It is one thing to cope with Holmes' eccentricities at the pinnacle of health, but it is completely different to be near him and struck with the flu at the same time. All I had wanted was a bit of a respite from my illness, but, instead, I received a serenade of horrible, disconnected notes at four in the morning. I knew Holmes had no case at the moment, so this ceaseless litany of what he deemed 'music' wasn't, in the least, justified, which made me rather angry.

"Holmes, for the love of God, have some mercy!" I cried coming down the stairs.

"What's the matter, Watson?"

"It's FOUR in the morning, and I'm ill! Could this please wait until tomorrow?"

"It is tomorrow, my dear fellow." then he began playing again. Really, it was too much. I ran over to Holmes, who looked rather shocked at my quickness, and seized the violin.

"I shall return this to you later, Holmes."

"Now see here!" he was angry, as was I.

"No! You see here! I am sick with the flu, and for two days, I've allowed myself to be tortured by your methods! One night's sleep, Holmes, that's all I ask for, one night." with that, I spun around, instrument in hand, and trudged up the stairs, then slammed the door. Mindful that the tortuous object was probably some kind of expensive gift from a respectful, rich client, I placed the violin on my desk and climbed into bed rather content.

When I awoke next, I knew Holmes would not be at all pleased about last night's confrontation, and would most likely subject me to the silent treatment, even after I returned his violin, and decided food, which my stomach protested for, was worth braving one such storm. I eased my way down the steps, and was surprised to find that Holmes wasn't in the sitting room, but instead Mrs. Hudson was setting the table with one place setting. Holmes had gone out.

"Good morning, Doctor. You look better this morning!"

"Indeed, Mrs. Hudson, I do believe I have defeated my flu."

"Very good! Happy birthday, by the way!"

"Pardon?" it was quite embarrassing to realize I'd forgotten my own birthday.

"Yes, and here," the Land Lady forced a small box wrapped with brown paper in my hands, then smiled at me. The string at the top came off easily, and the paper fell away revealing the white outside of the package. Opening it revealed a pair of cufflinks similar to the ones I had lost in the scuffle with the last bandit we'd been up against the week before, but the ones in my hands we engraved with bull dogs.

"Mrs. Hudson!" I cried, "these must have been quite expensive!"

"Do you like them, Doctor?"

"I love them already!"

"Then enjoy them, and your breakfast!" that said, and after receiving my thanks, she left the room. I set Holmes' violin(torture device) on the table next to his brooding chair and applied myself to the meal before me.

After finishing Mrs. Hudson's delightful breakfast, I had settled in my own chair and passed the time reading the times until Holmes burst into the room. "Terribly sorry about last night, old chap," he said, throwing his coat in the corner for Mrs. Hudson to clean up, "I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out a suitable present for you, since our dear land lady beat me to the cufflinks."

"Is that what you have been pondering about so hard?"

"Indeed, and when you confiscated my violin last night, growling like a dog, I figured out your present. MRS. HUDSON!" he cried suddenly. The door to the sitting room opened, giving way to the landlady and a puppy.

A bulldog puppy.

"I propose we name him John."

"Holmes, uh, thank you!"

"Hardly a bother, my dear friend. Happy birthday."

"Thank you, Holmes,"