Here I will present my latest work of Adlockian fiction – just a little something I worked on every now and then that kind of turned into a full on story. I ship these two so very hard.
P.S. Perhaps I should mention that “Adlock” is the Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler ship name. I don’t ship them in the books (heaven forbid I make A. Conan Doyle roll in his grave), but I certainly ship them on the BBC show.
“When I say run, run.”
Irene looked up at the tall, stately figure of her supposed executioner. His voice was warm, refined, and English through and through. The eyes were all that were visible, but they and the familiarity of the voice said enough.
It was him.
The relief was more than she could bear. One tear took a path down her thin face. He came, and she was saved. She had not the slightest hope, the faintest idea, and yet, here he was. She was free. Sentiment had gotten the better of them both before, but she was grateful for it this time.
The men at the firing positions in the large, sandy tanks were all shot simultaneously, sniped from behind. The other jihadists were panicking now, drawing their swords, and some their machine guns. Sherlock, his sword already raised, gave the others an impression that he was about to sever her head from her shoulders, but instead, he severed the head of the man standing behind him. The head fell beside her on the floor, and she raised an eyebrow, eyeing it with an impressed expression.
With that act accomplished, his cover was blown.
When he said run, the woman ran: ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Passing the decapitated man, she seized his sword from his still warm hands and carried it with her.
The word “run” was undoubtedly a code as well, for as soon as Sherlock had yelled it, shots began firing at the terrorists from unidentified allies on the rooftops. Her captors were falling to the ground left and right. This had obviously been well-planned.
She could hear the clanging of swords behind her as she sprinted off. She heard the grunting of men and the slicing of flesh. She knew they would be after her soon: she was a wanted criminal.
She was only thinking of one thing: Sherlock Holmes. As soon as she was out of the range of fire, and had rounded a few deserted corners, she stopped suddenly, and looked about her. Looking for a place to conceal herself, she scrambled into a patch of nearby bushes, for which she was oddly thankful, and hoped the dark colors of her burqa would hide her.
After what seemed to be an eternity, the far-off noise subsided, and she dared to look up. A few men came walking down the alley. Fear slid its dry, cracking fingers across her stomach as she wondered if they were on her side or that of the terrorists. Searching their figures, she sighed inwardly as she recognized the inexplicable figure of her own clever detective…without his funny hat. He walked briskly, looking this way and that. The others disbanded, following the orders of their leader, whose sword was still drawn. Instead of bursting out upon him, she pulled out her mobile phone and sent a text: “bushes.”
Sherlock stopped, read the text, deleted it, walked a few paces, then squinted in her direction.
“Do people really hide in bushes like the idiots in stories?” he mused, spying her after a few moments of squinting.
“Sometimes,” she spat, trying to sound annoyed.
Her burqa was quite caught on the branches. Trying to break free, she struggled fruitlessly to stand. Sherlock was smirking underneath his garbs. The bush had ripped her head covering off, but the rest of her garments were still intact. The thick, brown tresses of her hair fell over her shoulders, giving her a soft, refined appearance. Standing upright and looking at him, Irene Adler never looked so resolved.
“There’s really no use in wearing this anymore, I suppose—it’s horribly irritating,” he complained, aggressively jerking the covering from his head, exposing his face and nest of unruly raven black hair.
She was supposed to be his enemy now, and he was supposed to be in London. Why was he here? She longed to know, and so did he, for it would be true to say that he wasn’t sure of what he was doing there either. She had a sneaking suspicion that she knew his motive for saving her, but if she were being honest, she wanted to hear him say it.
Yes, she would make him say it.
There, she had said it. Blurted it. It was out now; her mind had been spoken. She would hear it from him. Why should Sherlock Holmes care if she lived or died? Why had he just decided to save her life?
“Because it was making me sweat, that’s why,” Sherlock retaliated, rubbing the sides of his head and ruffling his hair. He was about to open his mobile before Irene seized his sleeve.
“No. I mean, why?” she asked again. He looked at her, then at the sleeve she had in an iron grip.
Sherlock didn’t say anything for a moment, but, as if thinking out loud, he said, “People always want to know why, and I think I’m the chief of sinners among them. Trying to explain reasons, motives of revenge, sentiment, violence, greed, jealousy…love. Why?” he broke off, as if thinking. Then continued, barely above a whisper, “Forgive me, brother dear.”
“Tell me. I will know,” Irene declared, wearing a look of cunning on her face.
“I thought it was fairly obvious as to why,” he answered, curtly emphasizing the last word.
There was a moment of silence. Neither one of them said a word.
Irene cleared her throat.
“Well then,” she coaxed, sauntering closer, “I want to hear you say it.”
She was only an arm’s length from him, looking up into his eyes with mischief in her own. He was in her grip—she had him now. He had to say it; and that thought was so delicious to her that a triumphant smirk played on her lips.
“Come now, Mr. Holmes, let’s not be vapid.”
“If we’re not going to be vapid, then answer me this.”
“Answer you what?”
“How did I ever guess the four letters that opened your mobile phone?”
She swallowed, then shrugged—trying to look unaffected.
“Sure?” Sherlock asked, taking a step closer.
“If we’re not going to be vapid, we might as well use reason. I chose those four letters for I understood the reason you had: you love me,” (she sucked in her breath) “and I knew it from the elevation of your pulse and the dilation of your pupils as you sat with me by the fire in Baker Street.
“If you care to be rational, then it is a fairly obvious conclusion that the present circumstances illustrate the same, yet you’re not taking my pulse or watching my pupils at the moment, are you? I think it obvious: a well-planned attack on a terrorist base in Karachi, Pakistan, all to rescue a woman who thought she cared for no one and thought no one cared for her. If that were true, why is she still alive?”
“Tell me if you’re such a clever boy,” she whispered, cajolingly.
“I’d rather hear you use your brain,” he replied, impervious to her charms.
Irene let go of his sleeve, took another step closer—her breath tickling his cheek—and gasped, “Oh, Mr. Holmes….” Taking his hands in her own, she whispered, “say it—just say it. I’ll say it, too, if it makes you feel better.” Her voice was full of deep earnest.
She whispered into his ear, “I love you.”
He might have reddened against his will.
Sherlock looked at her, looked away, then back at her.
He didn’t want to say it. He wasn’t even sure it was true. How could it be true? He was determined not to let the words pass his lips. But still, his face was only inches from hers and there was something like magnetic energy between them.
She stared into his eyes with silent yearning, and his stiff, rigid face bent slightly towards hers. Her lips parted. He was wary. Her eyes closed. He was very wary. She most certainly would have kissed him had not the sound of voices shouting in Arabic interrupted the moment.
“Too late…again,” Irene breathed, excruciatingly disappointed.
“That’s not the end of the world…but it’s not Mrs. Hudson either,” he quipped, grinning roguishly and taking her hand.
Sprinting off into the night, Sherlock led the way, the woman gripping his hand and keeping up with astonishing speed. The voices were still confused behind them, so they knew they had not been found out. Sherlock led her down darkened alleyways and deserted streets. What an odd pair they made, the detective and the woman, each one grasping the other’s hand tight, running through the deserted, midnight streets of Karachi, Pakistan.
The market was in their path. A few vendors still remained open, although most had retired for the night. Scurrying by the few buyers and sellers still awake, Sherlock led Irene through the dwindling crowd.
A jeweler burst out in front of them holding up a necklace. Sherlock sputtered angrily, came to a halt, and Irene slammed into him in the process.
“A lovely necklace, for your wife,” the man advertised, leering at Irene.
“No, no—sorry,” Sherlock spat, as he shoved the merchant aside and dragged Irene along with him.
They dashed past darkened buildings and retreated into the darkness of an alley. Irene opened her mouth to speak, but Sherlock put his finger to his lips and listened for the raucous sound of raised voices. He and Irene could hear a commotion afar off and knew the terrorists were searching the bazaar.
“Your wife…mmm…I confess, I rather enjoyed the way that sounded,” she mused, looking up at him with dancing eyes. She still managed to maintain that rather coaxing tone of voice even though she was badly out of breath. He, however, managed to act completely preoccupied, to her dismay.
“I easily could get used to being called ‘Mrs. Holmes.’ ‘Mrs. Holmes…’ Oh, God, that does sound good, doesn’t it? Will I get to wear my own hat?”
“Oh, shut up,” Sherlock scolded, scowling at Irene’s flirtatious expression. She smirked.
Sherlock opened his mobile phone and texted a few words to a number Irene could not make out. She wondered who he was communicating with and what the next plan of their escape was.
A black car pulled up beside them, and a British gentleman in a dark coat opened the backseat, motioning for them both to enter the car. Sherlock smiled, took Irene’s hand, and ushered her inside.
The driver took off at a ferocious speed. They came to the edge of the city; they were driving on the M-9 now, the “Hyderabad” motorway. There were no cars behind them, nor any ahead, and peace settled gently over Irene. She wondered where they were going…and what they would do when they got there. She laid her head on Sherlock’s breast and closed her eyes, letting tranquility wash over her weary little body.
Ah, but wait. This was a good opportunity.
Before letting herself laze, she straightened up and pressed her lips to her savior’s sweaty cheek.
The savior in question said nothing as she settled back down onto his breast.
But she didn’t sleep.
Sherlock was smiling. The car was dark, so she couldn’t see the amusement dancing frivolously on his face. He had done it. He had saved the woman. Why should he care? What did it matter? As Mycroft had indeed told him, “All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.” It wasn’t an advantage. Surely his brother was correct in saying so. And yet, if all lives end and all hearts are broken, why did he bother saving this nasty little woman’s life? Maybe he did love her. Maybe he did love this quiet creature resting on his chest…this small and yet incredibly vile soul taking breaths in and out restfully in his arms. He did care. He would always care. No matter where he was in the end, he would always have a place in his heart (and his mind palace) for Irene Adler.
Two hours later, the car stopped.
They were now in the outskirts of Hyderabad, another of Pakistan’s large cities.
The door was opened by the driver, and bright lights poured into the darkened car. Holding her hands over her eyes as she stepped out, Irene coughed as air beat into her face mercilessly. Dust was flying around in clouds outside, and Irene squinted in the bright Arabian moonlight. A helicopter had just landed near the car, and she saw what was to happen.
“Kiss a girl, why don’t you?” she asked, batting her eyelashes and accentuating her lips.
Sherlock stared at her with a simultaneously amused and ridiculing expression. He huffed a laugh and dismissed the idea. She frowned and tutted once, but looked him square in the eyes before leaving his side.
“I will not forget, Mr. Holmes,” she stated blatantly, looking into his face and stroking his cheek with an outstretched forefinger. “Thank you,” she breathed, letting go and gazing into his face triumphantly. She was still a wild little woman, but Sherlock sensed genuine gratitude in her demeanor.
She added, before walking away, “But we’re not done, are we?”
Sherlock smirked, and his eyes seemed to smirk also. His expression silently replied, “not by a long shot.”
And with that, Irene’s mouth broke into a smile.
As the door shut behind her, Sherlock turned away towards the car. He needed to be back in Hyderabad to catch his flight to London. He had told John he would be back the next day, and the flight he intended to board would help him do just that.
Irene laid back against the peeling, leather seats of the helicopter. She shut her eyes, hoping for some sleep to shave off time. Her eyes opened as an idea split the fibers of her crafty mind. Cleverly, as she often did, she pulled out her mobile phone and texted Sherlock one last time.
As the cab drove away, Sherlock’s mobile sensually “sighed” as it was inclined to do whenever she texted him, and he smiled inwardly. He read the new message, which read, “I love you Mr Holmes” and to which he flirtatiously did not respond for quite some time. In fact, before stepping through the door of 221b Baker Street, he deleted it for fear of John or Mycroft discovering it.
(For some reason, the formatting messed up here, and I can’t seem to get the paragraphs to format themselves…please excuse…)
Pakistan was a year ago.
She was still alone, hungry, and dangerous.
But at present, she was crying. News had done something to crack her cold, violent mind, and now she was covering her mouth trying not to sob.
He was dead.
He had killed himself.
She didn’t cry for people; she never cried for people. Everyone came and went in her life. She never let herself get attached, and people never meant anything to her. Pleasure was abundant. Emotional attachments were foreign. Kate had been dead a year, and when Irene found her hanging by a rope from the closet door, no tear graced her cheek. She sighed, surely, but her eyes never once watered. Even that one author, whose reputation she had destroyed with her fun and games, was ruined forever, but she didn’t mind. Why should she?
She was in Berlin, not London, but news traveled fast, especially when it concerned the internationally reputed consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. It had happened only yesterday. He had been alive, then. But now he was dead. He had jumped from the rooftop of the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital building.
But the woman was by no means stupid. She knew it was something to do with that obsessive maniac, James Moriarty. He had paid her well for her work, yet she never fully trusted him. He was dead, too, it seemed. Blew his own brains out on the rooftop of the same hospital Sherlock had fallen from. She wondered what had happened in their last moments.
She was hungry. Dressing in a blue evening gown, she prepared herself for a meal at the Hotel Quarré.
It made her think of the many times she had flirted with him.
Just when she had thought “perhaps he might pop in,” it turned out he was dead.
She was staying in the Hotel Adlon Kempinski and could see The Brandenburg Gate from her suite window. Although her life’s work had been ruined, she was not stupid enough to not have anything saved. She had money, so she could easily afford the luxury Berlin hotel. The Hotel Quarré, then, was equally luxurious. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and the tables were sumptuously set with linen placings.
She was given a seat and gloomily, she waited to be served.
She sat for about five minutes and began to wonder. The empty minutes of nothing made her mind begin to fog with thoughts of the detective. If she had been back in her room she most certainly would have been weeping. Sentiment. Indeed, what a chemical defect this was, ceaselessly pouring over her like a river flows over a boulder.
Her phone buzzed on the glass table.
She picked it up, unlocked it, and gasped as she read what it said and who it was from:
I’m not dead, let’s have dinner.
Of all the dirty tricks she had expected him to play, this one was the furthest from her mind. She replied, and they texted in banter. Her fingers bled fire as she formed each response with intense agility:
Yes, let’s. Where are you?
Where do you think?
Can you see me?
Do you think I’m that stupid?
I was only asking.
You’re sitting under a chrystal chandelier that was
bought in Mumbai, by the looks of it. You’re wearing
a blue dress, black heels, and a sorrowful tear-stained face.
Oh, shut up and join me. I’d much rather
hear it than read it.
Yes. I’d much rather hear you than
She looked up, but no one appeared. She may have jumped just a little when the sides of her chair were suddenly gripped by two white hands, and Mr. Sherlock Holmes stepped out from behind and took the seat opposite her.
She was trying not to smile. She tried to look as sultry and conniving as she could, but it was difficult to do so.
“Guten tag, fraulein.” he said. “Good day, miss.” He did not want to be caught speaking English, especially since it would expose his being a foreigner, which could lead to the discovery that he was not genuinely dead. Speaking German made him blend in with the locals, as did his clothing, which made him look alarmingly like a Berliner.
“Saukerl,” Irene scolded. “You dirty pig.”
“At least I texted you a warning before I faked mine,” she quipped, still speaking in German and fiddling with the corners of her napkin compulsively.
“Why would it bother you?” he replied, narrowing his eyes with mock scrutiny.
“How did you do it?” she asked, ignoring his question and raising her eyebrows.
“As if I’d tell you,” he remarked.
She decided to humor him and dropped the subject entirely.
“You mentioned dinner?” Irene asked.
“Starving,” Sherlock replied, but he wasn’t stupid. He just enjoyed teasing on purpose.
Catching the gleam in her eye, he acted surprised. Shaking his head as if he had accidentally forgotten what he knew she really meant, he remarked, “No, sorry; I meant real dinner. I’m starving. Physically starving.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Like I said before, Jim used to call you—”
“The virgin,” he finished for her. “You were quite clear on that point.”
“I was clear on a lot of points.”
“So was I.”
She looked at him intently. Mischief fogging up her face once more. The corners of her mouth were playing a game and trying to decide if they should form a smile. She ended up sticking with serene.
“I think that’s what I like about you, Mr. Holmes. You’re always the good boy.”
“I am what I am,” Sherlock replied, looking at his watch with an irritated expression.
A few moments of uncomfortable silence passed, and it is true to say that it was incredibly awkward. But Irene would not take it back. What she had said was true: she always loved the good boy.
“I read one of Dr Watson’s stories yesterday. I rather enjoyed it. The Hounds of Baskerville. I found it quite entertaining. It’s adorable—the way he talks about you,” she mused.
“He’s fond of romanticizing my job and exposing my thinking process for the whole damn world to idolize.”
“Temper, temper,” Irene cooed, shaking her head and pursing her lips.
“Why are you here?” Sherlock asked her, studying her face.
“Never you mind me; what brings you to Berlin?” she asked, answering his question with a question. “Running errands for big brother?”
“As it so happens, yes,” Sherlock replied, unfolding his napkin and putting it on his lap.
“Moriarty may be dead, but he has terrorist cells all around the globe. Mycroft has me on certain assignments to bring them down from the inside out. I’ll be away from London for quite a while.”
“Do you think you’ll ever go back?” Irene asked, the only sincere question she had raised all night.
“I don’t know. If I’m killed, then I’ll still be dead to everyone, so it wouldn’t matter anyway…but if I succeed, and I am needed at home again, I suppose I would be called back. I can’t imagine that being less than a few years or so. Who knows?” Sherlock attempted a smile, but it was more of a look of acceptance than genuine enthusiasm.
“And that’s why you’re in Berlin?”
“Yes. Catching one of Moriarty’s puppets. In fact, you’ll most likely meet him tonight. He’s going up to your room in two hours, I’d say.”
“My room?” Irene looked like someone who is unexpectedly doused in ice water.
“Yes, and it’s your job to make him feel at home there. Do what you do best.”
“What makes you think you can trust me?”
“You owe me a favor, and you’re not the type to accept favors. You need an opportunity to repay me. Here it is. Besides, there’s no reason for you to try anything stupid on me. Moriarty’s dead.”
She nodded. He had a fair argument.
“What exactly are you asking me to do?” she quizzed, narrowing her eyes and drumming her fingers on the table.
“I spoke with the man this morning. He trusts me completely, as I made myself sympathetic towards his cause. I’ve been in his company for quite some time, associating, doing as I’m told, winning his confidence. He is oblivious. Human error worked in my favor. He felt depressed this morning. Told him I knew someone who could give him a good night. Told him it would cost a bit, but he didn’t mind. Anything to fill the void. That’s where you come in.”
“You don’t know me well enough to assume I’m an object to fill a void. I don’t fill voids. I accentuate them. How did you know where to find me?”
“You honestly think I’d tell you? The same way I found you in Karachi.”
“Fine, then. Keep your secrets.”
A waiter came to the table, and Sherlock ordered a bottle of Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) for them both. Irene was delighted he had ordered so fine a red wine.
“What are we celebrating?” Her face was bright with alacrity.
“The destruction of a terror cell.”
“Then why are we drinking wine instead of formulating a plan?”
“The plan is already formulated.”
“Then tell me,” she put her elbows on the table and leaned toward him, “what are we going to do?”
Sherlock took his first sip of wine and divulged their night’s itinerary.
Klaus Schreiber arrived at Irene’s room at half past midnight. She certainly wasn’t wearing anything suggestive when he knocked on her door. Nevertheless, she acted genuinely pleased to see him there.
“Hallo,” the dark-haired German croaked as she opened the door. He was immaculately tall, which initially frightened Irene, though she managed to conceal her apprehension incredibly well. He was not a young man, by any means, and she found this disappointing. He had scruffy, prickly black hair around his face and startling grey eyes. His lips were dreadfully cracked, and when he opened his mouth to speak, it was like watching a rusty door swing on its hinges…it looked painful.
Irene could tell from his appearance that he had incredibly low self-esteem. His hygiene was practically falling apart, which spelled out lack of interest in anything related to self-care. He had bags under his eyes. Fatigue. Depressed, insecure, tired. She knew the type. He was a stupid one.
This would be easy.
“Wie geht’s, Fraulein?” he asked. He was inside now. “How are you, miss?”
“Hallo,” Irene replied, her voice rich and sultry. She put on her best face and took off the man’s coat for him.
“I’ve been expecting you, sir. Please, do come in. Make yourself at home. I’ll prepare a cup of tea for you whilst I go and change. I always prefer changing after I meet my clients. Unveiling myself in all my glory following the introduction always makes for a clever effect.”
The man nodded eagerly, with a crooked smile on his face. He was missing some teeth. His face made Irene’s stomach wobble within her. How ugly. How would the Germans say it? Ekelhaft!
She swept elegantly into the kitchen and put a kettle on.
“What’s your name, darling?” she asked, spooning honey into the cup and throwing in a bag of chamomile.
“Klaus,” he replied, taking off his shoes. His socks were filthy. Irene turned around and rumpled her nose.
“Klaus…Klaus…that’s quite an attractive name,” she purred. Flattery always worked on men like Klaus.
“Danke, Liebling,” he replied. “Thank you, darling.”
The kettle whistled.
Pouring the tea into the cup, Irene glanced toward the clock on the wall. Ten minutes. Ten minutes before she needed this idiot on the floor. She could do it in less.
“You must excuse my not having any leaves. Only bags at the moment. You don’t mind, do you?” she asked, stirring the liquid with a silver spoon.
From what Irene could tell, Klaus shook his head. His shirt was stuck over his head, and Irene’s eyes rolled in their sockets as she saw the myriad of hair on his chest. You could knit a blanket with all that hair, she decided. Ekelhaft indeed!
He somehow managed to come out of his shirt alive, and took the cup from Irene. He made a motion toward her waist, but she smacked his hand and smiled. He seemed to enjoy it. She tried not to gag.
“In due time, Klaus. I’ll return in a moment. Enjoy the tea first.”
She could tell there was not a hint of apprehension in his body. He was completely calm. His shoulders were relaxed, his breathing steady, his face not contorted or discolored. He was perfectly comfortable.
He put the tea to his lips.
With that, she walked away.
Her hips swayed as she pointedly strutted towards the bathroom. Her clothing was all organized in the walk-in closet, which she shut herself in. She locked the door.
She checked her watch. Three minutes until he’s out from the time the tea touches his lips.
Her phone buzzed. She read the new message.
Is he out?
I love how you sign your initials
after every text. Looks fun.
Is the man out?
Patience, darling, I only just left.
I’m in the closet. Appx 3 mins
Remember, play along just in case.
Let me dress myself first.
She placed her phone on one of the cabinets and laughed inwardly as she heard it buzz a few more times. How impatient the poor devil was. She slipped into a thin, satin nightgown trimmed with lace that exposed most of her back. That was hardly what she would have called lingerie, but she still had a job to do, and it would suffice. She took the pins out of her hair, brushed it, and let it fall over her bare shoulders. A spray of perfume would do nicely, as well. She didn’t want to overdo it, but she applied a touch of liner and lipstick for a reaction from Mr. Holmes. Oh no, she wasn’t doing this part solely for the act.
She mustn’t forget the shawl. Her back was quite attractive, but her right shoulder certainly was not at present.
Her watch was at four minutes past since she had last checked it, and she knew she was ready to make her entrance. She texted:
Here I come
Bursting out of the closet like a queen strutting out onto a balcony before her kingdom, Irene Adler made her way toward the man Klaus Schreiber, who had dropped his cup and looked dead on the floor.
“Ach, mein Gott!” she breathed. “Oh my God!” She dropped to the floor and put her hand to the man’s neck to check his pulse.
At that moment, Sherlock opened the door to the room with a pair of handcuffs and a suitcase of immense proportions.
“Well done, Ms Adler,” Sherlock hurriedly announced, grabbing the man’s arms and pulling them behind his back.
“I know,” she asserted, looking into his face to see if he noticed her freshly painted face.
“What did you give him?”
“Small dose of ketamine. Works like a charm. Always has. We have about four hours at most, I’d say…before he comes to. An hour at the least.”
“You’ve used it before?”
“Of course. Loads of times.”
“Help me pack him into this,” Sherlock uttered, zipping open the suitcase. Irene seized the man’s shoulders and Sherlock picked up his feet. Together, they lugged him into the baggage. He fit snugly. If he were to wake, he would have been incredibly claustrophobic.
They zipped it closed.
“Let’s go,” Sherlock commanded, setting the suitcase upright and leaning on the handle. “And do put on something decent,” he scoffed. “I have a feeling it’s not exactly customary to wear lingerie in the streets of Berlin.”
Annoyance clouded her thoughts.
“It’s not lingerie, Mr. Holmes. But it can be if you want it to be,” she replied, strutting up to him and leaning on his arm.
“Please,” he breathed in exasperation, rolled his eyes, and looked towards the door.
Without another word, she stomped back toward the closet and changed into a blue dress. She wrapped herself in her favorite fur coat and slipped on her black heels.
Sherlock was holding the door open with his foot when she returned.
She positioned herself directly in front of his face and slapped her hand on the door to block his path.
“Someday, you will want it to be,” she retorted, defiantly staring into his face with determination. Sherlock met her gaze without flinching. Without taking her eyes off his, she spoke.
“But there’s more important things to do now,” she said, turning around and marching out of the room.
They waited for the elevator in complete silence.
The elevator came.
They reached the first floor. He offered her his arm. She took it with a triumphant smirk on her face. Better than nothing, she decided.
Sherlock rolled the suitcase behind him as they walked out towards the front doors and ordered a taxi. Irene held his arm.
They waited on the street in silence for nearly ten minutes before a taxi arrived. Sherlock opened the door for Irene. She climbed in while he put their luggage in the trunk. He followed in after her and shut the door.
“Wohin?” the driver asked, addressing Sherlock. “Whereto?”
“Kotti,” Sherlock replied. The driver stared at Irene with angst, then turned his back and began to drive.
“You sure you want to take the lady there at this time of night, sir?”
“Fahren, bitte.” Sherlock coldly responded. “Drive, please.”
He shut the window between the front and backseats. The driver didn’t even stir.
“Kottbusser Tor…. My, my, what have you gotten me into, Mr. Holmes?”
Kottbusser Tor was a district known to most Berliners as the sketchiest place in the city. The train station in particular, which was termed “Kotti” by the locals, was home to pickpockets, murderers, and some of Berlin’s craftiest criminal minds.
“There’s an apartment complex in the neighborhood where the terrorists have settled. I’ve already informed my brother of the location. Their leader is in the trunk. We have them under our thumbs.”
“I’m sure Mr. Holmes the elder will be pleased to see the dominatrix back from the dead. Believe it or not, he flattered me more than you ever did. What was it he said of me? ‘The dominatrix who brought a nation to its knees.’ How true. That was a line I intended to put on my website before things went to hell with my camera phone.”
“My brother knows nothing of your existence, so I prefer you let me approach that topic if it arises.”
“If? You must allow me at least a little bit of room to misbehave, Mr. Holmes. It’s no fun surprising someone when you can’t see their reaction to the surprise.”
“Misbehaving comes with consequences, Miss Adler.”
“Only if you get caught, Mr. Holmes,” she whispered in his ear.
He kept his head straight, but eyed her out of the corner of his eye with what looked to be annoyance. She, on the other hand, was simpering slyly. She saw that the moment was too good to miss, so she pecked his cold cheek while she was at it.
Sherlock said nothing.
The car stopped at Kotti station five minutes later. The drive had taken no time at all before they arrived. Despite the hour being so late, Kottbusser Tor was still a hub of activity. Sherlock thanked the driver and hauled their luggage out of the trunk.
After she took his arm again, Sherlock led Irene across the street and down Adalbertstraße toward an Indian restaurant that appeared to be closed for the night. Sherlock, however, had a key, and explained that the men they were looking for lived above the establishment.
“You may need this,” Sherlock noted, revealing a handgun he pulled from the front pocket of the suitcase. He gestured for her to take it.
She eyed him with an injured expression.
“Surely you don’t think me that stupid, Mr. Holmes,” she replied, reaching into her purse and revealing a revolver of her own.
“Oh, you do mean to impress tonight, don’t you?” Sherlock asked, pleased by her own cleverness. Irene did not respond, but smiled at her own intuition.
“Common sense. That’s all, really. Shall we go in?”
“Yes. Just a minute. This way…” his voice trailed off as she trotted after him towards the alley behind the restaurant.
“Can’t attract attention, and I need to send a text.”
“Ah, of course.”
He tapped send and pocketed his phone.
“When will he get here?” Irene inquired, examining her nails by the light of a nearby streetlamp.
“Any moment,” Sherlock whispered, scanning the alleyway for potential threats.
“Ah, another dragon slain,” crowed a familiar, supercilious voice.
“Evening, Mycroft,” Sherlock replied, advancing toward the figure sauntering down the alley, an umbrella in hand.
“Rather slow, aren’t we brother mine? Two days longer than the last one. I hope you haven’t let yourself become distracted.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t call myself much of a distraction, would you, Mr. Holmes?”
Irene stepped out of the shadows and stood with haughty triumph beside Sherlock.
“No, I don’t think so. The word I would use is nuisance,” Mycroft replied, his words horribly salty.
“No surprises then? You…knew?” Sherlock asked, seemingly having suspected this reaction from his brother.
“Of course I bloody knew. How stupid do you find me?” Mycroft retorted, a forced smile splitting his pale face.
“Just a little,” Sherlock responded. Mycroft’s smile twitched into a frown resembling a bent pipe cleaner. He was not amused at his brother’s sarcasm.
“Hilarious,” he breathed, huffing in annoyance. “Now, if you don’t mind returning to the matter at hand, we have much more important things to do.”
“I agree,” Irene piped up, standing akimbo, her eyes wide with enthusiasm.
“Let’s not waste time on trivialities, little brother,” Mycroft scolded.
Sherlock refused to be ordered.
“No, how did you know, and what have you done about it? And why would you make John go through all that trouble of telling me she was in a ‘witness protection scheme in America?’”
“I did not know immediately of her ‘rescue,’ but I was sent some sensitive information from my informants in Kiev about six months later that she was, in fact, alive. You can imagine how stupid I felt.”
“Vividly,” Sherlock replied.
Mycroft’s lips twitched again.
“So, we gave her work to do. I brought her in. She’s much too dangerous to have against us, so I ‘recruited’ her, in every sense of the word. She’s been running little errands for me these last few years.”
“Ah,” Sherlock breathed, glancing at the woman.
“That’s why you wouldn’t tell me your business in Berlin. You’re working for” (here he turned to Mycroft) “the British Government.”
“Precisely,” she sighed, as if waiting for him to arrive at that obvious conclusion.
“I thought it was about time for a heartwarming little reunion…eh, Sherlock?” Mycroft teased, standing as if there was sand in his trousers.
“Don’t be absurd,” Sherlock retorted, turning his head and letting his eyes tip upward in perturbation.
“Have you got our infamous Herr Schreiber, then? I hope Miss Adler’s charms proved useful to you,” Mycroft replied, examining the tip of his umbrella with a preoccupied air.
“Yes, we do,” Irene asserted, taking the suitcase from Sherlock’s possession and sliding it towards him. “And yes, I think they did,” Irene added, returning to her place beside Sherlock and sliding her hands around his arm.
Mycroft took the suitcase from the handle with the tips of his fingers, just as if it had been a dirty piece of underwear.
“Inside, of course,” Irene finished for him.
“Just so,” Mycroft concluded. Zipping open the case and spying a few facial features, he wrinkled his nose and zipped it closed just as quickly as he had opened it.
He put his phone to his ear after dialing a number.
“Yes. The suitcase is ready to be boarded, that’s certain. Thank you.”
Irene cocked her head in interest.
“Who was that?”
He eyed her suspiciously.
“Let’s wake up Sleeping Beauty, shall we?” Mycroft asked, ignoring Irene’s question entirely. “You do the honors, Miss Adler.”
Irene’s heels clacked on the asphalt as she strode toward the suitcase, knelt down, and zipped it open. She motioned at Sherlock to help her.
“Rise and shine, big boy,” she cooed, close to the sleeping German’s ear.
“He might not come to. I gave him a small dose, but he might be out for a few more hours. Unless we try harder—” she smacked him across the face. Then she pommeled his face into her knee. She plugged his nose and covered his mouth.
He gasped for breath. He was definitely awake now.
“Get the gag, Mr. Holmes,” Irene ordered Sherlock. He produced a handkerchief from his pocket.
“Morning, dear,” Irene breathed, tying the gag around the man’s head. He was still groggy, but he eyed her with a furious glare.
“Sie Hure!” he spat. “You whore!”
“No one likes a spoil sport, Herr Schreiber,” she replied, tightening the knot at the back of his head with gusto. It was then that he realized his hands were tied.
“I’ll take it from here, Miss Adler,” Mycroft interfered, taking the man’s handcuffed wrists and standing him upright.
“Und verfluche dich!” he screamed at Sherlock through his gag. “And curse you!”
“You had it coming, Herr Schreiber. Thanks for dinner last week.”
The man’s eyes were bleeding hate. Two men came jogging up the alley, both in black suits and dark glasses. They took Schreiber by his arms and took him back toward the Indian restaurant Sherlock and Irene had passed. There were men clad in bullet proof vests all around, sporting guns. A helicopter hovered overhead and shone its light into the window of the apartment.
A magnified voice filled the air. “Show yourselves! You are surrounded!”
Someone peeked through the curtains of the apartment. Irene was watching the scene when Sherlock grabbed her wrist.
“Naughty boy; what are you—?” she didn’t finish. Irene was being pulled along after Sherlock at a mad dash.
A man had just jumped out of the side window and no one had been there to guard that exit. The other exits were surrounded, but not this one.
“Someone get that window!” Sherlock hollered, and two men came running. Irene’s heels clapped the floor as she ran alongside him. They could see the criminal up ahead, sprinting for his life.
“STOP!” Sherlock yelled, taking out his gun. Irene was quicker.
A gunshot split the air.
The man clutched at his calf. His hand was bloody.
“Good shot,” Sherlock said through pants for air.
“Yes, it was, wasn’t it?” she replied, also breathing heavily.
They ran towards him, and Sherlock seized his wrists. He was not strong enough. The man jerked his hands from Sherlock’s grasp and pulled Irene’s leg out from under her and twisted her foot around deliberately in an attempt to sprain it. She fell on her back.
She moaned as her back hit the floor.
“Aghh!” She arched her back, her weight in her elbows. It was as if she was afraid for her shoulders to touch the ground. She put her hand on the asphalt to steady herself. Sherlock looked at her curiously and held out his hand.
She smacked it and tried to stand. Her twisted ankle wouldn’t hold weight. She took his hand with reluctance.
“Bad back, is it?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I did just fall on hard asphalt, Mr. Holmes; I would think crying out upon impact is a mere reflex, not a symptom of a bad back,” she hissed.
“Here,” he said, sitting her down on the asphalt. “Let me get to him.”
She sat down and held her ankle in her hand. It was maddening to prove useless.
Sherlock sat on top of him and held his hands behind his back. A man came running from the crime scene they had left behind. He handed Sherlock a pair of handcuffs.
“Alles gut?” Sherlock asked him. “All good?”
“Ja,” the man replied. The mission had been a success.
The agent took the rogue in his custody and returned with him to the crime scene.
Irene rubbed her ankle and winced. The truth was, it had never really been sprained. The man had indeed attempted to twist it, but that had been all; a mere attempt. She decided to use this stroke of luck to her advantage.
Sherlock helped her to her foot and she put her arm around his shoulder. He held her up and she hopped back toward the crime scene.
Men were being hauled away in black cars, and curious pajama-clad civilians were coming to watch. Mycroft spotted them returning and strutted over, once more swinging his umbrella and leaning on it like a cane.
“The dragons slayer returns; this time with the lady,” Mycroft sarcastically stated.
“Oh, shut up,” Sherlock barked. He was not in the mood.
“I need to get Miss Adler back to her hotel room. She—,” Sherlock was cut short.
“She what? Please don’t tell me you have things planned, brother mine.” He made a few “tut tut” noises with his tongue.
“Again, shut up!” Sherlock was irate. His breathing was a sure sign of his inner exasperation. Irene stroked his shoulder. It felt nice.
“She sprained her ankle. It needs medical attention.”
“She can’t get ‘medical attention.’ Don’t be daft, Sherlock.” Mycroft rebuked.
“Which, if you were listening, is why I told you I need to get her back to the hotel room. Who’s daft now, brother dear?”
“Boys, please; save it for the schoolyard.” Irene leaned harder on Sherlock. She had an injured limb and needed some well-deserved attention! God, men were so thoughtless.
“Come along, Miss Adler,” he said, carrying her towards the curb where they could get a cab. Mycroft taunted after them, “Enjoy your…evening.”
Sherlock hailed a cab as it drove by, and they clambered inside. He made sure he kept all pressure or obstructions from her foot. He wanted to humor her performance. He wasn’t stupid either, and he knew a faked sprain when he saw it. She acted it well, but he was too clever.
“God, it hurts,” Irene winced, pulling her heel off and rubbing her soles.
“I should think so, the way the man twisted it,” Sherlock replied, examining her naked foot. He reached out to touch it, but she drew it away. Yes, she was faking.