In Sickness, and In Health
The world was a clashing, deafening symphony of traffic, footsteps, creaking and the random lone violin chord. Normally soft sounds attacked viciously with spears and bullets, all aiming for the soft tissue of his brain. It was maddening.
John moaned in pain under his breath, closing his eyes and trying to blink away his migraine. Of course, it didn't work – all that happened was that his eyes watered enough to make it look like he was crying.
He opened his eyes and squinted at his laptop, wondering if the post he was writing was worth tolerating a few more minutes of his brain slowly dying. Deciding it wasn't, he saved it in Drafts and switched his laptop off, leaning back in his chair and rubbing his eyes tiredly. "Sherlock?" he muttered. "I'm going to bed."
"Goodnight," was Sherlock's murmured reply from where he was seated, reading a book.
John couldn't remember when the stairs had gotten this hard to navigate. It should have been simple – one foot after the other – but the fact that the stairs were swimming and blurred made it difficult. He tried to focus on making his way up without incident, but it felt like he was wading upwards through a swamp.
And then suddenly he was face-down on the top step, a searing pain in his ribs and forehead. He supposed he must have fallen, and going by the pain in his ankle, he'd twisted it. Wonderful. Just absolutely wonderful.
He hadn't even realized he'd cried out until he heard Sherlock call, "John? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he managed, trying not to sound like he was in pain. "Just... tripped." He closed his eyes, trying to block out the pain from his ankle, ribs and forehead.
He opened them again a few moments later, to find Sherlock's face directly above his. "What–" he began, but Sherlock cut him off.
"Wait here," he said, before bounding down the stairs three at a time.
Groaning quietly, John pushed himself into a sitting position on the top step, leaning his head against the wall. Now that he thought about it, it hurt like a bitch. And there was something running down the side of his face, and he didn't have to be Sherlock to know it was blood.
Fell up the stairs. Well done, Watson.
If his migraine had been bad before, it was absolutely horrendous now. Coupled with the pain from the gash on his forehead, it now felt like someone was carving out patterns on the inside of his skull using their fingernails. He wondered if there was any aspirin left, or if Sherlock had used it all up in an experiment.
He hadn't realized that his eyes were closed again, not until he heard Sherlock speak and opened them to look up at him. He was sitting next to him, holding their first-aid kit and a clean rag, and looking expectantly at John. Understanding what Sherlock wanted, John accepted the rag and began wiping blood off his face, while Sherlock stared intently at his forehead.
"It won't need stitches," he finally decided. "Just bandages."
"Since when are you the doctor?" asked John wryly, with a tired smile.
Instead of replying, Sherlock took the rag from John and began cleaning the cut with an alcohol. John tried not to wince at the sudden burning sensation, but he wasn't entirely successful, and Sherlock said, "Don't do that."
"I can do it myself, you know," John told him, referring to the entire process of fixing himself.
Sherlock chose not to reply. He continued cleaning the cut, and then stuck two Band-Aids on John's forehead. John blinked. "Band-Aids?" he questioned.
"It's a better alternative to bandaging your head," Sherlock answered. "People will think I've been beating you up."
"Wouldn't want that," replied John.
Sherlock stood. "Can you walk to your room?"
John stood too, and took an experimental step, wincing when the simple movement sent stabs of pain up his leg. Without a word Sherlock moved to his side and took his arm. Accepting the help without comment, John hobbled to his room, trying not to think about how the blinding pain in his head made everything look fuzzy around the edges.
He found himself in his bed a few minutes later, with Sherlock standing over him watching him intently. "You have a migraine," he stated, and John nodded, closing his eyes and sinking into the warmth his bed offered.
He heard the lights click off and the door close ever so quietly. An unexpected burst of affection for Sherlock was the last thing his mind registered before he drifted away.
It seemed like minutes later when he woke again, and this time he felt hot. Too hot, in fact. A moment later he realized he was sweating, and he kicked his blankets off. The air conditioning seemed to be off, and he wondered for a moment if he was capable of getting out of bed to go switch it on.
He decided, eventually, that it was worth a try, but that was before his legs turned to jelly, threatening to collapse under him. Still, the room was too hot to just stay in there, and his migraine still hadn't gone, so shouting to Sherlock was out of the question.
His vision had gotten worse; everything was hazy and black-edged and he couldn't make out any distinctive shapes. The dim light in the hallway was assaulting his eyes like a knife, and in the end he resorted to feeling his way down the hallway by the wall.
The stairs. He'd forgotten about the damn stairs.
With an inward groan, he began making his way down them, keeping a hand on the wall for guidance in case of a sudden wave of nausea. It was hard, and he almost fell again two or three times, but in the end he managed to get downstairs without incident.
The A/C controls were in the living-room, and as he made his way there he wondered if Sherlock was still up. Judging from the sounds of apparatus clinking – yes. Unsteadily he tottered into the room, feeling almost drunk as he did so. Though he had to admit that a migraine was a million times worse than a hangover.
Sherlock looked up as John entered, and through his squint (it was too damn bright in here) John saw his flatmate's eyes narrow. "John," began Sherlock. "You are not well, you should not be here–"
"A/C," John managed, before his legs gave out and he fell to the floor in a dead faint.
Once again he woke in his bed, no longer sweating but instead feeling something very cold resting on his forehead. He bolted upright and looked around wildly, causing the cold thing to fall off and land in his lap. It was too dark to see anything, but he could make out a silhouette sitting in a chair next to his bed, presumably watching him.
"It's all right," the shadow told him, voice low. "I just put you in bed. The ice pack is to help you recover."
"From what?" asked John, and immediately winced at how loud his own voice sounded to his ears.
"You have a fever, John," Sherlock informed him. "If you rest, it should be gone by tomorrow."
John lay back down, taking the cold thing – an ice pack, he now knew – and placing it back on his forehead. "Did you put this here?" Of course he had – who else would have?
Sherlock nodded anyway.
"How long have you been sitting here?"
"For as long as you've been in bed."
"Two hours." The rush of affection for Sherlock returned in full-force.
"That's – thank you," he muttered, thanking God Sherlock couldn't see him go red in the darkness.
Instead of replying, Sherlock opted to pull John's blankets up to his chest. "Go back to sleep, John," was all he said.
John woke again a few hours later. There was a thin stream of daylight coming in through his curtains, but he didn't want to get up just yet. Luckily, it was Saturday and he didn't have to.
Lack of a cold sensation alerted him to the fact that there was no ice pack on his forehead anymore – it felt quite warm, in fact. His migraine had gone too, but he still felt a little feverish and decided he wasn't done being sick yet.
He felt something move against his forehead and finally pinpointed the warmth – Sherlock's hand resting on his head, occasionally moving a finger back and forth in a gentleness he never would have associated with his flatmate. It felt really good, and John found himself drifting off to sleep again.
"Rest, John. It will be better when you wake." That was the last thing he heard.
Every time you review Sherlock takes care of sick!John. Just letting you know.