A Woman

A songfic based on She's Always A Woman, by Billie Joel, for the Fanfiction Royale competition


1. Author's Note || Before We Begin ||

I​rene Adler.

In the Sherlock Holmes world, she's known as The Woman: the seductress, the temptress, the one person who defeated the detective himself.

I mean, even Moriarty didn't manage to do that, and he was around for a lot longer than she was.

I've read A Scandal in Bohemia, I've seen Rachel McAdams in the film, and (obviously) I've seen Lara Pulver in the BBC TV series. I mean, I practically worship the gal- she's strong, clever, independent, wily, manipulative... the list could go on and on. Seriously- Steve Moffat had actually intended on ending a S​candal in Belgravia with Irene running off in Sherlock's disguise and leaving him to sneak his way back home naked. You really can't get much better than that.

But still. For some reason, I always felt disappointed with this episode.

I know that one ninety minute sitting isn't much time in order to give a character much of a backstory without dumping a skip-full of history onto the audience's heads and crushing them beneath all this information, but I always thought that this was such an incredible character with so much potential that just hadn't been utilised. She was so incredibly complex: she was a gay sex worker, who used the information her customers offered her to protect herself from other customers and then to gain even more information. She saved Sherlock and John's lives at the swimming pool, and was the one person Sherlock has ever guided around/invited into his mind palace (yes, we know from episodes such as His Last Vow that he keeps people- or at least memories of them- inside there, but there's not been one other person- not even John-who Sherlock has deemed worthy to guide around the labyrinth of thoughts and deductions).

And yet, we don't know anything about her. We even know more about Moriarty than we do The Woman- Jim had decided that the best way to sort out school bullies is to murder them, for one, and he's probably a sociopath or something just as interesting- but Irene? We don't know how she came to do what she does, we don't know why she decided to work with Jim Moriarty, we don't know whether she truly does care about Sherlock or if she really was simply caught up in the game.

She reminds me of Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire: a breaking, desperate woman who builds an illusion of strength and power around herself, like armour, but truly relies on the kindness of strangers in order to survive. She pretends that she has everything in control. Her sexuality is her greatest strength but also her greatest weakness and ultimately leads to her downfall *spoilers for Streetcar, I guess*.

But anyway, I figured that since Irene Adler is one of my favourite female characters from any TV show in a long time, I may as well have an attempt at building up my own backstory for her. I will be (and have been) doing some ACD research into her past and her character, but I will also be developing some of my own ideas for this, too.



[I first got the idea for this story from the song She's Always A Woman, by Billy Joel, and the song lyrics will feature as chapter titles in this movella.]

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