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Madness and Memory

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He was standing on a roof. He knew this place. He had been here before, but this time there would be no magic tricks, no clever optical illusion of lines of sights and different level roof tops to jump between; no lorry-full of air bags to drop into, and no homeless network to orchestrate his escape at the bottom.

There would be no escape at all this time, only silence and peace and a way to finally, finally stop the voices and the pain and the darkness.

The voices in his head were deafening. Dimly he was aware that stopping the haloperidol had probably been foolish, but the numbness, the emptiness had been more than he could bear. The voices gave him a focus, something to argue against, something other than the mess inside his own head and the memories of his father and the outbuilding and the pain. His father's voice was the predominant one now, but at least the insults had stopped. His voice was softer now, almost caring, telling him that this was the only option, the only way to stop this, that it was kinder to both John and Kate, to stop burdening them with the responsibility of looking after him; that he was broken beyond repair, and that his choice was simple - a lifetime of pain and dependence, or oblivion. The answer seemed obvious. Kate and John would be upset, of course, it was only logical, but the message that he had left on his phone made it clear that he absolved them of any and all responsibility. This choice was his and his alone. Better a short period of grieving for both of them now than a lifetime tied to a broken shell of a man, unable to walk away, unable to live their own lives.

He was not afraid of death, and he knew how to fall after all, he had spent long enough studying it in the past. He knew how to fall in order to survive. A simple reversal of the facts told him exactly how to fall to ensure that survival would be impossible. Now all that he had to do was jump. It was logical, entirely logical, so why now that he was here, why was it so very difficult to stand on that ledge and to do what he had been planning to do for days?

He walked up to the ledge, standing with the toes of his shoes pressed up against it and looked out over the lights of London. His city, he knew every inch of it. Every street, every alley, every bus lane. He could tell you the twists and turns of every tube line, could make his way round any of them blindfolded. He knew the intimate details of the Thames as it wound its way through this ancient city. Every bridge, every muddy beach, every boat and their usual mooring. His city, it was appropriate that his end should come at the very heart of it.

He knew with absolute conviction that what he was about to do was his only option. Logic dictated it, his fathers voice reinforced it, but there was another voice now, drowning out the others. Calm, gentle. It said simply, 'No, Sherlock,' and 'I love you,' over and over again. Kate.

He frowned, his certainty suddenly wavering as he remembered her; what it felt like to hold her in his arms; to have him in his bed; to wake up next to her, and watch her sleeping face; to provoke her to anger, simply for the joy of hearing the clarity of her arguments, so clear, so incisive. To see the joy in her face when he arrived to meet up from work unexpectedly; to know beyond all doubt that he was loved, that he mattered, that he was accepted.

'For you,' he told her silently,'I'm doing this for you.'

'No,' she replied, 'You're doing it for yourself. I thought that you were brave, Sherlock, I never thought that you would take the coward's way out.'

Then as he stepped back from the ledge and sank in a sobbing heap against the wall of the staircase, suddenly lost, her voice over and over again, saying, 'No Sherlock,' and 'I love you,' all over again.

Time and place had narrowed to this roof and this hour of the night. Three am, when the body's cortisol levels are lowest, when sleep is deepest, when the most deaths occur in those already occupying the twilight world between life and death. A huddled shape in a dark coat, lost among the shadows of the rooftop, almost invisible. Cold, alone, suffering, wanting desperately to stop the pain, to stop the voices.

Everything that he was, everything that he had happened to him had brought him to this place and this decision. The voices, his past and logic left him with only one possible course of action, but against that, one small calm voice in the storm was stopping him from doing what he must, and yet all of his conviction was unable to stand against it. And so he sat, huddled down in his coat on that rooftop, waiting for certainty or the dawn, whichever came first.