He heard the whispers. It was hard not to. He had to give a statement, more than once, each time hearing the muted tones of gossip, always dampening before he could arrive and hear it for himself. He didn't need to hear it to know what they were saying, and it infuriated him.
Sherlock, I don't want the world believing you're...
That I am what?
And John wants to scream at them until his throat is raw, and then perhaps scream some more, because Sherlock Holmes is not a fake.
Can't you see what's going on?
It wasn't his death that was the hardest part, because obviously, that was terrible. No, it was the doubt. It snuck in everywhere, niggling at him that maybe, just maybe, it was true.
He hated when it won, because he tried to beat it down, completely kill the thought that it all may be an enormous lie.
No, I know you're for real. Nobody could fake being such an annoying dick all the time.
I believe in Sherlock Holmes.
It danced through his head. He saw it in his sleep, glowing letters dancing behind his eyelids every time they closed. He never stopped seeing it. But that was the truth wasn't it? Persistent despite all efforts to exterminate it. The truth will always out. But still, it was a long and horrible road to get there, all the lies and horrid things people said.
You can't kill an idea, can you? Not once it's made a home.
They already gave him an ASBO, he might as well earn it now.
Sherlock had taught him how to sneak around the cameras, and besides that, John didn't really care. He knew that Mycroft would get him out of any trouble he happened to find himself in. He was like that.
So John snuck out at night wearing a dark oversized sweatshirt, hood up like a thug, spray paint clutched in the pouch.
Yellow. It was always yellow. For that case.
He'd wander where ever the mood took him, never the same place twice, spreading his message for all of London, if not the world, to see.
Because people are stupid and need to be told something many times before it finally sinks in. John almost smiles as he realizes that. It's between a smile or a cry, so he chooses.
He feels enraged when he sees his artwork taken down, either painted over or scrubbed clean. For every one that is taken down, he puts five more up, just because he can.
He makes it bigger, thicker, more prominent. He wants to imprint it in the brains of every citizen of London until they believe it.
He paints away the rage. Rage in general, accompanied by biting sorrow. And confusion. Sherlock never admitted to being wrong. Not freely, and sure as hell not while he was standing on the roof about to kill himself. So telling John it was all a lie was odd, to say the least. Not after ensuring earlier that he knew he was absolutely for real. Sherlock couldn't have had a change of heart.
Nobody could be that clever.
John is a fighter, fighting his own war. A war very different from the one in Afghanistan, but a war nonetheless. It may seem like he was on the wrong side, but that was what a war was. People didn't fight wars because they thought their own ideas were wrong. People fought wars for truth and justice.
No one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, and so... there.