"Five minutes precisely, Watson!" croaked Holmes irritably from a nest of tangled sheets.
Watson ignored his febrile instructions. Mrs Hudson knew perfectly well how Holmes took his breakfast but in his current state, recovering from an ague brought on by lurking about the docks in disguise all night, he was likely to get coddled eggs or none.
"And what marvels have you achieved, pray, Holmes, that were worth risking your health in a London pea-souper?"
Watson sat his friend up with slightly more force than was strictly necessary, and bent down with the stethoscope to listen to his back.
"I was following a crucial lead in the Case of the Misplaced Bagpipes, Watson. All will be revealed in due course." Holmes wheezed, then doubled over, coughing.
Watson pushed him back against the pillows again, tsking and straightening his tangled covers.
"I like it when you manhandle me, dear boy." Holmes smiled and fluttered his lashes.
Watson flushed. Holmes was rambling, clearly feverish. He sprawled there, ogling Watson in a disconcerting manner.
"I will convey your request to Mrs Hudson, Holmes, but you are not to get out of this bed. You are at risk of pneumonia and must rest. Now, is there anything else I can do for you?"
"No chance you'll bugger me, then?" Holmes peered up at Watson hopefully.
"Dear God, man, you are further gone in delirium than I had realised!" Watson cried, feeling a decided tightening in the front of his trousers nonetheless.
"No, thought not," muttered Holmes, sighing theatrically. "Just the egg, then. Clearly that's the only hard thing in the offing today."
"Control yourself, Holmes," warned Watson, then relented, "and when you are well again we will see about getting you off softer fare" - Holmes cocked an eyebrow at him - "and back onto solids."