"It's Hedgehog Day!"

John blinked himself awake, his eyes gradually focusing on Sherlock's excited face.

"Hurry up, John. We don't want to miss the keynote address."

John smiled indulgently up at his friend. Although this trip to the Day of the Hedgehog conference was ostensibly for a case, Sherlock's avid interest in the spiky little creatures was clearly the motivating factor behind his agreeing to take on a client whom he would otherwise have dismissed as boring.

John had always thought of hedgehogs as being quite common, so he was surprised to learn that in recent years their population had declined so dramatically that they were now listed among Britain's ten most endangered species. Hence this conference — a joint venture between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People's Trust for Endangered Species. It promised "a full day jam packed with fascinating talks by experts and scientists, as well as trade stands selling all the hedgehoggery you could think of and plenty of opportunity to mix with fellow hedgehog fans!"

It delivered all of this, plus a chance for Sherlock to show off his brilliance by solving the case before lunch, leaving them plenty of time to enjoy the "hedgehoggery." John had to admit that he was having rather a good time. The event's host — Hugh Warwick, author of A Prickly Affair — was funny and engaging, the hedgehogs were undeniably cute, and Sherlock's enthusiasm was endearing.

Maybe a bit too endearing…



"It's Hedgehog Day!"

John blinked himself awake, his eyes gradually focusing on Sherlock's excited face.

"Nope. Hedgehog day comes but once a year. Sorry."

"Hurry up, John. We don't want to miss the keynote address."

"Sherlock, are you feeling okay?"

"I'd be feeling better if you'd get out of bed and put some clothes on, so we could go listen to Dr. Morris."

John looked at his friend quizzically. "Did you delete the past 24 hours?"

"Of course not. Mrs. Hudson brought up tea and scones, you typed up your latest blog entry while I finished my experiment with the gall bladders, we caught the 12:43 train from Euston to Telford, arrived here at the International Centre, you acted surprised that they'd put us together in a double room, although you're the one who booked the reservations, we went out to The Dragon's Den for reasonably good Chinese, walked around the town centre, came back here, you went to bed, and I stayed up researching hedgehogs. Fascinating creatures. Now come on!"

"Sherlock, that was Friday. Yesterday we attended the conference. It's over."

Now it was Sherlock's turn to look concerned. "John, yesterday was Friday. Today is Saturday. If you don't believe me, check your phone."

John did so, and was shocked to discover that Sherlock was correct.

"Wow — I had the most vivid dream about the conference last night! Just give me a sec, and I'll be ready."

All day, John couldn't shake the strong sense of déjà vu. Everything seemed so familiar, from the panel of speakers, to Sherlock's solving the case before lunch, to the trade stands selling all manner of "hedgehoggery." It was disturbing, and left him feeling off-balance and irritable.

He was relieved to be able to crawl into bed at an unusually early hour, looking forward to the next day, when the train would take him and Sherlock back to London.



"It's Hedgehog Day!"

John blinked himself awake, his eyes gradually focusing on Sherlock's excited face.

"Don't fuck with me, Sherlock. I'm not in the mood."

"What's got your knickers in a twist? Hurry up, we don't want to miss the keynote address."

"Not funny."

"It wasn't meant to be. Dr. Morris is the world's foremost scientific expert on hedgehogs. I'm quite looking forward to his talk."

John took in Sherlock's guileless expression. With a sudden sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach, he grabbed for his phone. Saturday. Oh my god.

"I'm… uh… not feeling well. You go to the conference without me."

John spent the day online, researching possible causes for his distorted sense of time and reality. The two most likely explanations were that he was experiencing a psychotic episode, or that he had developed temporal lobe epilepsy. He phoned Ella, leaving her a voice message requesting an appointment as soon as possible. First thing Monday morning, he'd call in some favours at Bart's to get fast-tracked for an EEG and an MRI.

There was no need to panic.



"It's Hedgehog Day!"

John blinked himself awake, his eyes gradually focusing on Sherlock's excited face. Slowly, the memories of the last three days — this day — came flooding back. Shit.

"Sherlock, what day of the week is it?"


"And how many times has it been Saturday, do you think?"

"Well, the Romans named Saturday for the god Saturn around 2,000 years ago, so I'd say it's been Saturday approximately 100,000 times."

"No, I mean this Saturday. Does it seem to you like this particular Saturday has happened before?"

"No, John. Due to our linear perception of time, each day only seems to happen once. And today is the one and only Day of the Hedgehog. So hurry up — we don't want to miss the keynote address."

John accompanied Sherlock to the conference, but he ignored the speakers (after all, he'd heard them twice before) in favor of pondering his situation. His previous day's resolution of seeing his therapist and getting his brain scanned once he returned to London appeared to have a major flaw. If this day simply kept repeating, John never would return to London.

Hmmm… That was a new idea. What if John wasn't suffering from some sort of mental disorder? What if this day actually was repeating? What if he was like the main character in that old movie, Groundhog Day — doomed to live the same day over and over and over again?

How could he find out?

Well, if he knew about something before it happened, that would prove it, right? But it couldn't be something about the conference. He might just be making predictions based on what he'd read in the brochure, or facts he'd previously learned about hedgehogs but didn't consciously remember.

No, it had to be something he couldn't otherwise have known.

Oh! The case! He'd get Sherlock to tell him exactly how he solved the case. And then, tomorrow — if tomorrow was today, again — he'd tell Sherlock the solution first thing in the morning. That would be proof positive; there was no other way John could possibly solve a case before Sherlock.



"It's Hedgehog Day!"

John blinked himself awake, his eyes gradually focusing on Sherlock's excited face.

"Sherlock, have you solved the case yet?"

"Don't be an idiot, John. If I could have solved the case without attending the conference, would I really have insisted we travel all the way here from London? Now hurry up — we don't want to miss the keynote address."

John took a deep breath, and then launched into a detailed, step-by-step account of all of Sherlock's deductions from the previous day. Sherlock stared at him in disbelief.

"How could you possibly know that?"

"Because you told me, the last time we were at this conference together."

"John, are you feeling alright?"

"No!" John snapped. "I am not feeling alright! I have been living through this same damn day forever. Every night I go to sleep hoping it's finally over, and every morning I wake up to you telling me that it's bloody fucking Hedgehog Day again! So no, I am not alright!"

Sherlock held his hands up in a placating gesture. "Okay, okay, just breathe. You seem to be experiencing a psychotic episode, or maybe some form of temporal lobe epilepsy. Let's call Ella now, and then first thing Monday morning we'll get you an EEG and an MRI."

"God damn it, Sherlock! Don't you think I already thought of that? I can't get an MRI on Monday because there is no Monday. It's always Saturday. Every fucking day."


"You might think I'm crazy, but you'll see. Before lunch, you're going to solve the case, exactly the way I just told you. And you know there's no other explanation for how I could know that, unless you'd already told me how you did it. If Genius Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes couldn't solve the case before the conference started, there's no way Idiot Doctor John Watson could, right?"

This, at least, Sherlock was prepared to agree with.

John got dressed and accompanied him to the conference.


"John, that was incredible! How did you do it?"

"I told you, Sherlock. You solved the case yourself, and then explained your deductions to me. I'm stuck in some kind of a time loop, and every day is this day."

"Fascinating. Just think of the possibilities…"

John did think of the possibilities. If there would be no tomorrow, there would be no consequences. John could do whatever he wanted, without worrying about the repercussions.

And what John wanted to do (in a manner of speaking) was Sherlock. Ever since their first dinner at Angelo's, when Sherlock had made it perfectly clear that he was married to his work, John had forced himself not to think of his friend like that. Over the intervening years, there'd been times when it had almost seemed as if Sherlock might be interested, but still, John had always held himself back. There was no way he was willing to risk ruining their friendship.

But now, what was the risk? If Sherlock was upset or offended by John's overtures, there would be no fallout. John could simply apologize, and any lingering awkwardness would last no more than a few hours. The clock would reset tomorrow, and John would get a do-over.

Tonight, he was going to go for it.



"It's Hedgehog Day!"

John blinked himself awake, his eyes gradually focusing on Sherlock's softly smiling face, inches from his on the pillow. Now, that was different…

"Sherlock," he said urgently. "What day of the week is it?"


"Then why did you say it was Hedgehog Day?"

"From now on, every day is Hedgehog Day, because you're my hedgehog — small and prickly, with a surprisingly soft underbelly."

Before John's brain could register either relief or offense, Sherlock dipped down and nibbled along that underbelly, heading in a very promising direction.

This was shaping up to be a day John wouldn't mind repeating…


End Note: Sorry I've been gone so long. I have a backlog of work to upload for you to make up for my absence. Reviews keep me posting. :)