Sherlock shivered as the damp air of the dark corridor hit him. He wrapped his arms around himself as he stepped out of the room. It was nearly two in the morning, and after another case of not being able to fall asleep he had finally settled for taking a walk.
The month of April snuck up on him, and that night he was hit with the realization that he had already been here for four months. Little had been accomplished, and each day he wondered why he stayed.
Irene drifted in and out of the picture…and in and out of his room. Some days she barely spoke to him, while others she refused to leave his side. She would wonder into his room without a word and sit next to him, knees curled to her chest, and she would sit in silence. For hours.
She fascinated him and frustrated him all at the same time.
When he reached the kitchens on the bottom floor he was surprised to see that a light was on. Abrams was there, making tea. She looked up and their eyes met. It had been weeks since they'd spoken, and she was more foreign to him than ever.
"Would you like some tea?" She asked.
They lingered by the counter without speaking. He welcomed the warmth of the tea as he considered all he had been wanting to- but hadn't dared- asking her.
"You and Irene seem close," Abrams said. He stopped, his mug of tea frozen in mid-air. She smiled, slyly. "Careful, that. Wouldn't want you to get hurt."
"We just talk," he lied.
"Sure," Abrams smirked. "You just talk, all night. I see her sneak into your room."
He studied her, taking in the bags under her eyes and her skin, which was much paler than it had been four months ago.
"You've changed," he noted.
"You're very quiet," she replied.
"I'm just wondering what the point of being here is," he admitted.
Over the last two months nothing more had come out of finding the notebook. Sherlock led them in a few bank robberies, for "funding", which always seemed to result in nothing.
"Revolution always involves in a lot of waiting," she said.
"Or you're being to doubt them yourself."
She didn't reply.
"You and Irene, did you know each other before all this?" She asked.
He considered for a moment telling her the truth, but when it came to Irene he found himself desperately wanting to keep anything having to do with her a secret.
"Then you do not know about her," she said. "She…let's say, gets around."
Sherlock couldn't help but to laugh.
"And how do you know?"
Abrams smiled sadly, her eyes lost in some far away memory. He realized the reaction made him uncomfortable.
"We met once before," she said. "I'm not too proud of it. I feel like I should warn you, Sherlock. She breaks hearts. Whatever you think may be happening between you two, it's not."
No wonder Abrams had been so quiet, he realized. Being around Irene must be making her even more uncomfortable than he was.
"I just thought I should warn you," she said.
"Thanks," he muttered, "but I'm fine on my own."
"I always had the impression that you were- oh my god!"
She grabbed his hand and pointed towards the entrance to the kitchen. Sherlock turned and was startled to see George stumbling into the kitchens, one hand over his eye and the other wrapped around his waist.
"George?" Abrams asked. "What happened?"
"Bauer," George mumbled.
Abrams forced his hand away from his eye, revealing a thick cut that was bleeding from his brow. She grabbed a towel from the counter and placed it over the wound.
"He tried to kill me," George explained, breathlessly.
He pointed at his stomach. Sherlock carefully peeled away the man's bloodied jacket to reveal a stab wound. George winced as Sherlock pressed another towel against it.
"Here," Abrams said, placing the towel into George's hand, "Lukas, come help me."
She led him to the freezer, where she began to get some ice.
"Sherlock, there's something you should know," she whispered.
She glared at him, silencing him.
"Julian Bauer was hired by Moriarty to kill John Watson." Sherlock froze, his mind turning to ice as he thought of John, desperately trying to prevent him from jumping. John…suffering in London. "When you jumped, Bauer was ordered by Moran to keep an eye on him, just in case there was a chance you were still alive. He's been following him ever since. The fact that he's turned up here…it means Moran knows where you are."
Sherlock stared at her, a million thoughts racing through his mind. He couldn't help but to think of what Abrams said about Irene but…no. He refused to lose his trust in her that easily.
"I've got to go," he announced.
"Make sure Noe doesn't know I'm gone."
"Noe…knows," George muttered.
Their heads turns towards him, and Sherlock panicked, worried that he heard them.
"Wants him alive," George continued, "that's why I went out. Wants to interrogate him…"
Sherlock turned to leave, shoving Abrams away when he reached out to stop him. Once he was outside let out a breath of air. A few shady looking passersby glanced at him, looking just as skeptical of him as he was of them.
He took off running down the street, stopping at an alleyway to take out his gun. Just as he did his mobile went off.
"Hello?" He answered, with a shaky breath.
"Fifth street," Irene breathed, "alley."
As soon as she hung up he took off running. Fifth was only a few blocks away. Bauer was close- too close. Sherlock arrived there within minutes, gun already drawn. He didn't lower his weapon, even as Irene Adler came into view.
It was the first time he'd seen her in two weeks, and the sight of her made him froze. Irene smirked, well aware of the effect she had on him.
"I thought you should be the one to decide what to do with him," Irene said, her heels clicking as she circled around the man who lay on the ground. "Though I have to warn you-"
"Noe wants him alive," Sherlock finished.
He stepped forward, admiring Irene's work. The man on the ground was waking from unconsciousness. A nasty bruise was around his eye. Both his arm and leg stuck out at odd angles. Two of his fingers looked broken, and his neck was red, as though someone tried to choke him.
"I didn't realize George already broke his arm," Irene said, "now the poor man has a broken leg too."
"It's not nearly enough."
Irene's eyes flashed towards him and illuminated in surprise when he raised his weapon.
"Sherlock!" She exclaimed. "Not yet- George is right, Noe is right."
"They're right?" Sherlock shot. "How do I even know who to trust anymore?"
She looked hurt, but didn't respond.
"I haven't seen you in two weeks," he stated quietly.
"That's sweet," Bauer mumbled.
Sherlock shot him in the leg. He ignored Bauer's scream; his eyes remained glued to Irene's.
"I assure you, I have no idea why he's here," Irene said.
Sherlock turned away from her and looked at the man on the ground. Bauer glared at him as he clutched his leg.
"Devil," Bauer hissed.
Sherlock drew in a deep breath. He knew what he wanted to do, but he couldn't.
But he had to.
"Sherlock-" Irene warned.
"You were sent to kill John Watson," Sherlock said.
"And I should have," Bauer shot, "have you seen him lately? Coward."
Sherlock shot the other leg. Bauer shouted out even louder.
"And some hero his friend is," Bauer continued.
"Sherlock, don't listen to him," Irene pleaded, "he does this, he's just trying to get to you."
"She would know," Bauer commented, his eyes glimmering.
This time Irene pointed her own gun at him but did not shoot. Instead she stepped closer to Sherlock, blocking his view of Bauer.
"You can't kill him," she whispered, "I brought you here because I only thought it was right, but you can't kill him."
She hesitated, gazing at him with desperate eyes. He was disturbed to realize how hot his cheeks burned as their eyes met; his hands trembled slightly.
"Because it's not what you do," she whispered.
"He was sent to kill John," Sherlock said quietly, desperately.
"Yes," she replied, her eyes full of sympathy, "sent by Moriarty. You should see how he and Moran manipulate people."
"Yes, I can see." He instantly regretted saying that as he saw how offended she looked. "I'm sorry."
He heard the distant pounding of footsteps against pavement.
"Noe would have come running the minute George told him where Bauer is," Irene said, "you can't let him see you like this. We've got to keep playing along."
"Why would you bring him here?" Sherlock demanded. "Why, when I can't do anything?"
The footsteps were getting closer.
"I would have killed your friend," Bauer said. "If Moriarty hadn't been such a coward, and if you weren't so damn proud."
Another gunshot went off, and Irene gasped. Sherlock stared at the gun in his hand, now empty of bullets. His fingers trembled madly, so much he dropped his weapon at his feet. Bauer lay silent; dead.
"Sherlock…" Irene said, her voice shaking, "I never should have brought you here."
His eyes flashed towards her.
"It's good you did," he replied coldly. "I can't forget my original mission."
With that his mind snapped. He stumbled forward, landing against the brick wall. This couldn't be real.
He had no idea why he was panicking like this.
"Sherlock," Irene whispered, stepping towards him. She placed a hand on his shoulder, but he couldn't feel it. "You snapped. It's okay."
Sherlock raised his hands to his head, covering his face.
"He was going to kill John," he muttered, "he doesn't even know him, and he- and I'm just the same person." He forced himself to look at the body on the ground; forced himself to face what he had done. "What have I become?"
She raised a hand and placed it gently on his face.
"Your original mission was to protect your friends," she said. "You've been doing that in the only way you know how…but you don't have to. I panicked, when I realized who Bauer was."
"You knew?" He asked her. "You never told me-"
"I know," she whispered, "for this very reason. I've been trying to protect you. You have no idea what these men are capable of."
"They have no idea what I'm capable of."
A sad smile crossed her face.
"Sherlock, Moran's not going to be happy," she said, "and he'll know-"
"What the hell is going on?"
Their heads turned at the sound of Noe's voice, speaking in German. He stormed towards the body on the ground. He stared at it a full moment before turning to both Irene and Sherlock in turn. Sherlock turned and noticed Abrams standing beside Kristoph, looking shaken and ashamed.
Sherlock was frozen. He realized how much Noe could have heard-
Noe took a step towards him.
"You speak English," he said, in English.
His silence was met by the palm of Noe's hand, slapping him hard across the face.
"Do you think this is a game?" Noe shot. "Do you think-"
"Clearly, he doesn't," Irene snapped, stepping towards Noe.
"Sherlock," Noe said, testing the name. "The great Sherlock Holmes, right at my fingertips."
A wicked smile crossed his face.
"Or maybe this isn't so bad after all."
Sherlock stared at him, confused, but he didn't have long to wait. Noe nodded at someone behind him, and before Sherlock could turn around something sharp collided with the back of his head.
He heard Irene scream his name as the world went black.