"No, come on. Stop it," the short blond man muttered to himself, and cursed quietly when he sneezed (again). "It's not allowed." His throat felt sore and scratchy, and his voice was hoarse. It might not be very bad yet, but John Watson was a doctor. He knew what was coming, and it wasn't going to get any better. The only thing he could do was try to push it back until the end of the week.
Why the end of the week? Sherlock was working on a case--five murders (so far) without a single thing to relate any of them to another other than a playing card left behind at each crime scene. The problem had been interesting at first, until Sherlock discovered the connection--it wasn't something Sherlock felt necessary to explain to his companion yet, however, and John had a feeling he wouldn't be told anything until after the case was solved. He always had such a dramatic flair, the drama queen). The consulting detective estimated (i.e., was completely sure) it would be solved and all over the news by Saturday. And so, until the whole thing was wrapped up and done with, John knew he had to be on-guard in case his eccentric, high-cheekboned, know-it-all best friend needed anything.
Which, of course, was difficult to do if John was running around, coughing up a lung or running a fever so high he was sure he'd go up in flames. The symptoms were just barely starting up, but it was too late to stop them. John had resorted to telling himself everyday as his voice grew steadily worse and it got harder to breathe deeply without coughing or feeling that weight on his chest, "Not today. Not this week. You can last that long. And then on Saturday, you can be as sick as you want." But it didn't seem to be working; John felt betrayed by his own immune system.
He repeated his little pep-talk as he made his was down the stairs and to the kitchen for tea. Tea and honey. That would be sure to soothe his throat, even if only temporarily.
It was just his luck that Sherlock Holmes would be standing at the foot of the staircase, in all his violin-playing-dressing-gowned glory, listening to the quiet mantra. Sherlock set the violin on his chair.
"Why are you talking to yourself, John? You're not suffering from hallucinations, are you? I didn't put anything in your tea this time."
The "this time" part normally would have raised suspicions, but all John could do was glower at the taller man before shuffling into the tiled kitchen, tugging on the tan jumper haphazardly pulled on over his shirt. And Sherlock, being who he was, trailed his friend eagerly into the kitchen at the sign of something different with John--different was new, different was interesting, and Sherlock wanted to know what it was. The case was nearly finished anyway, and growing terribly dull.
John could feel icy-blue eyes watching as he made a mug of tea, and he knew what was coming--Deduction Time.
"You're rather quiet this morning, Watson. Did you sleep well? Were you reading late last night? ...No, the book you're working on is still on your chair from yesterday afternoon. You only read one book at a time. There's shadows under your eyes... Could be lack of sleep? Possibly, but your face is flushed--mild fever?--and it doesn't even look like you attempted to comb your hair. Your eyes are watery, and you keep pressing your hand to your head. Common sign of a headache, and my voice isn't that grating."
John stirred the honey into his tea, and turned around just as Sherlock's eyes lit up. "Of course. You're ill."
"Shut up," John replied, and didn't bother hiding his annoyance. Sherlock would have been able to notice it anyway.
"That was rather cold, wouldn't you say, John?"
"Look who's talking," the doctor mumbled.
"But you're the one with the cold."
"Oh, for the love of--" John set the tea back on the counter; it had lost all its appeal. Throwing a hand up in the air as a sign of defeat, he left the kitchen to sit in his chair. "I'm not in the mood to play these stupid games with you, Sherlock."
The dark-haired detective sat in the seat opposite of him, picking up the violin to pluck absently at its strings. The sound made John's head throb. "You started it, if I am correct--and I always am."
"I mean your deduction...things! I'm a doctor, I can diagnose myself, thank you very much. I know when I have a cold. And I don't, at least not yet. I can't!" John was suddenly very aware of how idiotic he sounded, and he wished he hadn't spoken a word.
"What do you mean?" Sherlock lifted an eyebrow. "Of course you are. It's painfully obvious, really. Not even George could have missed it."
"Greg," John corrected, exasperated.
"Not important," Sherlock continued, as though he had just brushed away a fly. "That fact is, John, that you're ill, and acting very childish, trying to cover it up when anyone who so much as glanced at you could tell. Your voice sounds terrible, by the way. You really ought to get that tea you left in the kitchen. The honey would help."
It was a loosing battle, and John knew it. Grumbling (as well as he could with his voice the way it was), he pulled himself back to his feet and stomped into the kitchen, roughly grabbing the mug from the counter (some spilled, and John just knew that he would have to get around to cleaning it later because Sherlock had "deleted" all forms of housekeeping from his memory, and the thought only made him more irritated) and returned to his seat.
Sherlock watched as John sipped at the steaming drink before speaking again. "Back to what's important. Why would you bother to lie about a blatantly obvious illness?"
A scowl formed on John's face. He knew that trying to...talk himself out of being sick (that really was all it was, to be honest) was a ridiculous thing to do, even before Sherlock brought the problem to their attention. He definitely didn't want to tell Sherlock about it. But Sherlock was waiting patiently, leaning forward with his hands pressed together in that signature pose, and John knew resistance was futile. Sherlock wanted to know why, and when Sherlock wanted something, he always figured out how to get it.
The doctor shifted in his seat before taking another sip of tea, sighing as the honey soothed his throat, and gave up.
"It's really your fault, you know."
"It is not."
"Wrong," John rebutted. "Well, it isn't really your fault I suppose, but you're still the reason that I keep...denying it. The being ill, I mean." Which I'm not, he thought.
"How so?" Sherlock raised his eyebrow again.
"You and you...you're case! You're brilliant, but you're also incredibly stupid sometimes, Sherlock, did you know that? You always have to run off when there's danger without a thought, and someday it'll end up getting you killed!" John had to pause to cough harshly into the sleeve of his jumper, his throat feeling like it had been torn to shreds. "You probably would have...died...already if I wasn't running after you. And this case, it's absolutely horrible, and who knows what that guy would do if you took off like you always do, and if I couldn't follow because I'm too busy trying not to cough myself to death?" His voice had nearly completely given out, and he was glad his little rant...thing ended when it did, even if his face was flushed and breathing without coughing the entire time was difficult.
Sherlock sat in silence for a moment. He seemed to be thinking, analyzing, but then again, he always did. John waited uncomfortably and berated himself for the sudden outburst.
"You...care...about me." It sounded like a question.
John found himself laughing, awkwardly, the best that he could after a second. "Of course I do, you idiot. You're my friend, my best friend. That's how it works. It's what friends do."
Another round of silence ensued (John was getting sick of them; he was tired and cold and wanted to go back to sleep) before Sherlock stood up, and brought John up with him by the arm. John gripped the mug in one hand to keep from dropping it.
"Go to bed. Rest. It's the best way for the body to heal itself--you're a doctor, you know that."
"But... If you run off again--did you listen to anything I just said?"
"Your protests won't work." Sherlock gave John a look. "And if course I did. That's why I'm sending you to bed." He paused. "And I...promise not to run off. So long as you promise to rest."
John gapped at the detective before turning slowly towards the stairs leading to his room, tea (now cooled) still in his hands. "A...alright."
Before going back upstairs, John paused and turned around to face Sherlock, who was in his thinking pose again on the sofa.
"...It's what friends do."
Despite feeling absolutely terrible, John had a smile on his face as he went to his bedroom, setting the tea on his bedside table and climbing under the blanket.
Until the screeching noises of a violin sounded from downstairs, and John put a pillow over his head in fruitless attempts to block it out.
"Oh, for Christ's sake!"