John’s look of puzzled surprise as he turned away from the cookery lesson – celebrity interview? – he’d been staring toward for the past twenty minutes gave way to a half-hearted smile. “Hey.”
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me! I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t happened to stop by for the jumper I left a few days ago and talked to Mrs. Hudson. Remember that little talk we had about communicating? I’m your girlfriend!”
John frowned. “I—”
“But you poor thing – you look terrible!”
“Well maybe just a bit tired, but I’m sure it looks horrible. I’m not going to ask to look. You know me and blood... stitches... You don’t mind, do you?”
“I said you don’t mind that I don’t want to have a look?”
“You know... at—” she waved vaguely toward his midsection.
“Why would you want to...” He shrugged and looked back at the telly.
“Anyway, I keep telling you he’s no good. Next time you might not be so lucky!”
“An infection. Lucky me...”
“Infection! Oh you poor, poor... You really do need to think about moving in with me. It will be much safer. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. Now can I get you anything? Smuggle in some food? Hospital food’s not—but then... Oh, what’s good for people with infections?”
“Quiet, maybe?” John muttered.
“What did you – oh! Look at the time. I’ll be late for work now! If you had told me... but I’ll say the bus was caught in traffic... though I take the tube... But I don’t think she knows that. What do you think I— No if I run now I’ll make it. Maybe...” Her phone rang. She shrieked and then picked it up. “Lauren! ... Yes I’m in a bit of a rush now...”
She mouthed “I love you” in his general direction as she rushed out the door.
John grunted and switched channels.
John smiled. “Mike!”
“I’m here instead of at Bart’s today – new program – so I thought I’d stop in. Cheer you up a bit. Does it hurt?”
“A bit, yeah.”
Mike chuckled. “I guess nothing seems too terrible after your shoulder’s been destroyed.”
“Yeah.” John’s smile fell and he fiddled with the remote.
Mike sat down in one of the visitor’s chairs and looked around the room uncomfortably for a few minutes. “So, what happened exactly?”
John let the remote fall into his lap. “Chasing the killer Sherlock identified. Killer with a knife, apparently.”
“I should never have introduced you two, should I! Well, I do have to go. Can’t run down stairs as fast as I used to, and you know how they are about taking seventeen minute breaks when you’re meant to take fifteen.”
“Take care of yourself, John!” Mike clapped him on the shoulder.
John winced as Mike left the room.
“Dr. John Watson in hospital! And was it only three weeks ago that I heard something about he who casts the first stone?”
“You’re going to Sunday school now?”
“I’m just cleverly insinuating that addiction isn’t limited to alcohol.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“You know exactly what it means, John.”
“No I don’t. And I hope you didn’t come all the way from Nottingham just to cleverly insinuate at me.”
“Chance would be a fine thing! I’m here on business and thought I’d pop by. Not entirely devoid of sisterly feelings, you see.”
“And since I heard about you before I left, I brought this.”
John looked at the gadget Harry was waving in front of his face.
“It’s only a first generation. I had to get a new one for work, so I thought you could use this one. User-friendly. Even you should be able to figure it out.”
“Such generosity!” he snapped as he stopped it from falling off the side of the bed.
Harry sat down in a plastic chair. “What did happen?”
“A killer we were chasing doubled back and slashed me in the stomach with a dirty knife. The laceration is infected.”
“Criminal injured you, and not him?” Harry sneered.
“Didn’t you say something about being in town for business?”
“Lovely seeing you as well, brother.”
John took a deep breath. “Sorry. Thanks for the...”
“iPad. No problem. See you next time you can be bothered to actually show up for Christmas dinner after I slave over it.” And she stalked out the door.
After a few moments’ contemplation of the door, he turned on the iPad. Which promptly powered down with a “low battery” warning.
John dropped it into the bin and picked up the remote.
Mrs. Hudson bustled back into the room with water for the potted plant she had just set down. Next to what John hoped he had not heard was a supply of clean pants.
“And now, dear, I called Sherlock and told him how you were and he said that someone had caught the killer and it wouldn’t be very long until it was all sorted. So I’m going to go and see if I can find you a cuppa anywhere in this hospital and then we can sit and have a nice chat until Sherlock gets here.”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Hudson, it’s just – I’m tired so...”
“Oh, of course, dear! I’ll just put this tin of biscuits right here where you can reach it, and you remember to call me if you need anything at all.”
“And I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“You get some rest now.”
John closed his eyes until he heard the door close behind her. Then he opened them again and tried for at least the fiftieth time that day to decide whether the spot on the ceiling looked more like a parsnip or that horrible mole on Great Aunt Bertha’s neck.
“I’m sorry, sir. What time was it?”
“About 4:30 in the morning. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
“So how sure are you that it was 4:30 in the morning?”
“I have no idea.”
“Sorry, sir. Continue please.”
“Sherlock had deter—”
“Excuse me, when you say ‘Sherlock’ you are referring to Sherlock Holmes the consultant who—”
“Yes! How many Sherlocks are there for me to refer to? Sherlock had determined that Mr. Evans would be somewhere near the West India Docks—”
“How had he determined that?”
“The case was in progress.”
“Thank you, sergeant! You may report to Lestrade now.” The police sergeant jumped at the sound of Sherlock’s voice from the doorway.
“But sir, I’m in the middle of—”
“The criminal has been taken into custody, so your services are no longer necessary.”
“But I still have to get Mr. Watson’s st—”
“And Evans is only a few wards away. I’m sure he’ll be happy to give you a statement if he wakes up!”
Sherlock glared the sergeant out of the room. “Moron.”
“He isn’t responsible for an infected laceration across my stomach.”
Sherlock pointedly ignored him, and instead reached into the laptop carrier on his shoulder, pulled out a few newspapers, and handed them to John.
John opened one and then looked back at Sherlock, who was rearranging chairs. “Hang on! Isn’t that my laptop carrier?”
Sherlock dropped into one of the chairs. “It’s my laptop.”
John rolled his eyes and went back to his paper, while Sherlock put his feet up and started typing into the laptop propped on his thighs.
“Coffee!” Sherlock’s left hand gestured in the direction of John’s head, though his right never stopped typing.
“You’re not an invalid.”
John put down his paper and glared.
Sherlock was still typing. “Nurse call button, John.”
John muttered something under his breath.
“No, you’ll need to ask him. He’ll never get it for me.”
And John grinned to himself as he summoned the nurse.