When He Said 'Run'

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"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. His eyes were all that were visible of his face, but they and the familiarity of his voice said enough.

It was him.

The relief was more than she could bear. One tear tracked a path down her thin face. He had come, and she was saved. She had not the slightest hope or the faintest idea of it, 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 their firing positions in the large, sandy tanks jerked backwards, sniped simultaneously from behind. The other jihadists panicked, some drawing their swords, and others, their machine guns. Sherlock, his sword already raised must have given the others the impression that he was about to sever her head from her shoulders. Instead, he severed the head of the man standing behind him. It fell beside her on the floor, and she raised an eyebrow, eyeing it with an impressed expression.

Except now his cover was blown.

"Run!" Sherlock shouted.

The woman ran. Ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Passing the decapitated man, she seized the sword from his still warm hands and carried it with her.

For luck.

The word "run" was undoubtedly a code as well, for as soon as Sherlock had yelled it, shots erupted from the rooftops, mowing down the terrorists below. Her captors fell to the ground left and right. This had been well-planned.

Swords clashed behind her, slicing through flesh as she sprinted off. Men grunted, shouted, swore. They would be after her soon; she was a wanted criminal.

Once out of the range of fire and after she rounded a few deserted corners, she stopped and looked about her. Spotting a nearby bush, she ran to it and concealed herself inside. The dark color of her burqa would do much to disguise her presence. She hoped.

Once hidden, she had only one thought: Sherlock Holmes.

After what seemed to be an eternity, the far-off noise subsided, and she dared to look up. Bodies lay scattered on the hard-packed earth, only a few still standing. Searching their figures, she chuckled 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, and then squinted in her general direction.

"Do people really hide in bushes like the idiots in stories?" he mused. She recognized the moment when he caught sight of her, his eyes sharpening in recognition.

"Sometimes," she spat, trying to sound annoyed.

Her burqa was quite caught on the branches and it made her efforts to stand fruitless. Sherlock smirked underneath his garbs. The bush had ripped her head covering off, but the rest of her garments were still intact. Her thick, brown tresses fell over her shoulders, something she knew would soften and refine her ordinarily sharp features. 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, jerking the covering from his head, to expose his face and a nest of unruly, raven black hair.

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