The Impossible Game

Chapter 6

Once outside, Emma took a cleansing breath, relishing the chilled air again. She stretched towards the sky, deciding that she could and should relax for a bit. And if she didn’t step foot inside of a mall or department store for a while, she’d be happy. Emma was starting to feel claustrophobic and on edge, even while walking out the place.

The three of them all had agreed that they would wait until the following day until they would go to the museum but for now, Emma needed a drink and answers to loads of questions that the two gentlemen needed to answer about this Moriarty guy. Luckily John knew of a great pub nearby where they could talk over food and beer, much to Mister Holmes’ chagrin. They all piled into the cab, John up front again, leaving Mister Holmes and Emma in the back.

Emma stared out the window for the drive, leaning her head on the glass with the last remaining sun soaking her with its rays. The warmth she felt on her cheeks made her smiled, her eyes slowly starting to close until Emma caught Mister Holmes staring intently at her. There was an odd electricity in the air that she could feel, almost like a buzz. She couldn’t help but chuckle to herself as she lazily turned to her head to look at him, who quickly averted his gaze looking out the window.

“What are you staring at?” Emma finally ventured. Mister Holmes did a bit of a double take as if she woke him from a deep thought.

“Oh,” he said stumbling over himself, “I was just looking at the St. Mary Axe. It’s very, um, impressive in the sunlight.” Emma just gave him a look. Smiling warmly, she did not believe him but she decided not to further embarrass him. Emma went back to looking out her window, thankful for the peaceful moment. All she wanted to do was to go back home, snuggle up on her couch, watching the snow falling on her familiar streets.

She sighed, and apparently louder than she thought; Mister Holmes’ head turned sharply to her. “Are you quite alright?” There was concern in his eyes again, but Emma shook her head yes, smiling softly.

“I’m fine,” she assured him, “I was just thinking about home, that’s all. I haven’t been out of the country for some time. Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling but I would prefer if it were on my own terms.”

“Well, Miss Rose,” he replied, “Maybe you will get a chance to explore it on your own.” Emma couldn’t help but force a laugh.

“Right,” she said, “Doubt that will happen. Maybe you’ve got a wig I could borrow?” Emma laughed at the absurdity of the idea while Mister Holmes just smiled, both of them looking out her window again.

The cab pulled up to the pub, Emma getting out first and not waiting on the two slowpokes behind her who were still trying to get out of the cab. She pushed through the door and smiled broadly. It was everything she wanted at that moment. Emma could smell the hearty meals in the air, and hear a fiddler playing in the back corner, and she could almost taste the strong, English ales. She strutted up to the hostess, a cute young woman, probably only 21 or 22. “Welcome to the Waterpoet. How many?” The young woman squeaked, her eyes immediately going from Emma to behind her short blonde head. Emma turned around, seeing John and Mister Holmes walking. Emma cleared her throat.

“There will be three of us,” Emma replied trying to get the girl’s attention to no avail. Mister Holmes on the other hand, walked up to the podium and held up three fingers to which the wide eyed girl nodded and proceeded to lead them to a table passed the bar to an open room with the fiddler sitting the corner. They were sat next to the windows at a tall table, placing the menus down, her big doe eyes lingering on the detective.

“Your server will be with you in just a tick,” she said only looking to Mister Holmes. It was John’s turn to clear his throat while Emma rolled her eyes, smirking slightly.

“Thank you,” John kindly said. The young hostess gave John a once over and frowned. She stalked away sadly, unable to grab the attention of Mister Holmes who was busy studying the menu and making funny faces.

“This violin player is dreadful,” he remarked absently. Emma shrugged.

“I dunno,” she replied, “I kind of like it. It makes me want to dance but I’m much too sober for that.” Just as she finished, a young Irishman waltzed up to their table. “Whatever you boys want,” Emma said before their server could say a word, “I want to thank you two for your kindness so no arguing okay?” She looked at John pointedly, who threw his arms up in defeat smiling all the while. “Good. A round of your finest ales, please.” The young man winked at her and again waltzed away.

The fiddle player began playing a somber sounding song, the long notes hanging in the air of the dimly lit room as the young server came back with the ales. Emma thanked him, and smiled broadly at her. “If ya need anything else, just ask. The name is Sean, by the way,” he said, his Irish brogue thick. Mister Holmes rolled his eyes.

“Married,” the detective said not even looking up from the menu, catching the young man off guard who then squinted his eyes at Mister Holmes. He then sulked off to another table. Emma gave him a weird look.

“How in the hell do you know that?” She asked him somewhat annoyed. She liked flirting shamelessly.

“The indent on his left finger where his wedding band should be,” He replied, his cool eyes meeting her, “It’s obvious. Most servers, especially male servers, tend to try to appear single to make better tips.” Emma just rolled her eyes again.

“Who cares if he’s married?” She asked, “Never mind. Forget about it. Now, before we get down to the nitty gritty business, I would like to thank you two for everything you have done for me, and quite possibly, what you will be doing for me. I will do anything in my power to repay you back but for now, let’s eat, drink and be merry! Salud!” Emma raised her glass, and took a long gulp of her drink, while John took a sip and Mister Holmes sniffed at his. “Not a beer drinker?” Emma remarked.

“I don’t eat or drink on cases,” he replied. Emma shook her head.

“Oh come on, Mister Holmes,” Emma said smiling, “Relax! Enjoy yourself for once.” She took another drink of her beer, enjoying the crispness and slightly bitter finish. She definitely needed this, but she knew it was time to ask at least some of her questions about that man from earlier. She shuddered just thinking about him.

Emma ordered another round for herself and John, while Mister Homes was at least sipping cautiously at his. “Now gentlemen,” She started, “Who was that man from the mall today? And how do you know him?”

“His name is Jim Moriarty,” John replied, finishing a gulp, “He calls himself a ‘consulting criminal’.” Emma wasn’t sure if she completely understood what John meant by that. She tried putting the pieces together.

“So people go to him if they want to commit a crime?” She asked, beginning to understand more. John nodded.

“To put it simply, yes,” he said, finishing the second beer, “Just like how the police will come to Sherlock when they can’t figure something out about a case, and they need his advice and eyes.”

“Which is more often than not,” Mister Holmes chirped in. John just shot him a look that screamed, Come off it.

“Anyway,” John said, “When bad guys need help be even more bad, they go to Moriarty.” Emma nodded, now understanding fully. It would make sense that the Kosevos were working with him, but what she couldn’t figure out was how they knew she went to London after the first two attempts at her life.

“Okay,” She said slowly, “Then how do you two know him?” She looked back at John, and then at Mister Holmes who actually finished his pint of ale. He didn’t look like he was uncomfortable but Emma could tell that talking about Moriarty wasn’t his favorite subject. Mister Holmes’ eyes were on his empty glass, not really focusing on anything.

“He’s got a thing for Sherlock,” John said trying to make light of the matter but Mister Holmes head shot up and cut a menacing look to John. Obviously he did not find it amusing. The detective flagged down the waiter again, ordering another pint for himself. She sort of felt bad for the detective. It had to be hard to be him, even if he was a bit of an asshole. Mister Holmes really did have moments where he wasn’t completely void of emotions, and he could see other’s as well. It must be exhausting to keep the bravado up like he did.

The server came back with the pint and set it down by Mister Holmes, who immediately took another sip. Emma smiled at him. “Thought you didn’t drink or eat on cases?” She teased him. He tossed her a look something glinting in his grey eyes. The fiddle player began to play a fast, lively tune now. People started to get up to dance, twirling their partners around the hall.

“I’m making an exception. After all, you are thanking us for our services,” he replied with a sly smile while John, who was on his third beer, rolled his eyes a bit sluggishly.

“Oh come on now, Sherlock,” John said, slurring a bit, “We all know you find Emma-”

“Excuse me,” a young man said interrupting John, blushing a little bit. He had chestnut brown hair, green eyes and smile that could melt even the coldest of hearts. “I don’t mean to interrupt or anything but I was wondering if this lovely young woman would like to dance?” Emma wasn’t sure what to say; she hadn’t been asked to dance since her senior year prom. She shrugged.

“Sure, why not?” She said as the young man took her by the hand and led her into a fast paced dance among everyone else in the room.

Emma twirled around with the handsome stranger as the fiddler kept playing fast song after fast song. She found herself dancing with other strangers, both men and woman alike. Emma laughed and then John came up and started dancing with her although a bit sloppily but it didn’t matter; they were having a ball. She laughed and smiled, feeling incredibly light on her feet, until she was dancing with a tall, blonde man with piercing blue eyes. The grip around her hand a bit tighter than need to be and when Emma tried to switch to a different partner, the strange man with the piercing blue eyes would not let go.

Emma smiled condescendingly, the man’s eyes echoed back with contempt. It was almost a battle of the wits, but Emma knew who was going to win, and she smiled even broader. Before you could count to three the tall man was easily flipped to the floor mid turn on the dance floor by Emma. Everything in the room stopped dead, everyone looking at her and the now the man lying on the ground, groaning loudly.

“Sorry,” Emma said almost too calmly, “I didn’t like where he put his hands on me.” Everyone erupted with laughter, jeering at the man on the ground while some cheered at Emma who made her way quickly back to the table to a slightly drunk John Watson and a perceptive Mister Sherlock Holmes. She flagged down their server, asking to get the check. Mister Holmes didn’t even have to ask her what was wrong; he knew right away that the pale half unconscious man on the ground was working for the Kosevos, or even worse, Moriarty. Emma paid, and as quickly and quietly as shadows they made their way out the back of the restaurant making sure no one was following them.

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