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fic: Tea

Title: Tea
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: none yet, but two in the pipeline
Rating: PG
Warnings: none. Spoilers for series 1.
Wordcount: 421
Disclaimer: They're still not mine.
Summary: He's always liked a good cup of tea.
A/N: written for blooms84 's request "John. Just John." at my writing meme.  NB: contains angst.  Can be read as a standalone or as a prequel to two more cheerful fics, Losing It, In Fact and Having His Cake.


He's always liked a good cup of tea. Milky tea as a child, so pale it was hardly tea at all. NAAFI tea in the Army, so strong you could stand a spoon up in it, almost, an unmistakable brick-orange colour. He's not particularly into green tea or chai, though he likes to buy leaf tea and play around with creating his own mixture when he's in funds. Unexpected combinations are good: his current favourite's a blend of Keemun, Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong.

Never did get that cup of tea from Mrs Hudson, the first evening at 221b. Too busy rushing off to Lauriston Gardens with Sherlock to see some more trouble – oh god yes. Jasmine tea at 2 in the morning with the dim sum and fortune cookies. Making tea for Sherlock, it's always him who makes it even though presumably Sherlock must know how, at least in theory. Wishing Sherlock would remember to buy milk. Wishing he wouldn't do things like keeping a bloody head in the refrigerator.

The hospital vending machine makes the foulest tea John's ever drunk. The only good thing about it is that, judging by the faces Mycroft and Lestrade are pulling, the coffee's even worse.

Sherlock's not drinking anything. Sherlock's in Intensive Care, festooned with tubes and lines, and nobody knows what the damage is going to be when he finally regains consciousness. If he's even going to – don't think about that, got to stay positive.

Lestrade sits down next to John, puts an arm around him. John leans against him, surprised at himself but grateful for the warmth and solidity. He needs this: to feel grounded, connected to a reality that's not just this airless overheated too-bright room.

“D'you want a biscuit or something with that?” Lestrade asks, looking doubtfully at the beige drink in the beige plastic cup.

Just tea for me. John's stomach knots at the memory of Sherlock's voice, the row before the first explosion.

All the rows and the anger. Sherlock saying I've disappointed you and his own voice saying Good. That's good deduction. Yeah. None of it matters now. He just wants Sherlock back, wants another chance.

Not much cop, this caring larkStop it.

Mycroft's started pacing again. Lestrade's arm tightens and for a moment John just wants to bury his face in Lestrade's shoulder, give in to the pain. Then he pulls himself together – brace yourself, steady now .

They've got a long night ahead of them. He sits up straight and goes on drinking his tea.


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
This fic is so adorable I want to hug it.
I should probably read the tags next time... because the beginning was much more comforting. :)

(And my opinion on hospital vending machines: I can only bear to drink the hot chocolate.)
Mar. 15th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
thank you! *plays Icon Snap*

I'm going away tomorrow so wanted to get a couple of the meme ficlets up on their own, at least to the journal if not more widely.

I think they would all have done better to drink the hot chocolate, but maybe that's a different ficlet...
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Mm. Hot chocolate. Maybe come Easter.
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
*waves* have a safe and enjoyable journey.

Indeed. The choice of beverage says a lot about the person. The hot chocolate is comforting, overly sweet and easy on the tongue. (even if it probably has never seen milk in any form ever)
The coffee from the vending machines is one of the foulest things ever. It's probably the cogs lubricant with added caffeine, those who drink it are self-punishing for something.
The tea (I can only find lemon tea in the vending machines here) is also too sweet and too tangy, it's hot lemonade, doesn't look encouraging but it's not that bad, but it's a poor substitute for the real tea you get home. It's a reminder of where you are.

Sorry, I kind of got carried away...
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
The main problem with the hot chocolate is that you have to keep stirring madly to get the chocolate at the bottom into the body of the drink.
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
never happened to me... maybe because the drink from the vending machines is just hot water + brown powder (+ white powder -- not always)
I have that problem when I make my own hot chocolate with milk and dark chocolate...
Mar. 16th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
thank you! just finished packing...

*glares at clock*

I misread cogs lubricant as cops lubricant. too much Lestrade slash (though surely this is a contradiction in terms...)?
Mar. 16th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
lol. I was going to write 'brake fluid' instead, but then changed my mind because to put brake fluid into a vending machine would have to be intentional.

There's no such thing as too much Lestrade slash, for sure there's only not enough Lestrade slash on certain days... :)
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
Gorgeous little piece! So much in so little. Thank you for sharing.
Mar. 16th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
thank you very much!
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 16th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
thank you! *beams*
Mar. 16th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
I second--so much in so little. You are a mistress of the unspoken. And there was a vending machine at MU-KC where some clever clod had modified the text so that it said 'not food' (hot) and 'old food' (cold). Remember that forever.
Mar. 16th, 2011 09:59 am (UTC)
*laughing at the vending machine story*

thank you very much! *glows*

I like "mistress of the unspoken" - definitely keeping that description...
Mar. 16th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
You know I love you darling, but Lapsong with Darjeeling? Really? I love Lapsong, but that's like eating a truffle while you smoke a cigar.
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
don't forget the Keemun...

there's a sort of in-joke here because together they make up the blend called Doctor Watson at the tearoom not far from where I live! it is a surprising combination but rather a nice one. not sure of the proportions though.
Mar. 17th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)

I'm trying to remember what Keemun tastes like...

I'm very curious now, but not sure I want to experiment. It just seems the Lapsong would swamp the other two.

Hell, Lapsong swamps all my taste buds for 24 hours. :)

But sometimes I do love it!
Mar. 16th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
I do love these vignettes you're doing. You set up a scene so well. I've probably told you that before. Anyway, as to the other beverage-related comments, I actually made the mistake of trying vending machine cappuccino once. I died a little inside that night.
Mar. 16th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
oh lord, vending machine cappuccino. 'tis flying in the face of Nature.

thank you very much! *beams*
Mar. 16th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
Aw, John! <3 There WILL be more tea with Sherlock, there will! (there will, right?? No, don't answer that!)

Beautiful and subtle.
Mar. 16th, 2011 10:02 am (UTC)
of course there will! I think of this one as coming before Losing It, In Fact, where Sherlock has finally recovered (though it takes a long time) and Mycroft and Lestrade's encounters over vile hospital coffee have led to happy times involving whipped cream...

and thank you very much!
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
*happy sigh

*wipes tear

Now I'm going to have to go reread the ones that come after. Poor, poor me. ;)

This is beautiful, as always. You've captured the disorientation coupled with new realization with crystal clear intensity. Brilliantly done. Left me with the right kind of ache in my chest.

*goes to read the next ones again so I can feel happier soon :)
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
thank you very much - your comments always make me very happy. *glows*
Mar. 16th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
Absolutely lovely.
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
thank you! *beams*
Mar. 16th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
I haven't actually read your fic yet, but oddly enough the programme 'Horrible Histories' was talking about how tea came to Britain in the Stuart times :)
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:29 am (UTC)
ha! very suitable. must try to catch up with that... thank you.
Mar. 16th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhh, this is good! Owie, but so very good. *sniffle* Poor John, lovely Lestrade... poor Mycroft. Excellent.
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
thank you! *offers handkerchief*
Mar. 16th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
YAY FOR TEA <33333

This fic made me so very happy! XDDDD
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
thank you very much!
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:52 am (UTC)
Nope, thank YOU! ;D
Mar. 17th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
Ouch, but this is painfully understated. I love the flashbacks to Sherlock's words to John, especially 'Just tea for me.'
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
thank you - very glad you enjoyed it!
Mar. 17th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)

Perfect! Absolutely Perfect! Memming like _boiling_...

Mar. 21st, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! *glows*
Mar. 17th, 2011 11:15 am (UTC)
Lovely! I liked comforting!Lestrade and all the echoes with canon. Have to read the others now.
Mar. 21st, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you - a bit of Lestrade comfort would be a good thing at any time, I feel... Very glad you enjoyed it.
Mar. 17th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
Love this. Love it hard. Love all the types of tea and that John is a bit of aficionado and Lestrade comforting John and any knock on hospital vending is good on me!
Mar. 21st, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much- so pleased you liked it!
Mar. 20th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
John and tea, aw. I'm reccing this here.
Mar. 21st, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Very glad you liked it- thank you. And thank you for the rec!
Mar. 22nd, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
As you can see, I'm behind with my fic-reading again. Sorry I didn't get to this sooner. This piece is absolutely lovely. I love the way something as simple as tea can evoke such strong memories from John, especially when it comes to Sherlock. Those past flashes of dialogue are really effective, especially when paired with the pain they cause John. I know I'm a Lestrade nut, but I think it's so sweet that he's there in the waiting room with John and Mycroft and even wraps an arm around John's shoulder. :-)
Mar. 29th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
and as you can see I'm behind with replying to your comments! so glad you liked it - thank you. *beams* I'm a Lestrade nut too (no, nobody knows except you and me... *grins*) so I'm happy you liked his presence here.
Apr. 26th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
No, John! You should totally cuddle with Lestrade.

This is a great little fic. I love John and his tea. ♥
Apr. 26th, 2011 08:13 am (UTC)
thank you very much! you're quite right about Lestrade, of course. *grins*

very glad you liked this.
Jun. 19th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
First, I want a hug fr. Lestrade. Then I want to pass it on to John and make them all cookies(biscuits).

Your never fail, lovely, strong, vivid, compelling work is carrying me through my day.

Thank you!
Jun. 19th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
thank you! and yes, a hug from Lestrade and a hug for John would be just the thing. and biscuits...
( 47 comments — Leave a comment )


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