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the island of conclusions

"you give me..." (BBC Sherlock fic)

the island of conclusions

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"you give me..." (BBC Sherlock fic)

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bright star
Um, I told you guys how much I've been procrastinating with spn_summergen, right? Well, here’s one thing I did to avoid writing it: filled a couple of prompts at the sherlockbbc_fic comment meme.

This one is straight-up, shameless h/c, and I feel a little sheepish about writing something so clichéd. But, y’all know how incapable I am of resisting the particular cliché below, and I figure it’s kinda like the plate of cookies you bring to a new neighbor—a gesture of welcome, and a chance to see whether you want to be friends. Or, y’know, write more in the fandom. Which in this case, I did—posted anonymously because it’s by far the porniest thing I’ve ever written (like NC-17, trufax--that’s what summergen has driven me to). I’ll put it up here once I get a draft of that gen thing done.

Anyway, I’ve written another 1,000 wds of summergen, so I’m letting myself re-post this.
Apologies if you’ve already seen this at the com. And for the title—which is the only thing I could come up with late at night…

Title: ‘You give me….’
Rating: pg
Word count: ~1,300
Warnings: n/a; the vaguest allusion to “The Red-Headed League.”
Disclaimer: not mine, no profit.
Summary: for a request for fluffy h/c on the [profile] sherlockbbc_fic comment fic meme. Sick!Sherlock



You give me…

Sherlock spent the afternoon pacing and John spent it watching him pace.

The detective was sorting through the last details of some kind of elaborate internet fraud scheme—one of those things you couldn’t believe anyone ever fell for, and yet someone always did—this one involving enticements and promises to “natural” redheads. About halfway through, though, John stopped paying attention to the case, and started to wonder how ill Sherlock really was.

He didn’t know the man well enough to be able to tell for sure, but he certainly looked rough—skin pale almost to translucency, eyes so shadowed they were starting to look sunken. Every time Sherlock crossed their tiny sitting room, his voice seemed to have gone deeper and more gravely, and he coughed more and more frequently into a large, old-fashioned cloth handkerchief.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” John had asked a few times, and Sherlock had waved him off.
He’d tried, “Sit down, why don’t you? You look done in,” and gotten nothing but an annoyed glare for his effort.

Finally, however, the pacing started to drive John crazy. He pushed himself out of the armchair, and placed himself squarely in Sherlock’s path. On the detective’s next pass, John put one hand on his shoulder, and wrapped the other firmly around his forehead.

“You’re running a fever, did you know that?” he asked conversationally.

“Hmm?” Sherlock blinked at him, as if only now remembering that there was someone else in the room. “Mmm,” he agreed, “a little over 38 degrees, I should think. Don’t worry—doesn’t matter.”

As expected, he tried to pull away from John’s hands—John knew by now how little Sherlock liked to be touched unexpectedly. But John had spent most of his career dealing with combat soldiers and veterans, and Sherlock’s idiosyncrasies, impressive as they were, had nothing on that particular brand of disregard for one’s personal well-being.

“Uh-huh,” he said, keeping his hold firm, and steered Sherlock over to the sofa.

“Stay there,” he said, bringing out his well-practiced tone of medical command, “I’m going to find you some meds.”

He wasn’t sure if Sherlock heard him—he looked distracted again—but at least he didn’t try to move. John ducked into the loo next to the kitchen, and rummaged around for something useful. At first he found nothing medicinal except boxes of nicotine patches, and he was about to go upstairs and dip into his own stash of prescription-strength stuff--but he finally located an almost-expired package of Paracetamol and the world’s most battered Lemsip box.

“Should do the trick,” he muttered, turning on the kettle.

++++

By the time John came back into the sitting room, Sherlock had subsided into a corner of the sofa, folded in on himself and sniffing miserably into his handkerchief. The detective took the pills and steaming mug without protest, looked at John a little blankly, and said, “Sorry—didn’t mean to put you out.”

“No worries,” John assured him, and ordinarily, he would have left it at that, told Sherlock to get some rest, and called it a day. A feverish cold didn’t rank very high on his personal scale of suffering, and it obviously didn’t on Sherlock’s either.

But there was something about the way Sherlock was huddled on the couch, shivering—something about the way illness had taken ten years off his face, made his long limbs, which usually thrummed with the high-strung energy of a racehorse, look gawky, almost coltish—that tugged at John in unexpected ways, opened up some barely remembered vein of tenderness.

He didn’t quite know what to do with the feeling.

“Cold?” he asked, for want of anything better to say, plucking his own discarded gray jumper off the chair and offering it.

Somewhat to his surprise, Sherlock accepted it, shrugged into it wordlessly. It looked slightly ridiculous on him—too big across the shoulders and too short in the arms, so that his wrists stuck out awkwardly. But he seemed warmer at least.

++++

Of course, this being Sherlock Holmes, the evening didn’t pass entirely without drama.

They ate in, and Sherlock rallied enough over his hot-and-sour soup to regale John with tales other great internet schemes he had uncovered.

John smiled, and nodded, more intent on his spicy beef than the stories. After a while, though, he noticed that Sherlock’s sentences were growing disjointed, his points more randomly tied together. John peered at him: the detective was decidedly flushed now, his eyes glittering glassily.

“You’re not making sense,” he said.

“I am,” Sherlock replied, “you’re just not bright enough to follow my logic.”

“No,” John told him, “I’m a doctor, and in my professional opinion, you’re not making sense.” He reached over to feel Sherlock’s forehead again. “Oh, bloody hell,” he said.

++++

This time, John did go upstairs to fetch the basic, military-issue medical kit he still kept in his bottom drawer. The thing had a few disposable thermometers in it, and when John finally got a reading he frowned. Not quite high enough to warrant dragging Sherlock to the nearest emergency room, but too high not to try and do something about it.

“I’m fine, John,” Sherlock said, pushing away from the table and standing up, “stop fussing.” Then his face changed. “Oh,” he murmured, hand going to his head as his knees buckled.

John got an arm around him, stopped him completely crumpling to the floor, though he bit back a groan as the extra weight hit his bad leg. “Yeah, you’re fine,” he said, “time to lie down.”

Somehow, he manhandled Sherlock into his bedroom and onto the bed, though he had to shove off a tangle of books and clothes to make room for him. Then he let his training take over—double-dosed him with acetaminophen and ibuprofen, packed wet towels against his neck and under his arms, ran a cold flannel over his face and neck.

Sherlock stayed conscious throughout, tracking John’s movements haphazardly with vague, unfocused eyes. That was perhaps the most disturbing part of the evening—to see the acuity drained from Sherlock’s gaze, the relentless calculation grind to a halt. John tried not to think about what it meant that he missed it so.

But the fever was brief, if violent, and after a few hours, at most, it broke decisively. John coaxed and bullied Sherlock into dry clothes, feeling another weird stab of tenderness as he helped him struggle out of his sweat-soaked clothing, saw the pale, vulnerable flesh beneath.

Sherlock did close his eyes then, surely exhausted, and John thought to leave him, check back in a few hours to make sure his temperature hadn’t climbed again. But he lingered, though he couldn’t have said exactly why.

After a while, Sherlock’s eyes blinked open lazily, lucidity thankfully restored. “I’m sorry, John,” he said, very slowly, but clearly, “I should have warned you.”

“Warned me?” John asked, more sharply than he meant to, “What? Do you always spike a 40 degree fever when you get a cold?”

Sherlock made a faint movement, almost like a shrug.

“You do?” John asked. “Oh. Okay. You do. Alright, then, I consider myself warned.” Then another thought occurred to him. “Wait,” he said, “what do you usually do? I mean,” he continued awkwardly, “when you’re on your own?” Because the Sherlock he had seen tonight seemed no more able to help himself than a child.

That half shrug again, a quirk of the lip, the slow words. “I ride it out. It’s interesting. I’m always interested in altered states.”

John took that in. “Fair enough,” he said, “but I think we’ll have a bit less of that particular one now that I’m here, thank you very much.”

now that I’m here, he thought, embarrassed, smooth one, Watson. But Sherlock was already asleep.

fin
  • Oh, who cares about the cliche? It's adorable is what it is =)
  • (no subject) - calicortina
  • this one involving enticements and promises to “natural” redheads

    Hee hee! :)

    This is brilliant. Thanks for sharing.
    • hee! glad you liked that line--that story would be perfect for updating to the internet ;)

      thanks for reading--I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!
  • Fab :) What Calicortina said.
  • I do believe this may have been my prompt you filled. If it was, thank you so much. It's wonderful.

    Favorite lines:

    But John had spent most of his career dealing with combat soldiers and veterans, and Sherlock’s idiosyncrasies, impressive as they were, had nothing on that particular brand of disregard for one’s personal well-being.

    and

    Of course, this being Sherlock Holmes, the evening didn’t pass entirely without drama.
    • Many thanks, if it was your prompt, this was fun to write! (the OP seemed to have replied at the meme--was that you too?)

      I'm glad you liked that line--I figure it would take a lot to faze an army doctor--

      Thanks so much for reading--I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!
  • Awww!!! An adorable fic that really hit the spot with my terrible weakness for h/c :D I would hug this through the internets, if I only could!
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I (obviously, I guess) share your weakness for h/c--and especially for Dr. Watson being a doctor--

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
  • That was adorkable. ♥ H/C fics are the best. :D
  • So favourited! I'll be rereading this one.
  • Oh this is precious <3 Especially that last part. :)
  • (no subject) - outofmymind
    • I can never get enough h/c from these two in any incarnation!
      you and me both! (though it's interesting what versions that different variations seem to lend themselves to: I've written a lot of sick!Watson/caring!Holmes for RDJ!Holmes--but I can't quite wrap my head around it for these two...)

      Anyway, thanks for reading--I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!
  • Totally adorable. H/C done beautifully. :)
  • <3 competent!Watson and how Holmes' way of riding out illness all by himself will not *do* anymore.
    • I have such a thing for Dr. Watson being a doctor--it's not even funny, lol.

      Thanks for reading--I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!
  • I enjoyed this immensely. Watson being all taking charge and looking after Sherlock was very sweet.
    • I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I kind of love a take-charge!Watson--happy it worked for you too. Thanks for reading and commenting!
  • Mmmh, delightful h/c to hit the spot after a boring day... thanks! I watched the first episode yesterday and the second today and I was all ♥_♥

    And since I'm greedy, I'm going to taunt you with a SECOND prompt the smell of eldeberries. Obv John is all perfectly competent in a situation like this, but if the roles were reversed... this Sherlock would be absolute pants in the caregiving role. Just saying. Lestrade would take one look at a feverish John and know in two seconds flat five things he could do to help that Sherlock hadn't deduced in a whole afternoon ;-P
  • Oooh, this is fantastic! Much love for this!
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