Jump to content
Sneeze Fetish Forum
SleepingPhlox

"An Elusive Solution" Movieverse Sherlock Holmes, M, multiple causes

Recommended Posts

SleepingPhlox

I needed to get this dang idea out of my system.  I'm like a few years late to this particular party,  but I finally properly watched the Sherlock Holmes movies and decided that I do, in fact, like them after all.  And then of course I needed to read some sickfics but thanks to being a few years late to this particular party, and the fact that BBC Sherlock is where it's all happening these days, finding any was proving difficult so I decided that it would just be quicker to make my own.  Even though writing in a new fandom for the first time is DAUNTING.  I just needed this in my life.  It's not really set at any specific point.  Maybe pre-first movie?  Thereabouts?  It's just some silly nonsense for fun that's not storyline dependent.

_______________________________________________________

"An Elusive Solution"

One of the most simultaneously fascinating and exasperating things about walking into Sherlock Holmes’s living space was that one never knew what one would find in there.  The room could be filled to the brim with a collection of curiosities to satisfy his latest whimsical thought process, or there could be nothing but silence and gloom and a despondently moping Holmes curled up somewhere.  There could be frantic energy, or an eerie foreboding silence.  Whatever it was, Holmes always had his reasons and the common thread was always, always, that John Watson would find himself swept up in whatever mad machinations were the driving force of this particular moment...whether he wanted to be or not.

Usually “or not” was his prevailing sentiment although him expressing that was always nothing more than a mere formality in Holmes’s eyes.

What was most perplexing this time, however, was that - whatever it was Holmes was up to, it involved a cacophony of unbelievably strong smells that seemed to assault every orifice in Watson’s face before he even opened the door.  And opening the door offered little insight into what the devil was going on in here.  There was something resting on a plate on the table, it appeared to be a bundle of leaves perhaps, sending clouds of white smoke billowing into the air.  He nearly stumbled over what appeared to be an entire week’s worth of stock from a flower-seller’s cart as his attention was so taken by a chimney-sweep’s brush leaning against the table, and then he was so startled to see the pitch black cat regarding him with piercing yellow eyes from the chair that he backed up into a large pile of branches which had been liberated from a tree somewhere, spoiling his trousers with yellow dust.  They were one of his nicer pairs of trousers too, since he was going out later, but he supposed that wouldn’t matter in the greater scheme of...whatever the hell was going on in here.

“Holmes!” he barked, but he was interrupted by a hastily raised hand, signifying that the owner of said hand required full concentration as he...

...as he swiped his hand over a dust covered shelf, gathered a substantial amount of dust, and then, satisfied with his harvest, raised it to his nose and inhaled deeply, seemingly intent on sucking vast quantities of the stuff up into his nasal passages.  When Holmes finished with his curious activity, he gasped as if he meant to sneeze, paused holding his breath, and then exhaled-all of his discontent and frustration evident in one single act of breathing without having to utter a single syllable.

“Holmes, what the devil are you doing this time?” Watson demanded.

“I’ve been sneezing,” came the curt retort, as if the answer should have been evident and such a foolish question should never have been uttered at all.

“Well, yes, if you’re going to do...that,” He waved his hand in the general direction of Holmes’s dust related foolery, with general undertones of pointedly not asking why because he very much did not want to know why, that was a rabbit hole he was perfectly content to not jump down.  “It’s probably unavoidable, isn’t it?”

“No.  No.  This isn’t it.  It was close, it was very close...”  He had to pause to contort his face and rub at his nose.  “But that wasn’t it.”  He clicked his fingers as his expressive brown eyes flicked rapidly around the room, never settling on a single object for more than a fleeting moment, his fingers moving rapidly as he thought, moving as if he were simultaneously composing a message on an imaginary typewriter while counting on an abacus.

Watson raised both hands to his face, rubbing at his eyes before moving to his temples.  It was a gesture he often found himself making in the presence of this man.  He sighed, certain he was going to regret what he was about to say, but he would also regret not saying it.  This was definitely a situation he could not win.

“If you’ve been sneezing, why don’t you tell me about it?  I am a doctor after all, it sounds like it might fall under my area of expertise...”

Holmes shook his head, unruly dark curls bouncing petulantly.  “No, no, you weren’t with me all day, you don’t know about all the...I retraced my steps you see, and accounted for everything I had come in contact with.  And I must test them all one by one until I find the reason.”  He pulled out a handkerchief that appeared to be well-used by this stage of the experiments, and began to fold it.  “If you really want to make yourself useful, get one of those tree branches ready for me.  I have long suspected myself to suffer from the hay fever, and based on the time of the year that it tends to occur, that specimen there is the most likely culprit.  I suppose we will shall find out once and for all, won’t we?”

Watson wasn’t sure how many circumstances in this world would lead to him willingly picking up a tree branch in the middle of the indoors - soiling his clothes with more yellow stuff, no less! - but there really was no point in attempting to be contrary.  They both knew he would end up conceding sooner or later.  It was just easier to go along with it from the start.  He was just grateful he was of a sturdy disposition.  If he were a more nervous sort of fellow, these interactions would have destroyed his nerves long ago.

“And you’re just going to shove your face into this to determine that?” he couldn’t help but ask as he stood there, casually propping up a tree branch as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

“Oh, don’t be absurd!” Holmes exclaimed, raising the handkerchief to his face and uttering the rest of his sentiment from behind the dangling white cloth, with all the feigned patience he could muster for the slowness of wit he was faced with, refusing to understand his methods at all.  “I need to clean out the test area first.  Otherwise the results will get all muddled up, won’t they?”  And with that he gave his nose a loud and hearty blow because of course that’s what he meant, how could it possibly have meant anything else? 

Yet no sooner had Holmes lowered the handkerchief that his face contorted again, though this time it was accompanied by an insistent gasp.

“Huhhhh...huhhhhRRRchhhh!...hmmm.  Interesting.  Delayed reaction?  Perhaps the dust is worth a second attempt.”

“Yes,” Watson replied drily, rolling his eyes.  “And then maybe we’ll try sniffing the cat next.”

“Of course not!  I’ve already tried him.  Lord Sootypaws has been determined not to be the culpr-...the culp-...the c-huhhhRUHHsshhch!”

“Bless you.  And...er...'Lord Sootypaws’?  I suppose it fits but it’s the whole cat that’s black, not just his paws.”

Holmes looked up from wiping his nose vigorously, glaring at his dull-minded companion from over the top of the handkerchief.  “Are you being deliberately obtuse?” he demanded.  “His paws were covered in soot when I found him, he was following the chimney sweep I got that” he gestured toward the brush.  “From.”

“So you stole a chimney sweep’s cat?”

“Not his cat.  Not anyone’s cat by all accounts.  He was very keen to follow me when I offered him a piece of fish.  I think I may keep him.  If Lord Sootypaws agrees to the arr-...the a-...th-...huhhhhIIIHHHgghshh!...the arrangement, of course.”

“Bless you again.  And does Gladstone get a say in this arrangement?  He lived here first you know and he might not be very happy about a cat infringing on his territory.”

“As you can see, he is not bothered in the least.”

Holmes waved his hand dismissively toward the dog, currently lolling lazily at the foot of the chair, seemingly unperturbed by the cat’s presence.  Although at least the beast was alert and awake.  So, for as bizarre as Holmes’s latest round of experiments was, at least they didn’t involve rendering the poor dog unconscious yet again.  It was one small, small perk in this otherwise painfully ridiculous scenario.  Watson rolled his eyes.

“Come on then, come get yourself a noseload of this stuff so we can both move on to doing...anything else but this.”

“No,” Holmes muttered, rubbing at his nose with the handkerchief.  “Can’t yet.  I haven’t reset the test area completely.  I feel another...huhhhINNGHHchhh!.”  He sighed and there was a weariness to his sigh that, come to think of it, had been present in his voice the entire time.  Watson hadn’t noticed it up until now, but it had been there.  He looked up and studied his companion’s face.  Dramatically red nose, that was unsurprising considering what he’d been up to.  Tired eyes, the lines under and around them more noticeable than usual...that was often the product of Holmes’s more hectic periods, when he often strung together several sleepless nights in a row.  And there seemed to be beads of sweat on his forehead, and his skin, aside from the red nose, of course, seemed to be a couple shades paler than usual.

“Holmes?” he ventured cautiously, letting the branch drop to the floor as he approached his friend, a cloud of yellow dust springing up and settling down onto the carpet.  This earned him a glare from Holmes, who fortunately seemed to be too busy to chastise him, giving all his focus to trying to either convince himself not to sneeze or coax out a stuck one.  It was hard to tell which.  “Have you considered the possibility that you might be...under the weather?  Just a bit?”

“No I have not!” came the hastily snapped reply, Holmes glaring at him as if he had taken extreme offense that the suggestion would have even been a fleeting thought in anyone’s mind, much less given the weight of words and dared to be uttered aloud.  Yet even as he scowled at Watson for having the damned audacity to accuse him of such a thing, there was a hand upon his forehead and a gentle frown being aimed at his direction.

And it was warm. Not just a little warm, most definitely feverish, and a fever of the This-Man-Should-Be-In-Bed variety.  It was unthinkable that a man such as Holmes would have failed to consider this most obvious of solutions and would instead have spent energy he probably had precious little of running about town gathering a mish-mash of objects to just send himself further and further down the wrong path.  There was something very disconcerting about Holmes getting it this terribly wrong.  Because if he was this feverish, he must have felt other symptoms besides the sneezing.  He had to have known.  He had to!

“Come on, now,” Watson insisted.  “You’re burning up and you’re trying to tell me that you didn’t even notice?  That you thought you were sneezing because you walked by a cat or breathed in some soot from a chimney sweep’s brush or...” he gestured toward the burning leaves.  “I’m not even going to ask what that is!  Just...do me a favour, okay?  Stop the experiments for now.  Go lie down...just on the sofa, I’m not asking you to go to bed.  I’ll get Mrs Hudson to make some tea-”

“No.  No.  No.  I won’t have her setting foot in here."  He folded his arms and shook his head vigorously, stamping his foot with the petulance of a spoiled child for good measure.  "No, I won’t have it.  She’ll fuss and I hate fussing.  And I cannot lie down when there are more experiments to con-...to c-...to...huhhhhNNGGHktchhh!...to conduct.”

“Or...” Watson said, with all the patience he could possibly muster, putting his hands onto Holmes’s shoulders and gently guiding him in the direction of the couch.  “You can take a break to give your nose some time to rest.  It’s clearly overstimulated and that’s going to skew the results.  I mean, you won’t be able to trust the data set at all.  And anyway, of course you’re not sick.  That would be absurd.  Besides...if you had caught a cold, it would be very difficult to determine where you’d gotten it from. In fact, nearly impossible I’d say.”

He shot his companion a glance out of the corner of his eye, but he didn’t even need to look at all to know that that one little word had triggered a small glimmer of interest had appeared in Holmes’s otherwise weary brown eyes.  Just as he had hoped.  The one thing that man couldn't resist. That would keep Holmes quiet for a while at least and hopefully, eventually, exhaustion would catch up with him and he’d actually get some rest.

All the same, Watson thought, he’d better cancel his plans for tonight just to make absolutely certain that’s how it would all play out.

________________________________

Mostly the end, probably, unless I write some more but I know what I'm like so I'm just going to call it here.  Unless a miracle occurs.

 

Share this post


Link to post
MyOwnPrivateSFC

I love it!!! It’s so perfect, and so perfectly HOLMES! *tuts at the idiotic genius*

Share this post


Link to post
groundcontrol

Brilliant! This is such a Holmes-esque thing to do. I do hope there is more coming, as this was a very well-written part (both from a fetish perspective and otherwise). 

Share this post


Link to post
SneezyHolmes

Ahh, Phlox, this was excellent! I love that he has all of these variables and tests set up just to avoid the harsh reality of falling sick! :D You're amazing at writing characters true to how they are in the movies and I'm forever jealous of that ability! :laugh:

Edited by SpookyHowlmes
Forgot a word, durr durr!

Share this post


Link to post
AngelEyes

This is awesomely brilliant! So perfectly frenetically Holmes. And ever steady Watson.

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

Whatever it was, Holmes always had his reasons and the common thread was always, always, that John Watson would find himself swept up in whatever mad machinations were the driving force of this particular moment...whether he wanted to be or not.

Totally

 

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

He clicked his fingers as his expressive brown eyes flicked rapidly around the room, never settling on a single object for more than a fleeting moment, his fingers moving rapidly as he thought, moving as if he were simultaneously composing a message on an imaginary typewriter while counting on an abacus.

Perfect description!

 

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

Watson raised both hands to his face, rubbing at his eyes before moving to his temples.  It was a gesture he often found himself making in the presence of this man.  He sighed, certain he was going to regret what he was about to say, but he would also regret not saying it.  This was definitely a situation he could not win.

 

Poor Watson.

 

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

but there really was no point in attempting to be contrary.  They both knew he would end up conceding sooner or later.  It was just easier to go along with it from the start. 

True

 

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

“No I have not!” came the hastily snapped reply, Holmes glaring at him as if he had taken extreme offense that the suggestion would have even been a fleeting thought in anyone’s mind, much less given the weight of words and dared to be uttered aloud.

LOL

 

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

He folded his arms and shook his head vigorously, stamping his foot with the petulance of a spoiled child for good measure.

So Holmes!

 

5 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

All the same, Watson thought, he’d better cancel his plans for tonight just to make absolutely certain that’s how it would all play out.

Probably a good idea!

Share this post


Link to post
matilda3948

Love this! RDJ as Holmes is soooo good! I have an old story based on the movies too. If you haven't found it let me know and I'll dig through my old posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Spoo

What a lovely blast from the past! :D I loved these films (I think RDJ and Jude Law’s portrayals were actually very good) and you definitely did them justice. From the time period diction, to the characterization and dialogue, this was phenomenally done and you should be proud! Thank you for sharing~ ^_^ 

Share this post


Link to post
Coffee Mug

Niiiice!! Love the sneeze spellings!! Thank you for posting :) 

Share this post


Link to post
SleepingPhlox

Okay, wow.  I'm just so ridiculously glad that you guys read my foray into an old fandom and took the time to be so awesome about it!  I am so, so, so grateful.  Especially since I get nervous writing a new fandom, it's hard to be sure you're getting it right and I'm so afraid that people who are more familiar with it will wonder what the hell I was up to when I wrote it!  :laugh: 

So I wrote a little bit more.  It turns out I couldn't walk away right after a cold got mentioned.  And when I get annoyed at work I cheer myself up by writing fanfiction.  :laugh:  I'm not sure how long I'll stick with it before, as usual, nervousness and lack of confidence turns me off from finishing but I'm willing to try to ride this train for as long as I can keep up with it!

____________________________________________

Part 2

Watson sat in the chair near Holmes's head as he reclined on the sofa, meticulously recounting aloud every minute detail of the last couple of days in excruciating and seemingly interminable detail.  Fatigue had set in quickly and Holmes had acquiesced surprisingly early to the notion of lying down.  And he was steadily losing his voice, which he wouldn't be if he would shut his mouth and rest for a while.  But then he wouldn't be the Sherlock Holmes he had grown to know if he wasn't constantly speaking.  For his part, Watson had picked up the latest newspaper, and held it in his lap as he leaned back, one leg folded up over his knee.

He was pretending to take very little interest in Holmes's recounting of every minute detail of his adventures over the last few days, and doing a tremendously good job of appearing utterly disinterested, but appearing to keep himself entirely uninvested was merely an act of self preservation.  He hung on every word, listened intently as he was regaled of tales of Holmes caught in torrential downpours and getting his clothes utterly soaked through, all the way to Holmes becoming intrigued by a basket of a fragrant powdery spice, getting too close and sneezing into it, sending a cloud of the powdery stuff all over himself and culminating in the angry vendor demanding he purchase the entire basket - though he outwardly appeared to do the exact opposite of listening at all.  Inwardly, however, he had to restrain himself from throttling the eccentric man with his bare hands.

A strange unseasonable spell of cold weather had arrived not so long ago and spent a week, so far, hovering over the grey streets of London, grasping the city in the cold fingers of wintry weather when the calendar optimistically insisted it ought to be spring.  It had brought not just torrential rain, but occasionally ice and sleet and hail.  It seemed, from Holmes's account of the matter, that he had steadfastly insisted that it was the calendar, and not the sky overhead, that must be correct, and had gone out several days without an overcoat.  Or a scarf - and it was this detail that very nearly made Watson leap from his chair and berate Holmes with an angry, profanity laden tirade and perhaps a slap across the face or two for good measure.  No scarf?  Was the man perhaps even madder than he was already suspected to be by all who had ever encountered him?  Holmes had been on this Earth long enough to know full well what happened when he went out in cold weather with his neck unprotected.  He ended up suffering with his chest, and who had to deal with his self-pitying woeful whining when that happened?  Indeed.

At that very moment, as if to prove the point and seal Watson's fate with complete and utter finality on the matter, Holmes raised his handkerchief to his mouth and coughed into it, and though the cough was still mostly dry and shallow, there were hints that it would become deeper and chestier as time went on.  Just my luck, Watson thought bitterly to himself.

"A'd thed," Holmes continued his sorry tale, though he paused to blow his nose loudly into his handkerchief before continuing.  "I stepped into a puddle that appeared for all the world to be shallow but turned out to be much deeper than I anticip-...I anti...I...huhhhRRRRshhhggh!...I anticipated, and it swallowed my entire foot and filled my shoe with water."

"Yes," Watson mused without looking up from his newspaper.  "Puddles can be tricky fellows, all right."

"And I had no opportunity to return home and remove my shoe for the entire afternoon so I did end up walking around with a soggy foot for the better part of five hour-...for fi-...for...hhehhhhNNGHHchhghhkt!"

"Bless you again," Watson sighed.  If ever there was a phrase he was tired of saying, that one was rapidly rising to the top of the list.  It seemed, he thought to himself wearily, that the question was not the mystery of how Holmes had caught a cold, but how on Earth he had managed to avoid it for as long as he did.  It seemed he had done everything in his power to subject himself to as much of a chill as possible, as often as possible...at a time when the majority of the population of London were walking around with handkerchiefs pressed to their faces, and the symphony of sneezes, sniffles, and coughs from the city's ailing inhabitants sometimes seemed to be so loud as to drown out the usual inescapable din of the city.  And then, of course, once he had begun to succumb, Holmes had spent a considerable amount of time and effort taking an already inflamed nose and shoving all manner of irritants into it, one right after the other.  He was certainly suffering the effects of his folly now, and it served him right.

But in speaking of a din...

Holmes pressed his handkerchief to his nose once more, blowing loudly and forcefully.  If Watson didn't know any better, he would swear that Holmes was doing that as obnoxiously as possible for attention.  

Oh wait.  He did know better and he knew full well that was exactly what the damned man was doing.  And then Holmes let his arm loll off to the side, drooping off the edge of the edge of the sofa,  the limp white cloth dangling from his fingers pathetically.

"Watson," he moaned, drawing out the last syllable.  "I require a fresh handkerchief.  This one is utterly soaked through and no good to me any more..."  Yet, despite his words he held the cloth up to his mouth and caught a bout of harsh coughing into it.

"Of course," Watson said, folding the paper and setting it upon the chair after standing up.  "And you want me to get that for you, which I somehow know despite the fact that you did not phrase it as a request.  Or say 'please'..."  He walked over to a small circular table to gently pluck a handkerchief from the neatly folded stack sitting atop it...only to drop it abruptly when Holmes's voice rang out:

"Not those, those have been quite thoroughly used already, I assure you."

"What, all of them?" Watson couldn't help but exclaim incredulously as he wiped his hand on his trouser leg - he'd only touched the cloth briefly but he wanted to be on the safe side.

"Yes, all of them," Holmes replied impatiently.  "Fresh ones are in the...the thing by the other thing." He added, waving his hand vaguely in the direction of about a couple dozen things that could be the thing by the thing.  Of course Holmes had the infuriating habit of being almost comically imprecise, somehow always managing to decide that anyone who didn’t have a mind quick enough to follow his thoughts as they zipped around like a hummingbird simply did not deserve to be graced with his thoughts at all.  As Watson hunted around for the thing that might be the thing by the thing, Holmes's voice disturbed his thoughts by groaning:

"And I should like my pipe as well, Watson, while you're up."

"And you shan't be getting it.  Not while you have that cough and not while I'm here to have a say in the matter.  Which I shall be until you're well again.  So you can put that idea right out of your mind.  Ah, here they are," he added, by way of announcing that he had located the handkerchiefs in the drawer of a small bedside locker sort of thing, covered in dust and books.  Considering how many he seemed to have gone through already, unless Holmes had more squirreled away somewhere, a trip to the laundry was going to be in order very soon.  He handed the entire stack to Holmes who responded with a brusque:

"I want my pipe."

"I believe the words you are looking for are 'thank' and 'you'.  And you are very welcome, old chap.  Now, content yourself with blowing your nose and if I hear one more word about your pipe I'm going to toss it out the window and then you won't have one at all."

"You wouldn-...you woul-...you w-...hehhhNNGGGHsshhh!"

"Try me, and find out."  He noted with some satisfaction that Holmes glared at him, but seemed inclined to keep quiet for now.  "Good.  Now that we understand each other, I am going to make you a nice hot pot of tea and you are going to drink it.  And I am going to clear all this foolish nonsense out of the room because it can't be doing your nose any good to have all of this in here.  But first, before that, I am going to take your temperature and listen to your lungs so unbutton your shirt and open wide."

"No."

"Do it or so help me I'm tossing Lord Sootypaws out of the window."

"You're a monster," Holmes growled, though he did comply by unbuttoning his shirt halfway down his chest. Though he did manage to make his displeasure down by raising a handkerchief to his nose, taking as deep a breath as he could manage, and blowing his nose as loudly and stridently as he possibly could, one long loud cacophonous trumpet followed by a few short bursts for good measure.  Watson took a deep breath, resolved to ignore the man's attempt at being utterly infuriating, and readied a stethoscope and thermometer.

"I don’t want that anywhere near me!  Don’t you touch me with that thing! It's going to be cold!" Holmes howled at the very sight of the stethoscope as Watson knelt down beside him, and Watson well knew that Holmes hated the cold metal instrument, but he should have thought about that before playing games with his health by going out without a scarf.  Sure enough, Holmes shuddered as the disk touched his chest, and continued to shudder each time it was moved about and placed in a new area.  

"Well," Watson said matter of factly, straightening up and removing the stethoscope from his ears.  "It looks like a course of cough medicine is going to be in order for you and don't open your mouth to argue, don’t even think about saying a word.  You can keep your complaints to yourself.  You brought this on yourself."

He sounded unsympathetic, and he was fully aware of that fact.  And there was a time in his medical career that he'd been considered to have quite the impeccable bedside manner.  But a kindly manner did not work on Sherlock Holmes.  It was too akin to the "fussing" that he so despised.  This was the only thing he responded to when he was like this, and for Holmes's own good, that's what Watson had to do.  But sympathy still existed within him,  it just needed to be kept well hidden.  So when he noticed that Holmes was shivering, arms folded tightly over his chest, and he said "Right, I'm going to go get the tea started, and get you a blanket and then get a decent fire started, and you're going to stay put and your pipe is going to be in my pocket so don't even think for a second about getting up and sneaking about and trying to find it" well that, that was sympathy.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Aliena H.
22 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

I'm like a few years late to this particular party

Don't worry, the more Sherlock we have on the forum, the better!!!

The first part is awsome. I love Watson's observation skills and the way he manages to manipulate his friend. What I like in the movies is that Watson isn't completely stupid, as he was pictured in a lot of old Sherlock Holmes movies. He's perfectly in character in your story, half exasperated and half worried.

2 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

He was pretending to take very little interest in Holmes's recounting of every minute detail of his adventures over the last few days, and doing a tremendously good job of appearing utterly disinterested, but appearing to keep himself entirely uninvested was merely an act of self preservation.  He hung on every word, listened intently as he was regaled of tales of Holmes caught in torrential downpours and getting his clothes utterly soaked through, all the way to Holmes becoming intrigued by a basket of a fragrant powdery spice, getting too close and sneezing into it, sending a cloud of the powdery stuff all over himself and culminating in the angry vendor demanding he purchase the entire basket - though he outwardly appeared to do the exact opposite of listening at all.  Inwardly, however, he had to restrain himself from throttling the eccentric man with his bare hands.

Sorry, I had to quote the whole paragraph because it's perfect. Really. Well written, completely in character, funny and at the same time touching.

3 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

"Bless you again," Watson sighed.  If ever there was a phrase he was tired of saying, that one was rapidly rising to the top of the list.  It seemed, he thought to himself wearily, that the question was not the mystery of how Holmes had caught a cold, but how on Earth he had managed to avoid it for as long as he did.

... Okay, maybe I should have quoted your whole story. This is irresistible.

3 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

"Fresh ones are in the...the thing by the other thing." He added, waving his hand vaguely in the direction of about a couple dozen things that could be the thing by the thing.  Of course Holmes had the infuriating habit of being almost comically imprecise, somehow always managing to decide that anyone who didn’t have a mind quick enough to follow his thoughts as they zipped around like a hummingbird simply did not deserve to be graced with his thoughts at all. 

And that's Holmes in a nutshell. I love how you are portraying him.

Share this post


Link to post
AngelEyes

This is so good! Your characterizations are totally perfect!

7 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

It seemed, from Holmes's account of the matter, that he had steadfastly insisted that it was the calendar, and not the sky overhead, that must be correct,

LOL, sounds like Holmes.

 

7 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

It seemed, he thought to himself wearily, that the question was not the mystery of how Holmes had caught a cold, but how on Earth he had managed to avoid it for as long as he did. 

Right!

 

7 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

"Of course," Watson said, folding the paper and setting it upon the chair after standing up.  "And you want me to get that for you, which I somehow know despite the fact that you did not phrase it as a request.  Or say 'please'..." 

Totally Watson.

 

7 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

"Fresh ones are in the...the thing by the other thing." He added, waving his hand vaguely in the direction of about a couple dozen things that could be the thing by the thing.  Of course Holmes had the infuriating habit of being almost comically imprecise, somehow always managing to decide that anyone who didn’t have a mind quick enough to follow his thoughts as they zipped around like a hummingbird simply did not deserve to be graced with his thoughts at all.  As Watson hunted around for the thing that might be the thing by the thing, Holmes's voice disturbed his thoughts by groaning:

LOL. Totally Holmes!

 

7 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

"You wouldn-...you woul-...you w-...hehhhNNGGGHsshhh!"

Love the interrupted speech!

 

7 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

He sounded unsympathetic, and he was fully aware of that fact.  And there was a time in his medical career that he'd been considered to have quite the impeccable bedside manner.  But a kindly manner did not work on Sherlock Holmes.  It was too akin to the "fussing" that he so despised.  This was the only thing he responded to when he was like this, and for Holmes's own good, that's what Watson had to do.  But sympathy still existed within him,  it just needed to be kept well hidden.  So when he noticed that Holmes was shivering, arms folded tightly over his chest, and he said "Right, I'm going to go get the tea started, and get you a blanket and then get a decent fire started, and you're going to stay put and your pipe is going to be in my pocket so don't even think for a second about getting up and sneaking about and trying to find it" well that, that was sympathy.

This is a perfect example of their relationship in a nutshell!

Share this post


Link to post
groundcontrol

Oh Holmes, you pig-headed, lovable idiot-genius. The world needs more fics like this; I quite adore it. 

Share this post


Link to post
SleepingPhlox

Somehow, even though I originally intended this as a one-shot, I've gone and written even more again!  My mind took this idea and RAN with it.  The title seems kinda dumb now, it made more sense for the original version but it's called that in my mind now and I like how the words sound together so I guess that's that! :D   Thank you so much to those who have read and/or commented, it means the world to me, it really does! 

_________________________________________________

Part 3

Watson approached the couch where Holmes lay.  He prepared to gently place the blanket he had acquired over Holmes's reclining frame but was interrupted by said frame jerking upwards dramatically as Holmes expelled a weary sounding “HehhhMPPHHchhggh!” into his waiting handkerchief.  After waiting a moment to make sure there would be no further sudden movements from the ailing man, he stepped forward to drape the blanket over him.

For his efforts, he was met by a cold glare from Holmes’s dark brown eyes.

Watson glared back.

The two remained locked in this silent standoff of sorts until Watson could take it no longer.  He knew full well that Holmes was waiting for him to be the one to give in, but if he held fast they would move no further because it was a dead certainty that Holmes would never be the one to budge.  Stubbornness was at once Holmes’s best quality and his most infuriating.

“What is it?” Watson asked.  “What are you giving me that look for?”

“You didn’t say ‘bless you’,” Holmes sulked, pulling the blanket up to his chin and fixing Watson with a woefully accusatory glare.

“Well, you didn’t say ‘thank you’ for the blanket, so I suppose we’re even, now aren’t we?”

“You didn’t say ‘bless you’,” Holmes repeated petulantly.

“That phrase is a social nicety derived from superstition, and I happen to know for an absolute fact that you despise both social niceties and superstitions in equal measure.  Why should it bother you one jot whether I say it or not?  I’ve said it plenty of times already.”

Holmes’s brown eyes, full of recrimination and brooding, remained fixed on him.  Watson glared back, but damn it all if he didn’t feel the true meaning behind Holmes’s sudden ill temper boring straight into his mind as if transmitted invisibly through the air somehow.  It wasn’t about the words, the social nicety, or the superstition.  It was about the attention.  He wanted to know he was being paid attention to.  It was obvious now that he thought about it.

“Say bless you,” Holmes insisted.

“Say thank you first.”

“Say bless you!”

Watson sighed and let his head drop to his chest, shaking it gently from side to side as if he had just now accepted his fate and had not known from the very start this exchange would lead exactly here.  Of course he would need to give in, to be the bigger man, to indulge Holmes’s eccentricities - just as he had so many times before and would do so many times in the future, just as inevitably as the sun would rise and set and the moon at night would wax and wane.  He leaned forward, putting his face near Holmes’s took a deep breath, drawn out for the pure theatrical show of it and very slowly and deliberately, with crisp and precise enunciation, said:

“Bless you, Holmes.”

And oh the smug look on Holmes’s face made him wish he could travel back in time somehow and stop himself from saying it.  The uptilted chin, the slightly pursed lips, the narrowed eyes...and oh how his lips ever so slightly curled into the faintest of smirks...

“Thank you, Watson, that was very kind of you,” he drawled back, making it a point to be terribly obvious that he was savouring the moment, ending his sentence by pressing his handkerchief to his mouth and directing a coughing fit into it.  They were getting harsher, Watson noted, with a hint of chestiness beginning to creep in.  The course of medicine would really need to begin at once.  He wandered out of sight as the kettle began its high pitched wailing, preparing a pot of tea and retrieving a decently sized brown bottle with a spoon.  He had just managed to return in time to say a pointed “Bless you” in response to Holmes’s “HhhhhhehhhRRRRgghtchhuh!”

This time there was no “thank you”.  Not to the superstitious social nicety nor the pot of tea he set upon the table.

“Here you are,” he said.  “Sit up and get some of this nice hot tea into you - no, no complaining now, it will help warm you up and get you to stop shivering.  And then you’re going to take a spoonful of your cough tincture, and of course you know the routine, one more every two hours after that.”

Holmes narrowed his eyes to express exactly what he felt about the contents of that horrid brown bottle and how often he was expected to ingest the dreaded liquid inside.  It was as if the foremost minds of modern medicine had all conspired to concoct the most distasteful, unpleasant potions they could conceive of out of some sort of perverse amusement they derived from it.  He was certain they all gathered to laugh at what latest vile swill they had tricked the foolish masses into ingesting purely with the promise of “it will make you feel better”.  Yet he did not give voice to his displeasure, not yet anyway, and began to slowly drag himself into a sitting position.  No, no he did not care for sitting up, not one bit.  His body had grown quite comfortable lying down and it was terribly chilly up here with his body exposed to the open air like this.  He pulled the blanket up around his shoulders and glowered.  Not aimed at anything as such, just glowering at the tea and the cough tincture and outwardly into the ether to convey his general unhappiness at the world and everything it contained.  He inhaled, a deep and saturated sniffle, and cleared his throat with a little cough at the end.

“HehhhNNGHchhhkh!”

“Bless you...are you really going to insist I repeat that every time you sneeze?  Because really, I’ll be the one losing my voice then, by the time you’re over this illness.”

“Oh, not every time,” Holmes said airily, his voice partially obscured behind his dangling white handkerchief as he wiped his nose from one side to the other.  “Don’t be absurd, old chap. I shall certainly excuse you from the obligation when you’re out of earshot.  But of course, only if I am perfectly satisfied that you are not in fact within auditory range.”

Watson looked up and was met by Holmes’s face, his lips twisted into a playful smile.  A joke, of course it was a joke.  Holmes had his own peculiar sense of humour, which could be an acquired taste, but he really was quite playful and full of jest when he had a mind to be.  Of course, only with people he knew well and trusted, and that was a very exclusive club.  In fact, other than himself, he knew of no other members of said club.  Watson returned the smile with one of his own, and resumed pouring the tea, setting a cup in front of Holmes before  helping himself, though he immediately rose from his chair upon setting his own cup down on the table.  The fire was the next priority.  The damp and chill that pervaded the room, the wintery wind seeping in from every crack and crevice - it felt as if there hadn’t been a fire in here in days.

Which, of course, meant that there probably hadn’t.  He wondered at how Holmes had even managed to keep himself alive before the two men had met.  The man truly was hopeless at caring for himself.  He could go days without eating more than a few nibbles if someone wasn’t around to force him to consume the nutrition he needed to survive. He frequently spent days without a decent amount of sleep and when he finally did doze off, it might not be in a bed at all.  In a chair, sat huddled over a table, even upon the floor were considered prime snoozing spots, and a blanket frequently did not figure into the equation.

Again, Watson had to wonder how Holmes’s health had held out as long as it did during this dreadfully cold and wet weather.

Holmes took his cup of tea, drawing his arms into the blanket so he would not have to suffer the intolerable chill of the room any more than he had to.  With his back turned, as he arranged the sticks of kindling and added a generous heap of coal, he could hear Holmes noisily slurping his tea.  He knew full well the man was doing it for attention, he had witness Holmes drinking tea perfectly normally many times in the past - so he chose to ignore the grating noise.  It was a little harder to ignore the “HhhhehhhEEEHHHrrchhhgghk!” nor the “Watson!  I’ve spilt tea into my lap!” that followed it.  But Watson merely turned around and said with a slight smile:

“Well, dear chap, you’re an intelligent man.  I’m sure you’ll figure out what to do about that fairly sharpish.”

He didn’t fully intend to leave poor Holmes in the lurch indefinitely, just long enough to finish starting the fire, just to keep him on his toes.  Yet as Watson clapped his hands together to clean off the coal dust, and stepped back to watch the first flames lick gently at the kindling, he couldn’t help but notice that Holmes had indeed solved the problem on his own, by dabbing at it with the handkerchief he’d kept clutched in his hand at all times as if his very life depended on it.  Well, at least that was one less thing he had to worry about.  Now he could take his own seat and have a nice cup of tea of his own before it had entirely cooled and was rendered undrinkable

It was, however, difficult to relax completely with Holmes’s dark eyes boring holes into him, as the ailing man sat there, huddled miserably into his blanket, sniffling and clearing his throat, and staring.  Sunken, tired, baleful eyes fixed on Watson, looking almost accusatory.  Though accusing him for what, Watson had no idea.  He’d played no part in Holmes acquiring this illness and had nothing but attempt to help since he had arrived.  But, of course, he had failed to completely alleviate Holmes’s misery, and that was probably nothing short of unforgivable.  Again Holmes raised his handkerchief to his mouth and coughed into it - and his coughs were definitely rapidly deepening as the day wore on.

“Come now, Holmes.  Lie back and take a bit of rest.  Close your eyes and get some sleep.  It will do you a world of good.”

“I don’t like lying back and resting.  There’s nothing to occupy my mind with then.  Nothing to look at or think about.  It’s intolerable.  And I fear sleep continues to elude me lately, no matter how weary my body is.”

“Well, now, fortunately for you the morphine will take care of that little problem, won’t it?  All you have to do is take your medicine without any fussing.”  He picked up the brown bottle of cough tincture and waved it enticingly.  “I know you dislike the taste and I know you fight me every time on this, but doesn’t it always make you feel better in the end?”

Holmes took a deep breath and let it out slowly through tightened lips.  He was thinking, considering, contemplating.  Watson could see it in his eyes.  Calculating, weighing his options, until at last he appeared to reach his conclusion and looked up.

“Pour it for me,” he demanded.

“Holmes, no.  Not again.  You are perfectly capable of taking your own medicine without being spoon fed like an infant.”

“HehhhNNNGHchhh!...You must pour it for me.  I shall sneeze or cough and spill it.  No, you must help me.”  He flashed Watson a Look, dramatic and full of self pity, his eyes as despairing as he could possibly make them.

Watson took a deep breath.  He intended to argue, to inform Holmes that he knew full well he was being deliberately manipulative and he could see right through him, and he simply wasn’t going to play this game this time...but his desire for Holmes to just take the damned stuff far outweighed his desire to enjoy the simple fleeting pleasure of chastising the man.  The sooner Holmes took his medicine, the sooner his cough would begin to be soothed, and most importantly, the sooner he would become sleepy and eventually doze off, affording Watson some peace and quiet for a while.  And the peace of mind knowing that Holmes’s recovery was underway.  So, damn it all, he was going to have to give in yet again.  So he found himself opening the bottle and pouring a small amount into the waiting tablespoon, standing up to better lean across the table.

“This is ridiculous,” he muttered.  “Open wide, you utterly frustrating creature.”

Holmes merely raised an eyebrow and looked at Watson expectantly.

“Please,” Watson grumbled reluctantly.

And it seemed that’s all it took.  Holmes opened his mouth obediently, accepted the spoon willingly, almost eagerly, and only grimaced a little as he swallowed the medicine.  It was downright amicable of him.  Suspiciously so.  Watson took another sip of his tea, watching Holmes warily over the top of his cup, waiting for the moment to drop, for Holmes to say something rude, or complain, or creatively insult him, or say something phenomenally selfish, or...something.  But the longer that time went on, this seemed less and less likely to happen.  He made idle conversation to keep the sharp-minded man’s thoughts occupied, as ever so slowly Holmes’s posture began to droop slightly, his chin dropping toward his chest, swaying slightly, and the tell-tale dilation in his pupils.

“Holmes?”

“Hmm?”

“Feeling a little sleepy?”

“Mmmm-hmmm.”

“Well thank goodness for small miracles,” Watson muttered under his breath, making his way around to the other side of the table to put his hands on Holmes’s shoulders and gently guided him down, down, and down, until his head was nestled against the pillow.  He pulled the blanket up over the nearly-asleep man’s shoulders and ensured it was nice and snug to protect against any further chills.  He put a hand to Holmes’s forehead and tutted at the temperature of his skin, shaking his head as he smoothed back some dark curls.  Peace at last, he thought to himself as he returned to his chair to pass the time by reading or perhaps even sitting there thinking of nothing whatsoever.  Unlike Holmes, he found comfort in letting his mind rest from time to time.

“Sleep tight, old chap,” he said quietly, opening his book and laying the well worn bookmark aside.

________________________________

Really hoping I can keep up this momentum and continue this.  I've got some ideas I really want to try out!

Share this post


Link to post
HakunaMatata

Phlox. Dear god. Phlox.

I wish you could have seen my face while I was reading this. You are absolutely amazing!! I loved every bit of this! You got their characters just about perfectly right, I especially adore the way you write Watson. I could see Jude Law in my mind while I was reading! And oh my god, Holmes is insufferable as ever and I love it! He's such a fun character and the way you're writing him is just.. nngh, I don't even have words! I just hope that beneath all the acting he does appreciate his Watson!

Thank you so much for sharing this!💕

Share this post


Link to post
AngelEyes

Love stubborn!Holmes. So spot on. And dear patient Watson. 

On 10/25/2018 at 3:48 PM, ZombiePhlox said:

He put a hand to Holmes’s forehead and tutted at the temperature of his skin, shaking his head as he smoothed back some dark curls. 

Awww

Share this post


Link to post
Arc Reactor

I always thought I was the only one who loved the Sherlock Holmes movies. Thank you Phlox for always giving us such well-written, adorable fics. This story is absolutely amazing and I hope you continue!

Share this post


Link to post
SleepingPhlox

Again, thank you guys so much.  It seems I can't seem to stop writing this, ideas keep popping into my head faster than I can turn them into words!  So it's good to know that folks are happy to read what I'm putting out there.  Even if it seems that I'm writing myself into the terrifying prospect of having to actually give this a proper Sherlock Holmes-esque plot and I am not sure I know how to do that! 😮

And I've looked up the history of the telephone (I've learned some really cool stuff writing this thing!) and although I'm not sure how likely it was they'd have a telephone, it would not be impossible.  It would just be one direct line between offices though, which would make sense.  Again, not sure how probable it would be but the context of the story said I should use it! :D

_______________________________________________

Part 4

The sweetness of silence was bliss to Watson.  Of course he could not deny that the excitement that Holmes brought into his life was something nothing else on Earth could possibly duplicate.  But a little oasis of peace after the hustle and bustle of a long day, that really did have a certain charm all its own.  He lost himself in reading the book he had started some time ago and never seemed to have the time to return to, turning page after page with no noise to distract him, no sounds except for Holmes’s soft congested snoring, the crackling of the fire and then some time later, the sound of the rain blasting up against the windowpanes after the heavens decided to open yet again.  Well, he did have to admit he was much happier in here enjoying the peaceful warmth than he would have been out there so perhaps he was ever so slightly grateful for having to cancel his plans

Holmes slumbered on his side, and despite the snoring and the occasional changing of his expression probably in response to whatever dream was running through his mind, slept peacefully.  Holmes actually taking a proper sleep was a rare occasion and it did please Watson to be able to see it.  He kept himself as silent as possible so as not to disturb the slumbering man, stoking the fire carefully and noiselessly lest the clatter of the coal or the clink of the poker against the grate lest the slightest movement or noise deny Holmes the rest he so sorely needed.

So when the harsh clattering of the telephone bell destroyed the silence in the room like a thunderclap, he lept from his chair and bounded toward the offending contraption, cursing its awful timing.

Holmes opened one eye, unbeknownst to Watson, and listened intently.  He could only hear one side of the conversation, of course, but it really wasn’t terribly difficult to surmise the other side to fill in the blanks.  

“No, unfortunately he can’t,” Watson said.  “...no, no, he’s sleeping off a dreadful cold...well, he might be improved tomorrow but I won’t know until then, it’s a wait and see sort of situation...yes, it is a shame but I’m sure you’ll be able to-”

“Don’t listen to him!” Holmes bellowed at the top of his voice, startling Watson to within an inch of his life.  He turned to see Holmes - messy hair and disheveled clothes and all - jumping from the couch and rushing toward him.  “He’s keeping me here against my will!  I’m being held by a madman! I need police assistance!  You must-” And at once he had seemingly disappeared from view, tripping over some object or another and going down like a sack of potatoes.  After shaking off the momentary stunning, he peeled himself back up off the ground and continued his commotion, advancing upon Watson at an alarming rate.

“Give me the phone,” he demanded, as Watson turned away and said into the mouthpiece “Oh heavens no, he’s perfectly safe.  Feverish and possibly delirious, but otherwise safe.” before lowering the mouthpiece and hissing: “Holmes, no.  You’re not well and I have prescribed rest and rest is what you shall-”

And then he threw his hands up in frustration as both mouth- and earpiece was snatched from his hands and Holmes, attempting a semblance of a calm and collected voice as he attempted to catch his breath, simply said “No, no, don’t worry about what he said.  I’ll come immediately.”

And then he stared at Holmes with the expression of a man who had been in this situation far too many times before as Holmes clapped his hands briskly and informed him “I’ve taken the case.  We are to leave at once.”

“Holmes, no.  As your doctor I am putting you under strict orders to...put that waistcoat down, I’m warning you...I am putting you under strict orders...stop combing your hair at once!  Holmes!  Are you listening to me?”

“Oh, not in the slightest,” Holmes said airily, with a cheeky smile, patting Watson on the shoulder as he passed by on his way to...what was he up to now?...oh, it appeared to be a necktie.  He threw the tie around his collar and tied it haphazardly, and most people were never sure why Holmes even bothered making the cursory nods toward respectable fashion that he did.  He could put on all the trappings of upper class society, but couldn’t be bothered to follow said fashion’s proper rules.  And possibly broke the rules just to be contrary.  He refused to button shirts up to his neck, saying he disliked the feeling, wore ties loose and jackets undone, shirts unstarched and unpressed.  Of course it gave the impression of one so haphazard and aloof that he was just too busy or eccentric or both to remember to dress himself properly.  Watson knew better of course.  Just as most folk bent themselves to the rules of fashion to send a signal - I am of a certain social level.  I am important.  I am wealthy. - Holmes, too, was sending signals of his own.  Signals that, yes, he might stoop down to playing at the silly, frivolous rules that society imposed on itself, but he was a cut so far above the rest that such things were meaningless to him, and any small concession he might make towards following any of the ridiculous rules lesser folk might have agreed to play by was an act of immense generosity on his part.  And for anyone to expect any more from him would be astonishingly unthinkable, akin to having tea with the Queen and asking her to personally fetch you a cake.

 After Holmes had fastened his tie he paused his whirlwind of activity rather abruptly and the curled hand raised to his nose provided a clue as to why.

“HehhhRRRGGHHchhht!”

“You know that’s only going to get worse if you insist on running around outside instead of recuperating, right?  Oh, good heavens, if you are going to do this at least put on this scarf.  And you are wearing a hat, no ifs ands or buts about it!  And where have your gloves gotten to this time?”

“Do I own gloves?” Holmes said, looking absolutely astonished as he looked up from slipping on his shoes.

“Ah, here they are.  Under two weeks worth of newspapers.  Honestly Holmes, it’s like you outright tried to catch a cold.  Do you see how I’m dressed?”  He gestured up and down his own body as he buttoned his overcoat up tightly.  “See how I’m protected against the wind and chills?  This is why I’ve stayed healthy.  You should really take note.”

“Yes, Watson, absolutely commendable,” Holmes said, wiping his nose on his handkerchief.  “Top achievement, you should be very proud of yours-...your-...y-...hehhhhISHHHHgghkt!...yourself.”

“That’s not the point I was making.”

“Yes, well, if you intend to make a point, can you please do it quickly?  It’s going to be difficult to get a carriage in this weather, and we need to move as promptly as possible.  We don’t want to keep the good folks at the Yard waiting, now do we?  I’m sure the case needs to proceed as soon as possible...by the way, what is the case?”

“I don’t know.” Watson responded drily.  “I didn’t get a chance to ask because you ripped the phone from my hand so rudely.”

“Ah, well, I’m sure it must be interesting or they wouldn’t have called me.  Here, take these, we can bring them to be laundered while we’re out.”

“Holmes don’t put-” Watson cried out, but far too late to stop Holmes from depositing the whole large pile of soiled handkerchiefs right into his hands.  He sighed and immediately began looking for a small cloth sack to carry them in.  He didn’t deny that getting them cleaned was a very pressing necessity but he would have at least liked some warning before having them thrust into his hands like that.  

***

Watson found himself lamenting the loss of his cozy spot in his chair, sitting near the crackling fire, quietly enjoying his book with Gladstone relaxing at his feet (and the cat staring at him unsettlingly from its perch upon a shelf.   He hoped Holmes wasn’t serious about keeping that creature).  Out here was considerably less pleasant.  Out here was cold, and dismal, and the rain was pouring down and it had taken every bit as long to find a carriage to bring them to their destination as he had feared.  The streets were muddy and their feet squelched in the wetness with every step and being warm was simply a distant fond memory.  He could only imagine that Holmes found it much more trying, since he was the one running a fever and would be much more cold and miserable.  And it would seem, from his increased sneezing and constantly dabbing his nose with his handkerchief, that being out here in the biting cold air and pervasive dampness wasn’t doing his condition any favours at all.

By the time they finally managed to get a carriage, Holmes looked as if he’d had just about enough of the entire situation and he was probably regretting his hasty decision.  But it wasn’t time to say “I told you so” just yet.  Oh, no, Watson was saving that one up for precisely the right moment, when the moment would be sweetest and he could savour it just so.  He was not certain now when that moment would be, but he knew he would recognise it when he saw it, and he would pounce upon that chance to gloat like a tiger upon an antelope.

But he had to admit it was difficult not to feel bad for the man as he watched him slump against the side of the carriage.  He looked exhausted and miserable, shoulders wilted and head drooping against the carriage wall, glassy eyes ostensibly looking out the window but reacting to nothing as the scenery continued to pass by.  He didn’t even react to his head bouncing off the wall at the more pronounced bumps and jolts but just let it happen, completely unreacting.  This was very out of character for Holmes, who would usually be taking in everything, commenting on things as they passed by, processing boundless amounts of sensory information and filing it away in his infinite brain.  Now, he simply looked disinterested.  No, that wasn’t quite right.  He didn’t look like he had the energy to be disinterested.  Disinterested was too active of a state.  It was like he wasn’t even present.  He really must be feeling dreadful.  He regretted his choice to sit across from him rather than beside him - which would have afforded the weary Holmes a chance to rest his head upon his shoulder and doze, as he had a peculiar affinity to do.  He'd remember that for the journey home.

“Holmes,” Watson ventured.  “It’s not too late to turn back you know.  There’s no shame in deciding not to take any cases until you recover.  We don’t even know what they wanted with you.  We might get there and find it’s some rich brat’s lost puppy, and then it wouldn’t even have been worth the trip down there.”

Holmes simply uttered a noncommittal “Mmmmm”, his expression unchanging.  Even in this one syllable, it was evident that his voice was in the process of disappearing, a slight raspy catch just barely noticeable.

“Come on, you’re barely amongst the land of the living as it is.  How on earth do you expect to function fully and conduct the case-” He stopped himself abruptly as the first signs of life appeared on Holmes’s face - a very indignant and offended glare that was suddenly and sharply fixed right on him.  Oh, that had been the wrong thing to say.  That had absolutely been the exact wrong thing to say.  The possibility of returning to his book and his fireplace was drifting farther and farther away with every passing second, he could just feel it.

“I’ll have you know,” Holmes said, with far more hurt and petulance than anger.  “That I am fully in possession of all my faculties and if you are suggesting that I might be somehow less capable because of a slight illness-”

“I’m not suggesting that at all.”

“Then you are mistaken!” He declared grandly, ignoring Watson’s interjection, and it was fortunate that the carriage had come to a stop because it allowed for the perfect moment to swoop grandly as he disembarked, as the perfect punctuation to his proclamation.  Though, slipping slightly as his first foot hit the ground did mar the moment slightly.  No matter.  He had still made his point quite sufficiently.

“HehhhIHHHGGHktchhh!”

Yes, his point had been so thoroughly made that even that couldn’t hurt it.

“Holmes,” Watson groaned, stepping out of the carriage with considerably more care.  Slipping on the wet ground was something he didn’t care to experience today.  But Holmes, wiping his nose yet again, waved his free hand dismissively.

“There’s do tibe, Watsod.  We have i'bortant busidess to atte'd to.”

“We don’t know if it’s that important,” Watson grumbled through gritted teeth, but he hurried to catch up with his companion.  He couldn’t trust Holmes not to do something ridiculous to further impair his health like jump into icy water in pursuit of a lead or something equally preposterous.  He’d need to keep a close eye on him to guard against any such foolishness.

__________________________

Probably TBC, I just love these two so much I can't stay away from them!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Spoo

The saga continues! :yay: I am LIVING for your writing with these two. Seriously, you have them down so well it's frightening. :lol: So happy they've inspired you so much. 

Share this post


Link to post
AngelEyes
4 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

“Don’t listen to him!” Holmes bellowed at the top of his voice, startling Watson to within an inch of his life.  He turned to see Holmes - messy hair and disheveled clothes and all - jumping from the couch and rushing toward him.  “He’s keeping me here against my will!  I’m being held by a madman! I need police assistance!  You must-” And at once he had seemingly disappeared from view, tripping over some object or another and going down like a sack of potatoes.  After shaking off the momentary stunning, he peeled himself back up off the ground and continued his commotion, advancing upon Watson at an alarming rate.

This is absolutely perfect Holmes! I love it!

 

4 hours ago, ZombiePhlox said:

“Holmes, no.  As your doctor I am putting you under strict orders to...put that waistcoat down, I’m warning you...I am putting you under strict orders...stop combing your hair at once!  Holmes!  Are you listening to me?”

LOL, poor Watson!

This is great!

Share this post


Link to post
SleepingPhlox

Once again thanks guys!  These characters still have full control of my brain and it's been driving me nuts that I haven't been able to sit down and put a new part up.  I actually had to sit down and try to come up with an actual plot for this which of course took off like a damn train once I'd started! :laugh: 

________________________________________

Part 5

Holmes kept his handkerchief firmly clasped over his mouth and nose as if he expected a sneeze at any moment, and surprisingly intended to be as polite as possible about it.  Yet from the moment they exited the carriage, through the entire duration of the rainy, soggy walk to the door of the building they intended to enter, he made no use of the cloth.  It began to seem as if he were covering his face as protection from a bad smell, but Watson could detect no worse smells than usual.  In fact the dingy, dirty city smelled a little cleaner than it usually made a habit of, thanks to the through washing down it had received over the last two weeks.  Additionally, if there had been an unpleasant smell, he had no idea how Holmes would have detected it given how stuffed up he seemed to be.  Then again, it was Holmes.  His senses seemed to work on a different level than everyone else's.

It was the moment he crossed through a door, after they had entered the building and gone up the flights of narrow stairs, into the room where a crowd of people stood, that he exploded with a resounding "HhhhRRRRSSHHUHH!" and blew his nose with a discordant volume guaranteed to annoy the ears of everyone present.  More than one person recoiled at the sight of him, not entirely certain they wanted to approach such an obvious festering hotbed of disease - his damp pale skin and red cheeks and nose visible from a distance.  Watson spent a moment wondering if this noisy entrance was done as a deliberate act, to say look at me everyone, see how I suffer yet bravely soldier through; or completely accidental.  It was hard to tell with Holmes.  He had the particularly infuriating habit of affecting certain behaviours to throw people off while he was in fact slyly being particularly keen and observant.  A trip and fall or walking into a street-sellers cart could be a clever ruse to distract from slipping something into his pocket...or it could simply be that he was too caught up in his own thoughts at that particular moment to look where he was going.  It was always nearly impossible to tell which.  But Watson well knew that one of Holmes's favourite tricks was to call so much attention to himself that it appeared he couldn't possibly be doing anything of any importance, not with all eyes on him, and use that moment to do his most important of matters.  So he fixed his eyes on the man, watching him to see what he might do.

A woman, light brown hair in loose curls pinned upon her head, sat in the far side of the room, dramatically draped across a desk with her head over her arms.  She raised her head to observe the two men the moment Holmes made his commotion, then dropped listlessly back down again.  Yet there was something slightly unusual about her manner.  Watson didn't need Holmes's ability to read people to deduce that she was being decidedly dramatic, that though whatever had happened may have given her a fright, it appeared that she enjoyed being the damsel in distress in this particular little scene, and was more than happy to play her part.  

Holmes seemed to ignore her, walking over to the window and casually looking out at the streets below.  He kicked at a small spot on the floorboards, then bent down to examine it.  He reached out, tenderly swiping with his forefinger, looked bemused at the black smudge now there for a moment, then rubbed it against his thumb.  The woman at the table raised her head again, watching the proceedings, though it became clear to even the most dull witted of observers that it was Watson that had her attention, and she paid little attention to Holmes's antics.

"Watson!" Holmes called out, a little too loudly making Watson wonder if the cold was affecting his ears as such afflictions had  tendency to at times.  "I need you to come over here and be my nose for a moment."

"I beg your pardon?" Watson said, more than slightly bemused, though curiosity already had him crossing over to the window, much to the dismay of the woman at the table, who wilted with disappointment with each step he took farther away from her.

"I need you to smell this, as I cannot, and tell me what you think it is," Holmes said, the thick congestion in his voice making it entirely evident why he would need assistance in the smelling department, though he finished off with a syrupy sniff to further make his point.  Watson raised an eyebrow, but nodded his agreement to oblige, kneeling down to bring himself face-to-face with his detective companion.  Even with the small amount of the stuff on Holmes finger, still inches away from his face, he immediately knew what it was after just the smallest sniff.

“Gunpowder,” he said, with unequivocal certainty.  

“Are you sure?”

“Most definitely.  That smell will be etched into my memory until my dying day.”

“Curious...” Holmes mused, bringing a hand up to his face to hold delicately in front of his lips as he coughed - seemingly forgetting that was the hand responsible for keeping his balance as he knelt and he pitched forward and to the side slightly, managing to put his hand back out in time to steady himself.  Yet Watson noted, it was one of Holmes’s clever acts of misdirection, pretending to be clumsy to cover up another action.  There were curved shards of glass scattered around the small smudge of black powder, and he collected a few of them and slipped them into his pocket, unnoticed.  Watson wasn’t sure yet what Holmes had in mind, but he was sure it would all come together eventually.  The man’s mind seemingly worked on an entirely different plane of existence, and it was astonishing sometimes to watch him notice the tiny little puzzle pieces others would miss, and how he put it all together in the end.

Holmes stood up and paused looking out the window again.  He snuffled and snorted loudly, and at the same time pulled a clean handkerchief from his pocket, yet instead of bringing it to his nose like any reasonable person might expect, he quickly swabbed at the windowsill with it and returned it to his pocket.  Holding his hands casually behind his back, his well-used handkerchief he’d brought in with him dangling from his fingers, occasionally dancing playfully back and forth like the tail wagging of an inquisitive dog.  He looked up and down, casting his eyes upon every surface, never lingering too long in one place.  This was a very familiar method of investigation for him.  He wanted to see everything, observe everything, make his own conclusions.  If there was evidence he felt would be best investigated on his own, he preferred to keep it to himself.  And witness statements were of a very low priority.  Important yes, but coloured by emotions and the fallibility of the average human’s observational abilities.

Watson watched Holmes work with keen interest.  It still held a sort of pull over him, all of this.  Even when he swore he’d become tired of running around after the eccentric detective, had enough of mysteries and adventures, this is what brought him back every time.  And Holmes was like a different man when he was hot in pursuit of a solution to a case, even now while in the grips of a miserable cold.  There was still something of the keenness and sharpness in his eyes, even with how tired and ailing he looked, even when he paused in the middle of the room, poised with his handkerchief hovering in front of his face and...

“HhhhEHHHktchhgk!”

Misdirection again, Watson wondered?  No, it seemed perhaps it was just a sneeze, as Holmes’s full attention seemed now turned to vigorously blowing his nose and giving it a good solid wipe for good measure.  When he was done he sniffled and gave his head a little shake as if to collect his wits again and then, and only then, addressed the people in the room for the first time.

“Now that I’m done admiring the lovely view of the shops on this street,” he said airily, though his voice was ridiculously congested to the point of sounding absurd, and the scratchiness in his voice that had been nearly unnoticeable before now starting to firmly take hold.  “I take it something untoward must have happened.  Who wants to tell me about it?”

The four police officers in attendance shared uncertain glances with one another.  It was evident they suspected that the good Mr. Holmes’s present condition was affecting his investigative skills because nothing he was doing made sense.  On top of that, he seemed a little confused and not entirely possessing all of his mental faculties.  He had completely ignored the young woman who’d had such a harrowing experience, not to mention the four of their good selves and all the information they had to offer, and wandered around more or less aimlessly.

“Come now, come now!” Holmes barked impatiently.  “I’m tired and cold and I want to go home and have some tea!  I’m not going to stand around here forev-...for-...f-...hehhRRRCHHgghk!”

The young woman who had been silently keeping her place at the small table, rose slowly and approached, though it was clear from how she directed her gaze and her introduction of “I’m Josephine” that it was Watson she was more interested in speaking to - a fact that did not go unnoticed by Holmes, and definitely was not appreciated by him.

 “Yes, well, I certainly hope you have more information to give us than that,” Holmes said disdainfully.  “And something that can actually be of use.”

She gave him a withering glance and continued.  “A devil came into my room, a real and true devil, I swear on my life.  He climbed in through that window over there, and he was red all over and moved in the most inhuman way, limbs all contorted in such an impossible manner.  And he told me it was the likes of sinners like me who were bringing about the end of the world and this weather is just the first warning and if we don’t do something about it then the judgement day is going to be upon us, and there will be more signs.”

As she spoke, her breaths became more rapid and more shallow, her shoulders and chest rising and falling with each frightened gasp.  This didn’t seem to trouble Holmes in the slightest, but Watson could not stand idly by without trying to help the poor terrified creature.  He put his hands on her shoulders.

“Calm down.  There’s nobody here now except four strong policemen, and I wager Holmes here and I could hold our own in a fight, even against a devil.  Are you sure you weren’t just seeing things?  Have you been under stress lately?  How are your nerves usually?”

“No, it was a devil.  I said I didn’t need any police here, I needed a man from the church, and I’m certain of it.  Here, I can prove it.  He had this.”  She produced a small card, simple white with black print, marred by a red smudge near one end.  Watson took it from her, immediately handing it over to Holmes, and though he wanted to project an air of taking this young lady’s concerns very seriously, he could not help but remark:

“Devil is leaving calling cards these days, is he?  Terribly considerate of him.”

And he had to admit he was quite proud of himself when his little joke managed to elicit a wry smile from Holmes.  Or perhaps Holmes was just sniffling, since it became evident that the corner of his nose pulled up dramatically along with his mouth, and the whole gesture was accompanied by an audible and wet sniff.  He brought his handkerchief to his face yet again, but thankfully did not grace the room with another loud blow of his nose, simply wiping it politely this time.

“A’d were you?” Holmes addressed Josephine, sniffling deeply again to try and clear his nasal passages enough to speak properly.  He graced her with a slight smile, his manner friendly and conversational.  “Sinning, I mean?  Anything in particular that this devil fellow may have taken a dislike to?”

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t...I go to church every Sunday and I-”

“Ah yes, but the word ‘sin’ can cover so many different things-” Holmes said, waving his handkerchief idly, a friendly little smile on his face - too friendly, Watson noted.  Holmes was playing a part, attempting to lure her into a state of unsuspecting trust.  “A little fib, or engaging in idle gossip, or even indulging in a-”  He was abruptly interrupted by the need to cough.  “In a-” A strangled choke cut off his second attempt at finishing his thought, leading to a bout of coughing that went on even longer than the first.  It even managed to alarm Watson to the point of reflexively patting Holmes on the back.  By the time Holmes had begun to compose himself, another demure denial from Josephine appeared to have pushed him past his meager reserves of patience.  He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Well, you can’t say I didn’t give you a sporting chance to have your say,” he snapped.  “Tell me if I get this right, hmm?  You’re seeing a man.  A married man.  It’s been going on for some-...for so-...for-...hhhhMMPHchhhgghk!...for some time.  So long, in fact, that you do things with him that ordinarily a lady might save until marriage.  He’s very well off, or so he would have you think.  Between you and me...and Watson...and, well, those four over there, if they’re still paying attention, he has been a little strapped for money lately.  That necklace is a fine gift, very nice ruby.  I would take great care in wearing it out-of-doors if I were you.  His wife thinks it’s been stolen.  It had been in her family for...oh, judging by the style of the setting, two generations at the very least.  Am I at least close?”

He sniffled and rubbed at his nose, and leaned back to regard her with an infuriatingly smug expression - eyebrow cocked, his lips twisted into a lopsided smirk, head tilted to one side.  As he had entirely expected, she slapped him full across the face.  He just hadn’t expected her to do it so hard.  

___________________________________

To be continued...

 

Share this post


Link to post
AngelEyes

I love this! So perfectly Holmes! And an intriguing case!

Share this post


Link to post
Aliena H.

I'm shamefully late on commenting on this fic but oh my God I love it SO MUCH!!! I have the impression that I'm hearing Holmes' voice.

On 11/9/2018 at 1:11 AM, SleepingPhlox said:

And Holmes was like a different man when he was hot in pursuit of a solution to a case, even now while in the grips of a miserable cold.  There was still something of the keenness and sharpness in his eyes, even with how tired and ailing he looked, even when he paused in the middle of the room, poised with his handkerchief hovering in front of his face and...

This is probably my favorite line, but it was difficult to pick one. Thank you so much for writing in this (unfortunately-not-very-frequent) fandom!

Edited by Aliena H.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×