I would dearly love reviews. Also, this is the first fan fic I've ever posted, so please be gentle. If you feel the need to say it's utter crap than please also say WHY it's utter crap - my writing isn't likely to improve without specific gory details.

Special thanks to MP and JB for beta reading and general encouragement.

Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one (darn it). I'm just amusing myself (and hopefully others) with SACD's characters.

Please note: I've made a few assumptions in this fic concerning things not specifically stated (or disproved) in the canon. Other than that, this story is intended to agree with canon.

Role Reversal

Chapter 1: Mary

I never expected to have my husband entirely to myself.

Any woman who marries a doctor and expects to have a monopoly of his time and attention is painfully naive, to say the least. A man may belong to a woman. But a doctor? A doctor belongs also to his patients.

But I had not quite expected to be sharing my husband as I did, had not realized the extent to which my John was also his Watson.

It is no strange thing for a doctor to work long hours, to be thinking still of his patients even after he has gone home to his wife, or to be called away from that home and wife at any hour of the day or night.

But my doctor was also a chronicler, a biographer, a partner, and a friend. A friend of perhaps the most remarkable man in London. Certainly my dear John considered him so. How many times did a telegram from Mr. Holmes send him almost literally running out the door?

Most times he pretended, for my sake, I think, to be irritated by the apparent imperiousness and capriciousness of the missives. But I knew better. I saw the sparkle in his eye-a sparkle I was myself powerless to evoke.

I wanted to hate Mr. Holmes, at times. He stole my poor doctor away from me for hours and days at a time, drove him near to distraction by his very...singular...habits (not the least of which was his use of that detestable cocaine), and wore him to a thread chasing after mysteries and dangerous criminals day and night, in any and all weather.

Not everyone has your energy and constitution, Mr. Sherlock Holmes! Nor your quite unnatural disregard for danger. Do be kind enough to think of others from time to time!

But I could not hate him truly, however much I may have wished to when it was on his account that so many of my days and nights were solitary and anxious.

It was loyalty to his dear friend, I think, not any festive desire of his own, that brought him to our wedding. John, to his credit, had eyes only for me on that day. I almost would that I could say the same.

Mr. Holmes did nothing improper or out of the ordinary, yet his very presence lurked at the edge of my awareness like a cloud threatening the sun with shadow. I had a notion then of the division that would come later, and I felt a thin seed of resentment begin to take root in my heart.

It was after John and I had exchanged our vows, our rings, and been pronounced "man and wife," that I saw what few people have ever been privileged to see. And I am quite sure I will remember it to my dying day.

After I was no longer his client, Mr. Holmes had seldom looked at me, save in passing or when it was utterly unavoidable. It as I turned to depart the church as Mrs. John H. Watson, that our eyes met.

It was only for the merest moment, but in that instant I seemed to see to the very depths of his desolate soul. He broke the contact as swiftly as it had been made, the cool, calculating, mask he showed to the world dropping flawlessly back into place. But it was too late, for I had already glimpsed his heart.

His only true friend had bound himself to me, and there was not a single thing he could do about it. Love was a mystery that he, for all his knowledge and skill and proud logic, could not unravel or explain. There was a part of his friend's life he would never, could never, share. He accepted it with a finality that was logical, reasonable, and utterly heartbreaking.

And my resentment died a quick, and not entirely painless, death.

And so, I endured the abrupt summons, the loneliness, and the anxiety. It grew no easier with practice, but my dear doctor always returned to me, perhaps a little the worse for wear, but veritably dripping in the glow of adventure that I knew helped to carry him through the dark days that are often the unfortunately inevitable result of his profession. I grew to consider it a small price to pay for his happiness.

I have been thinking much about my husband's happiness, of late.

I find also that I have a new reason to desire to hate Mr. Holmes, this one untempered by any sense of pity for his own feelings.

All my pity is reserved for my poor John.

It has been more than six months since he returned from the continent with the news of Mr. Holmes' death. To look at him, to truly see him, as I can, you could be forgiven for thinking it had occurred only yesterday.

He tries to put a bold face forward, to hide the devastation I know he feels, but he does no better at concealing his still fresh pain than he did at hiding his anticipation when one of those commanding telegrams arrived.

The man is dead, and yet his shadow still casts a darkness over our lives.

But not all the darkness is on Mr. Holmes' account.

I, too, have put on a bold face-hiding from John my exhaustion and ...other...things, that I might not add to his worries. But he will notice soon. Even crippled by grief he is too fine a doctor not to notice, and I dread the day, the moment, of his realization.

I coughed blood into my handkerchief yesterday morning.

It was only a small spot, but it has happened again today, and I have not been a doctor's wife this long not to know what it must mean.

There is no cure, no real hope.

Perhaps Mr. Holmes has been kinder to my husband than it is in my power to be.

Mr. Holmes' death, however painful to his Watson, was, at least, quick. My John will have to watch his beloved Mary waste away, die by inches, and all his skill and knowledge powerless to prevent it.

How I wish Mr. Holmes were still alive...still sweeping my husband off on adventures that I could never hope to share. I am certain it would help to ease the pain I know he will suffer with my passing.

Almost against my will I find myself thinking of Mr. Holmes more and more. There was a connection between us-a connection in the person of one Dr. John H. Watson-and I do not think it a lie to say that we two knew him better than anyone else in all the world. My heart breaks to think of him deprived of his two closest friends.

I must be practical now, however much my current inclinations run toward the maudlin or, indeed, even the hysterical. I will not have as much time as I desired with my John, so I must make the best use of what time I do have left.

Mr. Holmes would approve, I dare say.

Unfortunate that it can change nothing. Not my illness, and not Mr. Holmes' untimely departure from this life. How bitterly ironic that it is I, and not his Watson, who shall follow the detective this last time.

End chapter 1

P.S. I'm looking for a Sherlockian beta (something that, sadly, neither MP nor JB know much about). If anyone is interested please feel free to contact me. I'm not an expert(at grammer, writing, or Sherlockia), but I'd be happy to reciprocate.