“the long road” (part i/?)
“Is it very far?” Irene asks Sherlock as they sprint away from the remains of the terrorist group that had been about to execute her. Technically, they weren’t the Islamic extremists they called themselves, but a terroristic team assembled by James Moriarty on behalf of several governments who wanted Irene Adler interrogated, tortured, and executed. Going by how she’s hobbling and how she winces when Sherlock tries to wrap an arm around her shoulder to steady her, they succeeded at the torture, if not at the execution.
“Not far now,” he says. “Stay with me.”
She nods. Her large eyes are unfocused and distant, staring out into the dark night. “I think I hurt my ankle—” Her voice is matter-of-fact, detached. “—I did, but now I can hardly feel it.”
“Adrenaline.” Shock as well, possibly, but he doesn’t want to worry her. “We’re almost there. I brought a friend of yours.”
“Oh.” She sounds puzzled, as if she can’t imagine who he’d bring. Surely she noticed that a sniper was making quick work of most of the terrorists? Only a few men around London with that specific skill set.
Victor Trevor, a mutual associate (of sorts), meets them at the Jeep. When he sees Irene limping, he begins fussing over her terribly. He’s tenderer with her than Sherlock could ever be, and he helps her into the back seat and straps her in, stroking her hair, lowering his voice, kissing her forehead. Her eyelashes flutter in response.
“I don’t understand why you’re being so kind to me,” she says dreamily. “Reminds me of a line from a play, ‘I’ve always depended upon the kindness of strangers.’ A Streetcar Named Desire, that’s it. Everyone remembers the movie now. Marlon Brando. I suppose it’s…”
She trails off. Sherlock shifts uneasily. Victor says, “We’re hardly strangers.”
Irene presses her lips together. “You’ll have to forgive me, then,” she says, resting her head back against the seat, closing her eyes. “I’m having a great deal of trouble placing your faces.”
Victor looks at Sherlock. Sherlock just stares at Irene, realizing that this rescue operation might be far more complicated than they thought.