This one's a bit shorter, sorry! There's going to be at least one more chapter, maybe a couple more, if people are interested?

About fifteen minutes later, the same nurse who'd led them to the room walked in with a tray full of antiseptic and bandages and awoke Sherlock from a half-slumber. He had never quite fallen asleep, Lestrade knew, because he kept taking annoyed deep breaths and half-coughing.

The nurse had a hesitant smile, and approached Sherlock's bedside carefully. "Hello again, Mr. Holmes. Inspector." She nodded towards Lestrade. "Now, I've just got to clean up your head wound. Any allergy to latex?"

"No," mumbled Sherlock, who was barely hanging on to consciousness in his comfortable bed.

She pulled on a pair of bright purple latex gloves. First, she wiped his face clean with a wet flannel, washing away blood both dried and fresh. Lestrade had barely noticed how much the wound was bleeding, more concerned about the concussion, but now he observed the slow trickle of blood. Once Sherlock's face was more or less clean, the nurse poured some alcohol onto a cotton cloth. "This might sting a bit," she said. Sherlock closed his eyes as she gently swabbed the area. He stiffened for a moment, but didn't make a sound. "Something hit you pretty good, huh? What happened?"

Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "Pistol-whipped by a serial rapist."

The nurse's hand faltered and she almost dropped the cloth. "Oh! My goodness." Lestrade fought the urge to roll his eyes. Sherlock could be so dramatic.

"There we go!" she chirped nervously, and set aside the cloth to reach for some bandages. Lestrade went back to his magazine, deciding that even reading about some supermodel's shotgun wedding was better than watching this nurse do a fairly decent impression of that new mortician girl.

Once Sherlock's forehead was covered with a layer of gauze and taped up, the nurse prepared a little plastic cup of pills and held it out to the detective along with a cup of water.

"Here we go, Ibuprofen and Dramamine." He could barely keep his hand steady, and Lestrade rose to assist the poor young nurse tip the pills into Sherlock's mouth and help him lean forward to swallow the water. "You know," the nurse said cheerfully, "If you're afraid of needles, we have several stronger painkillers than don't have to be delivered intravenously."

"Not… scared!" Sherlock protested, and then in a lower, confidential voice, "Just a… recovering addict… is all." Lestrade could have sworn he winked at the nurse, who immediately stepped back and grabbed the tray, nearly tripping over her own feet.

"Someone will be in to bring you some food in the next few minutes. It was lovely to meet you, Mr. Holmes. Do feel better and remember there's a nurse on call all night if you need anything," she rambled as she backed out of the room.

"Was that really necessary?" Lestrade asked once the nurse had scurried away down the hall. "Now she's scared sick."

Sherlock waved his arm weakly, dismissing the matter. "Oh, hardly," he coughed. "She knows… I'm in… capable hands," he remarked. Lestrade was surprised and a bit concerned, as this was perhaps the nicest thing Sherlock had ever said to him. Usually it was some variation on, "You're not quite as stupid as the others."

After a glance at Lestrade's appreciative expression, Sherlock added, "Relatively."

A tired-looking orderly walked in, carrying a tray with a variety of snacks—several packets of saltines, a pudding cup, a can of apple juice, and a small bag of peanuts. "Dinner ended hours ago, so this is all we've got. I can get you more of anything, though, if you'd like," he explained, setting the tray in front of the emaciated detective.

Sherlock surveyed the food with an air of faint disgust. "Not hungry. Coffee?" he asked the orderly.

"Oh, sorry sir, we don't serve anything with caffeine here. I'll just leave this here, if you want anything later." Lestrade was inwardly relieved about the coffee. The young consulting detective would be considerably less trying asleep. The orderly nodded politely and exited.

Lestrade sighed as Sherlock eyed the food suspiciously. "Come on, lad, you've got to eat something. You still feeling nauseous?"

Sherlock glared. "No. Bit dizzy… is all. And not… hungry."

"Well, I'm no doctor—"

Sherlock cut in to mumble, "That's… painfully obvious," but Lestrade ploughed ahead.

"But that sounds to me like low blood sugar." Sherlock rolled his eyes but before he could protest, Lestrade took on the calm warning voice he'd found quite effective in dealing with his young nephews, and said, "I don't care if you're hungry, you need food. So eat up. Now."

Sherlock didn't respond, but reached for the peanuts and tore open the little package with a vicious swipe of his thumbnail. He munched on them resentfully for a couple of minutes while Lestrade looked on approvingly. The younger man's eyelids were drooping, and after a minute he crumpled up the empty wrapper and pushed away the food tray, which Lestrade quickly prevented from crashing to the floor and set down on the bedside table. He supposed that was the best he could do for the moment. Perhaps when Sherlock woke up his appetite will have returned, he reasoned.

"Sleep now?" Sherlock asked, his words slurring. Lestrade stood and the bedside to meet his clear gray-blue eyes, and nodded. "You'll… stay." It was neither a question or a command, more of a curious observation.

Lestrade nodded again. "I'll stay." He patted Sherlock's head, running his fingers briefly through the mop of curls. "Get some rest."

Sherlock's mouth twitched with the shadow of a smile and he closed his eyes. "Always so… sentimental," he murmured, with only a hint of contempt on the last word, before letting himself fall into the dark comfort of unconsciousness that had been threatening to claim him for hours.

Lestrade sighed and leaned back in his chair. Yep, he was going to be fine.