Author's Note: Let me admit straight off the bat that I haven't been watching this show and what little time I've had for writing fanfic, it's been video games and... I, uh... Well, see, while visiting for Thanksgiving, a dear friend who has made it a habit of informing me all the ways in which I'm wrong (this is why we're friends) informed me that I was wrong for not watching this show. We watched a few episodes. She wanted a story. You know, I don't even know what I'm trying to say here. I think I just want to make sure that no one who specializes in fanfic for this show is insulted that a newbie is contributing. It's well intentioned!
"You mean to say that you, Lieutenant, an officer of the law and a senior member of your paramilitary organization, have not been properly educated in the use of a blade?"
Lieutenant Abigail Mills looked up from her laptop, one unimpressed eyebrow raised, her right forefinger temporarily ceasing its rapid-fire assault on the 'Backspace' key. The interruption was probably for the best, really. Of all the buttons on her work-issue laptop, she had found 'Backspace' taking significantly more abuse than the others since making the acquaintance of the currently scandalized-looking man sitting opposite her. She could only imagine the look on the Captain's face if she could no longer backspace and had to submit her unedited, first-draft reports. It was amazing what actually seeing a headless Hessian brandishing an assault rifle had done for the Captain's capacity for understanding, but the two of them had come to a tacit agreement: he would support her in every way possible as she and a two-hundred-and-fifty-year-old once-dead man ran about town trying to save all of humanity from certain doom... and she would do her damnedest to limit the number of rewrites and redactions he had to do on her reports. She considered her old buddy, 'Backspace', an absolutely critical partner in this endeavor.
Her other partner, the two-hundred-and-fifty-year-old once-dead one, was staring at her in open, scandalized shock. Truth be told, she rather enjoyed the look. He was normally so proper: his long hair tied back, his shoulders squared and his hands clasped behind his back, and his emotions controlled enough that what little he wished to express could be done with little more than a quirk of his lips or a flick of an expressive eyebrow. She supposed that secretly though thoroughly enjoying that scandalized responses of a man from another time spoke to a latent sadism on her part. Given the complexities his arrival in her life had generated, though, she needed a few joys. She didn't feel particularly bad about this one.
She also suspected that he knew just how much she secretly enjoyed it and had accordingly stopped trying to dampen his righteous indignation over such societal despoilings as outrageous taxes on donut holes. He was a gentleman, this one. Whatever compulsion it was that drove him to open doors for her was somehow the same compulsion, sincere and unaffected and as ingrained a part of him as his speech patterns, that did not begrudge her this boon.
Her eyebrow inched up impossibly further. "Crane," she said patiently, "this might come as a surprise to you, but we don't get a whole lot of bad guys who want to cross swords with the local constabulary."
"Oh, certainly not," he shot back, "and as Sleepy Hollow is a bastion of normalcy and a shining beacon of modernity and grace in a world gone mad, perhaps I should temper my shock and withdraw my question."
She felt her lips twitch indulgently. Only he could say 'Shit's cray-cray around here!' in such an elegant way.
He huffed - almost certainly for show since he'd no doubt caught the telltale twitch of her lips just as she'd caught the self-satisfied quirk that had momentarily crossed his in response - and then turned back to the dusty tome that had held his attention fully prior to her obviously surprising confession.
"It is not merely a skill, Lieutenant," he muttered as he delicately flipped to the next aged page in the tome, "though if there is any local constabulary that might need such 'antiquated' skills in this day and age, I daresay yours is likely the one. No, indeed, it is a symbol of station, a visible and tangible manifestation of the rigors of the body, the discipline of the mind, and the fortitude of the soul." His eyes flicked up at her for just a moment, underneath the few wisps of his hair that had escaped their bindings, then returned to the ancient lettering he was busily translating. "It is an indignity that you have not been gifted this symbol."
It wasn't always just the way Crane said things. Sometimes it was just the things he chose to say.
Since joining the Sleepy Hollow PD, Mills had been to every annual banquet thrown by the City to honor the officers. She had eaten every catered meal, sipped every chosen wine, accepted every crayon drawing handed to her, and listened to every perfectly prepared speech. Not a single one of these so-called honors had ever made her feel as deeply as Crane's simple statement just did.
She vaguely wondered when people had stopped expressing such heartfelt things to one another. She vaguely wondered why. And then it occurred to her that even if she wanted to express such a beautiful sentiment, she wouldn't know how. She didn't even know how to accept such a thing, let alone offer it.
"And an indignity that I'd probably chop my own leg off within ten seconds of someone handing me a sword?" she asked dryly.
He huffed again. She wasn't sure if it was because he continued to be scandalized by her apparently quite unforgivable inability to wield a sword... or because he recognized her continuing inability to accept a truly genuine, sincere, and unabashedly heartfelt statement without deflection. She suspected it was the latter. It made her a little bit sad. He had crafted a heartfelt sentiment and packaged it up for her with beautiful words and she didn't know how to accept it.
Sometimes, watching him discover facets of the modern world made her proud. Electricity. Cars. The Internet.
Sometimes, watching him discover facets of the modern world made her just a little bit sad. Just in passing. It just occasionally seemed as if maybe he'd lost things that donut holes and cell phones couldn't make up for.
Speaking of cell phones...
"Mills," she said briskly.
It was testament to the vastly changed circumstances of her life and the enviable ability of the human brain to acclimate rapidly to such radically changing circumstances that she spent the majority of the Captain's call watching Crane try not to watch her. She could distinctly remember a time where if she had received a call from anyone with the sorts of details she was now hearing from Irving, she would either have dismissed it as a stupid prank call or done everything in her power to keep the clearly disturbed individual on the line while she called for backup on another. As it was, she merely catalogued what Irving was telling her as she would any other call, committing all the important bits to memory, and watched Crane try and fail to not eavesdrop.
She couldn't decide if he was trying to be polite by not listening or if he genuinely had no idea what the proper social response actually was. It occurred to her that the closest social equivalent in his time would have been for someone to literally walk up to a group unannounced, interrupt the current conversation without waiting for any kind of natural break or making any attempt to acknowledge others in the area, and simply begin talking to the person of their choice. Surely that would have rankled him. Hell, when put like that, it even rankled her.
The call ended and she stuffed her cell phone in her pocket before, in a flurry of well practiced movement, she locked her computer, retrieved her gun, and fished her car keys out from under an untidy pile of file folders. "Looks like we've got a body," she said to Crane without preamble.
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Indeed," was all he said. He carefully closed the book, meticulously ensuring that the pages were not folded and that the tattered leather binding was handled with appropriate caution, his movements as precise and practiced as hers but with a sort of sincere, unaffected grace that she lacked... or maybe just one she'd never had the time to cultivate. Or made the time to cultivate, maybe.
Speaking of time...
She rushed toward the door, tucking her gun into the waistband of her pants, and flung it open, already thinking about the logistics of getting to the crime scene as quickly as possible with current traffic conditions.
Crane caught the door easily, held it, and said merely, "Lieutenant" with a slight inclination of his head as she flew through. He closed it securely behind them.