There are no lights in any direction; I can’t even see the outline of the door that I was dragged through. I press a hand against my head. Wait, wait, wait. Who was it? Who pulled me into the room? I search my brain for an answer but all I get in response is a roaring headache. Whoever it was, it doesn’t matter. What I really need to do is get out of here. Sherlock would know what to do. He’d get out of this mess in no time. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted that man’s company more. But how
God, I’m thick.
I pull my cellphone from my pocket and flick it open, immediately tapping his name. It rings twice before he picks up. I can hear his breath over the phone, but he doesn’t say anything. “Sherlock,” I say, “are you okay?” His voice cracks as he responds, barely audible. “Turn around and walk back the way you came.”
I pause a moment, shocked. Then angry. I am not going to leave him inside this place while I wait helplessly in the car. I have to find that door. “No, I’m coming in.” I can hear him swallow, and I imagine his face tense with frustration. “Just...” he starts, sucking in a breath of air. “Do as I ask. Please.” Still at a loss, I turn around and find a door directly in front of me. I open it and step out into the cool air. People walk past on the street, but I still can’t locate the detective. “Where?” I ask. “Stop there,” he commands, but he sounds weak. My chest tightens in fear. “Sherlock.”
“Okay,” he says, trying to erase the tremor in his voice. “Look up. I’m on the rooftop.”
No. No, this is not possible. I’ve already gone through this once. Not again. Please, God, not again.
I reluctantly look upwards the sky, and I see him on the very edge of The World’s End roof. “Oh God,” I breathe. “I, I,” he stumbles. “I can’t come down so I’ll just have to do it like this.” I dig my free hand into my leg, the nails creating such a pain that convinces me that this isn’t a dream. I want to scream to him, to go to him, because I know how this is going to end, but I can’t. My feet won’t move and my mouth isn’t responding to my brain. This thing, it’s like it’s following the Saint Bart’s fall to the letter.
“What’s going on?” I ask, but I already know what’s coming next. “An apology,” he says, his voice cracking with emotion. “It’s all true.” I shake my head. “What?” The pause is even longer this time; he’s gathering up his strength to tell the lie that will be plastered all over the papers for months after his death. “Everything they said about me,” he says, pained, and then his breath hitches and the next few words come out in a rush: “I invented Moriarty.”
I know it’s not true, I know this can’t be real, but my head reels with confusion the same way it did the first time. “Why are you saying this?” I reply, even though I already know exactly why.
“I’m a fake.”
Those words. Those three little words. Apart from his goodbye, those three words hit me the hardest. And it hurts even more the second time. I know that he’ll keep up this act, that he’ll say he’s lied the entire time, but my faith, before, now, and forever, will always be in him. No matter what, I will never believe that he told me a lie.
“Sherlock---” I start, hoping to persuade him. “The newspapers were right all along,” he says, cutting me off. “I want you to tell Lestrade, I want you to tell Mrs. Hudson and Molly. In fact, tell anyone who will listen to you. That I created Moriarty for my own purposes.” I can see from where I’m standing a single tear slip from the corner of his eye. Before the jump at Saint Bart’s, I’d never seen him cry. And it killed me. I didn’t realize until a year and a half of therapy had gone by that he’d been crying not because he had to die, but because he knew how badly it would hurt me. I look up at him again, pain rushing through my body and taking hold of my heart. “Okay, shut up, Sherlock,” I try firmly. “Shut up. The first time we met----” My voice catches but before I break I have to finish. “The first time we met, you knew all about my sister, right?” A mournful laugh escapes between his lips. “No one could be that clever.”
He bites at his lip and looks up at the sky, his face awash with pain. And when he turns to me again, his entire face is streaked with tears. “I researched you,” he says, trying again to convince me. “Before we met I discovered everything that I could to impress you. It's a trick.” He draws in a long breath, trying to halt the tears. “It’s just a magic trick.”
I shake my head and start towards him. “No,” I order. “Alright, stop it now.” “No, stay exactly where you are.” His voice rises and he pleads with me, he pleads with me in a way that will remain in my mind forever. “Don’t move.” I back up a few steps, raising a hand to try and settle him. “Alright,” I relent, and I wait for what he will say next. “Keep your eyes fixed on me,” he says, straining, reaching out to me, one fragile arm looking for a hand to hold, looking for a way out. “Please, will you do this for me?” “Do what?” I ask, but I already know. I’d always known, even that first time. I knew what he was implying, but I hoped that he was just bluffing. I should’ve... I could’ve done something. But I didn’t.
“This phone call, it’s...” His voice catches and he looks at me, his entire body wracked with an agony that does not come from a physical wound. “It’s my note. That’s what people do, don’t they? Leave a note.” He knows he’s coming to the end now, but he’s not ready. He was never ready. Not the first time, and certainly not now.
I shake my head, sure that I heard wrong, sure that this isn’t what he means. “Leave a note when?” I can hear the shrill fear in my voice, and dread wraps itself around me like a heavy blanket. He can’t he can’t not again god please don’t let him