Chapter Nine

John's face screwed up in pain.

"Oh God! This hurts! Oh damn you stop it!" He wiped his eyes and took some short breaths. "Ha ha ha ha! I can't believe you actually said that! 'John Watson's no consolation prize!' Hee hee hee! Oh stop! I'll burst my stitches!"

Sherlock chuckled softly. He was sitting on the arm of the visitor's chair and leaning on John's bed in his hospital room.

"Well, it might be fair to say that I was not at my absolute best."

"Ha ha ha! Oh Lord stop it! Oh dear me." John took a deep breath and looked at Sherlock. "I think you need to learn that there's a very fine line between dramatic and twee." He sniggered again and held onto his side.

"You should sleep," Sherlock said quietly.

"I don't want to sleep!"

"When I say that, you get all fussy and cross."

"Well you're not me. So how did you know he was in the park?"

"Where else in London can a person swim before their four AM shift starts?" Sherlock asked. "Lestrade found it through the book. I wasn't in the foyer when he'd finished with Andrea, and called Mycroft in a panic. He started flicking through the book while he was waiting, and the Serpentine swimming club is mentioned on the first page. Like I say, Able isn't a subtle man. He tries to be clever with his footman and subterfuge and not letting people see his face, but there's no real substance to him."

He drifted off and started staring into space.

"Would you have killed him?" John asked quietly.

A shadow flickered across Sherlock's face.

"I don't know," he said softly. "I don't know. I wanted to." He glanced back at John. "You shouldn't worry about it anyway. You should go to sleep."

"I'm not worried," John said. "I'm slightly apprehensive because we don't know how many of Moriarty's cronies are out there, and it's going to mean trouble, and we need to be able to deal with trouble without losing our minds. But I'm not worried. We'll work it all out, and while we do so, I'll take care of you, and apparently you'll take care of me too."

Sherlock sighed and nodded.

"How are you feeling?" he asked.

John smiled.

"Pretty much the same as when you asked me twenty minutes ago."

"I think I'm waiting for an honest answer."

John snorted.

"I'm fine. I'm a bit uncomfortable, a bit woozy if I sit up too fast, but I'm mostly fine. I'm going to take the opportunity to rest up, because I anticipate there will be no rest at all when I get home."

"OK," Sherlock nodded. "Go to sleep."

He turned to pick up his notepad and pen from the seat of the chair, and then he slid back into it. He rested the pad on his knees and returned to his writing. There were a few minutes of quiet.

"What are you writing?" John asked.

"None of your business. You're supposed to be sleeping."

"Yeah. So what are you writing?"

"It's not ready yet."

"OK. So what are you writing?"

Sherlock sighed.

"It's the list, OK? I'm writing the list, as instructed."

"What list? What are you talking about? Who instructed you?"

"You did."

"No," John said, frowning.

"Yes, you did. You said 'what are you sorry for?' and I said 'I can't articulate it right now,' and you said 'write it down'. Why are you laughing again?"

John moaned and clutched at his side.

"Oh please stop it! It hurts so much when I laugh!" he laughed. "Give me the list."

Sherlock handed it to him.

"It isn't finished yet," he said anxiously.

"It's three pages long!"

"I like to be thorough."

"Some might say obsessive."

"Some might."

John sighed and put it down, shaking his head.

"It's fine, Sherlock. It's all fine. Certainly…" he glanced at the list, "certainly 'using the fridge for bacterial cultures' is fine." He frowned. "Actually, you might want to scale that back just a bit, or at least clearly label what it is that you're growing, but generally, it's all fine. Just don't stop talking to me," he said sleepily. "That's all I ask. Just don't stop telling me what you're thinking. I can deal with it all when I've got a head start."

He settled back onto the pillow again.

"Are you O…" Sherlock started.

"I'm fine. Now be quiet and let me have a bit of sleep."

Sherlock watched and waited until he was reasonably sure that John was asleep, and then he gently slid the notepad from under his arm. He sat back down on the chair and continued to write.

There you go! That's all done now. I hope you liked it. Pip xxx