Author's Note: KCS, my dear, this one is dedicated to you and was written for you! (glomp)
Sorry this is a bit late, the internet where I am is unreliable. Anyway, and now we have the very late last chapter of this story! I thought it's be nice to do a final one, a sort of sum up.
Inspired by recent events in my own life, actually. lol. Sorry if it feels a little off, I'm a bit off myself, at the moment.
Comments appreciated. :D
I come into the room with the first nurse I could find trailing behind me, and when I look up, my mouth drops open.
The two hospital beds are close together and there is a bedpan in the middle of the floor between them. Poking out of the hole of the bedpan are what appear to be playing cards. Against the wall, an empty syringe in her hand and a reluctant smile on her face, is one of the nurses that struggled with Mr. Holmes earlier—the one that said he was 'bloody mad,' in fact. In the second bed, Dr. Watson is sitting up against a stack of pillows, holding a single playing card in his hand. His pale face has a bit of a flush to it and his eyes are narrowed in concentration. Mr. Holmes is, strangely, settled into his own bed and watching the doctor's every movement critically, looking every bit the bird of prey his nose makes him out to be.
"This is the last time, mind, doctor," the nurse says fondly.
"Yes, Watson, really, you shouldn't strain yourself."
"You're just worried I shall call your bluff, Holmes," Watson replies. If I said a thing like that I'm sure Holmes would metaphorically filet me alive with his sharp tongue, but he looks at the doctor with—is that a genuine smile on his face?
Holmes—Sherlock Holmes, ever the unofficial consulting detective and often an arrogant prat—is actually openly smiling, despite the fact that he is attempting to look at the doctor with disapproval. I didn't think I was capable of being surprised so many times in one night—I'm not a blushing innocent, me—but I have a feeling the sensation of disbelief will not be an uncommon one whenever I'm round these two.
The last remaining card sails across the room and lands straight in the small opening of the bedpan. The nurse against the wall cheers and Dr. Watson beams, finally sliding back against his pillows.
"I thought I could do it," the doctor says, his voice tired, his face triumphant, but his words as modest as ever.
"Hmm," Holmes replied. "I see your aim is as unfailing as ever. I only wish your common sense was as steady—you need to rest. This instant."
The detective's words are a mite harsh, but he's looking at the second man with what I can only identify as fondness. I'd expect a look like that from Gregson before I'd expect it out of Sherlock Holmes!
"Never would 'ave thought a man could hit a pan dead even with a whole deck of cards after I dosed 'em with morphine," the nurse against the wall says admiringly.
Dr. Watson looks up at me and the nurse I brought from his bed of pillows. "Hello, Lestrade, miss. Mrs. Durham here already fixed my side. I was just proving something—"
"And it is proved. I assume you will fulfill your promise to rest—" Mr. Holmes stops as he sees Dr. Watson has already drifted to sleep.
"I took care of 'im, Mr. Holmes," the nurse whispers. "A good 'n heavy dose. Now you just behave like you said you would."
The nurses leave the room together.
I look at Holmes. He looks back at me with those steely eyes. After I hold his gaze a moment, as unnerving as it is, he cracks a small smile.
"I merely asked her to give him a dose that would ensure he sleeps for a good amount of time."
"And if she did so, you'd behave yourself?" I can't help but ask.
"Precisely, Lestrade," Holmes replies. "You are making leaps and bounds when it comes to making conclusions." Despite the unhealthy bruise over his forehead, I can tell the head injury hasn't damaged the way his mind works. And then he surprises me yet again by adding, in a voice that I would call concerned in any other man, "He really did need the rest."
"Right," is all I say, in a quiet voice. "Well, I'll be off, then. Back to the Yard."
He bribed the nurse to drug the doctor a little extra to make him sleep and regain his strength. An old adage comes to my mind—it's a good spot of luck that Watson is a nice chap that doesn't seem to have nay natural enemies because he certainly doesn't need them with friends like Holmes!
"Lestrade," Holmes says, his voice low and his expression one something akin to distaste.
The man is hesitating! I can't help it—I swallow, hard. I'm a Yarder through and through but some things unnerve even me. A hesitating Holmes is never a good thing.
"Yes?" I reply.
"I would like to…" A pause. "Offer you my sincere thanks."
I suck in an involuntary breath and nearly choke on it. Well, that was unexpected! It is several seconds before I can reply. "Uh, not necessary, Mr. Holmes, just doing my job—"
"Nonsense. You responded to a summons from Watson and in a rare moment of foresight," I decide to ignore that part as he continues, "you managed to arrive at the precise moment your assistance was required. Had I been on my own, things might have turned out differently," Holmes says this in a tone that clearly says he would not have needed my help, "but as it was, I am genuinely grateful you came." He glances at the doctor. "Without your help, the night might have ended quite tragically."
I seem to have fallen into a habit of staring at Holmes in shock, for that is exactly what I find myself doing once more. I shake off the feeling. "I'm just glad I could help, Mr. Holmes," I finally say. He inclines his head like some sort of king dismissing his faithful subject and then leans back, closing his eyes. Obviously, I've been dismissed, so I take my leave of him, heading out of the hospital and back to my office.
For perhaps the first time in all of the many times I've left Mr. Holmes' presence, I find that I am not feeling angry or annoyed or frustrated or ready to kill someone. In fact, I'm rather satisfied. I've solved my case, rescued two people, arrested dozens of criminals, shown up Gregson's latest coup, and, perhaps the most unexpected thing of all, I've been thanked by Sherlock Holmes. Not much more a Yarder could ask for, really.