Title: Loopy
Fandom: BBC Sherlock

Pairing: John Watson/Sherlock Holmes/Greg Lestrade
Rating: PG

Summary: Sherlock’s got a cold and two caregivers taking shifts

Notes: Written for day 15 of my 23 Ficlets project to celebrate my 23rd anniversary in the community




Sherlock sat hunched over on the couch, coughing so hard into his handkerchief he could barely breathe. Rumpled and wrinkled striped pajamas and a serious case of bed head were the least of his complaints at the moment. John sat down on the couch and deposited a number of things on the already overflowing coffee table. John felt a pang of guilt at feeling so much better having gotten over his cold just to have Sherlock catch it from him. It was a minor miracle that Greg hadn’t come down with it, too. He ran his hand up and down Sherlock’s arched back and murmured reassurances until the coughing passed.


And it did pass. Sherlock lifted his head, looking worn out. “I—”


“Don’t talk,” John cut him off. “It’ll make you cough again. I want you to rest.”


Sherlock’s eyebrows knit together. It would kill Sherlock not to talk, but he looked miserable enough to see the logic in not triggering another fit coughs. He blinked slowly and sniffed.


“I know, you haven’t been able to sleep. But I’ve brought you some things that will help. First, take this hot water bottle while it’s still warm.” John pressed it to Sherlock’s chest, and Sherlock closed his eyes with a smile. It would help him feel warm and relaxed but it would also help loosen the congestion a bit.


The respite was brief. He hugged the hot water bottle to his chest with one arm while reaching his other toward the tissue box on the coffee table. Sherlock managed to pull one free of the box and snapped it to his face just in time. “EhhhKxxshhhh! Ehpptshuhhh!


John’s “Bless you” was drowned out by the sound of Sherlock blowing his nose. Sherlock grabbed the tissue box and showed it to John. “I see. You’re running low. I’ve brought you some more tissues as well. You’re not going to run out on my watch.”


Sherlock gave a sad smile.


“Yes, I know my watch is almost over.” He had to get back to the clinic, which was another reason he wanted Sherlock to sleep. He would be far less worried about the man alone in the flat if he were asleep than if he were… well, running one of his experiments or following up on something mysterious he read in the paper. “That’s why I brought you some Night Nurse.” He picked the bottle of medicine up from the table, where it had been nestled between a water bottle and a bag of cough drops. John unscrewed the cap and poured a measure of the syrup into it, up to the line. He held it out to Sherlock.


But, eyeing it with reproach, Sherlock shook his head.


John’s chest rose and fell with a sigh. “Please, Sherlock. I know it’s not Lemsip, and I know it doesn’t taste great. But it’s got painkillers, cough suppressant, and a drowsy agent in it to help you get some sleep while I’m gone.”


Sherlock reached out, but instead of taking the cup of medicine, he grabbed another tissue. “ehhh… ehhIHHPtshhhh!


“Bless you.”


Surveying John over the tissue, Sherlock finally relented. After a substantial wipe of his nose, he accepted the cup of medicine. With resolve, he knocked it back as quick as he could, still grimacing at the taste nonetheless. Then he dramatically threw himself onto his side, flopping into the nest of blankets and pillows he’d amassed on the couch during his convalescence. John got up and eased Sherlock’s feet off the floor so that Sherlock’s bent legs occupied the space where he’d just been sitting. John pulled blankets up and around until Sherlock Holmes was practically cocooned in warmth and comfort.


ehhh-HTXshhh!” Or at least as comfortable as someone trying to fight through a raging cold could be.


“Greg should be home in a couple of hours. Hopefully, this medicine will knock you right out and you’ll wake up with him beside you.” John patted the lump of blankets containing one of his lovers. “Please forgive me for not nuzzling you, but I don’t want to set you off sneezing again.” The last time he had rubbed noses with Sherlock, it had tickled Sherlock’s sensitive nose so badly that the man hadn’t been able to stop sneezing for the better part of a quarter of an hour.


“Wait, I know the solution.” John placed a finger on either side of his head, pointing at his temples.


Confused, Sherlock narrowed his eyes.


“I’m nuzzling you in my mind palace.”


A laugh from Sherlock sent him back into coughs, and John waited until they’d subsided before telling Sherlock he would feel better soon and then taking his leave.




It would figure that a few minutes after he’d left the living room, that was when Sherlock finally chose to wake up. Greg heard the sound of coughing all the way in the kitchen and called back to him, “I’ll be right there!” He wasn’t sure if Sherlock could even hear him over the coughing, but it was worth a shot. It was fortunate that he’d made enough tea for both of them. He grabbed a tin of biscuits, tucking it under his arm as he left the kitchen with the cups sitting neatly on their saucers.


Sherlock’s coughs were productive, wet, and thick with congestion. Greg wasn’t a doctor like John, but he’d had enough head colds in his life to know that horrible, tickly feeling when your sinuses were overflowing and post-nasal drip made your throat sore and triggered coughs. A little tea wasn’t going to fix all that, but it wouldn’t hurt either. Most days, it felt like Greg’s job was simply to keep Sherlock alive until John came home, and today that job involved tea.


When he got back to the living room, he found Sherlock sitting up with a wad of tissues in one hand and one of the case files Greg had been examining in the other. He wasn’t the least bit surprised, though he did have to resist the urge to pull it away from Sherlock. The man was supposed to be resting, not working. “I brought tea,” Greg declared, sweeping away a pile of used tissues to make room for a saucer and cup. He set the tin down on the table as well and flipped it open. Then he settled in the armchair with his cup.


As he adjusted the cushion and got comfortable, he looked over to see Sherlock looking not at the file but at him. And he… was that a pout? Was Sherlock Holmes pouting? Sherlock sniffed and looked down at the couch beside him. It was covered with blankets and sheets, but it was available now that the lower half of Sherlock’s body had vacated it. With a sigh, Greg hauled himself up and sat down there. The smile of approval he got back was warm and worth it. “Drink your tea before it gets cold,” he said, pretending that smile didn’t do lovely, wibbly things to his belly.


The smile was short-lived, as it turned out. Sherlock’s eyes closed and mouth dropped open just a moment before his nose was entirely obscured by the wad of tissues. “ehhTtchhh! Hettxxshh!” He gave his nose a quick blow. Then Sherlock handed over the file and picked up the tea. “It was the butler.”


Greg narrowed his eyes. “Come again?”


“The butler did it,” Sherlock said, gesturing at the file with his biscuit before dunking it in the tea to soften it.


Greg sipped his tea and scanned the file. He wasn’t all that familiar with the case, but… “Sherlock, this family doesn’t have a butler.” They lived in a seventeenth story rental flat on the west side. The husband was a car salesman and the wife owned a hair salon. Unless one of their two-year-old toddler twins was being groomed to be a domestic, Sherlock was way off this time.


“Oh.” Sherlock sniffed and chewed his biscuit thoughtfully. He picked up another file and read it.


“Those aren’t for public consumption, you know.”


Only the great Sherlock Holmes could manage to look smug while sipping tea and sniffling.


Chuckling to himself, Greg helped himself to two biscuits. “You know, I was thinking we could watch a movie, just the two of us. Is there anything you’d especially like to see?”


“The agent.”


“I don’t think I know that one.” Greg leaned to the side and slid his mobile out of his back pocket. He swiped to unlock it then pulled up search app. “Who’s in it?”


“No…” Sherlock handed over the case file. “The agent’s the murderer.”


Greg looked at the file then set his cup and phone down on the coffee table. “Sherlock, this is a truancy casefile. No murder, just a kid skipping school ‘cause he wants to get high with his bandmates.” As Sherlock reached for the next file on the stack, Greg got to them first, gathered them up, tapped the bottoms of the folders on the table to make the stack neat, and set them over on the seat of the armchair, well beyond Sherlock’s reach. “Okay,” he said, turning sideways, his leg bent beneath him on the couch. “What’s the matter with you?”


“I have a cold,” Sherlock answered.


Greg took a deep breath accompanied by a long blink, needed to stay calm. His sixth sense was kicking in at the idea of Sherlock not acting like Sherlock. “Yes, I had noticed that. That wasn’t what I meant. Are you feverish?” He took the saucer and cup from Sherlock then placed a palm on Sherlock’s forehead, finding it warm, not hot. “Not feverish.”


Sherlock turned his head quickly. “EHTChuhh!


It looked like the box of tissues Sherlock had been using was empty, so Greg tore the flap off the top of another one and handed a couple tissues from it to Sherlock.


The man took them and dabbed at his nose. Then he dropped his hand to his lap and sneezed freely again. “Ehh-Htchhhhhh! Hehhtchoo!


Greg sighed, getting a new tissue and wiping Sherlock’s nose for him. “What’d John give you?”


Sherlock sniffed. “This cold.”


“Yes, I know that much, too. But what did he give you this morning before he left?”


“Tissues and a hot water bottle.”


Unless the tissues were infused with opium, that didn’t account for this behavior either.


“And Night Nurse.”


“Ah.” Greg smiled. There it was then. He knew he’d get there eventually. “So this is you a bit loopy? Solving cases that don’t exist?”


“I… ehhh-HIHTchhhh! Sniff! I still say it was the butler.”


Greg chuckled and pulled Sherlock into his arms for a squeeze. “Yeah. I’ll get Scotland Yard right on that.” When he released the man, he handed Sherlock back his cup of tea. “Drink up while I find us something to watch.”