Disclaimer: All original characters and such belong to the BBC.

Summary: John Watson reflects as he helps bury his best friend.

Chronology: Post "The Reichenbach Fall"

Pairings: None

Rating: T for mild cursing, description of injuries, and extreme sadness

Author's Note: Getting some post-finale angst out of my system.


Final Case

I've been to a lot of funerals. Too damn many. Military service will do that to you. But somehow none of them prepared me for what it would be like to bury my best friend. I saw a lot of good men die gory deaths in Afghanistan. That's war. But to see Sherlock on top of that building…and then falling…and his sightless eyes streaked with crimson blood as I caught a brief glimpse of his broken body on the pavement… I didn't know I could still feel grief so sharply that it seemed to slice away at my insides. Despite the little moments, those social norms Sherlock ignored to the chagrin of almost everyone around him, those little annoyances that most of the world had known him for, they were not what I remembered most about him. They were hugely overshadowed in my mind and in my heart. The Sherlock I'd known, I'd lived with, did in fact have a heart, guarded as it might have been. I refuse to believe the papers, and even Sherlock's own last words. He may have been a lot of things, but he was never a fraud.

I blink and realize where I am. I've been doing this a lot lately, getting completely lost inside my mind and coming back to reality, sometimes hours later, with little to no memory of what transpired in between. To be expected on a day like today, really. Because I blink and remember that I am standing in a cemetery lawn supporting Sherlock's coffin. Lestrade is standing in front of me, taking the front corner of the shiny black wooden box. Molly's behind me. I don't know who's on the other side. Maybe Mycroft. I saw him briefly earlier, but I didn't exactly feel much like chatting.

It's a small funeral. None of us has said much to the others. Lestrade has been shaking his head every few minutes, like he can shake off the fact of why we're all here and things will go back to normal. Molly looks drained and almost grey in color, and not terribly sturdy. I tried to keep her from joining the rest of us as pallbearers—it didn't look like she'd hold up under even a light breeze. But she gave me a strong look, the kind of look I'd never seen from her, that told me it wasn't a request. She would do it no matter what any of us said. And none of us had had the strength to argue.

There is some kind of signal from an unseen figure, and suddenly we are moving across the grass. I know the coffin must be digging into my shoulder, but the only weight I really feel is inside, as though there was a lead core forming around my heart. I know better than to expect any sort of fairness out of life, but this situation almost seems obscene in its injustice. I don't know how to cope, and I don't think I want to. Sherlock's last case—his final case—is made of wood and for the most part is being ignored by the world.

As we take the last few steps to the gravesite, I hear someone's phone go off. The ringtone is a strings version of "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion and it takes every bit of self-control I have left to stop myself from simultaneously crying and laughing. I can almost hear Sherlock's voice, muttering something about pop culture and ridiculous sentimentality. Even this imagined interaction with him is better than thinking about facing the next days, weeks, months without one of the greatest men I have ever known. I lift my head, trying to keep tears back, and I see Lestrade's shoulders shake and know that he must be having the same reaction I am. Whoever has the phone lets the song play, and I am grateful.