Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock.
Hello, once again, my fellow readers, writers, and Sherlock lovers! I have for you what will eventually turn into a mutli-chapter story, revolving around a prompt I received from Prothoe but I don't want to give it away in the introduction! You'll just have to read and see what I have up my sleeve … or rather, what Sherlock's come down with! Enjoy =)
Something was wrong.
Sherlock wasn't entirely sure what but before he had opened his eyes, he knew something was wrong. Something didn't feel right. There was a dull ache behind his left eye and his body felt like it had rusted overnight. Sherlock allowed his eyes to open slowly and he wondered how it was possible for such a small action to prompt so much pain. The light hit his eyes and intensified the headache from an ache to a steady throb. As the headache grew, his stomach worked itself into a knot and Sherlock could feel his muscles contract uncomfortably. Swallowing was a mistake, not because his throat was sore but because it made his stomach twist into an even tighter ball.
Control. He needed to gain control. Clear his mind and get control.
Sherlock rolled over onto his back and spread his arms and legs out. The cool areas between the sheets made a painful shiver rise up his spine but regardless, he closed his eyes and began taking deep breathes, counting to five at every inhale and exhale. Slowly, he could feel his leg muscles relax and he experimentally flexed his toes. Noting the discomfort had lessened slightly, Sherlock continued breathing deeply while he lifted his hands to his scalp, which he began massaging gently. At first, his fingertips had only caused sharp pains to cross his forehead but slowly the throb diminished to an ache, and after a few more minutes, it disappeared all together.
Opening his eyes, Sherlock felt he had enough control over his body to sit up. As he did, he noted that his stomach, while having relaxed, was still unsettled.
Mind over matter. That's all this was, the power of his mind could take care of his stomach with no problems. If he refused to be ill, he wouldn't be. It was as simple as that.
With that mindset, Sherlock forced himself from the comforts of his bed and got dressed. He went into the kitchen, determined to eat something to show his body that it was not in control.
Somehow, Sherlock wasn't entirely sure how, he made it through the day. As days go, it wasn't the most exciting one he'd had but come supper time, he felt exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go to bed. It had not been easy keeping control throughout the day. At one point, he almost had to duck into a public toilet to vomit but had managed to gain control. Mind over matter.
John had kept an annoyingly close watch over him for most of the day. For someone who was constantly seeing but never observing, he had a knack for noting anything that had to do with Sherlock's health. Several times the doctor had asked if his friend was okay, as well as noting the pale complexion and the shaking hands. Sherlock brushed off all his concerns and cast his attempts at care aside like he normally would and tried to continue on like nothing was wrong.
But something was wrong.
Sherlock, after eating something merely to avoid John's stare, bid his flat-mate goodnight and escaped to the bathroom. Unable to hold it in any longer, Sherlock turned on the shower as high as it would go before regurgitating his meagre supper. As disgusting as it was, he had to admit he felt much better after letting the matter win out over the mind. After regaining his composure, Sherlock peeled his clothes off, noting his shirt clung uncharacteristically to his back, before stepping into the shower. He relished the hot water running over his skin and breathed in the vapours for several minutes. When he turned the water off, Sherlock wondered if maybe he had left it on too long or if it had been too warm, as the room was swaying slightly.
Even if he had lost the mind over matter debate with his stomach, it did not mean he couldn't win against the dizziness. Palm pressed to the wall, Sherlock steadied himself before going into his bedroom. He found pyjama pants and a t-shirt that smelled clean enough and pulled them on. Not bothering to even hang the damp towel on the back of his door, Sherlock fell into his unmade bed with a sigh of relief.
While he felt unwell, there was some comfort to be found in his bed. It did nothing to make him physically comfortable but it offered the psychological comfort of knowing he was safe and warm. It was a childish notion that a couple of blankets could protect him from the world, but they offered a sanctuary like no other. He liked to believe that he could close his eyes, burrow under the duvet, and when he woke up the next morning, all this sickness would be behind him.
Sherlock was mistaken in both accounts. First of all, he woke up at three-thirty rather than the normal six forty-five. And when he did, he realized that the sickness was not only still with him, it had grown much worse.
The only word Sherlock could come up with to describe his physical state was dead. He literally, in all his mind palace, could not find a time when he had ever felt this horrible; not in all the childhood flu's, not in the teenage colds that got passed around at school, not even in the university illnesses that acted very much like the teenage colds on steroids, undoubtedly due to lack of sleep, inadequate dietary regimes, and the poor use of spare time to consume substantial quantities of alcohol.
Sherlock tried to kick off the covers without moving. His entire body literally ached and every little movement was interconnected. His foot moving the duvet made his left shoulder hurt and when his foot failed to move the blanket, his hands pushing it away made his thighs ache. If he was feeling better, Sherlock would have noted his findings with the intent of designing an experiment around the connection.
But Sherlock was not feeling better. No, he was feeling sticky and tired and sore. In short, he felt ill. But that didn't work – Sherlock Holmes did not get ill. All the aforementioned illness from youth and school days had done very little to harm him. They never laid him low for more than a couple of hours and they were certainly never anything that required being bed-ridden.
Sherlock stared at the darkness, wondering what to do. He imagined that paracetamol would likely be a wise choice but Sherlock despised taking medicine and besides, it was most likely in the bathroom or kitchen and in all honesty, fetching it sounded like far too much effort at this point. Rather than focusing on treatment, Sherlock began asking questions of himself.
What had caused him to get so ill?
Why did he feel sticky – the room was freezing and yet he was sweating. Was that normal?
Had he done some sort of extraneous activity that could account for the muscle aches? Did he lift something heavy or move in a way that had aggravated his back, which hurt more than any other part of his body?
What had he had for dinner?
This was one question Sherlock could answer. He had chosen a simple meal – some reheated meatloaf that Mrs. Hudson had put in their refrigerator, followed by a glass of milk.
Was the meatloaf bad? Was he lactose intolerant?
These questions, Sherlock's hazy mind realized, were ridiculous. They didn't fit the pattern. He had been feeling ill before dinner, not to mention that that he always drank milk. It was highly unlikely that he developed an intolerance today. Also, John had also had meatloaf. If it had been bad, John would be ill, too, and as far as Sherlock knew, John was sleeping soundly upstairs.
Back to useful questions.
Why was his head so sore?
He rarely experienced headaches. All his deductions had quickly trained his brain to constantly be working, constantly thinking.
Sherlock's mind continued to wander over questions and possible answers as the hours ticked by. He would doze off now and again but never fell into a deep sleep. At one point, Sherlock felt a bead of sweat roll down his face and he had swiped at it angrily, annoyed that his body was rebelling so strongly. At least Sherlock had realized that while his stomach hurt, he did not feel as nauseas as he had during the day. Maybe throwing up had been the right thing to cure him – interesting, Sherlock thought.
Losing track of all sense of time, Sherlock drifted in and out of semi-conscious dreams and he did not notice when the sun began to rise.
Any guesses as to what's ailing our detective? More to come soon =)
Reviews always appreciated!