Characters: John, Sherlock, Sarah
Spoilers: Mentions to a character introduced in The Blind Banker, no plot spoilers.
Pairings: Written with John/Sarah in mind, but no actual references to a relationship
Word count: Approx. 2150
Summary: Sherlock is sick. The staff at the surgery are excited. John is annoyed.
Author's notes: Took a few liberties with some of the staff members at the surgery where John works. I'm loosely placing this after The Great Game and near the beginning of A Scandal in Belgravia, before John's blog takes off. There are no plot references to either episode.
John had previously been under the impression that a bored Sherlock Holmes was the worst kind, but it turned out that a sick Sherlock Holmes was even worse.
The first night wasn't so bad, when all he had was a hoarse voice and seemed to be a bit lethargic. All that meant was that Sherlock actually sat and watched television without making as many snarky comments. Which was sort of nice, if a little disturbing.
By the next morning, however, Sherlock's voice sounded like it belonged to a 90-year old chain smoker and he had an obvious fever. When John came down to find him on the couch, wrapped in two afghans and his teeth chattering, he politely suggested Sherlock take something for his fever.
Sherlock ignored him.
Then, half an hour later when Sherlock was throwing open all the windows and sweating profusely, John politely suggested again that he take something for his fever. He ignored him.
Then, after Sherlock had put the sugar into the fridge after spooning it into a cup of boiling water that he'd put no tea bag in, John suggested, much less politely that he take something for his fever. Sherlock took his sugared water and left the room. John gave up after that and went about his morning as usual.
By the afternoon, Sherlock seemed to have accepted his fate and was behaving like a relatively normal human being when they were sick. He was resting his voice, saving it in case he needed it for something 'important' (which apparently did not include speaking to John), had taken something for his fever and was on the couch with his laptop, updating his website.
Which wasn't exactly bed rest and fluids, but was better than chasing criminals around London.
He had taken to communicating with John via text message, which is how John found himself standing by the couch, mobile in hand, having a conversation by proxy.
“I am not prescribing you antibiotics, Sherlock,” he said, in response to the latest message.
Sherlock made a face and started tapping at the keys of his mobile. John waited patiently until in the one in his hand beeped.
What's the point of you being a doctor if you can't help me when I'm sick?
John briefly wondered why Sherlock felt the need to identify himself when this was part of a conversation they were having in real time, face to face.
“I didn't actually become a doctor so that one day I could prescribe Sherlock Holmes medicine,” he said. Sherlock began tapping at the keys again. “I don't know what you have, so I can't give you antibiotics.” Sherlock stopped tapping, hit what John thought was the backspace key several times and started again. “I don't care what kind of insane tests you've run on yourself either.” Sherlock stopped again, backspaced and restarted. “You need to see a doctor.” Sherlock backspaced once more, making a noise of annoyance as he did so and restarted. “I am not your doctor.” Sherlock glared at him and tossed the phone aside, giving up on the conversation.
That was definitely a sign that he wasn't well.
John went to the kitchen to finish assembling the sandwich he'd been working on. Sherlock got up and began stalking around the living room, then went upstairs, coming back a few minutes later looking frustrated.
“My prescription pad is at the surgery, you'll have to go there if you want to steal it,” John informed him.
Sherlock shot him a look that John was quite frankly surprised didn't make him drop dead and disappeared into his bedroom.
John had just finished his sandwich, when Sherlock reappeared, fully dressed and looking miserable about it.
“Are you...are you actually going to the doctor's?” John asked, as Sherlock shrugged his jacket on. He gave John a curt nod. “Wow. You must really not be feeling well.” Sherlock looked at him hopefully. “I'm still not prescribing you anything.”
Sherlock made gesture that John would have thought was beneath him and headed for the stairs.
“Wait, I'll call and see if they can fit you in at the surgery,” John said. “I don't want you running around London terrorizing walk-in clinics. I want to be able to warn them you're coming.”
It turned out the gesture wasn't beneath Sherlock, as he made it again.
“I can't believe he's here,” Brandon said, a short while later. Brandon was a fellow doctor working at the surgery. There had just been a cancellation when John called and Sherlock had been given the appointment.
Unfortunately, as was wont to happen, the doctors were running about a half hour behind schedule. Which meant Sherlock had to wait.
Brandon and John were peering out of the hallway in the surgery, watching Sherlock in the waiting room.
Sherlock was sitting between an elderly woman trying unsuccessfully to make conversation and a teenage girl clinging to a kidney dish. He could not look more miserable if he tried. As they watched a toddler went screaming past him and he managed, with the power of his gaze alone, to force the child to be quiet and hurry back to his mother.
“Wow, do you suppose he'd teach me that?” Brandon said. He had two young children and a third child on the way.
John laughed. “If you give him what he wants, he might,” he said.
“Who are we staring at?” Shifa, the other doctor on duty, whispered, arriving behind the two of them. She stood on her tip-toes to see over Brandon's shoulder. “Hey John.”
“Hey,” John said. He nodded toward the waiting room. “Sherlock's here.”
“Sherlock!” she squeaked, delightedly. “Where?”
“Grey coat, black hair, scowl,” John said. “Why is everyone so excited about this?”
“Are you kidding?” Brandon said. “The stories you tell, we've been dying to meet him since you starting working here.” He frowned a little. “Frankly, I was expecting someone in a lab coat carrying flasks of bubbling green liquid. I'm a bit disappointed. He looks normal.”
“He's not,” John said.
“He's fitter than I thought he'd be,” Shifa offered. Both John and Brandon looked at her in disbelief. “What? He's sort of got a disheveled giraffe thing going on...don't judge me!”
Sherlock looked up and their way and they all skittered back into the hallway like naughty school children, laughing.
“What's going on?” Sarah asked, emerging from her office. All three doctors sobered up, looking even more like children caught doing something they shouldn't. “John! You're not working today, are you? Did I mess up the schedule?”
“No, no, I came in with Sherlock,” John assured her. “He's sick. I came in with him to...um, pre-emptively apologize I guess.”
“Sherlock's sick? Poor thing, he must be miserable,” Sarah said, her head cocking to the side in sympathy. “You too. I'm guessing he's not the best patient?”
John laughed. “No. Sort of the worst, actually.”
“I want him,” Shifa declared. She rolled her eyes at the look the others gave her. “As my patient. I want him as my patient. Please tell me he's booked with me?”
“I think I'm the one with the cancellation,” Brandon said, happily. Shifa frowned.
“Really, neither of you want him,” John said. “You should be drawing straws to avoid him.”
“Whoever gets him,” Sarah said, speaking with a raised voice over Brandon and Shifa's responses, “will be getting him hopefully on time, which is unlikely to happen if you're standing around chatting, and will treat him like they would every other patient.”
“Yes, please, do not give him special treatment,” John begged. “He could stand to see how the real world actually works.”
Shifa and Brandon both looked disappointed, but scurried off at Sarah's look. She changed it to a smile to look at John, which lulled him into a false sense of a security.
“As long as you're here, I'm putting you to work,” she told him. She crooked her finger at him. “Come with me. I've been calling the lab all morning, they keep insisting they aren't getting our faxes. Perhaps a calm, authoritative, military voice will help them find the requisitions.”
John raised his eyebrows. “Do I have one of those?” he asked.
She smiled. “You know that voice you use when Sherlock's doing something stupid?”
“Oh, that voice.”
John spent the next half hour in Sarah's office, sorting out the lab problem and then helping with paperwork. Sherlock sent non-stop texts from the waiting room, which ran something like:
Read a magazine.
I have no interest in J. Lo's diet plan.
What is a J.Lo?
She's a singer.
Where are you?
Helping out Sarah.
There was some silence for a few minutes, then Sherlock began texting various things he'd observed from his fellow patients, John guessed in lieu of being able to speak out loud about them. After about ten minutes of that, the text messages grew increasingly desperate.
What is your triage policy here?
I am clearly the most ill, yet others are being seen before me.
No policy. You have to wait until it's your turn.
That is ill-advised.
Perhaps you should speak to Sarah.
Wait your turn.
I am going to die here and it will be your fault.
I don't think you're going to die from a sore throat.
I didn't say it would be from illness. It will be from boredom.
How do you work here? These people are insipid.
Why does everyone keep trying to talk to me?!
At this point, John decided he better check to make sure Sherlock wasn't having a nervous breakdown. When he got to the lobby, Sherlock's chair was empty.
“Brandon's got him,” Shifa said, walking past him with a patient. She was obviously disappointed at this turn of events.
John waited impatiently at the desk, nervous of what Sherlock was doing or saying in his appointment. He felt like the parent of an unruly toddler, praying that he didn't run with scissors or throw his toys.
Brandon came out to the desk ten minutes later, looking somewhat shell-shocked, but not too bad for having spent ten minutes in a room with Sherlock Holmes.
“I can see how he figured out where I went to school, but how did he know I have two daughters and that my brother lives in America?” he said to John.
“He didn't tell you?” John asked. “Usually he likes to explain how clever he is.”
“He was having trouble talking,” Brandon said. “Mostly he wrote. I haven't had a chance to read it all yet.”
He held out his notepad, which was covered in Sherlock's eccentric scrawl.
It started out with a list of his symptoms and probable diagnoses Sherlock had decided on, followed by a very in-depth analysis of Brandon's tie, and ended with a general outline of Brandon's life, the last line of which read 'happily married – BORING!' John grinned and handed the pad back.
“You got off pretty easy,” he told him. “That's polite for him.”
“I'm doing a rapid strep test,” Brandon said, still sounding a bit bewildered.“His tonsils are huge and his lymph nodes are swollen. I'd be surprised if it comes back negative.”
“Thanks,” John said. “Sorry if he was a pain.”
Brandon shook his head “No, no. Not a pain. I just...sort of feel like I've been measured and found wanting.”
John gave him a pat on the back. "That's a lot better than usual," he said. "He must like you."
Sherlock's test came back positive and he left the clinic with a smug look of triumph on his face, clinging to a prescription for amoxicillin.
“I didn't say you weren't sick,” John told him, in response to the text message he'd sent from the seat next to him in the cab. “Just that I couldn't prescribe you anything.”
Sherlock's smug look did not fade.
The rest of the day was fairly tedious. Sherlock played up his illness for all it was worth and Mrs. Hudson was more than pleased to spoil him with attention. She made tea and soup and sent John out for ice lollies and Sherlock consumed them all while looking pathetically sad. John found it a very Sherlock thing that he only ate when he was sick. For the rest of humanity, being sick was a reason not to eat.
John came down the next morning to find Sherlock looking a little better, but not much. He was building a fort out of the ice lolly sticks. John felt a little bad for him.
At least until he got to work and found that his prescription pad was missing.