“What are you thinking, pork or the pasta?”
“Oh—it’s you.” Mark tries to sound normal. What’s normal? Should he be pleased to see Sherlock still? Does Sherlock already know he has a boyfriend, can he read it on his ( neck mouth scent skin stride ) face?
“This place is never going to trouble Egon Ronay, is it?” Egon—who? But Sherlock, of course, doesn’t wait for a response. “I’d stick with the pasta. Wouldn’t be doing roast pork—not if you’re slicing up cadavers.” Mark actually doesn’t mind mixing work and dinner, will sometimes bring a roast beef sandwich to eat in the morgue. He’s not squeamish—people always seem to assume he is. Just because he likes having things nice, and soft, and clean, doesn’t mean he can’t handle it when they’re not.
“What are you having?” Maybe Sherlock will eat with Mark. Maybe Mark can tell him about Jim, even though he is certain Sherlock already knows. But Mark doesn’t get to talk about Jim very often, and Sherlock is actually a good listener when he’s distracted by a case. He’s a better listener than usual, anyway. Well, okay, he doesn’t actually listen, but he’s developed some sort of convenient human mask that makes it look so exactly like he’s paying close attention that Mark is fooled every time, right up until Sherlock bolts to his feet, says something inexplicable but terribly significant, and sends the chair flying as he hurtles from the room.
“Don’t eat when I’m working. Digesting slows me down.” Mark knows this. Mark is also a medical professional and knows this is complete nonsense, probably based on a misjudgement of the short-term effects (diverted blood flow) and long-term benefits (not dying ).
“So you’re working tonight?” Perhaps they will have an actual conversation about their jobs, or a cup of weak canteen tea.
“Need to examine some bodies.” No, they won’t.
“...some?” Mark can guess what's coming.
“Eddie Van Coon and Brian Lukis.” Sherlock is impeccably casual.
“They’re on my list.” Of course they are on Mark's list. Sometimes Mark circles the names and brief descriptions, idly, that he is sure Sherlock will ask about and then makes neat green checkmarks when he's right. When he reaches twenty, Mark has decided he's going to buy a really nice razor. Just as a reward, for putting up with this, and because he wants to. He almost needs it. Well—he doesn’t not need it, anyway.
Sherlock looks pleased at this, a little surprised, and Mark tries really, really hard to remember what a consummate actor he is. Sherlock knew perfectly well that they were on Mark’s list, or he’d be across the cafeteria, chatting up Alimah for a stab at the bodies. Hopefully not literally, but Mark wouldn't put it past him.
“Could you wheel them out again for me?” The wheedling tone isn’t going to work , not again, not this time. Mark thinks about body language, squares what shoulder he has, keeps his eyes firmly on Sherlock’s.
“Well—the paperwork’s already gone through—”
“Hm.” Sherlock pauses, and Mark tries to hold his ground. Policies are in place for a reason. “Changed your hair.”
Mark blinks, breaks eye contact. “What?”
“The style, it’s—usually parted in the middle.”
“Yes, well, it’s a bit hard parting it when it's this short.” Mark touches his hair, self-conscious. His cuts get a little shorter every time, a little more daring, and last night Jim had purred against the shaved nape of his neck, fingers tangling into the still-sharp hairs and dragging his head down. He doesn’t think he’ll cut it much shorter now.
“It’s good, it—suits you better this way.” This should not work as well as it does, but Mark has to tuck his chin down against his collarbone to hide the too-pleased smile he can’t quite get rid of. It’s no use. The next autopsy is going to have to wait. There’s a reason policies are in place; but there’s also a reason that the system is easy to get around.
Both reasons are named Sherlock.
By the time they’ve made it to the morgue, they’ve been joined by a small man (though not as small as Mark, or even Jim) with a sharp interested look to his face. It’s a kind of look Mark sees a lot on people who’ve only just met Sherlock and haven’t quite realized what a tit he is. He’s been in here before, to examine bodies for the force; Mark is reasonably sure his name is Dimmock.
“We’re just interested in the feet,” says Sherlock, hands tucked behind his back.
“Yes. May we have a look at them?” Mark firmly quashes a giggle—chuckle—down at the thought of Sherlock’s interest in feet. He unzips the bottom of the bag; Sherlock has been banned from directly interacting with the bodies without express and specific permission, after an unfortunate licking incident (which, Mark always points out, put a killer behind bars).
“Now Van Coon.” Obedient, Mark moves on, movements quick and economical as he unzips the next bag. Then he steps back, watching as Sherlock lifts his chin in the small, satisfied nod that means yes. “Oh!” he says, false surprise; Dimmock looks annoyed.
“So—” Sherlock cuts him off, because that’s what Sherlock does, and Mark quietly zips up the bags and takes the opportunity to watch him in profile. Even though Mark has a boyfriend now, a boyfriend with delicate wrists and heavy dark eyes, who Mark happens to like quite a lot, and oh, dear, but this is a stupid, stupid crush.
“So either these two men happened to visit the same Chinese tattoo parlor or I’m telling the truth.”
Neither of them are paying much attention to Mark, which suits him just fine. He wants, less than ever now, to be noticed—except, maybe, as a coroner. Mark is very good at his job, and he knows it.
“What do you want?” asks Dimmock, resigned, as Mark strips off his gloves.
“I want every book from Lucas’s apartment. And Van Coon’s.” Sherlock’s answer is fast and obviously prepared, and his voice does not brook argument. Dimmock looks nonplussed, which is one of the classic stages of Meeting Sherlock.
“...their books .”
Mark wonders if Jim is still at work, and if so, whether he can be coaxed into sharing a takeaway.