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Noting the need for more firewood as the night grows colder, and desperate to do something - anything to ignore the thoughts that refuse to cease - Alexandra goes to get some, and it is only there outside, standing alone beneath the ageless stars where no-one will witness her composure shatter, that she finds herself unable to move, unable to breath beneath the crushing burden of an emotion that just might be guilt – though is the idea of a Moriarty feeling anything akin to guilt for any action is too far into the realm of fantasy to be worth considering – and she collapses to her hands and knees, retching violently.

Without even the will to eat anything substantial for days now, there is nothing in her stomach to empty except for bile and acid, and she dimly registers the red streaking and black granules in what stains the ground before her, a sure sign of her long dormant ulcers making a reappearance, she thinks numbly, wondering why the fact doesn't seem to register with the concern that it should.

Long after there is nothing left to bring up and everything inside her feels bruised, she continues to dry-heave – though some of the spasms that wrack her body might be sobs, for all that she'd die before admitting to that – until eventually sheer exhaustion takes its toll, and she rolls to one side as she collapses, too weary psychologically to even think of moving. Maybe it's physical, the thinks – or at least she would prefer that – and she certainly has been pushing herself hard enough where it could be possible.

Earlier, her clothes had become more than a little wet, and between that and the frigid wind that has started to blow, she can feel the cold slowly seeping into her veins – a numbing sensation almost, unlike the piercing pain of sudden submersion in icy water – and somehow she cannot find any persuasive arguments in favor of moving.

At some raw instinctual level, she wants this entire nightmare to just be over, but the truth is that nothing will stop. There is no expedient end to this, not to Holmes's pain or the grief of the people mourning him, not to the unalterable reality of what she has done, before which cruel facts, any action seems utterly without purpose.

It takes the sound of one of the shutters rattling to draw her out from the numb surrender she has given in to, reminding her of the task she had assigned herself, and unwillingly rising, she begins to fill her arms with firewood.

Restless once more, with the task of bringing firewood completed, Alexandra feels the irrational urge to check on the sleeping detective, and though she hesitates at the threshold - because though she had watched over him every available moment before, it is different now that he can suffer the awareness of her presence - she ultimately gives in to the impulse, because fighting herself is rapidly becoming far too exhausting.

Holmes is sleeping, fortunately oblivious it seems to his physical pain, but he is curled up somewhat, in a way that speaks of cold, and though she had planned to leave with no evidence of her presence remaining, the fact that the detective cannot afford to get a cold at this point seems more relevant, so she steps out quietly, returning with another blanket that she carefully drapes over his sleeping form, reminding herself that Holmes, being who he is, would probably know of her presence either way.

In the dim light of the moon, the detective's pale gaunt features make him look fragile - vulnerable - but despite everything, still, strangely peaceful, and Alexandra finds herself drawn closer, irrationally content to watch over him as he sleeps, as if his presence is a healing balm upon the wounds burning within her cold soul…. and she cannot help but feel a small measure of peace settle upon her with his every steady breath.

Then the pain returns with a vengeance, and she tears herself away, exiting the room in silence despite her haste, for though she cannot understand why his presence soothes her so, the one fact she is certain of is that she does not deserve the solace of his presence when hers has caused him so much indescribable suffering, and she hates herself more for even seeking something so very undeserved.

Thinking again of the texture of wool beneath her fingertips, and remembering the feel of fur through kidskin gloves, remembering the cruel satisfaction she had felt as she had draped the black fur over the detective's shoulders, fingertips close enough to his still-bleeding wound to remind him of the fear and pain, as if he'd needed any of that, remembering her own words of hypocritical concern for his health which had been calculated to revel in the reality of how far physically weakened he was in that moment and to ensure that he was aware of her knowing it, she shivers now – biting down on her lip to stifle the cry that bubbles up from within - because whatever she has done since the falls, and however much she has come to hate herself for those actions, it seems as if she cannot stop walking in the same accursed footsteps.

The burning heat of the flames that reach out to her as she stacks wood into the fireplace beckons to her, mirroring the chaos burning within her, as if the inferno is calling its own, and captivated by that thought, tired too if it matters at all, she remains crouched by the fire.

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