The first time John met Mary, it was four months after Sherlock’s suicide. She was visiting his clinic, complaining of odd pains. Mary instantly recognized him; she had been an avid reader of his blog. Apparently, Sherlock had solved the case of her missing father several years before John had met the man.
She told him quit honestly that she couldn’t believe that Sherlock had been lying about her father. She believed.
He prescribes her some painkillers and tells her to return if the pain is back.
The second time John meets Mary, it is several weeks after he saw her first. The pain has returned, worse than before. But Mary is a strong woman, almost frustratingly stubborn in John’s opinion. Their meeting lasts longer than it should, due to John regaling her with a story of one of Sherlock’s exploits. The pain of the loss of one of the best men John has ever known is beginning to calm to a dull ache.
Mary leaves the clinic with a date in her calendar to have an ultrasound, and a date of an entirely different kind.
John thinks he’s in love.
Mary thinks so too.
Mary also knows she has a tumor.
They get married in the spring, almost a year after Sherlock’s death. Mary is a joy to be around, despite her illness. She’s strong. It’s because of Mary hat John decides to turn the cases he was on with Sherlock into full-blown novels. Mary helps him get them published.
Due to the media frenzy over the ‘fraudulent detective’, it’s no surprise that John’s stories are bestsellers in less than a year. He spends a lot of his money to tend to Mary. Eventually, he leaves his job at the clinic to care for her, the money arriving from his books more than enough to sustain them.
Sometimes John hates being a doctor. He knows when it is impossible to survive a fall, how to check a pulse. He knows how to sew a man’s entrails back into his body.
He knows the survival rate of people with an advanced stage of stomach cancer.
Mary passes away nearly three years after Sherlock. John has run out of tears.
For a month he wants to do nothing but lie in bed, silent, too scared to fall asleep and have the nightmares return.
Until one day, when he visits the graveyard where the two greatest people he had ever known lie.
Suddenly, strong arms wrap around his neck from behind. He is too shocked to retaliate with his battle-bred instincts. And the feel of the wool, the smell of chemicals and something else he can’t quite place, is all too familiar, although the fact that they were shaking with what he believed was grief was fairly new.
“I am so very sorry, John.”