The Unfortunate Truth

Part 1

"Are you expecting me to beg?" she asked, her voice shaky with fear when she saw him leave.

"Yes," he admitted, and stopped walking just to savor her impending admission of defeat.

She didn't say anything for a moment. She had been a dominatrix for so long, she had almost forgotten how to submit - but her desperation and her will to live drove her on. Sherlock Holmes was, she knew as well as he, the only man who could save her life, now. "Please," she swallowed hard, forcing herself to continue, "You're right. I won't even last six months."

The honesty in her voice made him turn to her. This was the real Adler then, the Adler without her many masks, still beautiful but so much more vulnerable... He had thought hearing her beg would be a most satisfying conclusion to their game, poetic even, for she had once threatened to make him beg twice. How strange, then, that the expected triumph never quite materialized. He liked winning, he liked being right, but there were no satisfaction in knowing that Irene Adler was going to die because for once in her life she made the elementary mistake of falling in love.

If he was a man with a mind that would allow his heart to feel more, a man like John Watson, perhaps, he might have walked back to her side and comforted her - But he was not.

The best he could offer her was an apology. "Sorry about dinner," he told her before walking out the doors.

Sherlock was composing music again, except instead of the sad melodic score he wrote back when he thought Adler was dead, now his music was loud and angry. John had tolerated with the noise – three full days – but enough was enough.

"It's nearly eleven, don't you think it's time for something quieter?" As expected, Sherlock ignored him, so John tried again. "You may not need sleep, but I do." No response – but John was determined and decided to be more direct, "What happened that night with you and Adler, anyway?" By the time he returned to the apartment that night, Sherlock was already composing that horrid song. Adler was the obvious inspiration of the song. "If I don't know better..."

The music stopped abruptly. "I do not miss that woman, and before you ask, I am fine."

"I didn't say you -"

"As for your earlier question, the woman tricked me," Sherlock interrupted as he put down his violin, "But she made a mistake and I won the game."

Winning, John assumed, meant Sherlock had managed to unlock the phone. John wondered what sort of mistake a woman like Irene Adler could make. "What did you do with the phone"

"I gave it to Mycroft."

John considered the implications. The phone was, as Irene Adler had said, her life. Without it... Did Sherlock just knowingly sent the woman to her grave? "What will she do now without her protection?"

"I don't know," Sherlock said just before he retreated to his room and slammed his bedroom door shut, "But she won't last six months."

The most likely culprit for Sherlock's mood, as John analyzed later, was resentment for Irene Adler. The evidence was there: Sherlock would not refer to that woman by her name, and he had just striped her of the one thing that was keeping her alive. In the end, Sherlock was a proud man that coule not stand being outwitted and Irene Adler had done just that - It all seemed logical enough.

Irene Adler found out at a young age how different she was from the others, how her mind operated at a different level, and how easily she could manipulate the rest at will. When her parents died and left her with nothing, she began using people as tools to get what she wanted, at first because she had to, later because she could. But as with anyone else who could see and remember everything, she was cursed with boredom and loneliness. Money, power, and sex all had diminishing returns, after a while, everything always turned monotonous.

Perhaps, that was why she began to do naughty things, having people fear her was more interesting than having them complacent. But when even that was not enough, she became involved with dangerous people, those that would seek vengeance, those that would want her dead. Being one step ahead of the big bad governments and criminal organizations of the world challenged her, kept her engaged and amused.

She knew very well she had no one but herself to blame for her current predicament.

Sherlock Holmes simply sped up the inevitable.

The risk was clear from the beginning. She knew Sherlock was just the sort of man that could best her if she was not careful. What she did not anticipate was just how easy it was to fall in love with him. Sherlock was right when he said sentiment was a weakness. She understood that, she had always been careful in not getting involved with messy feelings. But Sherlock was no normal man, and when she first noticed her own attachment she panicked and faked her own death. She would forget him, she told herself, but how? It was a horrible ending to a game: unresolved with no winners. It took her weeks, months, but one day she came to the realization that the prospect of finishing their game of cat and mouse was the sort of fun worth dying young for. Sherlock was worth dying young for.

When you play with fire there was always a chance of being burned – and oh, Sherlock was very, very hot indeed.

He saw traces of her in the news: a car crash in Wales involving two empty taxis, a bombing at an empty dining hall in Germany, a drive-by shooting on the streets of Romania... the list went on, all of them connected by the single piece of jewellery left behind in each crime scene. She was leaving him a breadcrumb trail, a puzzle of sort, he realized, and he could not help but be impressed by the fact she was interesting enough to do this while running for her life.

Even a triple murder at a house with windows and doors blocked from the inside could not keep the woman from his mind. It made him uneasy, and if he was more honest with himself, scared. He had won their little game and walked away. He was supposed to forget her and move on to something new and exciting, but every time he thought he had, there she was again.

Two months after losing her protection, Adler was still on the run. She was far too good to be caught before then, but Sherlock knew from the increasing frequency of the incidents that her enemies were catching up with her.

The unfortunate truth, he slowly came to accept, was that just as her death was becoming imminent; he was increasingly convinced that the world is better with her living in it.

A/N: I love how they portrayed Adler and Sherlock's relationship In Sherlock S2E1 – I practically screamed when I heard the ringtone after Adler closed her eyes, resigned to die. I did not expect to see Sherlock travelling all the way to Karachi to save her – but he did and I am now totally sold on the pairing.

This story has 2 parts. I am hoping to post part two during the weekend. This is probably the fastest I have ever written anything.

And finally, please review! I love to hear from fellow Sherlock/Adler fans.