I do not believe…we are born with the assurance of who we shall become. I do not believe that our personalities are given us, like a locket, like a watch, when we blink in the first morning light, afraid and wondering without words. You know we all start out like a piece of metal—agreed, not all have the same degree of malleability. Some are copper, some gold, some silver. Rare ones are diamond.

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune come over the hills, sometimes heavier than others, it's only what we must expect. And I think…I do think that these projectiles, they are what beats us into our shape, a shape only we can claim. We don't all have the same trials, nor do we come to even similar trials with matching experience. So in a way, we're all bent and effected differently.

Had my journey been different, I might easily be a horrible man. In a way I can't claim my patience and almost obstinate loyalty, no more than I can claim my laziness. Some choices, of course, came from my own hand and I am accountable for the results. But, neither did I choose what choices should befall me. Strange, how a man thinks he chooses his path, as forces unseen calculate the branching of roads.

Shakespeare painted a picture of the world stage, and the cast of mankind. I think in a way the world is also a retort, boiling us alive, heating us intolerably: yet we survive, and in fact each have a smithing hammer, with which we shape our fellow men unknowningly.

I don't deny there are days I wish I had a different life, a different…past, you understand. I'm happy where I am now. But sometimes I wish I could rub out Maiwand, my brother's pain, other things too. I wish I could make them never have happened. Because sand must be melted before it is glass, because a diamond is hit terribly hard before it becomes beautiful, because you know the handsomest metal shield has been struck so many times.

Through it all, though, the tiring paths and aching flames brought me to where I am now, and who I am now, and I don't think I would like to be anywhere else, or anyone else for that matter.

And I don't go very far in my thoughts today, because my eyes sting a little and I want to turn from the window now, and stop twirling the curtain absently—I want to go now, and join Holmes for tea. But I do wonder—one last thing I wonder, before the swish of the curtain falling from my hand sweeps back memories—I wonder how it is Holmes does seem diamond sometimes, and how it all works.

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