One year. One year since Mary had died. A year, John thought, staring at his wife' grave, was long enough to grieve. He didn't want to grieve any longer. He wanted to hold his daughter without a stabbing pain his chest as he realized that Mary would never see her grow up, that she had missed Rosie's first tooth, first beaker, first word ('murder', she'd unfortunately been left in the care of Sherlock for about half an hour one day while he'd been in the midst of a case), the first time he'd left her when one of his regular patients was admitted to hospital (though he'd still been on bereavement leave at the time, he knew that he still had a duty to his patients).
"I miss you," he whispers, an edge in his voice as he feels himself begin to cry. He sniffs, wiping his face as he hears someone approaching.
"And this is where Mummy is now, remember?" John hears the baritone voice of his friend coming closer.
"Mmm-ma," Rosie replies, and John hears Sherlock murmuring to her.
John rests his hand on the headstone, turning to see his best friend and daughter coming up behind him. He reaches to take Rosie's free hand. "Da-da," her smile is blinding, and looks nearly identical to what he imagines Mary would have looked like at her age.
"Hello, sweetheart," John whispers, unable to stop the tears from falling. "Do you know where we are?"
"Mmma-ma," Rosie repeats, and John wonders if she knows that her mother is buried in the cold earth beneath them or if she is simply parroting the words back to him. She squirms, and John reluctantly lets go. She runs off, far more interested in the snow and the birds than the grave of a mother she'll never know. Sherlock is still standing quietly beside him.
"John," he starts, rather awkwardly, but John holds his up, stopping the sentence before it begins. It's an old apology, one that if he hears it again he might just punch the other man.
"This was her choice, Sherlock. Her last gift was to you," John's voice wavers, but his words are clearly articulated. Sherlock exhales, and John knew that he'd been right.
They stand there together in silence, remembering the woman who had changed their little family. The woman with whom John had fallen in love, the woman who had recognized that Sherlock was worth saving. The woman who had saved both of their lives. A woman who lived on in their memories and in her daughter.