under_hatches: wiritng rules (Default)
[personal profile] under_hatches
Title: Pains and Remedies
Pairing: Holmes/ Watson
Rating/ Warnings: h/c, PG-13 maybe.
Words: 1,257

For [livejournal.com profile] silme711 who wanted Holmes/ Watson, h/c. I still feel like I'm not doing them justice, but I think I can get away with this little ficlet.



There were different kinds of pain. Being a physician, John H. Watson learned about this in university, but life taught him long before that, and continued to do so after. Which was why, when Watson slipped on a treacherous patch of ice, losing his footing and coming down hard on his weak thigh, he knew that he could safely ignore the sharp pain shooting through his leg until he was at home before properly surveying the damage. So he merely collected the small parcels that had slipped from his grasp and began walking back, not trusting his limbs enough to pick up his order of writing paper; a detour that would have taken him ten minutes on good legs, so it was not something he could consider after that fall. He shook his head at his own carelessness, knowing that he had been lost in thought and not entirely watching the pavement.

He really suspected nothing more than a bruise, but even this small injury made the return journey more exhausting than it should have been. By the time he reached Baker Street, there was a slight sheen of sweat on his brow despite the winter chill, and his shirt clung rather uncomfortably to his back. He was leaning on his walking stick more heavily, forcing himself not to pause now that their lodgings were in sight. Finally reaching the stairs leading to their rooms, they seemed insurmountable. Seventeen steps, Watson recalled Holmes' reprimand before starting to climb them. He counted them off, as a matter of distraction, stumbling on eight and nearly falling on twelve. When he opened the door to their sitting room, he was strangely relieved that Holmes was out. Watson shrugged out of his overcoat and jacket, hanging them onto the coat rack, and placing his parcels on his desk before undoing his collar and setting it down next to his errands. He let himself fall into his chair in front of the fireplace, meaning to rest there for only a moment before retreating to his room and inspecting his leg, but the merry fire and its warmth along with the strain he had taken seemed to further weight down his limbs.

Watson woke while being hoisted, stirring awake with his cheek against the tweed clad shoulder of Holmes, two wiry arms securely wrapped around him.

“Come on now, old chap,” Holmes mumbled, “It's not that far.”

Watson took careful steps, disoriented and still heavy with sleep.

“You took quite a nasty fall,” Holmes said, “I would have expected you to be in your bedroom by now.”

Watson briefly thought that Holmes hated chatter, yet he continued to provide a stream of commentary, be it about the accident, and here Watson was certain the state of his trousers had betrayed him, or their destination, which rather perplexingly was the bathroom. Just when Watson was about to ask, he felt himself lowered onto a chair next to a tub full of water hot enough to steam up the small room.

“If you would be so good as to start to undress,” Holmes requested, and Watson thought he saw a faint blush in his friend's face, “I will gather the magnesium sulphate in the meantime.”

Holmes came only back in to add the salts, decency causing him to leave quickly. Not long after, Watson found himself submerged in hot water, the pain in his leg easing up as the salt Holmes had poured into the bath relaxed his muscles. Holmes had seen that Watson was awake enough before leaving the room again, placing Watson's dressing gown on the chair, his gaze averted the entire time. Now that the feeling was returning to his numb limbs, Watson smiled at Holmes' attempts at caring, which he had to admit were welcome and not at all misguided.

Holmes opened the door to the sitting room just a moment after Watson had opened the bathroom door, which made it clear that he had been waiting for the tell-tale sound of the handle and subsequent click of the latch, probably even waiting behind the door, as the soft sound did not travel that far, and held out his arm which Watson gratefully took. He let himself be led back to his chair, accepting the glass of Brandy Holmes offered as well as the company. They spent a few minutes in companionable silence, before Watson shivered, and Holmes hurried over and knelt down next to Watson's chair.

“I'm quite alright, there is no need to fuss,” Watson said.

“The magnesium should help with the strain,” Holmes said, looking at the fire, “Along with the hot water, of course. But you should keep warm nevertheless. At least, I think it is warmth that improves your condition and not cold. Ah, I...”

Holmes broke off.

“Holmes,” Watson smiled, “Holmes, you're rambling.”

“It appears so, yes.”

“You never ramble!”

“It is apparent that I sometimes do,” Holmes said rather bristly.

“You are not worried, are you?”

“Please, Watson, I don't know what that's got to do with anything.”

Watson smiled down at him.

“I think it is warmth,” he then nodded, “Not against the swelling though, but the muscle tension is much worse than the bruising.”

“You're the doctor,” Holmes offered. “But I do hope the bruising is not as bad.”

Holmes rested tentative fingers on the outside of Watson's thigh, letting them hover over exactly where the bruise sat under the dressing gown and then setting them down slightly below, more towards the knee.

Watson's breath caught at this, but whether this was because of the gentle touch or the soft expression on Holmes' face, Watson could not say.

Holmes stood up and paced the room to come back with Afghan which he wrapped around Watson's shoulders. Watson gave a small startled laugh at that, causing Holmes to raise an eyebrow.

“I feel like an old man,” Watson confessed, pulling the Afghan closer around his body. “But I also feel that should we still know each other in many years' time, I will be in quite good hands.”

Holmes smiled slyly at that, and, with a short nod, reached for his pipe. He gestured towards Watson's pipe, but Watson shook his head with a small smile, grateful for the warmth of the evening.

There might be different kinds of pain, he thought, but luckily, there were also different kinds of remedies.

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January 2012

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