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Absolutely Brilliant


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Hi all smile.png I got lots of great suggestions for story ideas. Several people asked for Sherlock so I came up with this short little piece. I'm pretty new to Sherlock (and speak very American English) so I hope it's okay. I know it's short-new fandoms take some time for me to figure out--but I'm leaving it open so I can continue it later if I get more ideas.


A month ago, John might have been worried. Amazing how much can change in four short weeks. A month ago John definitely would have been worried watching Sherlock stand in front of a wall of crime scene photos for…he checked his watch…nearly ten hours. He definitely would have been worried each time the genius sneezed or coughed, his cold getting progressively worse as the day wore on. Sherlock’s flushed face and the fine sheen of sweat gathering across his brow might have worried John a month ago. Now? Now they simply caused concern.

At least that’s what John told himself as he watched Sherlock raise a well-used handkerchief to his reddening nose once again. HehhNGSTHHH! John wasn’t sure Sherlock even took his eyes off the photos—if anyone could figure out how to sneeze with their eyes open it would be him.

“Damn!” Sherlock slammed his hand down on the table. “It’s right here. It has to be. Why can’t I see it?” John was never sure if these questions were directed towards him or just spontaneous outburst.

“Why don’t you take a break? I’ll make you some tea.”

“I don’t need a break ad I don’t need tea…I need…Ehh…Hehh HehhIH’NKTSHHH! I deed to find whad I’b bissing here.”

“Bless you.”

Sherlock leaned against the table and let out an annoyed sigh as his nose began to twitch again. It was becoming a more regular occurrence and was definitely interfering with his ability to fit the mental puzzle pieces of the unsolved homicide together. He steepled his long fingers over his nose and sneezed. HehhNTSCHHH! Hehh…HehhAHHNTSCHHH! He sniffed and groped around the table for the discarded handkerchief, his breath still ragged and uneven. As soon as his fingers found it, he swept it to his nose in swift, single movement. Ehh HEHH HehhAHHNTSCHH!

“Bless you Sherlock,” John said, getting up from his chair. The other man just shook his head, already gearing up for another sneeze. HehhhNTSCHHHH! HehhAHHNGTSCHHHOOO! He nearly doubled over with the force of the second sneeze. John frowned. “Bless you.”

“Why do you suppose the killer left thad bark next do the body?” He asked thickly, the recent sneezing fit apparently forgotten. John resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

“No idea.” He placed a hand on Sherlock’s forehead, which the other man quickly batted away.

“If you’re dot going to be useful, at leasd stay oud of by way.”

“You’re running a fever.”

“Whad does thad tell you about our killer?” he asked with a wet sniffle.


“Thed kindly shut ub. Your worry is albost as distracting as id is useless.”

“I’m not worried,” John said, watching his friend step a few feet closer to the photos and tilting his head as close to upside-down as his neck would allow.

“Yes you are. And id’s addoying.”

“Well perhaps when you can properly pronounce consonants I’ll be a bit less concerned.”

“Johd, I assure you thad—” HehhSNTSCHHHO!! The sneeze caught him off-guard and that, combined with the odd angle he’d twisted himself into, threw the illustrious Sherlock Holmes completely off balance. He stumbled and, if it hadn’t been for John’s quick assistance, would have fallen. John wrapped an arm around his waist, the other grabbing his forearm.

“Whoa. Easy,” he said, easing his friend into a chair. “Yeah, no reason for concern here at all is there?”

“Thag you,” Sherlock mumbled. “It’s maddening.”

“It’s just a cold. It will—”

“The case Johd—the case is maddening. Hodestly, your lack of focus kndows no bounds.”

“You know what might improve your focus?” John asked, leaning down so he was at eyelevel with the detective. “Rest. A solid meal, some tea, and bit of cold medicine.”

“I don’d have tibe for sudch budane—”

“They’re not mundane details Sherlock. They’re essentials and you might normally be able to do without them, but you’re clearly ill.”

“Ad astute observation Doctor Watsod.” John swore he saw the flicker of a smile briefly pull at the corner of his friend’s mouth.

“That’s right. I am a doctor. I know better than to try and get you to go to bed and get any proper rest, but,” he twisted the chair around so Holmes could see the collage of crime scene photos, “at least sit down while you work.”

“Adything else?” he asked, lifting an eyebrow.

“Yes. You’ll drink the tea I’m going to bring you and eat something.”

“You know I don’d eat whed I’b working. Id slows dowd—”

“Know what else slows down cognitive function? Illness. You’ve got to put something in your system or this cold will turn into pneumonia before you’ve solved the case.” Sherlock scoffed.

“Impossible. Id takes ad average of six days for a cold to develob into pndeumodia. I’ll have dis case solved log before thad.” John wandered off towards the kitchen mumbling something that sounded distinctly like “arrogant bastard” under his breath. This time Sherlock did smile. He leaned forward in the chair, resting his elbows on his knees and pressing his long fingers against his lips as he studied the pictures. His mind was sluggish but he kept coming back to the same set of seemingly random markings scrawled on the floor next to the body. He barely blinked, running through his mental rolodex of linguistic systems, symbols, and ciphers but he couldn’t place the markings. He started slightly when he felt something come to rest on his shoulders. Looking around him, Sherlock realized it was a blanket that John had draped over him. He looked up at his friend.

“You’re shivering,” he said. “I put your tea on the table next to you.

“Ab I?” He hadn’t realized he was cold, but as Sherlock picked up the cup of tea he did notice a slight tremble in his hands. “So I ab,” he muttered. There was also a box of tissues on the table next to him as well. “We were out of these,” he said, pulling one from the box and rubbing his nose.

“Yes. I went out. Don’t you remember me saying I was running down to the chemist’s? I was gone for nearly an hour.” John frowned, worried that his friend’s fever might be higher than he thought. Sherlock waved a dismissive hand.

“Don’t worry. I don’t listed to half the thigs you say. Has dothing to do with being ill ad bore to do with half of what you say being absolute rubbish.”


“No thad’s actually quite good. Bost people utter dothing bore thad 95 percent rubbish. You’re far above average Johd.” It was as close to a complement as the man was capable of. He ran a slender finger under his nose and sniffed for the hundredth time that evening. This time though, the sniffle seemed to trigger a more intense itch deep in his sinuses. Setting his tea cup down and pulling a few more tissues from the box, Sherlock sat with his eyes closed awaiting the inevitable. His nostrils flared slightly with each breath until the itch finally gained enough strength to trigger a sneeze. Hehh…EHh…HEHHNTSSCHHHOO! He stayed frozen with the tissues over his nose and mouth—John marveled at his economy of movement even while sneezing. AhhNTSSSCHHHH! HehhAHHSNTSSSCHHHOO!

“Bless you.”

Holmes held up a single index finger up as a signal he was not finished yet. HehhNTSSCHHHHO!! Ehh…HEHH HehhIHHTSSSSCHHHOOO! He sniffed once but remained still, tissues still awaiting additional sneezes. John watched as his friend sat like a statue for nearly twenty seconds. Eyes closed, face in perpetual pre-sneeze agony but remarkable still. In fact, had it not been for the occasional quiet, but sharp intake of breath John might have thought he’d fallen asleep in that position. NTSSSCHHHOO! He sneezed without warning. HehhAHHHTSSSCHHHOOO! Hehh AHH!

“Bless you. Again?” John asked as he stilled again. All he got was a single nod before…HehhAHHNTSSSHHHH! HahhSNTSSSCHHHHOOO! Hehh…HehhAHHNTKSSCHHHHH! He blew his nose and finally opened his watering eyes, blinking them several times to bring the room back into focus. “Bless you Sherlock,” John said. A smile spread across the detective’s face as he squinted at the photos.

“Oh thad’s brilliand,” he said. “Absolutely brilliand.”

“Sorry, what’s brilliant? Sneezing?”

“Thad is why I ondly listed to half of whad you say.” Sniff. “Call Lestrade. Tell hib his killer is the victim’s sister-id-law.”

“Right. Sister-in-law.”

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Awww! :wub: I especially liked the part with John catching Sherlock. See Sherlock: you really do need someone to keep an eye on you! *cuddles this fic to her as she wanders off to sleep*

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D'aww! Sherlock fics are the best. I loved the bit about only being dull half the time :) Thanks for sharing!

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Ehehe. I can never get enough of their banter, and you've captured their interaction so beautifully. <3

The spellings are delicious, by the way. *coo*

Thank you for sharing this excellent piece if Sherlock goodness. *happy sigh*

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  • 5 months later...

Odd. How a sneezing fit that seemed to be quite painful would help Sherlock solve a case that he's been working on for 10 hours straight. Now maybe he'll get some sleep.sleep1.gif

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  • 1 month later...

I love the holding up a finger to indicate he's not done. And the spellings! Perfect!

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  • 3 years later...

That's a really good idea to bring back this topic here because I hadn't read it and it was absolutely brilliant.

On 20/11/2012 at 0:27 AM, matilda3948 said:

“You know what might improve your focus?” John asked, leaning down so he was at eyelevel with the detective. “Rest. A solid meal, some tea, and bit of cold medicine.”


On 20/11/2012 at 0:27 AM, matilda3948 said:

“Know what else slows down cognitive function? Illness. You’ve got to put something in your system or this cold will turn into pneumonia before you’ve solved the case.”

I melted when I read those lines. Your John is absolutely perfect. Well, Sherlock's sneezes are, too - thank you for this story, even if it's a bit late to say it...

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