Written for cowboyguy, December 2017


Dr. John Watson was curled up on an armchair, most of his body lost beneath several thick, flannel blankets. He put on a grateful smile and lifted his head when he saw his flatmate approaching. Since his cold had grown worse, John didn't have much of a voice, but somehow Sherlock knew what he needed anyway. John had long since learned not to underestimate Sherlock's ability to observe and analyze. Hell, Sherlock had probably known John was sick before John had realized it himself.


Careful not to spill, Sherlock carried a cup of tea on its saucer through the kitchen, around the corner, and to the end of the sitting room. “Here you go.”


John took the saucer with one slightly shaking hand and set it on the arm of the chair immediately so he would not spill. Then he leaned forward and picked the cup up just enough to tip some into his mouth. At once, he winced and pulled away.


“Did I forget something?” Sherlock could tell he had; no one could have missed that reaction from John.


“Yeah, the tea,” John said, his voice soft and strained. He tilted the cup toward Sherlock, showing that it was just hot water and a lemon slice.


Sherlock took the cup. “I'll be right back. You're set here?”


It was sweet of him to ask. John nodded and snuggled down into his nest of blankets, rubbing his cheek against the soft flannel. There was a box of tissues around somewhere, but it was easier just grabbing one of the balled up tissues on his lap when he needed to wipe his nose.


It wasn’t five minutes before Sherlock was back with another cup of tea. This one had the right color, but there were large brown chunks floating in it. John took an experimental sip and pulled another face. “Bitter add graidy… did you use a tea idfuser with the tea leaves? Or did you… you… oh Sherlock… hah! Tissues?”


Sherlock moved the cup of tea away and then helped him search for the tissue box. Under blankets, behind a cushion, around John. Finally they found it wedged under the armchair.


Just in time, John reached for a tissue. “hahh-Ihptshhhhh!


Sherlock waited for him to finish wiping his nose. “Tea infuser?”


John sighed. “The tea leaves go idside add you let it steeb add...” He sighed again. “I'll just go get it byself.”


“No!” With just a hand on John's shoulder, Sherlock was able to hold John down. “You rest. I can solve mysteries Scotland Yard can barely fathom. I have an IQ of over 190. I could tell you about every horror perpetrated in this century while playing the second Bartok Violin Concerto. I can make my lover tea! Sherlock grabbed the teacup and stormed back to the kitchen.


John kept his amusement in check until Sherlock was gone from sight. Then he chuckled into a blanket to muffle the sound. He regretted it a moment later when it made him cough, however.


The next cup of tea Sherlock brought had beautifully brown tea with nothing floating in it. However, it was stone cold; Sherlock had forgotten to heat the water. The fourth cup tasted stronger of dish washing liquid than tea. The fifth cup... John didn't even want to think about how badly that had gone wrong. The sixth cup tasted of nothing but sugar. The seventh might have been good, but John sneezed suddenly and spilled it all over himself, necessitating new blankets and Sherlock pulling his wet jumper right off him. For the eighth, the tea was burned. The ninth came only after a loud shriek from Sherlock and was delivered by Sherlock with a bandage on his hand and very little tea in the cup.


“Spilled the water. Just a little burned.”


John immediately removed the bandages and took a look. It wasn't too bad, thankfully. But John's patience was certainly at an end. “Sherlock, just let be get the tea.”


“No! You're sick. You deserve—”


“I deserve a lover who'll sit dowd with be,” John interrupted. “Dot ode rushig aroud, getting hurt.”


Sherlock hesitated, staring down at John. “Just one more attempt. Please?” He tucked the blanket around John lovingly and dropped a kiss to John's forehead.


“All right. But be careful.” He gave Sherlock's bandaged hand the tenderest of kisses. Then he snuggled back down and closed his eyes.


John must have dropped off to sleep, but for how long he didn't know. Because he was suddenly being woken up with a gentle shake. “Wha...?”


“Tea!” Sherlock declared, holding the cup and saucer out. “Drink it while it's warm!”


John eyed it suspiciously, but it looked all right. He reached for it, and then he pulled his hand back, cupping it to his face. “hahh-IHptchhhh!” He wiped his hand with a tissue then wiped the tissue at his nose. Sherlock waited the whole time, though he looked anxious. Finally, John took the cup and sipped.


It was glorious. It soothed his sore throat. It calmed his worries. It loosened his stuffed-up nose. And the combination of chamomile, honey, and vanilla was wonderful, too. “This is just berfect. Thadk you, Sherlock.”


Sherlock beamed.


And then the kitchen door swung open and Mrs. Hudson called, “Unless there's anything else, I'll be off. I've got panto tickets tonight. John, I do hope you feel better!”


John gave her a wave that was both one of gratitude and goodbye. Sherlock wouldn't meet his eyes, even as Mrs. Hudson headed out and down the stairs. There was a painful, knowing silence between them, and John tried to destroy it by sniffling or slurping the wonderful tea a bit too loudly. In the end, he just couldn't stay quiet. “Thadk you for brigig be such good tea,” John told him. “You're so thoughtful.”


Sherlock lifted his gaze, looking wary, curious. “You like it?”


Nodding, John reached out for Sherlock's good hand, pulling him closer. Sherlock sat on the arm of the chair and rubbed John's back as he drank.