Contains spoilers to No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
He had to leave...that was the only thing he did know. His mind was reeling and nothing he said or did made it stop. Why did it suddenly seem so clear what the problem was? Responsibility...that was the key...he could tell others to take responsibility for their actions...he was good at that wasn't he. Why then couldn't he claim responsibility for his own actions? Blame he was willing to take...he made mistakes, reckless mistakes, life threatening mistakes, and he was always ready to shoulder blame for those. Why then was claiming responsibility so much harder?
He stopped walking all too aware that he hadn't a clue where he was. Stop... breathe... he had to keep reminding himself to do the simple things as he took in his surroundings. With the calming came awareness as well...he was cold, in his hurry to leave he hadn't even bothered to exchange the labcoat for his peacoat. He could feel the eyes on him and as he glanced in a nearby store window he couldn't help but notice the panic still registering on his face. Pulling the glaring white coat off he balled it up and clutched it to him as if it somehow would keep him tied to what was real.
He was slipping even farther away from things...losing his footing on the rapidly crumbling ledge that had been his life for so many years. All those years he had pretended to have healed. All those years he had tried to convince himself that his life was normal. Normal? The very thought of that started him moving again, when was the last time his life had been "normal."
When he and Danijela had met they thought they would have the perfect life...they were young, in love, he would one day be a doctor and they would raise healthy, happy babies. The fantasies of youth...how could he have known then how wrong they both would be about what their lives would hold? How could they have known that they would never grow old together? How could they know that she would die in the dark, dusty rubble that had been their home, knowing her son was already dead and her daughter might well be joining her? How could they have known that the beautiful babies she gave birth to would never know the wonders of learning, the freedom of youth? How could they have known that those beautiful babies would die before they had a chance to know what life was even about? He found the cries choking in his throat, leaving him gasping for air and barely able to see the pavement in front of him.
The tears fell without his even realizing it as he walked and he soon became oblivious to the stares of those he passed. Responsibility. It had been his responsibility to keep them safe, to protect them and he had failed at that and though he had always claimed the blame the responsibility was something else.
Where could he go? Who could he turn to? There was no one...he was alone and that too was a responsibility he had yet to claim. He had tried with Carol, opening himself slowly to let first her, then later the girls inside his walls only to feel the pain of losing them as he had lost so much before. With Abby it had been different, he could allow her in without having to open himself, the wounds that scarred him invisible to her. They neither claimed responsibility for the failures between them, only the blame. They hadn't talked...hadn't revealed more then they absolutely had to...to acknowledge their pasts was to begin to take responsibility and that they could neither do. So they had given what they could, nights in each other's arm...moments of what they could call love, physical comfort because neither could accept the responsibility that would come with anything more permanent then that. Finally though they both realized it wouldn't work and so they had needed to end it through the pain that they both knew too well. He paused to lean against the wall of an abandoned building, gasping for air and wiping the wetness from his face, only then realizing that darkness had begun to fall. Funny how despite it all they had been willing to try again, both willing to take blame for their actions while leaving unspoken who should claim responsibility for what.
He could feel the dampness leeching the heat from his body, when had the misting begun that now left his shirt clinging to him and the rivers of water running down his face from his hair? He should stop a cab..go home...but even home wasn't safe. Home was where he brought those that would let him forget. The place where he could be told how lucky he was. The place where he could seek the physical comfort he needed and not have to worry about taking responsibility for his actions.
"Aye, there's the rub..." The quote surfaced without thought...responsibility said it all, even if he failed to claim it, the fact remained it was still his. The thought lingered as he began to walk again...he couldn't do this alone, that much was clear, but where did he turn? Who could he trust to understand? Who could he turn to that would even care? That too was his responsibility to claim, had he given anyone a reason to care? Erin had wanted to and look what he had done to her.
As his depression deepened again the tears returned joining the wetness of the rain on his face. He was alone...he might well be the only person alive for those he could turn to...and that too was a responsibility he had yet to claim...