While the case was a simple one (a standard domestic squabble gone horribly pear-shaped), it wasn't until Sherlock arrived on the scene that anyone even realized the dead couple's daughter was missing. As he pointed it out, in the same sort of blasé tone one might use when deciding between paper or plastic, the faces on every Yarder in the townhouse turned from one of grim confidence to total horror. A frantic search began in earnest, while Sherlock merely leaned back against the wall and snapped at John about how stupid they all were.
"Well, to be fair, you did just sort of throw a wrench in the works." John stuffed his hands in his pockets in a mulish way. "I'm going to help them look for her."
"Of course you are," the genius consultant sighed dramatically. "I suppose you are going to insist I join in as well?"
The look John tossed at him was enough of an answer. Sherlock peeled himself from the wall like a surly teenager and sulked his way up the stairs to glance at the girl's room. It only took him half a minute to deduce that she had fled into the empty flat downstairs to hide from the violence her parents had begun.
"She's downstairs!" he shouted as he rumbled rapidly back down to the main floor.
Lestrade met him in the living room, where the forensic technicians were just packing up their equipment. There was a smug smile gracing the Inspector's face, and Sherlock fought down his irritation. The DI rocked on his heels, "John's already gone down to get her. He noticed the door down to the basement flat was open and the air conditioner was on."
Unable to stop the proud smirk that quirked his lips, Sherlock hummed in surprise, "The good doctor shows promise, as always. Your officers should be ashamed."
"The man is a bloody soldier, Sherlock," Lestrade's voice managed to be both exasperated and fond, "it stands to reason he'd be good at finding someone bent on hiding."
Snorting, the detective schooled his features to show boredom instead of smug pride when his flatmate and friend appeared with the little girl cradled in his arms. She was fast asleep against the doctor's chest, one hand clutching at the drab jumper he wore. A pair of handy paramedics swarmed him and scooped the child up, carrying her away to the ambulance outside.
With a soldierly nod, John shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans and smiled kindly. "Found her tucked away in the empty pantry downstairs. I looked in every room down there until I heard her sniffling." Glancing at the doorway through which his tiny patient had disappeared, John shook his head sadly. "S'bloody cold down there with that AC blasting like it was. Last tenants must have left it on."
"Astute observation, Watson. Perhaps from now on I will send you out to the boring cases." Sherlock gave his companion a snarky grin.
John retaliated with a two-fingered salute, "Tosser."
Lestrade laughed at the two of them with a fatherly sort of way. "Alright you two. If you're going to start slinging insults at each other, you can both kindly sod off."
"Professional," John rolled his eyes sarcastically. "Come on, Sherlock. Let's leave his nibs to his crime scene and paperwork."
"Yes, heaven forbid we get under his feet with so much work ahead of him. We'll get Chinese. I know a wonderful place nearby that serves the best spring rolls in the county."
"Of course you do."
Flu season had started a week ago, and Sherlock was cultivating a cold because John had forced him to get a damned inoculation. Consequently, he refused to look at or speak to his flatmate for several days. John, used to such petulance, ignored Sherlock's 'misery' for all of six hours before he finally left the flat in search of cold medicine. He wandered the medicine isle with a practiced eye, before selecting a daytime and a nighttime pair of pill packets and a bag of natural, mentholated throat drops.
Upon his return, John swiftly made his way to the kettle, where he performed his tea-making ritual without sparing a moment to actually look in on his flatmate. Sweetening the beverage with a more than liberal amount of honey, the doctor snapped a pair of daytime pills from their pack and walked his way into the living room. He found his resident annoyance flopped on the floor in front of the sofa like a dead fish.
"Oh for the love of," John bit off his irritated statement with a grunt and placed Sherlock's mug onto the table before hauling the detective back onto the sofa. He shoved the tea mug into his friend's hands, then gently stuffed a warm afghan around the detective's skinny frame. "Here are two, non-drowsy, over-the-counter strength pills. Drink them with your bloody tea, and stop acting like you're dying."
"We're all dying, John." the detective groaned theatrically.
"My God you are the biggest bloody drama queen I have ever seen in my life."
"I'm glad my slow, miserable death is amusing to you."
Rolling his eyes, the doctor shook his head and took up his own mug of tea before dropping tiredly into his chair. "It will be over in a few days, Sherlock."
"You know, your bedside manner leaves something to be desired." Sherlock waited a whole six minutes before announcing, "I'm bored."
John hid himself behind his newspaper.
"Entertain me. Read me the paper. Aloud." The detective waited two minutes for John to comply before sighing, "Even prisoners are granted a last request, doctor."
"I'm not reading you the bloody paper." The flat was silent again, except for a loud thump and a sigh of gusty ennui. John let his head fall back with a growl of frustration, "You've rolled off onto the floor again, haven't you?"
A muffled whine came from somewhere behind the coffee table. Refolding the paper, John dragged himself up and slowly made his way into the kitchen again. "If I make you some damned soup and put in one of the Planet Earth DVD's, will you at least try to rest?"
This statement was followed by a contemplative pause, and then, "Can we watch the penguins?"
"Yes we can watch the bloody penguins."
Some people, John thought to himself as bent down to fetch a large pot from beneath the counter, would find it hard to believe Sherlock Holmes was really just a big child. Some of the simplest things could make the detective behave like a five-year-old on Christmas morning. Bracing a hand on his knee, John dragged himself back upright and swayed where he stood.
With the same efficiency he used to diagnose his patients (and occasionally his flatmate), John took stock of his suddenly aching joints, the cough that forced its way out of his lungs, and the floating sort of feeling that overtook his mind for a moment. As his diagnosis solidified, John sighed in a defeated way and mumbled, "Damn it."