Eating was necessary. It was also time-consuming, non-challenging and all in all, terribly, terribly boring.
Sherlock understood the concept of eating perfectly well. A body needed fuel, just like a mobile phone needed its battery charged in order to continue powering its functions. The main difference between a body and a mobile phone was that a body demanded so much.
First, a body required a different kind of energy than the one in the electrical sockets. Inconvenient, but manageable.
Second, it was not enough that a body needed food. It also needed sleep and hydration, and it expelled waste. This kind of upkeep required time. As if for every text message you sent, you had to polish the screen, and after every picture you took, remove the battery for ten minutes before replacing it. Tedious.
Third, a body was not satisfied with simply processing food, consuming water and sleeping – it needed different kinds of food in order to sustain different body functions. Imagine a phone that needed five different chargers connected to five different sockets, because camera, text messaging, calls, internet browser and clock were not all compatible with the same kind of energy. Impractical, and silly.
Problematically enough, a body was necessary in order to accommodate a mind. Thus you had to take care of it, even if it was inconvenient, tedious and impractical. Conclusion: a body was high maintenance, but it was unavoidable. Transport. A necessary evil to achieve a higher goal: the work.
That was why, during work, there could be no transport. John rarely questioned this, as long as he was allowed to eat at more or less regular intervals – and Sherlock let him – but he was much stricter when there was no work: demanding, for instance, that they eat breakfast together, at a set time, whenever Sherlock did not have a case. This was probably good, Sherlock reflected: it certainly had some positive effects. As a matter of fact, the whole eating-thing would have been perfectly alright, had it not been absolutely boring. What was the point? Sitting down, moving food from plate to mouth, unable to do anything worthwhile during the time? Not to mention cooking it in the first place! (Not that he could remember ever actually cooking a meal…)
About John though… Sherlock let his eyes wander to the man opposite him who was clearly enjoying his tea and the plate of bacon and egg while reading the newspaper splayed out on the table. Sherlock had eaten as well, since there was no case going on and clients had the strange habit of seldom visiting before eleven o'clock, so he could afford the time and effort required – but he knew that his appreciation of the meal had been barely a fifth of John's.
The estimate made him smile, unexpectedly. A fifth? Yes. Seeing as he normally did not enjoy eating at all, this was a huge difference. What was there to enjoy?
The company, his mind responded instantly. Somehow, sharing a meal with someone – not eating with a hundred other people, like he had been forced to in school, but actually sitting down with another person and eat together – made the usually insufferable task much more pleasant. Even if said company was too engrossed in his reading to be of any use conversation-wise, or even to finish his scrambled eggs.
"What?" Sherlock replied, taken somewhat aback, as he realised that John had in fact stopped reading and was looking at him with an unintelligible expression in his face.
"You're staring. In fact, you've been staring for quite some time."
"I have not. I was considering the results from last night's discoveries" he said and nodded ever so slightly to the chemistry equipment that covered more than two thirds of the kitchen table, where beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks and a dropping funnel were crowded together and the smell of the bunsen burner still lingered.
"No you weren't" John said. "You were smiling. You wouldn't smile like that if it was just about an experiment – you'd either be so focused I could have self-combusted right in front of you without you noticing, or you would cry out triumphantly and upset the chair and dash about in a frenzy. You wouldn't smile."
Now Sherlock was staring, and he felt strangely uncomprehending. He knew, of course, that John was probably right, but it was a bit disconcerting all the same, that someone knew him and his quirks so intimately and precisely to be able to make that kind of deduction. On the other hand, maybe this was what it was like for John, living with him.
"Oh, just finish your breakfast, John! I'm amazed it's still warm... Are you going to let me have that newspaper anytime soon or do I have to hack your computer again?"
John let him take the newspaper and hide behind it, and tried not to laugh at his friend's awkward embarrassment as he brought a forkful of scrambled eggs to his mouth – only to put it down on the plate again. Sherlock had been right, of course. It had gone cold.
The detective chuckled quietly on his side of the newspaper, but said nothing.