Communion (1582 words) by ingridmatthews
Fandom: Elementary (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Joan Watson - Relationship, Sherlock Holmes - Relationship
Characters: Joan Watson (Elementary), Sherlock Holmes
Summary: Two meals shared by Holmes and Watson. Takes place immediately after The Pilot.</p>
The restaurant Holmes insists on is a corner diner, with booths so small Joan wonders how he's going to fit his lanky frame inside one. But he folds himself this way and that, obviously practiced at it. He smiles at her and rubs his hands together gleefully, waving off the menu.
"I've memorized it," he boasts.
"I haven't," she replies, holding her hand out for one. The waiter looks suddenly grateful, a change from the nervous expression he wore when first seeing Holmes walk in.
She examines the choices without much interest. She's still grumpy from the Mets loss and hungrier than she'd like to admit so she blindly orders as many greasy things as possible, with a very rare burger as the piece d' resistance. "I'd like to hear it mooing, please," she says as the waiter takes their order.
"Goodness," Holmes says, his mouth turned down in a moue of disgust. "Not afraid of a nice dose of mad cow disease, I see."
"Nope," she says, sipping at her water which is tap, but cold, so it's good enough.
Holmes turns to the waiter, who cringes under his scrutiny. Obviously, they've met before. "I'd like a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on toast. The toast must be cooked for no more than three minutes. The mayonnaise is to be spread on the ham side, which is the only side that makes sense as the cheese is fatty enough. Please do not place the extras on the same plate. As you remember from the last time, the pickle was touching the bread, ruining the entire experience. This doesn't mean you bring me a pile of pickles as some sort of apologetic overcompensation, I'd simply like one pickle -- one plate. Also, there is also no need to place the sandwich on a leaf of lettuce. It's not a baby that needs bunting. It's a sandwich. One sandwich, on a clean plate, with one pickle, on a separate plate," he says loftily, the waiter's pen scribbling furiously. "Very simple. Oh, and while you are at it, I'd like clean cutlery and a glass that a slight attempt has been made at wiping, thank you."
The waiter scurries away as fast as he can from the cramped space, fumbling with the glass and silverware, sweating with terror. Joan gapes at Holmes in disbelief. "You're kidding, right?"
"Nope," he responds, imitating her. He leans in, his eyes narrow with curiosity. "You think I have obsessive compulsive disorder, don't you?"
Joan hesitates, wondering if he's trying to bait her. "I think you might have a lot of things, but I'm not ..." She pauses. "Your doctor. That's not what I'm here for." Shaking her head, she dismisses his smug smile. "Can't we just have a pleasant meal? Let's talk about something else."
His expression is generous. "Of course. You choose the subject."
Slowly, she takes another sip of water before throwing him the curve ball that the Mets should have hit. "Tell me about the bees. How you got into raising them, the differences in city bees versus country bees -- the whole thing."
It's Holmes' turn to gape, his eyes as bright as Christmas morning. "Oh, oh, there's so much, where can I start," he stammers and Joan can't help but grin at his excitement. "All right, I'll start with the species I'm working with and what they've been eating, how's that? Right."
He goes into a long, exhaustive spiel and Joan listens as she would a lecture, with a casual ear, commenting now and then on the interesting parts. The food comes and she has to remind Holmes that he's hungry and shepherds the meal along with soft taps on his plate, knowing that he won't eat if he's too distracted.
The hamburger is bloody and delicious, but way too much, as are the onion rings she can't remember why she ordered. She tries to sneak some toward Holmes and he falls for it, chomping them up blindly as he talks, his crumb-stained fingers waving through the air, illustrating the various flights of the bee queen.
All in all, it's a successful meal and Joan realizes that Holmes can be very charming when animated. There's a distracting touch of mayonnaise lingering on the corner of his mouth so she reaches out and wipes it away without thinking much of it.
Holmes stops mid-sentence. Their eyes meet and Joan wonders if she's done something wrong, if he's perhaps remembering another woman who's done the same thing at some other time, in some other place. She feels her face grow hot as he examines her, but it's only a second later when resumes his lecture, exactly where he's left off.
Coffee comes and he's finally tired of talking about bees. At least that's what he says, insisting she tell him about baseball -- not the statistical part of it, but about the players and the rivalries and all the things she finds fun about it. Joan feels her own giddiness take over and Holmes nods through her gesturing, grinning behind his cup and it goes on this way until the waiter hints they might want to be leaving at some point, which they do, back into the cool New York City night.
They say goodnight and retire to their respective bedrooms and Joan finds herself sleeping better than she has in a while. Of course, the peace only lasts until the next morning when Joan discovers that he's stored a dead opossum in the vegetable bin of their shared refrigerator for "experimentation".
"That's where we keep our food!" she cries, knowing that she's probably not going to eat anything in there until the dead "Didelphis virginiana" is given a send-off straight into the incinerator.
"In certain cultures that would make a fine meal as well as ..." he starts only to cut off by her furious glare.
"In no culture is a decomposing rodent food," she growls. "Out! Out! Get it out!" She's tempted to grab it by its disgusting naked tail and smack Holmes with it, but he acquiesces, taking it out of the cooler, ignoring her shrieks to put on gloves before handling it.
"Such a mommy," he grumbles, as the poor thing hangs stiffly from his fist. He stalks away with it, sulking and she shudders at the liquid that has gathered in the bin. She will not be cleaning that, absolutely not and it's at least two minutes before she's gloved and armed with bleach, washing it out in the sink, stomach churning.
"You talk about mad cow disease. Try bubonic plague," she snaps as he bumps her aside with his hip to wash his hands, then yelping as she makes sure to pour bleach over his fingers. He harumphs at her, she stands her ground and he retreats into the television room, turning on four different shows at once, shutting her out with an air of finality.
Finally, the bin is clean. Joan goes to her room and puts on her jogging clothes, yanking her hat down low over her pinned up hair. "I'm going for a run!" she calls out.
"Be sure to imagine my face on the street with every stomp," he shoots back. "Mother."
"Don't call me that or I will," she retorts before taking off.
The jog turns out to be very unsatisfying and she stops by the Promenade, staring out over the skyline, thinking. The sky is very blue and the city is a busy hive of construction and cars crawling over the bridges like bees. She's reminded of something Holmes said the night before, about the unselfishness of bees, how the individual is dedicated wholly to the common good. How the happiness of the hive is more important than any one bee's and why it makes sense -- you can't help but thrive in a situation like that.
Joan bites her lip and looks back toward the brownstone. Maybe she's not honestly fulfilling her role. Holmes' happiness -- no matter whatever strange things inspire it -- is a very legitimate concern and wasn't she happier last night when indulging it? If they're going to make this work ...
When she opens the door to their apartment, there's an apology on her lips that dies off when Holmes sheepishly apologizes first, then moves aside to show off a clean table, with a prepared lunch on it. "And don't worry, everything fresh. I got it downstairs and had them make the sandwiches. You do like turkey, correct?"
Her eyes well up, just a little bit. "I love turkey. And I'm sorry too. We'll ... we'll get a separate mini-fridge for your ... 'experiments'. You need to be able to do your work."
Holmes holds the chair for her as she sits. "Would you like to hear about them? I believe I'm on the cusp of a great discovery regarding animal hairs found on crime scenes."
"Do you find a lot of possum hairs on crime scenes?" She pours some soda for him as he sits across from her and finds more peace there, with him, than she's known in a very long time.
"Tons!" he exclaims. "Did you know they introduced them into Brooklyn to eat the rats? Of course it was a spectacular failure. The rats are still here and now we have an opossum problem. Isn't that delightful? But indeed, outdoor murders are simply littered with their detritus. In fact, there is this little case I'd like us to take a look at later ..."
All comments are welcome. Any other Elementary peeps around? :D