a/n: this is in response to Lemon Zinger's excellent "a Study in Angst", which put the duo through all manner of trials and tribulations. At the end of all that trauma, Watson started to sneeze...

second a/n: Since posting this, Lemon Zinger and I have decided to put Holmes and Watson through all the other genres of fanfiction, so this verse is likely to move across to her account at some point to join in :)

I may owe A.A. Milne an apology

I do not own Holmes or any of his companions.

A study in hurt/comfort?

Dr John Watson was sneezing and wheezing,

Holmes bundled him back into bed.

The Doctor protested he really felt rested,

'Twas only a cold in the head.

Although he resisted, his comrade insisted

His bedroom was where he must stay.

Past cases had shown that those symptoms alone

Could threaten his life in one day.

He'd go from quite sickly, to moribund quickly

If any slight cough was ignored.

He had to prepare with meticulous care

As his temperature rapidly soared.

Holmes knew what was needed when health was impeded;

Thick blankets and poultices too,

And potions to swallow, as fever would follow

And dire complications ensue.

He cancelled appointments, bought powders and ointments,

Boiled kettles as fast as he could,

And intently perused any cloths Watson used,

In case he was coughing up blood.

He made the assumption it could be consumption,

And result in a fatal decline,

But Watson declared he should not be so scared,

As he honestly felt pretty fine.

And Holmes answered gravely, "You're acting so bravely,

To hide the sad truth from your friend.

I know to my sorrow, you may die tomorrow,

A poignant and fever-filled end.

I've read all the tales where your health swiftly fails,

And the light starts to fade from your eyes.

I am destined to sit while you suffer a bit,

And wait for your tragic demise."

Holmes sat up all night, kept the Doctor in sight,

Convinced he'd be breathing his last.

He stayed there till morning; the new day now dawning

Declared his long vigil had passed.

Holmes regarded his friend, who seemed quite near the end.

Could that be a tear in his eye?

He sat down by the bed, and then lowered his head,

To hear his friend's whispered reply.

Holmes declared,"My brave man, rest your voice if you can.

It sounds so incredibly weak!"

( Thick blankets which pressed fairly hard round his chest

Had made it an effort to speak.)

As daylight was breaking, Holmes' poor heart was aching,

Awaiting his comrade's sad death.

He walked from the room as his thoughts filled with doom,

Prepared for the Doctor's last breath.

So weighed down with cares, he descended the stairs,

A thud made him stop, turn his head.

He deduced that the sound was bare feet hitting ground

As blankets were flung from a bed.

Then Watson appeared, all his symptoms had cleared,

Unlike in the tales he'd been told.

Holmes could scarcely believe he had failed to perceive

That a cold could be simply…a cold!

The end