Unfortunately, the topic wasn't brought up again.
It wasn't like John didn't try- he noticed the tense silences, the times when Sherlock closed his eyes and took noticably deeper breaths. He tried to bring it up, but Sherlock didn't deem it necessary- he hadn't vomited again, after all.
John noticed several other things too. The episodes not only gave him unbearable nausea, but stomach pain, vertigo, and lack of energy. He could barely stand during one, and he kept his eyes closed as to stop the room spinning. Now that John understood, he couldn't handle watching his friend suffer through it. He wanted to do something, but Sherlock just wouldn't let him.
Every time he brought it up, Sherlock shot him down.
Whether it was glaring, interrupting, or storming out, John could not get a word in edgewise.
It was a week later when it was finally mentioned. And at that point, it was unavoidable anyway.
"Not right now Sherlock," John said, typing out an email to his latest girlfriend, Sharon. She was lovely, a blonde beautician with the most pretty blue eyes-
"Look, I know you're bored but right now I'm kind of busy so-"
As John turned to face him, Sherlock slumped to the floor, eyes tightly shut while sucking in large volumes of air through shaky lips. He'd gone green again, and John stood up from his chair automatically, sending it crashing into the bookcase behind.
"Shit," John hissed, running round and grabbing a basin from the kitchen table. It had some sort of organ in it- John could have sworn it was a human lung- and so John dumped it in the bin and quickly rinsed the blue bucket out. By this time, Sherlock had placed his head between his knees, a sure sign that the nausea was becoming extreme and that vomiting was inevitable.
Sherlock was vaguely aware of John sitting beside him when the bile rose in his throat. Gagging, he threw himself forward, hanging his head over a bucket that he was sure hadn't been there before. Like last time, John reached under his shirt and rubbed his fingers over his stomach. The sound of the sick hitting the bottom of the basin was horrifying, but the motion of John's cool hand on his cramping internal organs was strangely comforting. Breathing heavily and assuming it was over, Sherlock lifted his head, sniffling as John squeezed his shoulder.
"We should run some tests," John said quietly, brushing Sherlock's dark hair away from his pale and sweaty forehead. "Get you admitted at Barts-"
"No," Sherlock protested, releasing his grip on the bucket. "I'll be fine, I just need to- Oh!" His stomach convulsed again, and he was leaning over the rim of the basin a second time, painful retches filling the flat. John rubbed his back, telling him to get it all out, that it was fine, that he was here.
After a few minutes of dry heaves, Sherlock leant back against John, shivering violently. Pulling a blanket from the chair, John wrapped the sick detective in it, propping him up against the sofa and walking to the kitchen. It was physically painful for John to see his friend like this- the arrogant and fearless consulting detective reduced to a shaking and weak bundle of limbs. It wasn't fair that Sherlock was victim to this, this thing that left him unable to move, unable to think, unable to do anything.
He returned with a glass of water, sliding down next to the detective and handing it to him. Sherlock takes it gratefully, taking small sips so as not to upset his stomach again. The colour had just begun to return to his face, but he still looked so very tired.
"I won't admit you," John said after a few moments of silence. "But I'm taking you to see a specialist."
Sherlock groaned, setting his water aside and rubbing his hands over his face. "Why?" He whined, before leaning back and making various disgruntled noises.
"Because you can't go on like this!"
"I've dealt with it for four years John, I'm fine."
John's heart jolts, and suddenly his breath is gone and he's spluttering and staring and God what- how could he cope, after FOUR YEARS!
"Wh-What do you-" John blinks rapidly, sitting up straighter and then slumping back again. "Four years?"
Sherlock grunts dismissively, taking another sip of his water. There was no way he was unaffected by this, he had to be depressed or just plain pissed or something-
"Sherlock, this could be serious." John stood, planning to arrange an appointment for as soon as humanly possible. "Four years is a long time for an illness to be getting progressively worse."
"Correct," Sherlock confirms, and John frowns at him, dazed. The detective rolls his eyes, irritated that he had to spell it out. "I've been visiting general practitioners and various other doctors for years now John. They just prescribe me more meds and then send me on my way."
"What meds?" John asked, and Sherlock pinches his nose, tired and bored and finding his bed just down the hall very tempting. But nevertheless, he knows John is a doctor and is desperate to get all the information so that he can form some concept of a diagnosis.
"Omeprazole, Movicol, Laxido, Ranitidine, Esomeprazole, Famotidine..." He counts them on his fingers, eyes lifted to the ceiling. "And then just antacids." John registers each of them, running the compounds through his mind.
"They gave you laxatives?" John questions, incredulous. "Surely that did more damage than good!"
Sherlock grimaces. "Actually, no. Partial Rectum Failure seems to be part of the problem- I was backed up into my large intestine."
There's a wince from John, then Sherlock turns back to his water. How had he not noticed any of this? He was a doctor, a soldier, one of the best in his field- yet, how could he be so blind?
"We are definitely seeing a specialist," John decides whole-heartedly, snatching up his mobile. Sherlock opened his mouth to retort, but John silenced him with a stern look, coupled with a tense hand. "Not a single word from you," he threatens rather forcefully, and Sherlock looks mildly surprised. "I don't care how many people I have to blackmail, you are getting an appointment tomorrow."
"Fine." Sherlock groaned, climbing unsteadily to his feet. "It's late anyway. I'm going to bed."
John stared wide eyed as the detective shuffled down the hall, restraining himself from pointing out that it was only eight and Sherlock never slept. But he didn't want to ruin it- If Sherlock was desperate for some shut-eye, than John was not going to protest.
He would need it, after all.
"Saint Bartholemews Hospital, how can I help you?"
"Hello," John says, walking over to his chair. "This is Doctor Watson. I'd like to request an appointment for one of my patients. A gastric specialist, please."
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Sherlock has dealt with a mystery illness for four years. Sent away from doctors and still undiagnosed, he learns to cope. However, when it becomes worse and his good friend Dr Watson notices, he sets about helping him. A good old sick!fic and some...