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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 others panicked, some drawing their swords. 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.

"Run!" Sherlock shouted.

Without another glance, she seized the sword of the dead man beside her, sprang lithely to her feet and sprinted into a dark alley to shroud herself from gunfire.

The word "run" was undoubtedly code of some sort, for as soon as Sherlock had yelled it, shots erupted from the rooftops, mowing down the antagonists 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. She rounded another corner, eyes darting this way and that. Holding the sword aloft, she caught her breathed and leaned back against the wall. Additionally, the dark color of her hijab 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 peeked around the corner. 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 the clever detective without his funny hat. He walked briskly, eyes darting to and fro. 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: "around the corner."

Sherlock stopped, read the text, deleted it, walked a few paces, and then squinted in her general direction.

She recognized the moment when he caught sight of her, his eyes sharpening in recognition.

"Hiding?" he asked, his voice remarkably salty.

"Only when I have to. But never when I'm asked," she spat, that fiery spark igniting her words.

She freed her hair from the hijab she'd been holding it in, and the 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," Sherlock complained, jerking his own covering from his head to expose his face and a 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? Did he even know why he was here? 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.

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