He's not sure why he feels the need to visit his own grave. He's sure that a psychiatrist would give him a proper answer, say something about his need for recognition but in the end, he doesn't think that it really matters. He just needs to and the Doctor grants his request, albeit a little hesitantly. He doesn't say anything but Sherlock can read it in the stiffening of his shoulders and the quick nibble on the corner of his mouth. Once they reach the cemetery, he stays in the doorway of the TARDIS, framed in the entryway. It's obvious that he's uncomfortable around graves but Sherlock doesn't probe for details. It's too early for that.
His gravestone is a small, simple thing, unobtrusive except for the fresh flowers sitting on top of it. He can't help but wonder who picked it out, who chose the engraving. Was it Mrs. Hudson? She probably was in charge of flowers, in making sure everything was organized. Mycroft's main contribution was probably his money, so that left only John. That thought made him feel slightly sick; it wasn't fair, what he'd done to John. Even if his own emotions were slightly underdeveloped (or so other people said), he was more than capable of understanding how others thought and he felt so, so guilty. He wished that he'd taken the time to come up with a contingency plan, to come up with even a rough draft of a will detailing his burial wishes (not that he particularly cared one way or the other).
He reminded himself that, in the end, his actions had been for the good of everyone else. He'd sacrificed himself to save those he cared for. One day, he'd apologize for what he'd put them through. He'd sit John down and tell him how sorry he was, for putting him through the worst kind of stress.
"When will I be able to come back?" he asks, turning towards the Doctor. "Because I can't leave forever."
"I don't know," he responds, looking slightly uneasy. "At some point, Moriarty's goons will stop hunting you, I'm sure. But I don't know when that will be. We can keep popping in though, every so often, if you'd like. It's entirely up to you." Sherlock merely nods. He's sure that, if he asked the Doctor to just take him three or so years into the future and drop him off, he would and that would be the end.
But truth be told, he's not quite ready for that yet. He wants to see the universe, to face challenges beyond those on Earth. He wants to meet people and aliens and he wants to be confused.
He'll come back, when it's safe for Mrs. Hudson and John and Lestrade. But until that day, until he no longer endangers his friends, he needs to leave.
The universe is a big place. He supposes it's about time he paid attention to it.
Author's Note: To all you lovely readers, I'm so sorry with sticking you with this short, crappy epilogue. I'm terrible at writing endings. But I'd like to thank everyone for their reviews and favorites and alerts; they mean the world to me. Thank you, so much. xo.