Chapter 1: The Beginning

Chapter kindly betaed by goldvermilion87

This was a piece I started as I needed something to write while waiting for a 'proper plot' to happen. It's off canon, and in some places it might be described as out of character too. Certainly I'm staying more true to the characters in my head than I am necessarily to the ones in the series. The original point was 'for fun' and as a playing field for me to develop my writing habits and skills.

Anyhow, people seem to like it, and I personally can't get enough of 'Scarlet Fever' as I tend to refer to this story in real life.

DISCLAIMER. The characters of Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mrs Hudson, DI Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes, and though they don't feature highly, Molly, Donovan, Anderson et. al, are owned by the BBC. Any views stated in this fiction are put into their minds by me, and are not indicative of anything other than my interpretation of the characters.

The character of Scarlet Watson is my own invention.

Please enjoy.

LP.


John stared at the computer screen in his office and sighed. Every week. Every Tuesday at ten o'clock, it was the same patient. And there was never anything wrong with him.

There was nothing for it. He buzzed him in.

"Good morning. I'm Doctor Watson. How can I help you?" The spiel was memorised, dull and reeled out without any feeling at all.

"I know who you are!" Sherlock snapped. "Why do you keep telling me who you are?"

"I'm required to introduce myself to new patients."

"I'm not a new patient!" Sherlock frowned at him.

"I know. I'm pretending you are. It's easier."

Sherlock sat back in his chair and beamed at him. John sat with his elbow on his desk propping his head up on his hand. He played with a paperclip.

"I have an injury," Sherlock told him with a pleased look on his face.

"No you don't."

"Yes I do!"

"No, you make an appointment to see me every Tuesday. I've told you that you can't do that without being ill so now you're making stuff up. I'm thinking of restricting your Internet access so you can't get on to web-doctor."

"You're coming to visit?" Sherlock sounded excited.

"No."

"Oh."

"Why does Melanie keep making you appointments anyway? I've told her not to."

"I think she likes me." Sherlock grinned at him.

"I can't think why," John muttered. He sighed and continued playing with the paperclip.

"Will you come to Norfolk with me?" Sherlock asked him.

"What? No!"

"I've got a case."

"No!"

"But John, I need someone with me on whom I can completely rely."

"No."

"It could be dangerous."

John rolled his eyes. "No."

Sherlock pouted. "You're being unreasonable."

"No I'm not. Have you entirely forgotten about Mary?"

"Mary? Oh, wife-thingy. Her you mean?"

"Yes, I mean my wife-thingy."

"She wouldn't mind! Not Mary! She's a perfectly reasonable woman. I knew it the first time I met her."

John thought back to the first time he'd introduced Mary to Sherlock. Under the circumstances she had indeed been very, very patient.

"Sherlock; of course she would mind! She's going to give birth any day now! She won't want me gallivanting off to Norfolk with you!"

"I knew she was a mistake when you married her!"

"No she wasn't. I, me, I don't want to go to Norfolk with you. I'm really looking forward to meeting my child! I don't want to miss it!"

"You're having a baby?"

John stared at him. "Yes! You know that! I told you about it in the spring! I've mentioned it countless times since"

"No, you told me Mary was pregnant in the spring," Sherlock countered. "And I don't recall you mentioning it since."

"I told you I was shopping for prams! I've suggested names!"

"Oh, was that what that was about? Oh."

"Didn't the fact that Mary was pregnant give you a bit of a clue that a baby would turn up?" John asked him, exasperated.

"I don't know how long these things take; I thought it was ages yet. Or that she'd had it and I'd deleted it."

"Deleted?"

"Yes, you know this. The brain is a computer. I delete irrelevant things to make room for relevant things. I've told you about this before."

John stared at him. "You'd delete the birth of my child?"

Sherlock heard an edge in John's voice. He looked up at him. "Not good?"

"No, no it's fine." John said, clearly hurt. "I guess you get to choose what's relevant in your life. Right. You've had your twelve minutes. Get out."

"I've only had seven and you haven't looked at my injury yet!"

"There isn't any injury."

"Yes there is!" Sherlock unbuttoned his cuff and rolled back his sleeve.

There was a weeping sore, about the size of a five-pound note, on his forearm. It was a burn. It was clearly several days old and it was flaming red and dirty round the edges.

John got up at once and pulled Sherlock into the treatment room. "When did this happen?"

"Saturday."

Three days old. "Sherlock you should have gone to A&E immediately."

"Why, when I have an appointment with you already booked?"

"This is infected now. Sit up on that!" He waved at the examination bed.

Sherlock dutifully hopped up on to the bed. He held his sleeve right back to give John full access to the wound.

John worked quickly and precisely. He put a large amount of a silver-based cream onto the sore, covered this with plastic gauze and finally wrapped it firmly with a bandage. He shoved a thermometer into Sherlock's ear.

He only had a very mild fever. John was confident that it was just a mild infection and that there was no imminent risk of septicaemia.

"I'm going to prescribe some antibiotics for you," John told him and went back into the main room. Sherlock followed, straightening his clothing.

"Here. Get that filled," he said shortly as he quickly scrawled his signature on the bottom of it. "Take them three times a day; don't forget to take them and do complete the whole course. You'll need the dressing changed daily. Make an appointment with one of the practice nurses."

"With a nurse?"

"Yes with a nurse. If your temperature goes up or you experience any other symptoms... you can call me."

Sherlock grinned broadly. The grin faltered when John didn't smile back.

"John..."

"Hm?" John was turned to the computer, typing details into Sherlock's file.

"When your baby is born, I will make every attempt not to delete it."

John half smiled.

"Thank you, Mr. Holmes. I'm sure I'll see you again soon."

"Thank you, Doctor Watson."