I see you require proof so that you may connect your memories of that boyish assistant you had with that of the woman who stands before you. Very well.”
Samantha pulled a large key off of her necklace and presented it to Holmes, eliciting a gasp.
“Warner! By god it is you!”
Holmes rushed forward in a rare moment of emotion and engulfed the blonde in his arms, holding her flush against him as she returned the gesture heartily for a few moments before she was pulled into Watson’s embrace, which she found harder to break from. Samantha was offered a seat and handed a cup of tea as she settled comfortably into conversation with her old friends.
“Where have you been? Where did you go?”
“Well, when I woke up I was in an alley a mere fifty yards from the accident, and I saw both of you searching desperately for me, but I knew I needed to leave in order to protect you, so I ran as far as I could and wound up at port, where I bought a ticket on a ship to America.”
“Why would you need to protect us?”
“That carriage was never intended for you. It was meant for me and you merely happened to get in its path Sherlock. I was the target, not you. The safest thing for you would be my death, so I disappeared.”
Both men looked upset by this realization, but said nothing, so Samantha continued her narrative. “I wound up in New Jersey, where I wound up in another accident, this one pure accident. I awoke in a small apartment belonging to a rather charming family that had taken it upon themselves to nurse me back to health.”
“So you never went to any clinics for either of your injuries?”
“No, I simply ignored the injuries from the first accident, and then after the Adlers adopted me and christened me with the name of a deceased daughter, they nursed me back to a full recovery of all injuries.”
“Adler? As in Irene Adler?”
Samantha smiled. “Yes. Irene is my sister and apprentice.”
“Apprentice? Your apprentice?” Holmes inquired sharply as he choked on his drink.
“Yes. The Adler girls were nothing but pickpockets when I met them. They were brilliant, but only petty thieves. I trained them in the science of deduction and the arts of deception. Our apartment burned down and I decided it was time to go back to London, so we all got on a boat and moved to an apartment a few blocks away from here. I contacted Mycroft shortly after and he enlisted us to the service of the crown.”
“Mycroft knew you were alive? Why wouldn’t he tell me?”
Samantha smiled and placed her cup down. “If you had known, would you have come for me? Would you have sought me out?”
Holmes and Watson both sighed, but it was Holmes who yet again answered, Watson seemed rather at a loss for words for the time being. “Of course I would’ve. We both would’ve. I understand why he concealed you, but still, would it have been so bad if we had come to see you?”
“My figure developed to what it is now shortly after my first meeting with Mycroft. My hair had grown out already by then and I no longer resembled a boy. When he saw me again, he realized he had a job I would be perfect for. I became a spy in India. As a member of the maharajah’s harem.”
Watson and Holmes were both on their feet and yelling in protest.
“He has crossed a line!”
“How could you have agreed? What would have made you subjugate yourself to that?”
Samantha stood and silenced them both with a look.
They did as she requested and looked at her expectantly as she took her seat again.
“It’s not as if I was a virgin. I had already lost that so I had nothing but dignity to lose. I know you don’t approve, especially you John, but it’s done, so we are moving on now. I left once the information needed had been collected, and Irene and I lived in Paris for a year while she pursued her opera career before she left on assignment, and you wound up meeting. But enough about me, I want to hear about you. What happened to you in the war John?”
“A sniper fired at our campsite and I was hit in the shoulder and leg. I assisted in the hospital tent I then had to reside in to recover and returned home shortly after in order to become a doctor.”
“I never pictured you as a soldier, John. I was shocked when Mycroft told me you had enlisted. To be honest, the thought terrified me.”
Samantha locked eyes with Watson for several moments before she looked back down.
“You were worried?”
“Of course I was concerned! You could have been killed! You nearly were! I may not have been around for some time now, but I’ve kept close tabs on you, I’ve been worried about you. I still care for you deeply.”
Even though her words implied that she was talking about the pair, Samantha’s eyes met Watson’s yet again as she said this and he nodded slightly. Samantha happened a glance at the clock as she looked away and rose suddenly.
“I have to go. Otherwise we will find ourselves in quite the predicament.”
“You never told us what you required assistance with.”
She shot them a smile over her shoulder as she walked through the door. “I’ll see you again soon, you can be sure of that.”
She left quickly and all but ran down the street towards her apartment. The second she was in the door Irene’s arms had been flung around her neck.
“Where were you? I was so concerned!”
“It took over an hour for them to arrive, and extensive conversation followed. I’m terribly sorry.”
“He’s out in London somewhere! You could be killed! That was reckless of you!”
“You know as well as I that I’m no safer here than I am with the dynamic duo around to protect me. He was curious about you, in case you were wondering.”
Irene perked up slightly and tried to keep her tone neutral. “Was he? Well how thoughtful of him.’
Samantha had moved so her back was to Irene, and she smirked slightly as she responded. “He keeps a picture of you on his shelves, as a reminder.”
Irene inhaled sharply. “Really? I mean, oh does he? How intriguing.”
Samantha smiled at the slip up. “Yes, rather an interesting reaction, wouldn’t you agree?”
She agreed absently and Samantha heard small, hurried footsteps coming from the kitchen. Ursula appeared carrying a tea tray that appeared far too large for her slight frame, but she carried it easily enough despite that.
“Mother said dinner will be held in the formal dining room tonight. Mr. Mycroft is joining us.”
“Really? Did mother say when? Or why?”
Ursula shook her head. “No, but Abby mentioned I should be ready by six and Olivia was all excited about Mycroft’s guests.”
Irene and Samantha exchanged a look but said nothing as they helped their sister set the usual six places, along with an additional place for Mycroft before they went to help in the kitchen.
Their mother, a tall, slightly overweight woman with muddy brown hair was at the stove, stirring one of her famous French soups while Abigail garnished the roast and Olivia decorated a cake.
“How many places did you set?”
“Seven.” Samantha responded immediately, knowing better than to leave her mother waiting.
“Irene, go set two more.”
Irene did as she was told and Mrs. Adler turned to Samantha with a smile. “You look lovely Elizabeth. What were you doing all day?”
“I went to Baker Street.”
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with Sherlock Holmes would it?”
Samantha smiled guiltily. “Yes, I went to see him. And John… he was there mother. I didn’t even know what to say to him.”
Mrs. Adler raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
“I had to see them. To see him. I just couldn’t stay away any longer. It was killing me, knowing they were so close.”
The older woman nodded and looked over the assembled sisters. “Girls, go get cleaned up. Abby, change into a nice dress, maybe your silver one… yes, that one. Elizabeth, change into a cleaner dress, wear your red one! Irene, fix your hair, its falling out. Olivia, wipe the powder off your face and hang up your apron. And Ursula dear, go wash off, your face is covered in soot.”
The five girls all left quickly and headed to their respective rooms, which were arranged in the following manner: Abby, being the oldest at 24 had her own room situated directly next to their mother’s. Elizabeth and Irene shared a room across the hall from her as they were the next oldest at 21 and 20 respectively. Finally, Olivia and Ursula shared a room across from Mrs. Adler’s, being the youngest at 18 and 15.
When Samantha and Irene got to their room, Elizabeth quickly pinned up Irene’s hair into its curly bun before she pulled her crimson silk dress out of the wardrobe. Irene helped her out of the cobalt one and she stepped into the other one lithely.
“What if it is Holmes and John who Mycroft bring along with him?” She inquired as Irene laced up the dress.
Irene sighed. “If it is then we will just have to see what changes that will bring. It would make sense for Mycroft to bring that dynamic duo. I’m certain they want some form of clarification.”
Samantha nodded and let her long hair loose, deciding it would be easiest to leave it down rather than attempt to reorganize by this time.
“Well, let’s go, nothing we can do now.”
Samantha took a deep breath before exiting their room in favor of the sitting room. The two sisters talked calmly for half an hour until there was a knock on the door.
Samantha rose and opened the door quickly and was greeted by a laughing Mycroft. “Elizabeth my dear! Good to see you again, even if it is such an impromptu occasion!”
He patted her affectionately on the head and moved on to greet the rest of the Adler women, and Samantha was left facing Holmes and Watson.
Samantha smiled. “I told you, I took the name of an adopted daughter. Here I’m known as Elizabeth as opposed to Samantha.”
Holmes nodded his assent and Samantha turned to introduce the pair to her surrogate sisters.
“Sherlock, John, I would like you to meet my sisters, Abigail, who prefers Abby, Irene, who you already know, Olivia, and Ursula. Girls, I present to you the infamous detective Sherlock Holmes and his dear friend and Doctor, John Watson.”
All of the girls smiled politely and exchanged quick words of greeting except Irene, who waved coyly at Holmes.
“Irene, be nice. They’re our guests, not animals for you to taunt.”
“Sorry Lizzie. I couldn’t control myself. I’ll behave myself. So long as they will that is.”
“I assure you that will not be of any concern.”
Samantha nodded her approval and led the entire party into the dining room, where by a twist of fate, she ended seated between Sherlock and Watson, with Mycroft directly across from her.
“So what would you prefer we address you by?” Holmes queried.
“You may address me in any way you deem fit, however, you must recognize that my sisters and mother will address me as Elizabeth.”
“Very well then Warner,” Samantha smiled briefly at this address, and Holmes continued, “So precisely how does this family function?”
“We are… unconventional, that is certain.”
“Care to elaborate?”
“Well, mother’s word is law, except for my orders can over ride hers. Even though usually that would be Abby’s place and not my own. Father went missing a few years back, leaving mother and I to take control of the family. It was not an easy time, but we survived. Shortly after that we became spies under Mycroft’s supervision.”
“All of you?”
“With the exceptions of Ursi and Mother. Ursi was far too young to even consider employing her in such a thing, and Mother is much happier at home, she wished no part of our missions. Irene and I are employed most frequently, but the others also work on occasion.”
Mycroft nodded. “Yes, they’re a rather brilliant family. Couple that with my prior knowledge of Lizzie and their combined capabilities in a fight and I would’ve been a fool to not hire them.”
“I do make a convincing argument, in case you don’t remember.” Samantha laughed, and Holmes and Watson both nodded.
“I seem to recall you convincing five constables that you were the long lost son of French royalty, remember Holmes?”
Samantha laughed at the memory and smiled at them. “Yes, I also recall getting the two of you out of quite a few scrapes, with police and others.”
“Which was rather unnecessary…”
“Without me you both would have been arrested or mugged. Subtlety was never a strong suit of yours.”
“I would be offended were it not for the fact that when you knew me that was the truth. However, I am pleased to say that has changed drastically.”
“Perhaps John has, but as for yourself, I am afraid you are sorely mistaken.”
John, Mycroft, and Samantha all laughed, prompting Sherlock to glare slightly, but even he could not remain in a foul temper.
“My how I’ve missed you for all these years.”
“At least you did not presume us to be dead.”
Samantha’s face fell and Sherlock instantly regretted his harsh words.
“I had to protect you. If you had known you would have rushed headfirst towards your own death. I wish there could have been another solution, but I cannot honestly tell you that I regret my decision, because you are still alive and well. That was always my motivation.”
“Warner, I didn’t intend…”
“I realize, but you must know that if it were not for the fact that I recognized his evil and sought to protect you from him that I would never have left. I would’ve happily remained with you and John.”
Samantha and Watson’s eyes met again briefly, but the contact was broken almost immediately.
“Him? Is this the elusive problem you continuously refer to?”
“Yes. When we have completed our meal will go for a walk and I will tell you all of the details. I would prefer to inform you in a different setting away from my younger siblings who do not need to be concerned.”
“Very well, but answer me one question.”
Samantha nodded so Holmes continued, “Is it truly so dire?”
“More so. It’s a matter of life and death on a larger scale than you could imagine.”
Samantha smiled and they finished their meal shortly afterwards.
“Mother? John, Sherlock, Mycroft, and I are going for a walk. We’ll be back promptly as we are able.”
“Very well Elizabeth. Stop by the market for some flower if you would?”
Samantha closed the apartment door behind the group and they walked slowly toward the market.
“6 years ago, I began taking college courses, per your advice.”
“I recall, but how does that pertain?”
The market came into sight, and were it not for the deliberately slow pace they were walking, they would have already reached the stalls.
“I took an advanced mathematics course under one Professor…”
The professor’s name was drowned out as an explosion came from the front stall, destroying the first few stalls and all within them.
“We need to leave! Now!”
Samantha led them quickly away from the market and down several narrow alleys.
She stopped abruptly and John walked into her.
Samantha leaned against the wall and it opened, allowing the group to enter one of her many hideaways throughout the city.
“Who caused that?” Mycroft asked indignantly.
“His name is Moriarty.”