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A spot of bother

BBC Sherlock

Rating 15 (swearing, high levels of crack)

Summary:   Written for a prompt by fengirl88 at the Running Hot meme: "Which of the Holmes brothers is more trouble when he's ill? John and Lestrade find out the hard way."

 

 

John mostly blamed Mrs Holmes, which was normally a safe bet. After all, she was a woman so desperate to ignore reality that she was still convinced that her sons were straight, even six months after Mycroft and Greg had got married, and John and Sherlock had danced together terribly badly at the wedding. Still, her argument that it was 'all just a phase' had spared John and Greg Christmas and New Year in Sussex. Because doubtless Mrs Holmes had spent the holidays pretending that the Holmes were all one happy family, and that people liked overcooked sprouts to eat.

John wasn't surprised that Sherlock had picked up a cold while he was down there – he'd gathered that Lamberley Old Hall possessed neither proper heating nor sanitation, and Sherlock had doubtless been doing horrible things to his immune system. But he did seem to be running much more of a temperature than usual – maybe he'd got some kind of infection as well? Better get some antibiotics into him, thought John, and make sure he doesn't run around making himself worse. He phoned Lestrade to warn him Sherlock was off consultancy for the week.

"He's sick too, is he?" Lestrade said. "Mycroft's a mess at the moment, coughing all the time and his eyes all red. I don't think the water's safe out there in the countryside. I told him to phone in sick, but apparently the coalition would collapse in under 48 hours without him at work. Or someone would start an extra war."

"There's something wrong with his eyes?" John said, suddenly alert. "Has he got a temperature as well?"

"He's sweating and it's only January. He even took off his bedsocks last night, he was so hot."

John had a sinking feeling. "Might be flu, but If Mycroft's around, can you look inside his mouth, see if there's some kind of rash?" he said.

"I can't just look inside My's mouth, he's not a bloody horse."

"Try and do it, please. And I'll have a look at Sherlock. Phone me back at once if there's anything unusual."

Sherlock was surprisingly co-operative at the prospect of new and strange symptoms, in between moaning about how sore his throat was. But his mouth looked OK. I'm getting paranoid, John thought. And then a couple of hours later Lestrade phoned back.

"Mycroft's got these tiny white spots in his mouth, like grains of salt. What do you think he's got and how quickly is it likely to kill him?" That didn't come out with quite the right level of concern, John noticed; he suspected Mycroft was being bolshy.

"I don't know how they've managed it," John replied, "but I have a horrible feeling those two prats have caught measles."

***

One rather heated interrogation later – measles was a notifiable disease, so Mycroft couldn't claim answering was against the Official Secrets Act , as normal – it was sounding all too plausible to John. They'd had a couple of cases down at Lamberley – Mycroft might say on the other side of village, but it wasn't a bloody metropolis – and neither of the brothers had had measles before.

"I have had measles," Sherlock rasped into the speakerphone. "When I was a child. I remember that."

"When you were five you had German measles," Mycroft's voice croaked back condescendingly. "I did explain to you at the time the difference between rubeola and rubella, but you obviously weren't paying attention."

"And neither of you have been immunised?" John asked doggedly.

"Mummy doesn't believe in that," Mycroft replied. "She always says that if you have lots of fresh air and exercise you won't catch anything nasty."

Fat lot of good fresh air and exercise did the American Indians, thought John, but now wasn't a good time to criticise 'Mummy'. It never was. Now was the time to work out what to do with two infectious and soon to be spotty pillocks.

***

John felt a twinge of guilt when Lestrade agreed so readily that Sherlock and he should come and stay in Richmond. Greg was probably calculating that he'd get some help caring for Mycroft;  it obviously hadn't dawned on him that he was going to have to help subdue Sherlock. Still, if Sherlock was going to be confined inside till he stopped being infectious, a larger house would be better.

As John had suspected, Mycroft's utilitarianism meant that telling him he'd get better more rapidly if he co-operated had some effect. Mycroft admitted that perhaps Anthea could run the British government for a couple of weeks, and that 'Canton' could sort out the Americans.

"Canton?" asked John. Who named their child after a bit of the Swiss government?

"Canton Delaware III," Mycroft replied rather hazily. "Used to be a very, very good friend of mine. I remember the first time I met him, in a toilet at the Pentagon-"

"Don't try and talk anymore," said John rapidly, "just have a drink, and stay lying down, because your temperature's still far too high. Greg, I'm not sure whether sponging his skin will help, but can you give it a try. I'd better go and check on Sherlock, see if I can get him to go back to bed."

***

Faced with a raging infection and a house containing no drugs harder than ibuprofen, Sherlock had naturally decided that 'lots of fluids' meant exploring the more dubious section of Mycroft's drinks cabinet, the part with the gifts of unsuitable bottles  from foreign dignitaries. He was doubtless going to end up headachy and vomiting, thought John, but then he probably would feel like that anyway. And seeing what a combination of ouzo and Japanese whisky tasted like was almost normal by Sherlock's standards.

There was one bottle, though, that John did carefully sneak away to pour down the bathroom sink. He wasn't having Sherlock starting on that again.

"Oi," protested Lestrade, appearing as the oily green liquid was swirling down the plughole. "I was going to try some of that later. Thought it might cheer me up, if I'm now Mycroft's official nursemaid."

"It's horrible stuff," said John. "Have you ever had any?"

"No, but you know what they say?" Lestrade cracked a weary smile.

"What?"

"Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder."

"That joke hasn't been funny since 1905," John protested. "Is Mycroft OK?"

"Sleeping. He's still pretty feverish though, and his rash keeps on spreading. Do you think you could have a quick look, make sure I'm not missing anything?"

"Of course," said John. "But only if you see what Sherlock's mixing up now. There's things you wouldn't believe in that drinks cabinet, and I'm not sure quite what he might manage to do with them. Have you ever heard of a drink called Becherovka?"

"Yeah. Czechoslovakian stuff. I got given a bottle once by a friend of mine. Boyfriend, actually. Suppose you'd call him a Czech mate," said Lestrade cheerfully.

"Oh bugger off and see Sherlock," said John. "And I'll sort out Mycroft for you."

***

It was day 5, or possibly 6 – John was already so frazzled he barely knew – and he wasn't sure he was going to get through the day without murdering Sherlock.

"Just tell me why, Greg?" he demanded, when they finally got to sit down mid-morning and have some breakfast. "Why can an intelligent man not realise that if he scratches his rash it will make it itchier?"

Lestrade scrubbed his face wearily, looking like he was ready to fall asleep face down in his porridge.

"When my cousin Mickey had chicken-pox," he announced, "Auntie Carole had him sleep in boxing gloves, so he couldn't scratch his face."

"Sherlock and boxing gloves. Do you really think that's a good combination?" John retorted. "I keep on telling him he'll get better more quickly if he just lies down and rests, but he doesn't pay a blind bit of attention. At least Mycroft's co-operating."

"Yeah, but every time I think his fever's coming down, it shoots back up again," Lestrade replied.  "Pass the maple syrup, I need all the energy I can get. My's so out of it half the time, he barely recognises me. He called me 'Darling' yesterday, you know."

"What's wrong with that?"

"He thought at the time I was Alistair Darling."

"OK, that's not good," said John. "I'll go and have another check on him. I'm sorry about all this, Greg, but they're better off here than in hospital. They'd probably pick up something even nastier there. We can try getting in some nurses if it would help."

"Anthea says they still can't find any with a high enough security clearance," said Lestrade. "You wouldn't believe what Mycroft says when he's feverish. I'm never going to look at George Osborne in quite the same way again."

"I'll go and dose him up. But I can't stay with him for too long, or Sherlock will scratch his own skin off."

"Don't worry about him," Lestrade said. "I've got an idea."

"Which is?"

"Don't doctors have to swear an oath about doing no harm to their patients?"

"Something like that, yeah."

"Then you don't want to know. But trust me, it'll stop him scratching."

***

Mycroft's temperature was still high, but he was sounding lucid, at least.

"Could you fetch my laptop, please?" he asked. "If I have to lie around all day, I'd like to take the opportunity to watch a DVD."

"If it takes your mind off things, that's probably helpful," John said, when he'd retrieved it, and a selection of films. "Just be careful it doesn't hurt your eyes. And please don't start listening to the World Service again. Now, you're still remembering to drink-"

"Lots of fluids, yes," Mycroft said, glaring up at John. "And I'm allowed my next dose of ibuprofen just after 2 p.m. I do normally run several countries, John. Even if I am not at my best, I am capable of remembering to take a few tablets."

"OK," said John. "Is there anything else you need?"

"I think my dressing-gown's around somewhere, the red silk one, if you could help me get it on. It is rather untidy in here, isn't it? Maybe you or Greg could sort things out later. We mustn't let our standards slip."

"Fine," said John, trying not to sound as ratty as he felt. Mycroft's rash looked even worse against the red of the dressing gown, almost fluorescent. But at least he had the sense to leave his skin alone. Which reminded him: he'd better go and see what mayhem Sherlock was causing now.

There were ominous coughs and groans emerging from Sherlock's bedroom, along with a rather smug looking Lestrade.

"If he manages to scratch himself now, you ought to get him on telly as a contortionist," he announced.

"What have you done?"

"Handcuffed  him."

"You...he...you...he'll get out of them!"

"Ratchet cuffs, with his hands stacked behind him? It'll take even Sherlock a while to do that. And he hasn't got any lock picks on him, I checked when I was slapping calamine on him earlier. Well, when I say checked, if Sherlock's stowing contraband up his arse I'm presuming you'll have noticed before now."

"You can't-"

"I just did," Lestrade said. "So you need to go to bed, John, because you're just about out on your feet, and Sherlock won't come to harm for a few hours. You get some kip, and then I'll give you the key and you can release him. How's My getting on?"

"With it enough at the moment to start demanding entertainment," John said. "I said he could watch a DVD if he wanted to. So he's probably OK for a bit if you need a rest. Unless you want to watch it with him."

"No, it'll be some Merchant-Ivory crap, knowing Mycroft, and I can't stand that. John, for fuck's sake go and lie down before you pass out. It's not going to help us if you get sick as well."

***

John felt better for about 30 seconds when he woke up. Then he looked at his watch. Shit. It was half-past five. How the hell had he slept so long, and why hadn't Greg woken him up?

The answer became plain when he stumbled downstairs, and found Greg sprawled on the sofa in the lounge, snoring. Beside him sat a spotty but remarkably smug looking Sherlock, drinking something that  probably wasn't just orange juice. Lestrade's handcuffs, John noticed, were now twined artfully round the neck of a vodka bottle.

"Don't wake him up," said Sherlock, slightly muzzily. "or he'll just try and cuff me again, and I've realised it doesn't do anything for me when Lestrade ties me up." John felt Sherlock's forehead briefly, decided most of his symptoms were self-inflicted and self-limiting, and went and put the kettle on. Then he woke up Lestrade cautiously, and handed him a cup of tea.

"Sod it, I'm sorry, John," said Lestrade, gulping down the tea. "I guess I'm knackered as well. I was sponging Mycroft down all last night."

Shit, thought John, he'd completely forgotten Mycroft. "Is he OK?" he asked, in the vague hope that someone would have noticed if he was dying.

"There are voices coming from his bedroom," said Sherlock. "I presumed he just had a film on rather loudly, but now I come to think of it-"

John was listening now. "That's not a sound track, is it? That's Mycroft shouting."

"Oh fuck," said Lestrade, abandoning his mug. "OK, I'll go and sort him out."

"I'll come too," said John, hurrying after him up the stairs. "Can you make out what's he yelling, it sounds weird. Oh hell, he's delirious again, isn't he?"

"It's French," Lestrade announced.

"What's he saying?"

"Fuck you!"

"Greg!"

"Mycroft's saying 'Fuck you!" A lot." They were sprinting along the corridor now, but Lestrade put up his hand when they got outside Mycroft's door.

"It sounds like an argument," he said, "Could someone have broken into the house?"

"Who?"

"A poisonous Hungarian dwarf. At least, that's what Mycroft just called him. Look, we go in cautiously, because I have a bad feeling about this one." Lestrade swung the door open slowly and John caught a glimpse of Mycroft, sitting up in bed, yelling at his laptop. No-one else in the room, thank God.

"He doesn't like the film?" John whispered.

"No, he's...he's video conferencing someone." Lestrade muttered back. "Shut up, I need to listen." There was a long burst of irate French from Mycroft and Lestrade swallowed hard. "You know who's he talking to?" he said. "President Sarkozy."

"What? Oh God, Mycroft isn't even speaking French now."

"No," said Lestrade. "I think that's Hungarian. Obscene Hungarian. I'm almost certain Nicholas Sarkozy won't want to do what Mycroft just suggested."

"You know Hungarian swearwords?" John demanded.

"Yeah, but that doesn't matter. What matters is what the fuck we do."

"Stop the call."

"Bit late now, I'd say, even Sherlock couldn't explain this one away. And bloody hell, what's Mycroft done to his face?"

"I've got an idea," said John, "follow me." He was already rushing into the room, and Lestrade followed, protesting.

"Arrest this man, Inspector," John yelled, grabbing Mycroft by the shoulder. Mycroft looked round, no trace of recognition in his glassy eyes. He'd put powder – talcum powder? – on his face to hide the rash, but his sweat was streaking it off, so he looked like a psychotic clown. "This is Colonel Moran, Lestrade, who's been impersonating Mycroft Holmes. See, his makeup's coming off already."

"Sebastian Moran," Lestrade announced, hastily twisting the laptop out of Mycroft's grip, "I arrest you for kidnap and impersonation. You have the right to remain silent – so use it right now, you silly plonker, because you're in enough trouble already. Captain Watson, can you deal with M. Sarkozy, please, while I remove this imposter."

"Certainly, Inspector, "said John, scrabbling with the touchpad, in between staring haplessly into Sarkozy's indignant gaze. "Mille pardons, Monsieur Sarkozy, pour votre...er...there's been a terrible conspiracy, I suspect it's all the Americans' fault, but I promise Mycroft will explain, as soon as he's recovered...from being kidnapped. So till then, erm, bon soir et au revoir." He cut the connection and sighed. Mycroft was yelling in English now. He hoped that was an encouraging sign.

***

 Day 8 – Probable Day 8 – was worse. Mycroft was still feverish, but Sherlock was recovering fast, and Lestrade and John were being run ragged. John wasn't altogether surprised when he got back from putting Mycroft to bed yet again – he'd been conducting a G8 summit in the pink bathroom this time – and found Sherlock in handcuffs.

"He was being annoying," Lestrade said. "So I'm giving him half an hour in the naughty cuffs."

"It's a good job you never had children, isn't it, Greg?" said John, taking Lestrade off to the kitchen for a handful of liqueur chocolates, in the vague hope that the taste might help him relax without actually getting him sozzled. "What was it this time?"

"Bastard burst into my bathroom earlier while I was shaving and took photos," said Lestrade, "and I've just found out he forwarded them to the Yard."

"Well it's a pain if he's broken another lock," John replied automatically, "but it's hardly the worst thing he's done this week-" He broke off, because Lestrade was actually blushing. John had never realised he was capable of that.

"What is it, Greg?" he asked.

Lestrade made a gargling noise, and then muttered: "I wasn't shaving my face."

Laugh now, thought John, and I'll probably get arrested. "I'd say at least an hour in the cuffs," he replied instead. "Well, long enough for us to nip out and have a pint, anyhow."

***

 Going to the pub for forty minutes did prevent any further instances of police brutality, but it was a big mistake, John realised once they got back. Sherlock was still in the lounge, handcuffed, but he now had Mycroft kneeling beside him, fumbling ineptly at the cuffs with a piece of wire, despite Sherlock's protest that he could free himself perfectly well if Mycroft just stopped interfering.

Mycroft staggered up as they came in, and shuffled across to lean on the mantelpiece. He'd look rather more heroic without the pyjamas and the spots, John thought, but he was clearly trying to be coolly debonair in a tricky situation.

"Mycroft-" John began.

"Take it easy, John," Lestrade muttered, "Give him a chance to recognise us."

"I recognise you, of course," Mycroft proclaimed indignantly, waving a finger roughly in Lestrade's direction. "You are Colonel Sebastian Moran, and you have imprisoned both myself and my brother in your lair."

"No, I'm Detective Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard," Lestrade said, walking slowly forward. "We're here to rescue you and Sherlock. Captain Watson, if you can release Sherlock," he said, handing the handcuff keys to John, "I'll help Mycroft, Mr Holmes here. If you'd like to come with me, sir, we think you may need medical treatment after your ordeal."

"You are Moran, and I know all about your conspiracy against my good friend Nicholas Sarkozy!"

John struggled with the handcuffs; Sherlock's wriggling was not helping. "Just hold still and tell me what to do, for God's sake," John growled, "or you'll dislocate your own thumbs." Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that Lestrade was still advancing on Mycroft, his arms spread out in the universal 'I am unarmed and harmless' gesture. Which meant that when Mycroft abruptly scooped up a statue of The Infant Samuel at Prayer from the mantelpiece and threw it at point blank range, Lestrade wasn't able to block it.

***

Mycroft went surprisingly limp once he saw the blood starting to flow from Lestrade's scalp wound, so John hustled him rapidly upstairs. If Greg was able to swear that much, he couldn't really be dying, and Sherlock knew first aid. Once he'd locked Mycroft in his bedroom – not best clinical practice, but nor was a chemical cosh, or even a real one – John headed downstairs and found a standoff in the kitchen. Lestrade, a bloody tea towel clutched to his head, was eyeballing Sherlock, who was rapidly exploring John's medical case.

"He needs stitches," Sherlock announced, spinning round to confront John. "And I've always wanted to have a go at them."

"You come anywhere near me with a needle," Lestrade, said, snarling, "and I'm arresting you under the Prevention of Terrorism Act."

"Sherlock!" John barked. "Stop arsing around, and go and order a taxi. And when it comes, Greg, you are going straight to A and E. Sherlock, you're not infectious anymore, so you go with him, make sure he gets seen to promptly."

"And then?" Sherlock asked, surprisingly meekly.

"Just bugger off. I don't care where as long as it's out of my sight."

"He'll go haring off to Scotland Yard," Lestrade said. "I know he will."

"If you go anywhere near Greg's office, Sherlock," John announced, "or do anything  else that...well, just anything else, I will..." He paused, because now the adrenaline was wearing off his sluggish brain couldn't come up with an adequate threat, "I will execute you in a controlled but painful manner that I can't quite define at the moment."

Sherlock was looking at him rather strangely. And so was Greg.

"What's wrong?" John asked, his hands playing with...oh, he was still holding the elephant doorstop, wasn't he? He remembered now. It had been holding Mycroft's bedroom door open, but the door was locked now, and he was almost certain that Mycroft was on the inside of the door, and that was the side he was supposed to be on, and...

"Nothing's wrong," Lestrade said, very, very calmly. "But John, can you please put down the, erm, blunt instrument-"

"-solid bronze ornament-" Sherlock interjected.

"Bronze ornament on the table, before you accidentally drop it on someone's face," Lestrade finished. "And maybe you go and have a rest while Sherlock and I go off to casualty. I'm sure you'll feel better if you do that."

***

When the doorbell rang, John presumed it was Lestrade, though he did look round vaguely for the bronze elephant, just in case it was Sherlock. But when he opened the door, Anthea strode in, closely followed by Mrs Hudson.

"Hello John," Anthea said. "I gather from Greg you've got a problem with your patient. If I pop up and sort out Mycroft, do you think you could make some tea, Martha? John could probably do with some."

"Not even your landlady, dear," Mrs Hudson replied cheerfully. "I'll come up and help settle Mycroft. You go and put your feet up, John,  and leave everything to us."

***

Mrs Hudson reappeared in the lounge about an hour later with tea and biscuits.

"You're an angel, Mrs Hudson," John said, scrambling up from where he'd been lying face down on the sofa. "Is Mycroft-"

"He's fine, dear, don't worry. Well, when I say fine, he is still rather out of it. He was trying to dictate a memo to Anthea when I left, something about Jayne Mansfield and lobsters. She's a clever girl, though, I'm sure she'll work out how to deal with him. But, oh, John! I don't know about Mycroft, but you don't look at all well. Are you coming down with something too? You look all hot and bothered."

"I'm fine!" he yelled. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shout, I'm just a bit tired, that's all. But we should be home in a day or two."

"It'll be nice to have you both back, love, it's been terribly quiet this week. Well, apart from the phone calls."

"Phone calls?" John asked, through a mouthful of bourbon biscuit.

"Sherlock left his mobile behind, you see, and I got fed up with it ringing. Now I'm not your answering service, don't think that, but it did occur to me there might be some important messages, so I took some of the calls. I'm not a detective, of course, but sometimes people just need a little chat, get things sorted out in their minds. So I told Hattie Doran how she could trace her missing husband, and that nice Miss Adler agreed she should return the video to Mr Ormstein, and, oh, I ended up helping Sally Donovan out  with one or two cases as well, what with her not having Inspector Lestrade there."

"Right. That's, um, good," said John, trying not to panic.

"Is the inspector all right, by the way?" Mrs Hudson asked, picking up the empty teapot. "It was very brave of him to fight off Colonel Moran single-handed. You could have helped him, John."

"I'm sorry, I was...erm...rescuing Sherlock. I do that a lot, you know."

"Yes, of course. Oh, and that reminds me. I hope Sherlock hasn't done anything too silly."

"What do you mean?" John asked, resisting the strong urge to crawl under a pile of cushions.

"Well, there is this one young lad who keeps on phoning, wanting to speak to Sherlock, but he won't say why. Seth Starkadder, his name is. I wondered about telling him to come round here and talk to Sherlock himself, but I didn't quite like to." Mrs Hudson's voice dropped. "In case he turned out to be a rent boy, and it upset Mycroft's neighbours."

"I, I...if you give me his number, I can phone him," John managed to get out. "And, do you think you could get me some more tea, and some paracetamol as well? I think I do have a headache coming on, actually."

 ***

A few cups of tea later, John nerved himself to phone the number.

 "Seth Starkadder." A teenager, he thought. Estuary whine, could be from anywhere.

"You're trying to get hold of Sherlock Holmes," he said.

"Yeah. He owes me money. If you're his mate, maybe you can pay me. "

"Why does Sherlock owe you money?"

"For the experiment at Christmas. Up at the big house. Lamberley Old Hall. He gave me fifty pound then, and said the rest a week later. And I need it so I can get a new I-Pod, mine's broken. But he ain't at the Hall and Mrs Holmes said he'd gone back to London, gave me his number."

"What was the experiment?" John demanded. Please let it not be drugs.

"It was for a case, right? Biological warfare."

The season of goodwill and anthrax, thought John. God, teenagers could be gullible, couldn't they?

"What happened?" he asked.

"He wanted to know how easy it was for terrorists to spread germs. Said he was starting with me, coz I had measles, and he didn't know anyone handy with bubonic plague."

"He was experimenting with you because you had measles?" He could feel the pressure in his skull increasing rapidly.

"He had me coughing all over stuff in one of the bedrooms. Said he'd check all the surfaces every hour for viral...for how many germs there still were."

"You were trying to spread the thing?" John yelled at him.

"He said it was OK, he'd had measles already, but he wanted to find out what happened if someone came along who hadn't. He explained it all to me properly, it's just I didn't really follow it, You know," Seth went on enthusiastically. "I've never been in the Hall before, it was really posh it was, all fancy stuff in the bedroom. You wouldn't believe it, there was a silk dressing gown. Bright red silk. I had fun coughing over that one."

"Sherlock arranged all this?" John had gone cold now.

"He gave me fifty pound and said he'd know in a few days if the experiment had worked, and he'd give me another fifty if it did. I didn't quite understand what he meant."

"I'm pretty sure I know."

"I know it sounds a bit weird," said Seth, "but it was harmless enough. I don't think terrorists would really use measles, it's just a kid's disease, isn't it?"

"I'll tell Sherlock you phoned," John said, and hit the 'end call' button. As he held the mobile in his sweaty hand, he could almost feel himself burning him up with rage...

***

"Fever's breaking at last."

John recognised those words, the confusion in his head clearing away abruptly, and he knew it was him that was meant. Oh, of course he thought, as he opened his eyes, he wasn't back at 221B, even if he had been dreaming about it. And the tall, thin figure looking down at him in a kindly way was the doctor. Richard, that was his name, wasn't it?

"Have I been out for long?" John demanded.

"You've been delirious for three days," the doctor replied. "Calling for a man called Sherlock. Your lover, eh? Who would have thought it of a soldier like you?"

"Sherlock and me, we're not-" John began.

"Don't worry, your secret's safe with me, Jean." Patrice Richard's smile gleamed in a face tanned from years of Mediterranean sun. "After all, we all have things we ran away to forget, here in the Légion étrangère."

 

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
fengirl88
May. 30th, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
thank you so much for filling this - lovely stuff. the bad jokes, the naughty cuffs, Canton and Darling and Osborne and Seth Starkadder, M Sarkozy getting a blast of obscene Hungarian (and Lestrade's ability to identify it), the Infant Samuel used as a missile, Mrs Hudson sorting everybody out - I loved this right up until the VERY SCARY ENDING. poor John, what is he doing in that company?

marysutherland
Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)
As you know, I've been waiting for Lestrade to get to use the absinthe joke for ages, and once I'd decided that it was Sarkozy who Mycroft was going to tear a strip off, it seemed a good chance to put the Hungarian swearwords in as well. As for the ending, I originally imagined it as the rather downbeat conclusion that John had finally had enough of Sherlock, at least temporarily, and gone off to join the FFL. But possibly, on second thoughts, this is the revenge of the 'poisonous Hungarian dwarf', giving Captain Watson a quick immersion course in French. Or, if you're getting really cracky, that it wasn't Mrs Hudson who turned up with Anthea after all, but a well-disguised Colonel Moran. One doped bourbon biscuit later, he'd shanghaied John, who Anthea and a recovered Mycroft will now have to rescue...
kalypso_v
May. 30th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
So I take it the answer is Mycroft, because he has more potential to wreck the world. But surely once he regains his senses he's going to recruit Mrs Hudson?

Sherlock was surprisingly co-operative at the prospect of new and strange symptoms

I do like the idea that in the early stages Sherlock's curiosity still wins out, even if it's all his fault. And the guest appearances by Canton and Seth*, and the nods to absinthe, Hungarian swearwords, etc etc.

* Though I can imagine it being Mummy who saw something nasty in the woodshed?
marysutherland
Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:42 am (UTC)
I think the conclusion is that what you need to beware of is Mycroft's unconscious and Sherlock's conscious mind. And I have a horrible feeling that Sherlock, even when he realises he's getting sick himself, simply concludes that childhood illnesses are wasted on children, because they don't gather sufficiently accurate data. (After all, he obviously didn't even properly register what illness he had aged five). Probably helps his mood that he doesn't get nearly as sick as Mycroft, which shows the fundamental unfairness of life.

I hadn't thought of Mummy and the woodshed, but it would explain a lot, wouldn't it? But I'm pretty sure that the statue of the Infant Samuel was a gift from her to Mycroft, and that Remarks Will Be Made about the fact that it's been broken.
ariadnes_string
May. 30th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Hilarious! (even if I only got about half the jokes, cultural illiterate that I am) Hope John's okay, tho'

Thanks so much for writing for the meme!
marysutherland
Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
A lot of the humour is very English specific. Alistair Darling and George Osborne are the previous and current Chancellors of the Exchequer. Canton Delaware is a gay FBI agent from a recent episode of Dr Who, Statues of The Infant Samuel at Prayer regularly get used as missiles in the works of PG Wodehouse, and Seth Starkadder is from Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm. Jayne Mansfield and the lobsters, meanwhile, turn up in a sketch by Derek and Clive (Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). The absinthe and Hungarian swearwords are from Fengirl herself.

I'm sure John will return eventually to 221B, though hopefully not until he's calmed down enough not to murder Sherlock.
chainsaw_poet97
May. 31st, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
I loved this. It was hilarious - especially the terrible/brilliant puns and the reference to the Starkadders.

Poor John. Sick Sherlock (and Mycroft) as bad enough without him plotting biological warfare.
marysutherland
Jun. 2nd, 2011 07:03 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. I admit to being slightly obsessed with the plot device of Sherlock carelessly harming himself and others. So far he's accidentally given John food poisoning, an LSD high, and shot him, and he's also accidentally given himself hypothermia.
pudupudu
Jun. 2nd, 2011 08:40 am (UTC)
If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, there needs to be more sick!Mycroft (I'm not cruel and insane, really...) Loved this! Very funny and I loved the references ;-) Also, I now need some Mycroft/Canton o_o
2ndskin
Jun. 2nd, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
this couldn't be more entertaining to read--just wish it were on screen so I could watch the whole thing. So much silliness, plus intrigue! drama! Insane complications! a shocking surprise ending!!--as always, the intricacies of plot and sharpness of the dialogue just amaze me! Loved it! (and loved the little Mycroft socks reference too!)
weefreethings
Jun. 11th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Great fun!
My favorite parts were Lestrade's puns and the whole Colonel-Sebastian-Moran running gag (otta be canon!). Oh, and of course Mrs. Hudson and the other neglected female characters doing just fine without the boys! :D
marysutherland
Jun. 11th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Great fun!
Lestrade's puns are canon ("meretricious" "And a Happy New Year" from TGG), and Fengirl, who asked for this prompt, does a nice line in Lestrade's weakness for old jokes, so I wanted to squeeze some in. And I always like giving some of the female characters (there are a number of good ones in the series) a chance to shine.
lady_carfax
Jun. 11th, 2011 10:14 am (UTC)
Oh I loved this right up until that ending utterly blind-sided me. 0_o

Darling & Osborne (seriously, that man would have some stories), the statue, Canton and Seth... wonderful! ^_^ The only one that really confused me was Jayne Mansfield and the lobsters.
marysutherland
Jun. 11th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it, though I suspect some of the jokes only make sense if you're old as I am. Jayne Mansfield and the lobsters is from a notorious 1970s sketch by Derek and Clive (otherwise Peter Cook and Dudley Moore). I suspect it's all Lestrade's fault that Mycroft knew about that one.
grassle
Jun. 12th, 2011 08:47 am (UTC)
Did not see that ending coming! Loved it. Mrs H needs her own show. She could be the British government!
marysutherland
Jun. 12th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Given it's canon already that there's a lot more to Mrs Hudson than just a sweet little old lady (the herbal soothers, the urge to ship John and Sherlock, the unexpected swearing), I wouldn't put anything past her, and it seemed like a good opportunity to demonstrate this. Especially since all the male members of MI5 and the Met are forever getting distracted from their jobs by love or other bizarre happenings.
archea2
Jun. 13th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm glad this was recced on the kinkmeme - it's hilarious fun and as a French gal, I loved Mycroft's little intermede with President Sarkozy. (He's been called much worse than a Hungarian dwarf down here, he should survive!)
marysutherland
Jun. 14th, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
It's good fun when I get a really cracky idea and can just let rip. It was a toss-up between Mycroft taking it out on Sarkozy or Berlusconi, but since fengirl, who provided the prompt, has written several fics in which Lestrade knows Hungarian swearwords, it was too good a connection to miss.
rusty_armour
Jun. 14th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
I have to confess that I read this late on Saturday night and then forgot to leave feedback yesterday! D'oh! I should have mustered what brain cells I had left to comment because this is brilliant! It's a wonderful mixture of hurt/comfort, humour, terrible puns, and more canon references than I could keep track of! *g* Somehow, I'm not surprised that Sherlock ended up being responsible for the measles outbreak -- even in John's delirious mind. There are so many priceless moments in this story that it's impossible to list them all. However, here were a couple of things that really amused me:

"No, it'll be some Merchant-Ivory crap, knowing Mycroft, and I can't stand that..."

"He was being annoying," Lestrade said. "So I'm giving him half an hour in the naughty cuffs."

"It's a good job you never had children, isn't it, Greg?" said John, taking Lestrade off to the kitchen for a handful of liqueur chocolates, in the vague hope that the taste might help him relax without actually getting him sozzled. "What was it this time?"


"You are Moran, and I know all about your conspiracy against my good friend Nicholas Sarkozy!"

"If you go anywhere near Greg's office, Sherlock," John announced, "or do anything else that...well, just anything else, I will..." He paused, because now the adrenaline was wearing off his sluggish brain couldn't come up with an adequate threat, "I will execute you in a controlled but painful manner that I can't quite define at the moment."

Okay, maybe more than a couple. *g*
marysutherland
Jun. 16th, 2011 07:45 am (UTC)
Fengirl's prompt was just begging for a warped hurt/comfort story, where the comfort progressively runs out and even John and Lestrade lose their cool. And you can throw *anything* into crack, so I thought 'Maurice' in-jokes etc were entirely justified. It's thanks to Fengirl that I watched 'Maurice' BTW: she thought she ought to get a cut of all the recent DVD sales of that. (Probably so should you for your Boathouse parody).
rusty_armour
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
It's thanks to Fengirl that I watched 'Maurice' BTW: she thought she ought to get a cut of all the recent DVD sales of that. (Probably so should you for your Boathouse parody).

Yes, fengirl88 should definitely get a cut for my DVD purchase as I bought it on her recommendation. As for "The Boathouse," I only hold her about 60% responsibility. The remaining 40% was due to Tylenol Cold Plus. Well...maybe 30% Tylenol Cold Plus and 10% insanity. *g*

I started reading Half a Loaf on Tuesday and finished it off fairly late last night. I'll try to leave you some feedback today as I really enjoyed it. I can honestly say that it's the first John/Mycroft story I've ever read. :-)
disassembly_rsn
Sep. 5th, 2011 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: A spot of bother
I don't think we quite have a definitive answer as to which brother is more trouble when ill. You may have to write more of these to give us a bigger sampling pool. :)

It did start to sound a bit suspicious when it started coming out that Sherlock thought he'd had measles already. Good setup and execution. :)

Argh. Mummy doesn't believe in having children immunized. That sounds depressingly plausible. Somehow I suspect that she may have had a nanny or some other poor devil doing the heavy lifting when the kids were sick, since she doesn't seem to have rethought her position.

I love the bits with the naughty cuffs - Lestrade saying that John wouldn't want to know because of the Hippocratic Oath, then using them as a time-out mechanism. :)

They should have known better than to believe that Mycroft could be trusted with a laptop and a means of communication. Very clever save by both John and Lestrade, and it sounds perfectly in character for them. :)
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