Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock.

Hello, my dear friends! Two orders of business. One – THANK YOU so much for all the kind words you've sent on. I get so much joy from reading them and they are a tremendous source of encouragement. Two – I'm SO SORRY that it's been almost a week since an update. My schoolwork just seemed to triple this week and I feel *this close* to a mental burnout. However, writing this was an excellent release and I feel much better. I hope you enjoy the chapter!

John woke up to the pale light streaming in through the curtains. He rubbed his eyes and checked his watch – almost seven A.M. John sat up slowly, his neck and back feeling very stiff.

"You should've slept upstairs."

John jumped at the voice.

"How long have you been sitting there?" John exclaimed. Sherlock was sitting in his chair, dressed in trouser and shirt, dressing gown draped over his shoulders, and finger tips touching.

"About an hour."

"You should be resting." John said, untangling his feet from the duvet.

"Resting is boring." Sherlock said with a roll of his eyes.

"No, resting is for the sick. And you, Sherlock, are sick."

"I'm fine." Sherlock retorted. John was now standing in front of Sherlock, arms folded much like they had been the night before.

"You don't look fine." John pointed out.

"What's the problem?"

"What's the problem?" John exclaimed. "You've got to be kidding me, Sherlock. You left a huge wound untreated for seven days. We spent well over six hours last night getting it cleaned out and sewn up, which, if you recall, was so painful it made you physically sick."

"I'm not physically sick now." Sherlock pointed out. "I even had breakfast."

John raised an eyebrow.

"Alright, I had a cup of tea but it stayed down."

John rolled his eyes.

"Let me see your arm."

Sherlock willingly rolled up his sleeve and held out his arm. John unwrapped the ace bandage and peeled back the gauze.

"How does it look?" Sherlock asked as John leaned in closer to get a better view.

"Good, it looks really good. There shouldn't even be much of a scar."

John let Sherlock's hand go and his arm fell.

"Don't let down your sleeve." John said. "I'm going to change the dressing."

John returned momentarily with some antibiotic ointment and a fresh gauze strip. He quickly applied the ointment and re-wrapped the arm.

"Now do you believe me that I'm fine?" Sherlock asked, buttoning his cuff.

"Not yet." John said. He unearthed the thermometer from his shirt pocket and handed it to Sherlock, who rolled his eyes but silently put the device under his tongue. It beeped a moment later and John glanced at the screen before raising his eyebrow again at Sherlock.

"Oh, come on, John." Sherlock exclaimed. He knew the reading – he had checked when he first woke up. "It's just a low grade fever, nothing to be concerned about. It'll go away on its own."

"That's not the point, Sherlock."

"Then what is?"

"You should be resting. You are ill." John emphasized resting and ill, although Sherlock seemed to take no notice.

"When can you take the stitches out?"

"Take the – Sherlock, are you even listening to me? Your body is fighting a war against the infection you practically invited in. Give it something to work with."

"Don't take this the wrong way, John, but you seem much more concerned about my body than I am."

"One of us has to be and it's lucky for you that I'm a doctor."

"I don't have a doctor."

"Well, maybe it's high time you get one. But until then, I'm your doctor and I'm saying you need to rest, at least until your temperature comes into the normal range."

"And what do you suggest I do while my body fights?" Sherlock's voice rang with sarcasm.

"Read a book, watch telly, sleep. I don't care as long as you're not over-exerting yourself."

With that, John walked down the hall to the bathroom while Sherlock made a face at the back of his head.

Much to Sherlock demise, he followed John's orders, although he started carrying the thermometer with him, checking his temperature whenever John wasn't looking, willing it to go down. While his arm still hurt, it wasn't enough to keep him laid low in his opinion.

Sherlock was in the bathroom one afternoon – two days later, to be specific – and he pulled the thermometer from his mouth.

"John, John!" Sherlock exclaimed, flinging the door open. John looked up from the paper.


"It's normal." Sherlock thrust the thermometer into John's hand and started gathering his coat and scarf. He was pulling his arm through the sleeve when he saw John watching him with a suspicious eyebrow raised.

"You don't believe me."


"Why would I lie about my temperature being normal?

"Why would you hide a huge laceration on your arm?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes before holding out his hand for the thermometer.

"If I do it again, then will you believe me?"

John, in response, handed Sherlock the thermometer. They waited while it took its reading and when it beeped, John glanced at it it. He was relieved to see that Sherlock hadn't been lying. In all honestly, John was as bored as Sherlock was and then some because he had to put up with Sherlock's complaints.

"Good." John said, putting the thermometer on the table and reaching for his coat.

"Where are we going?"

"Bart's. I need a body."

John, having been wrapped up in a case with Sherlock, didn't talk about taking out the stitches until a week later.

"Sherlock?" John asked, coming into the kitchen. Sherlock was peering into a microscope.



"I just realized this morning," John said, taking off his coat. "That your stitches have been in for a week and a half. If it the wound looks good, I can take them out for you."

"That won't be necessary." Sherlock didn't look up from the microscope.

"What do you mean that won't be necessary?" John asked and then his face changed as he realized what Sherlock was implying.

"You seriously did not take them out yourself, did you? Sherlock."

"Relax." Sherlock said, finally prying his eyes away from the apparatus. "The wound was healing nicely. They were annoying me so I took them out. You were right, by the way. There's hardly any scar. You do nice work, John."

"Let me see." John said, ignoring the compliment. Sherlock complied and rolled up his sleeve.

"How did you do it?" John asked, running his finger over the small ridge that formed the scar.

"With tweezers and cuticle scissors. Don't worry," Sherlock added, knowing John's next question. "I cleaned them first."


"A week after you put them in."

"Did it hurt?"

John looked up at Sherlock.

"You have no idea. I think it was because you used thread and not silk."

"I'm sorry." John said, backing away. "Maybe this'll be a lesson to you, though. It doesn't hurt to go to hospital sometimes."

"Yes, it does." Sherlock said, before putting his eyes back to the microscope. "You can be my doctor now."

"Excuse me?"

"The morning after you put the stitches in you said I needed to find a doctor. You can be my doctor."

John smiled slightly.

"That's nice and all, Sherlock, but I don't know if that's a good idea."

"As you wish." Sherlock said. "Not that it matters much. I don't get sick."

"No, you just go digging through skips and cut yourself."

"That wasn't my fault and it was worth it, I solved the case."

John merely rolled his eyes, wondering if he would ever understand how Sherlock's mind worked. He knew without really thinking about it that he would never understand but decided that that was probably for the best. He would just continue to be amazed by the thought process and be there to patch up his friend when he fell apart.

I had a reviewer tell me that they stitched up their own thumb and that using thread made it super painful to take the stitches out. I don't know if this is true but it makes sense to me so I went with it. Also, I had another reviewer tell me that I skipped an important step – debriding the wound. I rather wish I had thought of that – I could've tortured Sherlock more (*another evil laugh*). I may rewrite it one day but I doubt it because it would break the flow of the story, plus have so many prompts to do now! The other thing this reviewer pointed out – which I feel I should emphasize – is that if you are ever unfortunate enough to require stitches, PLEASE don't follow my methods – well, Sherlock and John's methods – but be smart and go to the doctor =) It will hurt way less.

Anyways. Reviews are always appreciated!

And this is the end of Tainted. It's been so great, friends! I thank you again for all the encouragement and it's always sad, I find, finishing such a successful story. However, like I said above, I have a lot of prompts so more will come as soon as possible – when school calms down (or not, you never know!).

Thanks again and happy reading and writing,