Bananas are actually herbs…
It was a surprise that neither of them threw up. The team had managed to solve yet another disturbing and disgusting case, and JJ was sure that neither of them had erased the image of the abducted girl in a pool of blood from their minds, but then again there they were, at Baskin Robbins, trying to figure out what flavours they want for the special three-scoops-with-toppings offer.
It was, surprisingly, Hotch's idea — well, he did not really say, "Guys, let's get some ice cream", but it was he who had casually strolled away from the small motel (in which the abducted girl was held captive), and towards Baskin Robbins across the street, muttering, "Ice cream — great timing…"
And then, of course Reid had to tail him, jabbering away facts about ice creams: "You know, ice cream recipes first appeared in the 18th century in America and England — and the earliest reference to ice cream was given by the Oxford English Dictionary—"
And after that, the whole team just followed, with Hotch smiling at Reid's comments and Morgan ruffling up the young doctor's hair, saying, "Save it, doc — ice cream is ice cream, okay?"
But that didn't quite shut him up, so everyone ignored him after that and turned their attentions to the 31 flavours of ice cream available there.
"…Brain freeze occurs when something very cold, such as ice cream, touches the top palate in the mouth. The blood vessels constrict due to the coldness — this makes the nerves send a signal to the brain to open blood vessels…uh — guys?"
JJ smiled at Reid's expression when he discovered that no one was listening. He soon decided to drop it and instead stood next to Morgan, and began to check out the flavours of ice cream there.
Slowly, JJ walked towards the young doctor and pretended to examine the menu board behind the counter. "So, what exactly happens when the blood vessels open?"
Reid seemed surprised at this — maybe because no one ever bothered listening to him before. "W-well — the rapid opening of the blood vessels makes fluid back up in the tissues and won't drain for thirty seconds to a minute. This causes a slight swelling in the forehead that causes…pain — hey, d'you know—?"
"French Vanilla, Lemon Crisp and…Chocolate Almond for me, please," JJ said loudly with a smile. "Three scoops, right?"
She could sense a kind of dark and brooding aura around Reid, and felt bad. She bit her lower lip as she observed him peering at the colourful ice creams there. Eventually everyone got their ice creams, and they were ready to head back to their jet.
Her blue eyes immediately met Reid's black ones. He was leaning against the seat comfortably, with the pink Baskin Robbins plastic spoon sticking out of his mouth.
"Oh, hey," he said, crossing his legs Indian style so she could get to the seat next to him.
"You've been staring very hard at that ice cream cup," JJ commented.
"Yeah…I was just…thinking," said he.
She raised her eyebrows. "About…?"
Reid took a spoonful of ice cream and banana, and then said thoughtfully, "It was that thing on the menu back at Baskin Robbins…"
He sat up straight and said, " It mentioned 'five different choices of ice cream toppings: chopped nuts, Gummi Bears, M&M's, and two fruit choices, strawberries and bananas'…"
Here, Reid fell silent once more and began to eat his ice cream.
"So?" JJ was wondering why he did not fully explain his words — or why he didn't simply launch into his usual long explanation when she had asked what's up. Here, he looked at her uncertainly. "What?" she asked, with an amused smile on her face.
Reid pushed his glasses further up his nose and was silent for a moment or two, as if he was hesitant to say anything, but finally said, "Well, bananas aren't fruits… Bananas are actually herbs…"
JJ expected more from him — like, who first classified bananas as herbs, or why bananas were classified as herbs — but Reid then simply shut up and said nothing.
"And…?" she said, urging him to go on.
"You're…actually listening?" he asked, a mild frown playing on his face.
"Well — yeah. Why?"
Here, he smiled incredulously and murmured, "That's rare."
"Oh, umm — I mean, well, you guys never really listened to me before, so I thought — you know."
JJ smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "Why don't you explain to me some more about bananas, or ice cream or anything then? Today, I'm listening."
And she didn't know why she said that, really. Perhaps a silent Reid was something unusual, and perhaps that got her worried.
"O…kaay," said the young doctor slowly, "this is new."
She arched her eyebrows.
"Uh, I mean…"
JJ smiled at Reid, and he smiled back.
And then he began to speak, real fast, as if he would never speak again:
"Ancient civilizations have served ice for cold foods for thousands of years — Mesopotamia has the earliest icehouses in existence, 4,000 years ago, beside the Euphrates River, where the wealthy stored items to keep them cold. The pharaohs of Egypt had ice shipped to them. And, uh, in the fifth century BC, ancient Greeks sold snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. Persians, having mastered the storage of ice, ate chilled desserts well into summer — so ice cream isn't all that new to the world, really — plus, from the…"
Slowly, JJ sighed and picked up a magazine nearby and started to read. "Go on, I'm listening."
"...so it was effective -- anyway, the Roman Emperor Nero had ice brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings — hey, d'you know that before the development of modern refrigeration, ice cream was a luxury item reserved for special occasions? Making ice cream was quite laborious. Ice was cut from lakes and ponds during the winter and stored in large heaps, in holes in the ground, or in wood-frame ice houses, insulated by straw—"
At least he was talking. Silence didn't quite suit him — and at least she had nothing to worry about when he's blabbering, because she knew he was fine.
A/N: I'd like to thank qt4good so much for pointing out a mistake -- instead of putting 'S. Reid' as character number 2, I had earlier put 'D. Reid' instead (that's Reid's mother!) because I didn't realise it... Obviously I was just focusing on the 'Reid' and not on the 'S' or 'D'. So once more, thanks a lot, qt4good! :)