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Sherlock Fanfic: A Conspiracy of Cooks (JWP 2014 #27) - CaffieneKittySpace
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Sherlock Fanfic: A Conspiracy of Cooks (JWP 2014 #27)
Title: A Conspiracy of Cooks
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Alternate Postings: At AO3
Rating/Content: PG13, food, silliness, conspiracy, multiple POVs, outsider POVs, set sometime in Series 2, cuisine and menu choices via Google.
Warnings: none
Word Count: 2470
Disclaimer: Not my world.
Notes: Written for watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #27: Dish of the Day. John Watson and food. This addressing of a certain issue John has with food has obviously never happened in the show.

Summary: When John had to leave that first plate of pasta half-eaten at Angelo's he understood. Extenuating circumstances; trying to catch a killer. But it just kept happening.


A Conspiracy of Cooks



When John had to leave that first plate of pasta half-eaten at Angelo's he understood. Extenuating circumstances; trying to catch a killer. But it just kept happening.

-

John had only taken two bites from his bowl of tamagodon before Sherlock stood and rushed to the door. He got to his feet to follow, only pausing long enough to throw some notes on the table of the Japanese restaurant.

"Sorry, it's really good," he shouted regretfully to their server as he chased after Sherlock.

-

"No, no, no. It's not any insult on your food," Angelo said to the distraught manager of the Chinese place two streets over. "I'm sure he loves your food. It's just Sherlock Holmes needs to go, and John needs to go with him. You get used to it after a while."

After some more consoling, Angelo hung up, not sure if he'd really ever gotten used to it himself either.

-

A bowl of soup with only a few spoonfuls tasted from it sat on the counter, next to an apologetically rumpled five pound note. Damp patches from where the man's rain-wet jacket sleeves had barely had a chance to rest spotted the counter like dew.

The server sighed, looking up to see a flurry of coat splash past the front window before clearing the barely-touched meal.

-

"Oh I worry about him too," said Mrs Husdon, stopping in at Speedy's for an afternoon chat. She and Mr Chattergee had come to an understanding of sorts. He was out today though, leaving Chris to mind the place on his own.

Outside, Sherlock and John piled into a cab that sped off, leaving behind a plate of egg and chips, only missing the bacon.

"John's not like Sherlock. Sherlock will forget to eat for such a long time when he gets on a case, but John's a good eater," she said with fond sadness. "Really likes good food."

"He just likes running after Sherlock more," Chris observed.

"Oh yes. It's still a shame though, him not getting to eat his food." Mrs Hudson contemplatively watched Chris whisk the plate away and clear the table. "A real shame."

-

They met in the greengrocers on the corner, or the Tesco's down the street, two or three of them at a time, never meaning to. It was just coincidence, shopping among the sparse householder traffic early in the mornings when the vegetables and meat were freshest. Of course the most interesting parts of their week came up in conversation, as it does when people who work in the same industry meet. Usually it involved Sherlock Holmes and what dish he'd dragged Dr Watson away from this time.

"Shame," they all lamented. "There must be something to be done."

That's when the plan started to form. No one was quite sure who suggested it first, but in retrospect the solution was obvious.

All they had to do now was spread the word.

-

"Sorry Dr Watson, biryani's off today. What about some samosas instead?"

John looked over at the next table where a man in a Yankees baseball cap was being served a biryani. The man said, "Finally!" and immediately pulled out a smart phone to take several pictures of it.

"He's getting one, though?" the doctor queried.

Prep time on a biryani is minimum ten minutes right now... Kita fidgeted, glancing at Sherlock who had barely settled at the edge of his chair and was staring intently out the window. "Yeah, but that's the last of the mutton. Supplier issues, manager's having a word. The samosas are a fresh batch though, cook just pulled them out not five minutes ago. Chicken or beef."

"Well..."

"There's a fresh batch of veggie pakora too?"

"Yeah, alright, two chicken samosas and some pakora."

Sashi had the order up on take-out trays in the pickup window before Kita got back behind the counter. He'd seen the two of them come in. Kita slid the trays and a generous wodge of napkins and sauce packets into a bag and was back out to the table in under two minutes.

Sherlock was already running out the door. Kita intercepted Dr Watson.

"Look," he said, shrugging into his jacket. "I'm so sorry, but-"

"Here you are then!" she said brightly, pressing the still-sizzling takeout bag into Dr Watson's hands. "Careful, it'll be hot."

"Oh!" he looked down at the bag, frowning. "But I didn't say it was to-"

"John!" Sherlock shouted, poking his head back in through the door.

Dr Watson glanced out the window. "Right, thanks, how much do I-?"

Kita waved him off. "Just pay on your way back through, yeah?"

Dr Watson blinked. "Cheers!" he said, and ran out the door clutching the bag.

"Good luck!" she called after him.

-

John was standing up as Angelo brought the order out. "Sorry Angelo, it smells like pure heaven, but-"

Angelo smiled, not even setting the hot plate of fettuccine primavera on the table. "Don't you worry, Dr Watson, I'll pack it up for you and have Joe deliver it to your place for later."

John flashed a quick grin, picking up his coat. "That's very kind of you! Leave it with Mrs Hudson? She'll put it- well, probably in her fridge, but it's safer there."

As John ran out the door after Sherlock, Angelo smiled, feeling something in his heart ease just a little.

-

"I'll have a..."

Liam glanced up at the note-card taped to the edge of the display case over the bread prep area, along with the photo Kyle had shrunk and printed from the Guardian online. "Footlong chicken tikka on wheat, no cheese, not toasted, all the veg except jalapenos and pickles, dash of sweet onion, pepper, no salt?"

"...Yes?" Dr Watson blinked and laughed in surprise. "I didn't think we'd ever been in this Subway before."

"Oh, erm," Liam quickly put the chicken in the microwave to heat, then spun to cut the bread. "No, you- you probably haven't. I'm just covering here today, I'm usually at the one on-" Where did Kyle say...? "On Baker Street."

"Ah, right! Well, you've got a good memory then!" John nodded in the direction of Sherlock, who was hovering near the soda dispenser. "You could give himself a run for his money."

"Well, I wouldn't say that. We all remember our favourite customers." It also helps that we all had the Dr-Watson-with-Sherlock-Holmes drill just last week.

John looked confused but pleased, obviously searching his memory for Liam and coming up blank.

Liam wrapped the sandwich in two parts ("Very important to wrap in two halves. Easier for him to manage half on the run, and he can take the other half home for after"), popped them in a bag with a bag of Walkers Baked Crisps and a bottle of water, and slid them across the counter. "That'll be-"

"You even remembered the crisps!" John grinned, handing over a ten pound note.

"Heh, heh. Yes. I did." Liam rang the sale through and handed back the change.

"Thanks- what was your name?"

"Liam."

"John!" The door bell pinged as a black coat fluttered out.

Sighing, John rolled his eyes. "No rest for the wicked. Cheers, Liam!"

Liam smiled and waved as the two men rushed out.

I only hope he doesn't go looking for me at the Baker Street outlet. I've never even been there.

-

John had noticed any restaurant he'd been in with Sherlock more than once had gone a bit strange over the past few busy months; steering him away from complicated dishes, or pre-placing his favourite orders as soon as they saw him and packing everything to go, or packing and delivering boxes of leftovers whenever he and Sherlock went in together during a case. But when restaurants they'd never been in started delivering his food to the table pre-packed for take-away, bill at the ready, he started to wonder what was going on.

"Are you doing something?" he asked Sherlock one day, looking into their fridge which lately seemed to always have a rotating selection of barely-touched meals in a food-safe corner near the top.

"Thinking," Sherlock murmured from his effigy position on the sofa.

"I mean with the restaurants. Are you..." John waved a hand in the air, trying to think of a way to explain or cause the phenomenon he'd noticed and drawing a blank. "You know what? Never mind."

Sherlock hummed dismissively.

John stared into the fridge again. Angelo's was one thing, but every quick service restaurant in London? "...Would Mycroft...?"

"Would Mycroft what?"

Mrs Hudson's "Ooohoo!" echoed up the stairwell.

Don't be ridiculous. "Nothing."

Mrs Hudson came in carrying an increasingly familiar sort of bag. "This came in while you boys were out, I've kept it in my fridge. From a Thai place in Mayfair?"

"Yes, right." It was a new place that had opened less than a month ago. John had barely touched the rather brilliant pad thai he'd been served before Sherlock spotted their target and ran out. He'd been lamenting the restaurant not being one that was likely to be under the bizarre 'delivery for Watson' effect. Apparently though, it was. He took the bag from Mrs Hudson gingerly.

"The girl who delivered it said they'd put in some take-out menus as well."

"Yes, that's-" John stopped. Enough was enough. "How did they know where to deliver it?"

"Ooo, I'll just go put the kettle on," mumbled Mrs Hudson.

"It's just. It's a bit strange, isn't it? Restaurant that wasn't even there a month ago knows me well enough to know where I live and to deliver my leftovers?" He turned to Sherlock. "I never gave them our address, did you?"

"Biscuits too, please," Sherlock muttered, staring at the ceiling, hands steepled.

"What am I saying, of course you didn't." John paced past Mrs Hudson, who hovered in the doorway, fidgeting. "So not me, not you... this is looking more like Mycroft all the time. But why would Mycroft want my leftovers delivered?"

Sherlock snorted unkindly.

"To me, Sherlock, not to him." John gestured back towards the fridge. "Do you not think this is all a bit weird?"

Sherlock closed his eyes, inhaled, and sat up. "New Thai place."

"The one we went to today and had to run out of after that embezzler, yeah. How would they know where to deliver this," he raised the bag and shook it, "or know that I thought it would be nice to have a chance to eat the rest of the food I'd ordered and paid for despite fleeing the place like it was on fire."

"I should really go put that kettle on," Mrs Hudson said faintly from the doorway.

"Oh John," Sherlock said with that 'how do you manage each day not to go outside with your shoes hanging from your ears' tone that John found so aggravating. "It's too simple to even explain."

Mrs Hudson squeaked, "I didn't mean for it to-"

"Celebrity," Sherlock intoned, as though it was a disease.

"Pardon?" John said.

With a startled look, Mrs Hudson quietly faded back into the kitchen and put their kettle on.

"Celebrity," continued Sherlock. "You said so yourself not too long ago. We're in the bloody paper every other week, or rather 'Hat-man and sidekick blogger' are. People recognise us, want to do us little favours so we might speak kindly of them, mention them in front of a bloody reporter or whatever. New Thai place? They're practically salivating for an endorsement."

"But how did they know where we live?"

Sherlock's eye-roll was nearly audible. "Really, John. It's on the website, and in half the articles. They know who we are, they look us up, find the address, there you are. Leftover pad thai."

John supposed it made a sort of sense, but something still bothered him about the whole thing. "But how-"

"If you're feeling terribly guilty about it, mention them in your next batch of online drivelings. You'll probably double their clientele." With a wave of his hand, Sherlock dismissed the matter and rolled over to face the back of the sofa.

"Hm." John frowned down at the bag in his hands. Then he sighed and shrugged. It wasn't anything hurting them, it was just an unusual sort of kindness, and there was little enough of that in the world without questioning it. He headed into the kitchen to play take-away Tetris putting the pad thai in the fridge, heat up yesterday's cottage pie from a pub on Oxford Street (on two plates because 'thinking' or not, Sherlock was going to help him eat that enormous serving), and think up nice things to say about all the restaurants and pubs they'd run out of lately.

-

Sherlock had rolled back over to stare at the ceiling by the time Mrs Hudson slunk out of their kitchen with a tea tray. The microwave was whirring quietly and John appeared deeply distracted with a notepad and pen. Likely making a list of eating establishments to praise in his blog.

"Thank you," Sherlock murmured as Mrs Hudson set the tea tray on the coffee table.

Holding the teapot, her own second best one that had yet to make it back downstairs, Mrs Hudson stiffened. "Whatever for?"

"For the tea, obviously."

She smiled warily, adding a splash of milk to the cup before pouring in the tea.

"And for your frequent extra trips to the greengrocers early in the mornings, when the local restaurants are stocking up their fresh produce."

The pot clattered against the tray.

"Quite a social place, markets at that hour of the day." Sherlock observed in a pointedly off-hand way toward the ceiling. "Restaurant workers talking shop, taking unexpected yet obvious advice from ubiquitous and forgettable little old ladies lurking amongst the veg..."

Carefully, Mrs Hudson set the teapot back down on the tray. "Now really, Sherlock, I didn't-"

"Little old ladies who simply couldn't help overhearing the conversations between people in chef's whites, and who needed to mention their completely fictitious grand-niece in the fire department who gets the leftovers delivered to her landlady, or who orders everything packed to go in case she gets called out for a fire." Sherlock smirked.

"It was just so-"

"Little old ladies who couldn't have at all predicted the restauranteur grapevine picking up that idea and running mad all over Greater London with it."

"Well." Mrs Hudson sniffed, picked up the spoon and gave the tea a stir before setting it on the coffee table in front of Sherlock. "Something needed doing."

"And it was done." Sherlock smiled, executing a shallow, respectful bow of the head from his prone position. "And so, thank you."

"You're welcome, you ninny." She picked up the tray. "Someone's got to mind the pair of you."

"Leave it to Mrs Hudson, the Miss Marple of the veg aisle; drafting the ranks of London restaurant staff into the care and feeding of Dr John Watson."

"Ooh! You." Mrs Hudson swatted Sherlock's shoulder with a fond smile and went downstairs, carrying the tray.

Sherlock craned his neck to peer into the kitchen. The microwave still hummed as John muttered to himself about falafel and dim sum, booting up his laptop.

With a smile, Sherlock closed his eyes, lay back on the sofa, and returned to his interrupted thinking.

-.-.-
(that's it)

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Current Mood: tired tired

6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: July 28th, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
"You're welcome, you ninny." She picked up the tray. "Someone's got to mind the pair of you."
It's the truth! Hurray for Mrs. Hudson! Sherlock is not quite as oblivious as he appears—but sometimes, John is. Well, as long as he eats.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 29th, 2014 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I think John was a bit blinded by the Mycroft factor. Seemingly benevolent conspiracy? Must be Mycroft after something.
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: July 30th, 2014 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah. Mrs. Hudson to John's rescue. It most definitely needed doing..lol
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2014 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)
In this area, John definitely needed a little help.
samalander_dawn From: samalander_dawn Date: July 30th, 2014 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
....this explains a lot :D

how would they survive without Mrs. Hudson?
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 31st, 2014 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
No idea.
6 comments or Leave a comment