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Many thanks to tzikeh for beta and title help!
Primum Non Nocere
"I am indebted to you," Holmes said with an effort. He looked white about the mouth as I worked upon his thigh.
"If you considered yourself truly so, you would not continue to be so reckless with your life and health," I said bitterly.
"What difference does it make?" he answered. "The body is only the vehicle for the mind, in my case."
I threw away the metal fragment and set about bandaging him. "By your choice." I would gladly have been rough with him, but my hands were involuntarily gentle on his skin, moving about the pockmarks and scars.
"Some choices are forced upon us," I said, and at once regretted the words. Watson looked up at me in honest surprise, his hands abruptly stilled.
I sought refuge in observation. The astringent smell of the alcohol. Black clotted dirt upon his heel from Hyde Park, the smudge of blood upon his rolled shirtsleeve, the faint uneven line of beard lingering upon the left side of his face. No unusual degree of heat in his fingers where they lay upon my leg, though beneath the bandage my flesh ached with a sudden unaccountable fever.
"Holmes!" he said.
My difficulties compounded.
The blinds were drawn, the violin silent. The abandoned syringe lay slowly oscillating upon the table, very full, a drop of liquid suspended from the broken needle's tip. Though his lips were parted, Holmes did not speak or cry out, but his long, narrow fingers were clenched and white on Watson's shoulders, held taut between the possibility of pushing him away and drawing him closer. Watson was half crouched before the divan, down on one knee, his hand still resting on Holmes' thigh.
Neither made a sound. After a moment Watson leaned in, and Holmes sighed, very faintly, against his mouth.
Quo Vadis: Where are you going?
Primum Non Nocere: First, do no harm.
Corpus Delicti: The body of the crime.
Terra Incognita: An unknown land.