He had seen many graves in his time.
Stood over many current or would-be friends as they were laid into the dirt. Par for the course as both a soldier and a doctor: death.
And yet, none of the previous times were like this. Even his parent's funeral when he was little more than a boy never felt like this.
This was just…wrong. He had told Mrs. Hudson that he was angry and he was.
But it was the anger at the circumstance, at the puzzle, at himself. Not at Sherlock.
It should be him in that grave.
He was the one who was supposed to protect Sherlock as the detective gallanted recklessly about. He was the one who should have jumped to protect Sherlock not the other way around. For he knew that was the only reason that Sherlock would have jumped.
To protect his friends. To protect John.
Call him a sociopath all you want but John had seen the real emotion in Sherlock, the caring that he refused to admit was there.
He was anything but a sociopath or a liar.
The papers and the police were the ones who were liars and if John was the last man standing in believing in Sherlock then so be it.
He would believe in the detective until he lay beside him in the dirt.
As he looked at the glossy headstone all he wanted to do was to tell Sherlock that. That even through this he still believed in him.
So he did.
He spoke to the air, hoping against his own mind that Sherlock was somehow listening. That he heard John's conviction in him. That he heard John's plea.
Please come back. Please.
Then he stood back and gathered himself; looked down one more time at the name etched into the stone and nodded. A weak acknowledgment of the friendship they had, of the things they shared.
And forced himself to turn around and walk away from the best friend he had ever had and the strongest person he had ever met.