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Game Day

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It's early fall and between the ragweed inflaming every part of her respiratory tract and spending far too much time 'communicating' with Holmes, Watson isn't too surprised to wake up one morning with a throat so sore it hurts to swallow her own saliva, let alone speak.

She groans. It comes out a thin squeak. The only cure for this is time and salt water gargles and Holmes is going to have a field day. The desire to flip the blankets back over her head is nearly irresistible, but this isn't her home, it's her place of work and to work she must go.

If she has to use a whiteboard and a marker, so be it.

She wobbles downstairs. The kettle is whistling and Holmes looks at her expectantly. Watson has no idea what he sees, but his mouth curls into an 'ah-hah'.

He knows already without her speaking -- or not-speaking, as it were.

She taps her throat meaningfully. He nods and to her vast surprise, he makes her a cup of tea, without a single snide remark. It's a chai-blend and very hot, which is exactly the way she needs it. He offers her yogurt, from the refrigerator even and Watson's alarms start going off.

She picks up a piece of paper and a pen. Scribbles "what are you up to" on it before sliding it to him.

"You wound me," he replies mildly, sipping at his tea. "Frankly you're much more fun when you can talk back so this is entirely in my own interest. It's Sunday, no cases to be had and I'm bored already. Are you better yet?" He tilts his head and gazes at her expectantly.

She narrows her eyes at him before shaking her head. She drinks her tea and pours herself another cup before heading to the living room to hunker down and watch the pre-game shows. The Jets are on at one, the Giants at four and the Sunday night game is one she doesn't care about, but she'll watch it anyway with a single eye open.

"Mrs. Gregson called by the way," Holmes says as she squirms into the chair, trying to get comfortable. "Invited me to her Football Widows club. Told me to bring the salsa."

She grunts at him.

"That's what she said you'd say. Huh."

She's prepared to ignore him, but not prepared for him covering her with a throw, tucking it in around her waist. He pushes the television closer, tosses her a pillow and generally makes her comfortable.

Which, ironically, makes her distinctly uncomfortable.

She flaps her hands at him, pantomiming 'no, really, what's wrong with you' and he pretends not to understand. More tea is poured, water is delivered and she gives up. Obviously, this is his way of messing with her and good, if catering to her needs his idea of having some fun, fine by her.

He only complains once, when the first game starts. "The Jets??? You can't be serious. Isn't there some rule that you mustn't be a fan of more than one terrible team at a time? Don't the Mets fill that quota or are you a hopeless masochist?"

She grins silkily at him. Mouths 'it takes one to know one'.

"At least my brand of torture is fun," he retorts, before disappearing for most of the game. He returns at halftime with a cup of canned soup for them both, insulting the quarterbacks and disparaging the game in general.

She nods in agreement -- the Jets are terrible, really -- as he goes on with his critique, feeling her forehead at one point as he babbles. "You're warm. Motrin or the other stuff?"

She shrugs. It honestly doesn't make that much of a difference. She hopes he's wrong, but the chill that is creeping over her signals that he probably isn't. With some difficulty, she swallows the pills he gives her and is grateful when he tucks the blanket in higher around her.

Eventually he wanders off to read his files. She dozes between quarters and there's more soup to drink later, egg drop from the questionable Chinese restaurant around the corner. Fever sweat beads down her chest and she groans again, but this time, it's more than just a wheeze.

"Hey, I think my voice is coming back," she rasps, delighted.

"In that case ..." He holds out his cup for her to fill with tea.

She tries to quash that idea with nothing more than a look. "Forget it." Tries to ignore his hurt expression, before filling his cup with a tiny laugh. "Just this once."

"But of course, just this once," he replies and puts his feet up next to hers on the ottoman. "That's what I said this morning."

She kicks his ankle at this, but very ... very ... gently.