Thunder crashed outside the windows; rain pattered against the roof like a soothing lullaby. John took great pleasure in spending his Saturday off reclining in the armchair in front of a warm fire. He had a mug of cooling Darjeeling tea and had the morning news on at a low rumble in the background.
Suddenly a disgusting wet, hacking cough broke through his solitude. The coughing went on for about thirty seconds while John had second thoughts about wanting his tea. Something about the sound of someone unmistakably coughing up phlegm and mucus reduced the allure of his tea with extra milk. Finally the coughing hushed. John set his tea on the coffee table, knowing what was likely to happen next.
And it did. From within the deep alcoves of the flat, there came a pathetic, wilting groan. John sighed and folded the leg rest back into his chair. He still stayed seated, opting to wait until the horrible cougher in the other room actually asked for help.
"Jooohn." And there it was. John got to his feet and trod wearily to Sherlock's bedroom.
He appeared in Sherlock's doorway, gazing at his flat mate in the bed. Sherlock was half-sitting up in the bed, his laptop resting against his thighs. He was surrounded by used tissues and little scraps of paper he had used for making notes. He sniffed deeply and gave John a forlorn look.
"Ready to go to the doctor now?" John asked casually.
Sherlock coughed and then cleared his throat. "No. I don't need a doctor…except you. You're my doctor, John, don't be ridiculous. And I have the flu."
John sifted through the hasty word vomit to determine the key points. Mainly, that Sherlock was definitely running a fever if his speech was so disjointed. "How do you know you've got the flu?" he asked, entering the room. John wiped the thermometer on Sherlock's bedside table clean with a wet nap and turned it on. He listened to Sherlock's response while waiting for it to warm up.
"Symptom checker," Sherlock said, his voice sounding nasally from the congestion in his head. He indicated his laptop. "NHS website."
"What symptoms do you have?" John wondered. He also wondered why it took this particular thermometer so long to prepare itself.
"I am literally unable to get out of this bed."
"Ok. What else?"
"Well, the coughing, I'm achy, I'm sneezing, drippy running nose…my eyes ache. My eyes, John. They actually hurt. I have a headache and I'm cold."
John placed the thermometer in Sherlock's open mouth. "Try to breathe through your nose, Sherlock, just long enough to take a temp."
Sherlock wheezed and struggled valiantly to bring in air through the tiny unclogged air hole in his left nostril. The thermometer beeped and John took it back, leaving Sherlock gasping and coughing for air. "39.1," he read, his tone growing serious. "You should probably go to the hospital…"
Sherlock scoffed as well as he was able. "Just get me some over-the-counter stuff." He clicked a few times on his keyboard. "This says to get Benylin. Or Tamiflu. I prefer Benylin."
"Consumer reports and efficacy tests. Also, Tamiflu requires a prescription," Sherlock replied. He shut his laptop and moved it to the side of the bed. "And some Rockstars…"
John blinked. "What?"
"No energy drinks, Sherlock. I'm getting you juice. Energy drinks will dehydrate you. Which is bad."
"Can I have apple juice?"
John nodded, seeing that Sherlock was about to fall asleep. "Ok, I'll be back shortly."
John returned half an hour later. His clothes were soaked, as well as the small bag he'd gotten from the pharmacy. He had been cursing Sherlock all the way home as he trudged through the muddy streets. If John managed to get sick because of Sherlock's inability to care for himself, then he would make sure Sherlock would never forget it.
He dropped his coat to the floor in the doorway, then kicked off his waterlogged shoes. John poured out a cup of apple juice and put the rest of the container in the fridge. With an effort at composure, he proceeded to Sherlock's bedroom with the cup of apple juice and the medication.
Sherlock's sorry state melted the annoyance congesting around John's heart. The detective was shivering underneath his blanket, and his hair was soaked with sweat. His eyes were closed but he seemed to be far from slumber.
John sat down on the edge of the bed, setting the medication on the table for a moment. "Sherlock, I'm back," he said. "I've brought medicine. And apple juice."
"John," said Sherlock, weakly. "I knew you'd come back…"
John rolled his eyes. "Ok, Captain Dramatic. Just drink a little of the juice."
John helped Sherlock take a few sips and then opened the bottle of Benylin. He briefly scanned the instructions. "Ok, this says to take two every 6-8 hours," he announced.
Sherlock blinked up at him. "Two what?"
"Two Benylin," said John.
"Two teaspoons? Two cups? What?"
Sherlock suddenly had energy to spare. "You got me pills?" he demanded, outraged. "I do not take pills, John. Take them back. Bring the liquid version."
John balked at that. "I am not going anywhere else in this storm, Sherlock. I'm wet, I'm tired, and I'd like to get in a hot bath. Now, just take two of these pills so you'll feel better."
Sherlock coughed and sat up further in the bed to make his point clearer. "I don't take pills," he repeated. "The last time I tried taking a pill I was seven, and I ended up gagging and choked up half my breakfast."
"Everyone takes pills, Sherlock," John insisted. He was monitoring Sherlock's movements carefully, knowing that if given the right opportunity, he could hurl two of the pills down his flat mate's throat. "Besides, you were going to take that pill from the cabbie in the pink case."
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "For the last time, I was NOT going to take that pill. I was stalling for-(COUGH)-time."
"Oh, wait a moment," said John, sincerely. "I think I saw some swelling in the back of your throat…say Ah."
Sherlock sniffed and opened his mouth slightly before he snapped it shut with a vehement glare. He saw through John's trap. "Absolutely not," he murmured from the tiny crack he allowed between his lips. "Just leave the juice and go have your bath."
John frowned. He was going to have to be much wittier to get Sherlock to take the pills.
After his bath, John rumbled around the kitchen trying to brainstorm an idea. He remembered when Harry's dog needed mange medication, she'd wrapped it up in a little bit of cheese or sometimes a hollow treat. John didn't see any reason he couldn't do this with Sherlock; he just needed to be a little sneakier.
John entered Sherlock's bedroom to find his friend curled up on his side in perfect misery. "I'm at death's door," Sherlock mumbled.
"Well, I've brought your last meal," John replied.
Sherlock looked at the small tray of foods John brought him. Toast, cream cheese, a banana, and a Jaffa cake. Sherlock sniffed cynically at the items, but picked up some toast and munched it anyhow.
John made a big show of cleaning up around Sherlock's bedroom while he secretly watched to see if Sherlock would ingest the pills he had carefully hidden. Sherlock ignored the banana and picked up the Jaffa cake. John deliberately turned his back at this moment to avoid suspicion. A beat later, he heard Sherlock choking and spitting.
"What-what did you do to this cake?" Sherlock demanded, spitting out bits and chunks of the treat.
John groaned when Sherlock spotted the pill he had just spit out. "Look, I'm just trying to help you-"
"HELP me?" Sherlock cried. "By poisoning my food?" He paused, his eyes growing big. "Wait, there were supposed to be two pills…was one of them in the toast?"
John growled and snatched the tray from Sherlock's lap. "No!" he yelled. "The other one was in the banana." He quietly set the tray on the bedside table.
Sherlock sniffled and lay back against the pillows. "Now I'm tired," he complained.
John took on a concerned front. "You look awfully cold, Sherlock," he mentioned.
Sherlock looked at him pitiably. "I am cold," he admitted.
John tucked the blankets around Sherlock's arms and shoulders with all the tenderness of a rookie nurse. "Raise up a bit so I can tuck you in nice and snug."
Sherlock raised his back up off the bed briefly. It was all John needed to be able to wrap Sherlock's arms in such a way that they were pinned to his sides. Sherlock gasped, descended into coughs, and stared wide-eyed at John as the doctor straddled him, forcing his arms even more firmly to his sides.
"Let me go right now!" Sherlock insisted.
"Just a second," John said. "I'll let you go soon enough." He covertly took two pills off the table and coated them in the cream cheese. The better to slide down Sherlock's throat.
Sherlock kicked pointlessly, rattling the bed. Seeing what was in John's hand, he swiftly shut his mouth. John used his right hand and forearm to pry open Sherlock's mouth. Sherlock yelped as John tried forcing the pills toward his face. At the last possible moment, Sherlock saved himself by rolling and launching John off the bed and onto the floor.
John stood up, dusting himself off angrily. Sherlock was too damn strong for his own good. "You're going to catch pneumonia," he said, as he left the room.
"Even if I had pneumonia, I could-(COUGH COUGH)-still take cases…" Sherlock's retort trickled down to a hushed whisper as exhaustion took away his strength.
"Sherlock?" said a familiar, unwanted voice.
Sherlock's eyes fluttered open angrily. "Why are you here, Mycroft?" he said weakly.
Mycroft was sitting in John's spot on the edge of the bed, propped up on his umbrella. "John said that you're quite ill, and I just wanted to visit before I leave the country tomorrow morning." Mycroft frowned. "I would hate to come back and find out that you had died of some silly little illness."
"It's the flu," Sherlock replied. He coughed and rubbed his head in pain. "I'm not going to die from it."
Mycroft made a face. "Are you sure I can't persuade you to see a doctor?"
Sherlock glared. "I am not going anywhere, unless it's to a crime scene."
"I thought as much…" Mycroft mused. "All right then…swarm!"
"What?" Sherlock cried. Mycroft tackled him, forcing his arms above his head. John hopped up from the side of the bed where he'd been crouching and placed himself back on Sherlock's chest. Then, of all things, Lestrade darted out of the closet and seized Sherlock's legs firmly. "Lestrade? What the hell are you doing here?"
Lestrade grunted as Sherlock tried to kick him off. "Owed John a favor," he replied.
Sherlock grappled with the three of them for all of three seconds before he collapsed, exhausted once more.
"Now, John!" Mycroft instructed.
John once again forced Sherlock's jaws apart, and this time was able to plant the two pills on the back of his tongue. Sherlock's muffled scream was the only sound as John held his mouth closed. "Just swallow, Sherlock, and we'll let you up," he assured him. He massaged Sherlock's throat soothingly until finally Sherlock swallowed the pills.
Slowly, to be sure he wouldn't lash out and smack them, Mycroft, Lestrade and John released Sherlock, who coughed and gasped in silent fury.
"Thanks guys," John said, shaking hands with Mycroft and Lestrade. "Ok, Sherlock, get some rest. We'll see you in 6-8 hours."
Marill: YES! Utter crack! It makes me so happy. Hope you liked it, OP!