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Baker Street Imp (3/7)

BBC Sherlock

Rating: PG (very implicit slash)

Summary: John still wasn't sure that any plan involving Sherlock,  a seven-year old girl, and London Zoo was a good idea...

Part 2

 

 

It was half-past ten before the first text from Sherlock arrived, and John found it almost reassuring under the circumstances.

Do you know a good book on mating habits of gorillas? May have inadvertently misinformed Immy on details. SH

The next, at 11.23 am, was more worrying:

Immy likes the reptile house. Pick up more Stain Devils on the way home. SH

John tried not to panic and texted back: We have lots of stuff already for removing bloodstains or mud. John

The reply was immediate:

What about ice-cream, chocolate and giraffe dung? SH

And then, a minute or two later:

Do  Stain Devils work on hair? If not, investigate alternatives. SH

John sighed and wondered if returning Immy as a skinhead would alarm Harry and Clara.

***

After lunch there was another text: Bored with zoo. Off to London Aquarium. Immy likes sharks. SH. John told himself firmly that they had safety precautions at places like that, probably very good ones. Almost certainly proof against even an ingenious seven-year old, and a not very reliable detective.

***

By late afternoon, he was starting to relax. Harry had phoned, grovelling madly, and had said that she was sober and Clara was back from Germany. He hadn't believed Harry's promises that this time she really would stay sober for good, but she would almost certainly be OK for the rest of the week, especially with Clara on the lookout. So Immy could be taken back there safely in the evening, with nothing but a few good memories of London and some extra stains. He grinned and looked at the latest text message he'd received:

Giant ray a hit. Pick up takeaway on way home. McDonald's, KFC or pizza all OK. Avoid fish and chips. SH.

He'd seen his last patient, and was just starting to tidy up his desk when there were voices raised outside, as the receptionist insisted that surgery was over. His door burst open and a staggeringly grubby Immy rushed in, and gave him a hug.

"Did you know the best thing about sharks, Uncle John? They can smell a single drop of blood in a swimming pool full of water. And they can find fish buried in the sand because they can sense the electric charge they give off. Wouldn't it be amazing to be a shark, only you might get killed by horrible humans?"

She'd obviously had a great time, thought John, and she would clean up. Probably even the T-shirt would be OK with enough washing, although it had kittens on it as well, so Immy wouldn't mind if it was wrecked. And Sherlock...Sherlock was not looking suicidal, or distracted, or even manic, but oddly calm and mysteriously clean. Whereas Immy was rapidly transferring surplus grime to his own shirt...

"Don't you trust me on the takeaway?" he asked. "I'm going to be about twenty minutes yet with the paperwork, so you're probably better off not waiting for me."

"Immy needs a quick medical consultation," Sherlock announced.

There couldn't be much wrong with her, thought John, from the way she was bouncing around and talking.

"Sunburn, grazes, cuts? Oh..." he said, as he suddenly realised that not all the marks on Immy would wash off. "She's got some spots on her face, hasn't she?"

"And my hands, and my arms, Uncle John, and I think maybe on my chest as well."

***

It took him less than two minutes to diagnose chicken pox and getting on for an hour to work out what to do. Partly because nobody, himself included, seemed able to remember their childhood illnesses, which meant a lot of phoning round checking medical records.

"OK," he said at last. "I've had chicken pox, so have Clara and Mrs Hudson, Harry hasn't, and we're still not sure about Sherlock. But if you haven't had it by now, I think you're almost certainly going to get it after today's exposure, Sherlock. And Immy's still infectious for another six or seven days, till her spots scab over. So the best thing to do is to have you both in quarantine in Baker Street, because I really don't want you rushing around London being a public health hazard, and I can keep an eye on you there."

"So I don't have to go back to Auntie Harry's?" said Immy, happily.

"No. There's a chance she may not have been infected. And chicken pox can be quite serious for people with...weakened immune systems," John said. He didn't add that looking after Immy while she was in quarantine was just the sort of stressful situation to get Harry drinking again. "I'll see if I can persuade Sarah to drive you two home, you shouldn't really be using public transport. And then just stay in the flat and don't cause trouble, because I'll be a while picking up the supplies we need."

Seven days of Sherlock and Immy stuck inside a smallish flat, he thought. I wonder who'll crack first.

***

Most of Tuesday wasn't too bad. Sarah had been surprisingly willing to let John have the week off work, given that 'Sherlock's niece' was ill. He suspected that she thought Sherlock's imaginary sister was a terrible mother for allowing her child to stay with Sherlock , sick or well, but he'd have to leave the real explanation for a later date. And they'd also now discovered that Sherlock had had chicken pox before.  John should have realised that Mycroft would have all the data about that. And the fact that Sherlock's medical records hadn't mentioned his illness, because his parents 'didn't believe in doctors' explained quite a lot about Sherlock's more recent urges to DIY medical treatment.

He'd also realised that he'd made the right decision about looking after Immy. Clara had come round to 221B and been...helpless. Helpless about Harry's drinking, and her job, and Immy's chicken pox, and life in general. He'd sent her home to Harry and told her they could manage with Immy on their own, and she hadn't protested.

It was almost embarrassing now to think that he'd once found Clara's blonde, wispy, frailty endearing, sexy even. Now, the women he liked – and he still liked a lot of women as friends, even if it was Sherlock that he loved – were strong ones, able to stand up for themselves. Like Sarah, like - in her own peculiar way – Mrs Hudson. Like Immy was going to be in ten years time. God help the teenaged boys who were going to tangle with Immy, he thought, they had no idea what would hit them.

***

Immy had been feverish and unhappy on Tuesday morning, but by the evening she was bouncy again. And even more spotty.

"Have you ever seen so many spots on one person, Uncle John? I counted up to 257, but then I lost track. Maybe I should make a mark against each one once I've counted it next time?"

"No, biro and spots do not mix."

"Then can Sherlock take some photos of me, so I can show my friends? And he said it would it be useful for him to have images showing rashes with different skin colours."

"Yes, he can take photos," John said rapidly, "face and arms only, tell him in the copies he keeps for himself he has to anonymise you."

"OK," said Immy, "and I can tell Mum all about them when I phone tonight. Oh..."

Oh God, thought John, and asked, as neutrally as he could: "How often are you supposed to be phoning your mother when you're away?"

"Every night," Immy replied, and her big eyes looked innocently up at him, "but, but Auntie Harry forgot, and I sort of forgot to remind her."

If I get this wrong, we'll have social services round, John thought, but how on earth do I explain it? "Sherlock," he yelled, "I need your advice."

***

John wasn't convinced this was going to work, but he didn't have a better alternative, so he dialled Mrs Parmar's number.

"Mrs Parmar? My name's Dr John Watson, I'm Harriet Watson's brother. I don't want to worry you at all, but we've got a slight medical problem with Imogen."

He had to sound professional, stuffy, and over-conscientious, Sherlock had told him, and he tried to channel all the more finicky and old-fashioned GPs he could remember. He just hoped he didn't accidentally end up sounding like Dr Finlay.

"Once I realised Imogen had chicken pox, I was obviously concerned about my sister, given that she has a history of poor health. My flatmate's away at the moment, so it seemed simplest to have Clara and Imogen stay here, reassure myself the patient was all right." He tried not to sound like a man whom Clara might have suddenly fallen for, and then abruptly realised he probably didn't need to.

He made reassuring noises when Mrs Parmar started on the importance of Immy eating healthily and behaving nicely, and then said:

"I'm sorry Clara can't talk to you now, she's having a rest, I think Immy, Imogen's rather worn her out. But if you'd like a word with Imogen herself now..." He handed his phone to Immy with a look that he hoped somehow conveyed that Immy shouldn't say anything about Harry, or Sherlock, or giraffe dung, or motorcycle sidecars, or...rather a lot of other things.

Fortunately, Immy was instinctively able to talk at 90 mph without revealing anything best lest concealed. It was only right at the end that she slipped up. "And I've got to go now, Mum, because there's this programme on about rainforests and Sherlock said he'll watch it with me-"

Immy  broke off, and cast a desperate glance at John. And then she was suddenly smiling again, and announcing down the phone:

"Sherlock's the boy from next door, he knows lots of cool things about sharks, but would you believe he didn't know about the earth going round the sun? Got to go, Mum, love you, bye."

John took the phone back and made reassuring noises about Sherlock being nine, going on twenty-nine, top of his class at prep school, and his family having high hopes for him. He exchanged a few more banalities, and then hung up, slightly too abruptly. For all Annie Parmar's insistence on Immy's need for a proper diet and suitable friends, she'd also made it indirectly clear that she wasn't interrupting her holiday and coming down to London till Immy was recovered. He was starting to feel rather sorry for Immy.

***

 "So what are we doing tomorrow?" Immy demanded when the TV programme was over. "I'm feeling much, much better now, so can we go to the London Eye? Sherlock says he can show me how to hang upside down in one of the capsules."

"You're still infectious," John said firmly. "So tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and in fact for the rest of your holiday, you are staying right here in this flat."

"But that's so boring, Uncle John! That's really, really not fair. Why do you have to be so incredibly mean and boring and rotten?"

***

Five minutes later, John was starting to feel rather sorry for himself.

Part 4

 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
nathcoelho
Jan. 29th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
poor john! really!
how he will manage that?
going to the next part. great fic
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )