Your name is Problem Sleuth, and you are as sick as a dog. As sick as a dog with rabies. Sicker than that, actually, because while rabid dogs can still totter around you’re flattened on your bed without even the strength to sit up. If you were able to do anything, you would have shot yourself hours ago.
You’ve been lying in bed for the past thirty six hours, only getting up to go to the bathroom and get some water. That is mostly okay because you have been sleeping almost the entire time anyway. What is not okay is that the second time you went to get water you almost fainted because you figured (correctly, as it turns out) you would not be able to make the trip that often and filled a pitcher that took all your strength to carefully transport out of the kitchen and across your room. You drank it dry a few hours ago and you are desperately thirsty.
You drift in and out of consciousness for the next few hours. It’s really hard to stay awake when the light hurts your eyes and you keep them shut anyway. It’s also really hard to stay awake when you have absolutely no energy. It is fucking freezing in the room anyway, and you are huddled under every blanket you own and still shivering, which is taking up even more precious energy. You can’t begin to imagine how cold it would be to get out of your cocoon.
When you can spare a thought for something other than your misery and feverish dreams of alluringly creepy shadows, you worry about the cases you’re supposed to be sleuthing. You were going to tell Dick about something you had thought of relevant to his case—which you actually can’t remember at the moment, oh well—and you wanted to call up Inspector because you wanted to go over some unsolved cases—which you also can’t remember too much about right now—and also you had a date with Slick or something last night. Whoops.
A tentative knock on your door brings you out of your feverish reverie. You try to say something, you really do, but your vocal chords have also decided to take a vacation and only a whistling breath comes out.
It’s okay though, because whoever it is apparently has keys to your door. You hear them rattling around in the lock before the door clicks open, and a whispery question floats through the air inquiring as to your residency. This time you manage to cough a response, which turns into a fit of hacking.
Fever time is a strange, strange thing. You feel like you’re that Felt thug Doze, because one moment you’re sitting at your bed and you blink and the Inspector is right next to your bed oogling you in a very concerned manner and there is absolutely no way Inspector moves that fast, especially not when he’s invading someone else’s home without invitation. He stutters something and you try hard to hear it, you really do, but your vision is blurring and things start turning into those dancing shadows.
When you wake up again, you’re freezing. Inspector, it appears, has taken the time you were unconscious to considerately pack ice in your armpits and around your head in an effort to bring down your fever. He’s also brought you some water, which he helps you drink, and a bowl of chicken soup that tastes and looks questionable, prompting you to wonder if he imagined it up because… it’s green and definitely sweet. Eugh. He politely pours half of it down your protesting throat before you drift out of it again.
There are more fever dreams that tangle up your guilt about shadows and fear of cases and the green chicken soup that starts clucking while you wander the streets of Prospit from centuries ago. Candy corn people tango out of your frustrated reach. You eat three old steak dinners while contemplating your only friend, an oversized wasp that cackles and spits cats, and decide that you hate being sick while a gospel choir starts singing something jazzy.
In between scenes snippets of sound from the outside world filter through. Inspector anxiously talks on a phone at one point, and it sounds like he’s not talking to Dick, which doesn’t make any sense but oh well. You think he gives you more water at some point. Someone yells a little later and it sounds like a very angry Slick. You hope he doesn’t expect you to get into fisticuffs with him anytime soon. Then it’s Inspector again, shaking you insistently right as the cats join forces with the candy corn people and start chasing you.
“What?” you ask groggily, coming out of the dream slowly. The ice is gone and you’re warm again. Early morning light filters through the windows, and since it was afternoon the last time you checked, you’re guessing you slept through the night.
“G-g-good m-morning,” is Inspector’s tremulous response. “You n-need to d-d-drink some more w-w-w-water and I h-have some soup.”
“Is it green?” you want to know as he helps you sit up where you blink blearily at the tray he’s holding shakily.
“N-no,” Inspector replies seriously. “B-but I c-c-could m-make you some t-t-tea if you want something g-green.”
“That’s all right,” you say, and yawn widely. Wow you feel better. You drink the huge glass of water slowly and it is so great. “How long was I out?”
Inspector industriously applies himself to serving you soup over your protests. “You’ve b-been out since Tuesday,” he lets you know.
“Okay,” you say in between spoonfuls of the soup. “What day is it today?”
“It’s Thursday m-m-morning.”
“Shit,” you say, shocked. “I need to get going, I have work to do—” and you make an abortive attempt to get up that fails miserably. You still can’t move very far without wanting to topple over and sink into the floor. Inspector clucks as he resettles you against your headboard.
“When did you get here?” you ask resignedly after he finishes feeding you the soup and gives you some more water.
“Y-y-yesterday aftern-n-noon,” he admits shamefaced, like busting into his associate’s apartment to keep him from dying of dehydration is a crime.
“And you’ve been here all night?” He nods, oogling you anxiously as though you’re going to try to get out of bed again and throw him out.
“Oh, well.” The guilt is coming back full force, this time about dragging poor Inspector all the way across town and into your apartment for an all-nighter. “Thanks, Inspector.” You flash him a smile in gratitude and feel your pulchritude stat weakly flicker into existence as he blushes faintly and stutters a “you’re welcome” in response.