Their attention had been captured finally. Sherlock lost his grumpy look and Panther was sitting upright, gone was her relaxed manner. Yes Magnussen's vault! The only thing these two adversaries wanted more than anything else. Would consider pooling their skills for. Mycroft smiled...he still had an ace or two up his sleeve after all! They could prove to be a formidable force if these two came together. With Sherlock's brain and Panther's skill Magnussen's vault didn't stand a chance...Magnussen didn't stand a chance!
"Mikey! I honestly had lost faith in you...but look at you! Managed to surprise me after all. Well played!" Panther smiled. Sherlock looked at his brother and admitted to himself, albeit grudgingly, that Mycroft had managed to pull the coup de resistance. Yes Magnussen's vault was the only thing that would make him consider working with this...this creature after all. He had been racking his brains to figure out a way to break in. But he knew that it was not an easy feat as Magnussen guarded that vault with his life and round the clock security. There was just so much that Sherlock could do. Yes Panther did have the skills to get in...just this one time he would concede.
"Magnussen is holding a party next week where he has invited all the dignitaries that he knows...or should I say all his victims. It would be the perfect time to get in and out. I can get you twenty minutes inside the vault after which you need to figure out how he is actually storing the data. Knowing him, it wont be anything conventional. We have to be prepared for any eventuality". Sherlock spoke "Well we can be certain that the data wont be stored on anything digital...he is too smart for that. I suspect that he uses the old fashioned way of maintaining records on files and papers. But that means there would be a lot of material to go through and twenty minutes wont cut it!".
"We are not walking into a candy store Shirley for you to indulge in your childish whims! We are talking about a lion's den. Twenty minutes is all you get whether you like it or lump it. It will include you looking for what you want AND also finding what I seek" she narrowed her eyes at him. "Why would I waste my time in looking for information that you desire? You will do your own dirty work" sneered Sherlock. She laughed "Because you will do what I say and as I say it if you want to get out of there in one piece. I will get you in unharmed and you coming out the same way totally depends on you cooperating with me. Can you even begin to imagine what Magnussen will do to you if he finds you inside his precious vault?" she lounged back in the couch again with that self satisfied smile on her face.
Sherlock turned to his brother "See! This is the kind of person you have chosen to go in with me.What is to say that she wont leave me there". Mycroft sat opposite Sherlock in John's couch. "Sherlock please! Go along with what she says. Look at the bigger picture here. You gain access to Magnussen's vault! This is a small price to pay for it. Don't pretend that it doesn't mean anything to you. She is your only chance." Panther got off from where she was sitting and made her way to the Holmes boys. She looked at the both of them for a moment and then sat down on Sherlock's lap and draped her arm on his shoulders.
Sherlock tensed, his entire body went rigid and he couldn't bring himself to look at her for some reason. She saw that she made him uncomfortable and she quite enjoyed it. Even the great Sherlock Holmes was not immune to a woman's charms especially one as outrageous as her. She had heard stories...of his relation with Irene Adler. They had gained quite a reputation in her world especially as they showed that the legendary detective was human after all. The more she could throw him off like this, the lesser the chances of him figuring her out and her secrets. She had her reasons for taking on this partnership and it was not for Mycroft's absurd proposition. She was worried about her ability to keep her secrets under wraps at all times especially in the presence of such a keen mind. But she had some tricks to throw him off and could only hope that this time she hadn't bitten off more than she could chew.
She caressed his face gently "Sorry but I was feeling left out, sitting all the way there. And since neither of you fine gentlemen offered me your seat, I decided to make my own. Besides it was so distracting to just observe you from so far and keep wondering how you felt. This is so much better" she teased. Mycroft cleared his throat and Sherlock...Sherlock sat rigid resisting the urge to push her off him and at the same time trying to not let her scent distract him. There was something about it...THE woman smelt of roses and seduction but Panther...
A memory surface...a little boy running with complete joy and abandon through a field with the scent of the flowers surrounding him mingled with the rich earthy tones of wet grass. It was one of his happiest childhood memories...one that reminded him of their country home. Why did her scent bring out that memory? And it was her, he realized, and not some perfume as that would not sit well in a disguise. She smelled like the summer rain and cool breeze. Sherlock shook himself out of his memory and blamed his intoxicated brain for conjuring up such wild thoughts.
"Come now Shirley" she purred, "It will be fun! You know you want too...Think of all the treasure that you might find in that vault. Not to mention, the satisfaction you will get on finally getting back at Magnussen. What I want from there is of no consequence to you in the face of the greater good." Fine!" mumbled Sherlock. "Splendid!" she said, "It is a black tie affair so do clean up for it. I will pick you up...so it is a date then!" she pecked him on the cheek and got up.
As she made her way to the door she said "Come along Mikey. We have some terms to discuss and logistics to put in place." Mycroft sighed, dreading what pound of flesh he would have to give up for this partnership. He got up and followed her. Panther called from the stairs "Oh Shirley! I do hope that you will bring me a corsage like a good date. Remember, I don't kiss anyone on the first date." Her laughter kept ringing in his ears long after they had gone...
Panther had done it! She had kept her part of the bargain. Now that snake needed to keep his, not that she expected him too. But she hoped it would buy her the time that she needed to put her plan into action. She made the call..."It is done...I'm in". The snake answered "For your sake, I hope he didn't suspect anything." "Do I need to remind you who I am? No he doesn't. The prize at the end of the maze is too tempting for him. For now that is all that her can think off. And I know how to handle him later on" she said while trying to keep her anger in check.
"I don't expect anything less from you. Just to remind you though...I hate being disappointed!" he growled. "So do I!" she said as she slammed the phone down on him. Not for the first time she wondered if she was paying too high a price. She sighed, whichever way she looked at it, she would be the loser in the end. But she was not one to accept defeat so easily. In the end, she was sure the tide would turn in her favor. She just needed some time...
"Sherlock Holmes" she breathed. "Will you be my end....or my salvation? I guess only time will tell..."