Archchancellor Ridcully glanced briefly up at the two figures at the top of the Tower of Art. Silly buggers,he thought, if they don’t get down soon one of them’s going to fall. Sure enough, a moment later a man came tumbling down to the ground from the Tower. The dark-haired man’s broken body lay motionless on the ground.
“Er, Archchancellor,” said Ponder Stibbons, running over to him, “I think there’s a dead man by the Tower.”
“Yes, I saw him fall. I should think he’s dead.”
“Right, so, what do we do about it?”
“Not much we can do, he’s dead.”
“Yes, but what about the body? We can’t leave it there.”
“Very well. Call the Watch, they can get rid of it.”
“Right, sir. Of course.”
“Archchancellor Ridcully,” asked Captain Carrot, “You were there when he fell off the Tower?”
“No, you weren’t there?”
“No, he didn’t fall. He jumped. I saw him.”
“You’re sure? The Tower of Art is very tall... Are you sure he wasn’t pushed?”
“No, I saw him jump. Say, what happened to the other fellow up there?”
“There was someone else up there?”
“Yes, walking around with him.”
“They found another bloke at the top of the tower,” said the troll, walking over, “Dead, too.”
“How did he die?”
“Suicide,” answered Corporal Littlebottom, appearing as if from nowhere, “Like the other guy.”
“A double suicide?”
“Looks like it, yes, sir.”
“Who are these people?” asked the Archchancellor, “And why were they on my Tower? It’s not on, people going around killing themselves in my University.”
“The one who jumped is that detective bloke,” said Detritus, “That one what was always helping us.”
“Sherlock Holmes?” asked Carrot, “But why would he kill himself?”
Suddenly, John arrived, shoving past the other Watch members to reach Captain Carrot.
“What happened?” he asked, “Where’s Sherlock?”
“I’m sorry,” replied Carrot, “But he’s dead.”
“What? No! He can’t be!”
“He jumped off the Tower of Art. I’m so sorry.”
“But... But... Why?”
John wiped away the lone tear rolling down his cheek and stared helplessly at the Captain.
“I don’t know,” he replied, “But I promise we’ll find out for you.”
“Here we are at last,” said Moriarty, standing on top of the Tower of Art, “You and me, Sherlock. And our problem. The Final Problem. Have you worked out what it is yet?”
Sherlock was silent, walking across the roof towards him.
“Staying alive. So boring, isn’t it? Just... staying.”
“I can kill you. I can destroy Rich Brook. Bring back Moriarty.”
Moriarty just laughed.
“You can’t. You won’t.”
Sherlock watched him silently.
“I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in you, ordinary Sherlock.”
“But the code-”
“There is no code! No machine.”
“How did I break in? To all those places? I don’t need a machine! Just a wizard.”
“I knew you’d fall for it. That’s your weakness, you always want everything to be clever. Now, shall we finish the game? One final act. Glad you chose a tall building. Nice way to do it.”
“Do- Do what?”
A sudden expression of realisation passed over Sherlock’s face.
“Yes, of course. My suicide.” His voice was resigned.
“Genius detective proved to be a fraud. I read it in the papers so it must be true. I love newspapers. Fairy tales.”
“I can still prove that you created a false identity.”
“Oh, just kill yourself, it’s a lot less effort.”
Sherlock paced, breathing heavily, as if desperately searching for a way out. Suddenly, he turned and grabbed Moriarty, pushing him up against the edge of the Tower. Far below, Mustrum Ridcully gazed on in amazement.
“You’re just getting that now?”
Sherlock pushed him closer to the edge.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Okay, let me give you a little extra incentive. Your friends will die if y don’t.”
“Not just John. Everyone.”
“Mrs Hudson. Commander Vimes.”
“Everyone. Three assassins. Three victims. There’s no stopping them now. Unless my people see you jump.”
Sherlock stared blankly at him, barely listening, trying to take it in.
“You can have me arrested, you can torture me, but nothing’s going to stop them dying. Unless...”
“Unless I kill myself.”
“And I die in disgrace.”
“Well, of course, that’s the point of this.”
Moriarty glanced down at the Archchancellor.
“Oh, look, you’ve got an audience now.”
Sherlock stepped slowly closer to the edge.
“I told you how this ends,” said Moriarty as he climbed onto the battlements, “Your death is the only thing that calls off the assassins. I’m certainly not going to do it.”
“Will you give me one moment, please?”
Moriarty walked away, across the roof of the Tower. He walked as Sherlock stood, perhaps preparing himself for the jump. And then he was giggling. Moriarty spun around, shouting.
“What? What did I miss?”
“You’re not going to do it. So the assassins can be called off. I don’t have to die if I’ve got you.”
“Oh, you think you can make me stop the order?”
“Your big brother and all Vetinari’s men couldn’t make me do a thing. What makes you think you can?”
“I’m not my brother. I’m you. Prepared to do anything. Prepared to burn.”
“No, you’re ordinary. You’re on the side of the angels.”
“I may be on the side of the angels but don’t think for a second that I am one.”
“No,” said Moriarty, leaning in closer and scanning Sherlock’s face as if the answer was written behind his eyes, “You’re not. You’re not ordinary. You’re me. Thank you. Sherlock Holmes.”
He shook Sherlock’s hand, saying thank you again.
“As long as I’m alive, you can save your friends. Well, good luck with that.”
He pulled out a miniature crossbow and shot himself in the head, through the roof of his mouth. Blood pooled across the rooftop as his body collapsed, and Sherlock leapt away from him. He breathed quickly, staring around him, looking for a way out. There was none. He couldn’t even say goodbye to John. Slowly, he climbed back onto the battlements, and threw himself off of the Tower as the Archchancellor looked on in mild surprise. His broken body lay in a heap at the bottom of the tower. Sherlock Holmes, the great detective, was dead.