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22 December 2011 @ 12:31 pm
fic: Influenza  

Sherlock bbc | John/Sherlock | PG | 1680 | beta: flecalicious | disclaimer: the show and the characters aren't mine

Trust Sherlock to use what little voice he had to complain about John’s behaviour rather than apologise for his idiotic stubbornness. Sherlock's ill with the flu and John looks after him.

John looked over at his alarm clock, the red lights glowing in the darkness – 7:30am. He needed to get up for work.

He rolled over, swinging his legs out from under the duvet before sitting up and looked back over his shoulder at the figure lying on the other side of the bed, dark curls mussed over the pillow.

John loved watching Sherlock sleep; it was a rare moment when his defences were lowered, a glimpse of the vulnerability usually hidden under layers of cold deduction.

Something was different this morning. The usually peaceful repose was marred with a faint twist of discomfort, dark circles under his eyes, limbs shivering slightly despite the thick duvet still covering him.

John gently rested a hand against Sherlock’s forehead – mild fever – before moving his fingertips down to his throat – swollen lymph nodes. Flu. Probably a result of overtaxing his body. They’d only just finished a large case, hence Sherlock actually sleeping for once. No matter how much he protested he was only human, his body had limits; apparently he’d reached them.

John softly ran his hand through Sherlock’s dark curls. He’d most likely be insufferable once he woke up so John needed to act pre-emptively; paracetamol and some honey tea seemed like a good idea.

John heaved himself out of bed and headed down the stairs to the kitchen. He needed his morning cup of tea first—he never felt truly awake until after that first cup. As he waited for the kettle to boil he thought over his plans for the day; he was supposed to have a shift at the surgery today but he didn’t want to leave Sherlock on his own at home when he was ill. Sherlock was terrible at looking after himself on the best of occasions—John was in no doubt that if he left Sherlock alone whilst ill with the flu the man would do something stupid. Of course he could ask Mrs Hudson to keep an eye on Sherlock for him but he liked their landlady, he couldn’t do that to her.

No, the only solution John could see was calling Sarah and apologising for not coming in today. In all honesty John was surprised he still had the job at all. He suspected interference by Mycroft on that front; any other surgery would have fired him for his unprofessional behaviour and no matter how friendly he and Sarah had ended things, no relationship was that lenient.


Upstairs Sherlock was slowly coming to. He felt terrible.

Every muscle, every joint ached. His throat felt like someone had been at it with sandpaper and then there was the sensation that his head had been packed in cotton wool. He couldn’t hold back a small groan, which turned into a wracking cough, or at least what would have been a wracking cough if he’d had the energy to do more than splutter.

Rolling over he felt for John’s presence – nothing. Of course not, John had work – stupid.

Using what little strength he had he pushed himself up into a sitting position. Even that small movement left him feeling exhausted; it didn’t help that he was overcome with another coughing fit.

He hated being let down so badly by his transport. John had told him repeatedly during the last case that he was wearing himself down, that he needed to rest. As usual Sherlock had ignored him. He’d rest once the case was over; he didn’t have the time to shut down whilst on the hunt.

Still, it was rare that he’d work himself to the point of illness—usually he’d just sleep for a solid twelve hours and that would be it. The last case had gone on longer than he’d expected. Though not without it’s share of consequences it seemed.

With a great effort Sherlock forced himself out of bed and headed for the stairs. It wasn’t until that moment that he finally heard the voice downstairs – John – only one voice so it was a telephone conversation. He hadn’t left for work yet then. He should have known that already. Why hadn’t he known that?

The words ‘thank you Sarah, I’ll make it up to you, I promise’ floated up to Sherlock at the top of the stairs. Sarah meant work; why did John feel he owed Sarah a favour?

He started down the stairs, gripping the bannister to steady his shaky legs; he hated feeling so weak.

At that point John’s voice called out, “Sherlock, I can hear you on the stairs. Go back to bed, I’ll be up in a minute with some medicine, okay?”

Sherlock just ignored him. He didn’t need mothering, he could go downstairs if he wanted. Just then another coughing fit shook him and his already unsteady balance was thrown off completely as he went for the next step down and missed his footing, pitching himself head first down the remaining stairs.


Sarah had been her usual understanding self when he’d called in explaining that he needed the day off to look after Sherlock. Apparently a reserve doctor had already been called in and John’s suspicions about Mycroft’s involvement were seemingly confirmed; only the older Holmes’ constant surveillance would have known about Sherlock’s illness already.

As he hung up he could hear movement on the stairs. Trust Sherlock to refuse bed rest. When most people were ill they just wanted to lay in bed all day; of course Sherlock wouldn’t care for that.

“Sherlock, I can hear you on the stairs.” Maybe if he knew he’d been caught he’d go back upstairs willingly. “Go back to bed, I’ll be up in a minute with some medicine, okay?”

Just then the kettle boiled. John poured out two cups of tea, adding a spoonful of honey to Sherlock’s mug.

The footsteps on the stairs had started again, followed by a fit of rough coughing and then a series of thuds and a final crash.

John ran out of the kitchen onto the landing. There was Sherlock lying in a heap on the floor, moaning pitifully.

John immediately went into doctor mode, checking Sherlock over for any sign of concussion, broken bones or other injuries.

“Sherlock, are you alright? Sherlock, can you hear me?” He couldn’t keep the hint of worry out of his voice.

“M’fine. Just bruised I think.” His voice was weak and hoarse.

John finished his inspection; nothing broken and even more surprisingly no signs of concussion. He’d have some nasty bruises though.

“What the hell do you think you were doing? I told you to go back up to bed. You’re ill, Sherlock. Why can’t you just stay tucked up in bed like most people?” Having reassured himself that Sherlock was relatively uninjured, his worry had turned to anger.

“Do you usually yell at sick people? Because I feel your bedside manner could do with some improvement if that’s the case.” Trust Sherlock to use what little voice he had to complain about John’s behaviour rather than apologise for his idiotic stubbornness.

“First, for it to be bedside manner you’d need to be in an actual bed, which you didn’t seem happy doing. Secondly, you could have broken your bloody neck! After all the near death experiences we’ve had, for you to kill yourself coming down the stairs would have been rather anti-climatic.”

John gave Sherlock a small smile as he helped him up off the floor. Sherlock groaned, but offered one back nevertheless.

“Come on then, back to bed with you, and this time you’re going to stay there.”

“John, I have things to do...” Sherlock started but was cut off.

“No, Sherlock. The only thing you need to do right now is rest and recover. You’re no good to anyone with the flu. Lestrade will still need your help after you get better and whatever experiments you have going will still be rotting away whilst you rest up.”

Sherlock’s shoulders fell in submission, what little energy he had leaving him as the adrenaline from the fall began to wear off.

John started to help Sherlock back up the stairs. As skinny as he was there was no way John could carry Sherlock up to their room without some help; better to get him into bed while Sherlock was still mobile.

As they entered the bedroom Sherlock fell face first onto the bed. John tried his hardest not to laugh; of course Sherlock would still be dramatic even if he didn’t have the energy to navigate stairs safely.

John shimmied Sherlock further onto the bed, pulling the duvet up over his shivering body. All the fight seemed to have left Sherlock now that he was lying down again, his eyes drifting shut as he pulled the sheets further up around him, creating a tight cocoon of bedding.

John sat on the side of the bed, rubbing soothing circles over Sherlock’s hairline and cheek with his thumb. There was something rather adorable about an ill Sherlock Holmes, about the great man showing weakness. He knew if he had been anyone else, no matter how ill or exhausted Sherlock was, he would have fought tooth and nail against bed rest. The fact that Sherlock trusted John with this vulnerable side of him gave him a warm, tingling sensation in the pit of his stomach.

Slowly Sherlock drifted back into a restful doze as John continued to stroke his thumb along Sherlock’s hairline. With a smile John leant forward and gently touched his lips to the top of Sherlock’s head before rising and making his way back downstairs to grab his cup of tea and some breakfast. He’d need to buy some more milk soon.

With that done, John made his way back upstairs, hands full, and thought that maybe Sherlock wouldn’t be such a handful after all. Settling into his side of the bed he began to sip at his tea when one of Sherlock’s arms reached out and wrapped itself around John’s stomach.

No, maybe looking after Sherlock wouldn’t be so bad at all.