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Fic: Mistress Fox [Elementary]

Title: Mistress Fox
Fandom: Elementary
Rating PG
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler
Length: 513 words
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP Prompt #26: Blood on the Snow. Use a fairy tale or horror story as the inspiration for today's entry. This is based on the English fairy tale, 'Mister Fox'. Spoilers for season 1, including 'M' and 'The Woman'. Unbeta'd.
Summary: Sherlock brings Irene lunch, and finds himself drawn into a labyrinth.

Irene greeted Sherlock with a distracted kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, I didn't have time for breakfast. Too much to do, with the opening tonight! Don't wait up," she said with a smile, dismissing him.

Sherlock left her to berate the caterer. He paused as he walked past the entry to Irene's exhibit. Above the doorway was emblazoned:
Be bold

With a glance back at Irene, to ensure that he was unobserved, Sherlock slipped inside for a sneak preview of her art show.

The large, open plan gallery had been transformed into a labyrinth, its walls covered with paintings that appeared, at first glance, to belong to a bewildering variety of styles. Sherlock passed a Georgia O'Keefe-type of flower, its pistil adorned by a single photo-realistic bee. A Chagallian little boy flew over the wreckage of the World Trade Tower. Monet might have painted the old man sitting peacefully outside a cottage, but wouldn't have included the iPhone in his hands. A Raphaelite woman, heavily pregnant, perched on the back of a pick-up truck. A tattooed punk rocker's portrait was painted with the glow of a Vermeer.

It was a breath-taking display of both talent and audacity, as Irene toyed with the art world's preconceptions of her as a restorer, rather than an artist in her own right. Sherlock wandered the display, entranced, exploring one corridor after another. He found himself back at the entrance some time later, oddly unsatisfied. He'd walked the entire labyrinth, but hadn't found a single piece of art that was truly Irene's own, rather than a gifted mimicry of a master.

Those about to leave the exhibit could read over the doorway:
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold

A challenge, perhaps? Sherlock closed his eyes and recreated the labyrinth within his mind, the exact angles and distances he had walked whilst crossing and re-crossing across the room. A smile spread across his face. There was a gap. A hollow, in the very center of the labyrinth.

Sherlock retraced his steps to the space where his calculations placed the lacuna. There was a life-size painting of a great, over-grown wooden door with no visible handle or lock, much in the style of William Holman Hunt. Carved into it were the words:
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold,
Lest your heart’s blood should run cold.

An invitation and a warning, all in one. How like Irene. Delighted, Sherlock felt around the edge of the painting. Sure enough, there was a release catch that clicked open at his touch. The painting opened like a door, allowing Sherlock a glimpse of what lay at the labyrinth's heart.

No canvasses here. Just white walls, adorned with hideous splashes and splatter of red, drying to a dull brown. Murder painted the walls.

Sherlock started awake. He carefully regulated his breathing and sat up in bed. M's reappearance had shaken him, admittedly, but he was in control. Sherlock would not allow it to disrupt the careful order of his waking mind, no matter what havoc it might wreak in his dreams.