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fic: The Old Bad Songs chapter 6

Title: The Old Bad Songs (chapter 6)

Author: fengirl88

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: sex, drug references, capture, threat.  Quite a lot of angst in this chapter.

Disclaimer: BBC versions of Sherlock, Lestrade, Watson, Donovan etc. not mine; E.M. Forster's Maurice not mine; nor the version of him in the film.  Nor any of the songs quoted here.

Summary:   Lestrade becomes enmeshed in a blackmail case he's working, and has to turn to Sherlock for help.

Word count for chapter: 1664



 

Chapter 6

 

Waiting For The End Of The World

 

Lestrade's head really hurts. He thinks he might be about to throw up.

 

...

 

No. OK. Well, that's something.

 

Might have concussion just the same. Shit.

 

The well-known bang on the head. As featured in every hard-boiled detective story young Lestrade ever read. Usually just after the unsuspecting private dick does something really stupid.

 

Like walking into a trap, for example.

 

Lestrade opens his eyes gingerly. Hurts a bit, even though the only light on is the desk lamp in the corner.

 

Maurice is still tied up. Still looks scared. No change there then.

 

Lestrade doesn't need to look down to know he's tied up as well. Can feel that.

 

Mystery Voice 1, DI Lestrade nil.

 

He looks around to see who this bastard is, because it must be him, mustn't it? Can't think who else would attack him and Maurice. Unlikely to be just a passing burglar, and a block like this has pretty good security, what with the concierge -

 

Who is already in the room.

 

Is actually the only person in the room apart from Lestrade and Maurice.

 

Which makes no sense until Lestrade sees the gun.

 

Fuck.

 

Lestrade is scared, of course he is, tied up in a room with a mad bastard with a gun. But he's also furious with himself for being so stupid. Stupid in that way, the way he of all people should know you mustn't be. Though so many people are.

 

Invisible servants.” Shit. Hadn't meant to say that out loud, but he obviously did.

 

He'd been one of those once himself. That year at the big house, before he decided to join the Force. Not so specialized as it would have been a century earlier, not so many of you, and they called you the staff now, when they remembered. (The Mrs. mostly forgot.) But still the same way of carrying on as if you weren't in the room till they wanted you for something. Cleaning guns, for example.

 

He'd walked past the concierge's desk every time he came here and never thought twice about him. Racked his brains for who could know about him and Maurice and not once thought who it was who would see him going up there time after time, would know how long he stayed and what he looked like when he left.

 

Can't believe he did that. Does promotion really make you that stupid? If he gets out of here alive Lestrade swears he is going to reread every bloody Marxist tract that ever bored the arse off him as a young man. He even promises to buy the Socialist Worker for a month and not think those thoughts about the arse on the young man trying to flog copies outside the Tube station.

 

If he gets out of here alive.

 

Not liking the look of that gun at all. Or of the concierge, who doesn't look like he's used to handling one. Oh fuck.

 

Lestrade tries to remember anything, anything at all from the training courses about how to deal with hostage situations. Not that he and Maurice are hostages, he thinks. But he can't remember a course on Facing Certain Death. Doesn't think there was one. Can't really remember anything from the hostage ones either, which is bloody annoying. Presumably the bang on the head that's done it. Thinks that trying to engage in conversation would have been in there somewhere, though. Bit tricky to know what to say.

 

Are you Mr Vane?” he hears himself ask.

 

That probably wasn't a great start, whatever the answer turns out to be.

 

The concierge looks at him the way you'd look at a dog turd you've just walked in.

 

My name is Hughes,” he says. “Michael Hughes.”

 

It's the voice all right. Lestrade glances at Maurice, who is very pale, and shaking now.

 

Is this the same man who rang you?” Lestrade asks, thinking Never spoken to the bloody concierge so of course he didn't recognize his voice. It just gets better and better.

 

Maurice nods. Doesn't speak. Possibly can't speak.

 

Lestrade tries again. “But you are connected with – William Vane?”

 

Feels quite a dangerous line of enquiry but he can't think of a better one.

 

My brother,” Hughes says. “Half-brother, some people would say. Can't see it that way though.”

 

Lestrade's never been good at guessing ages, but he thinks this guy must be in his early sixties. So he'd have been, what, eighteen when William was born? Almost like another parent.

 

This is all new to me,” Lestrade says cautiously. “I didn't know him. Could you – tell me something about him?”

 

Still feels like he's walking on a tightrope. Over a snake pit or a volcano or a vat of boiling oil or something. But he can't just stand still because then he really will fall in. The only way is to keep going.

 

I'm surprised Mr Hall never told you about him,” Hughes says, making Maurice's name sound like some unspeakable flesh-eating disease.

 

Maurice looks really dreadful, like he's about to faint or throw up or something. He's shivering, too. Lestrade tries to shift himself closer to him. Not sure if Maurice registers it. By leaning a bit to his right, Lestrade can just get his elbow against Maurice's. Not much, but the contact seems important to have.

 

Sit still, please,” Hughes says. The please is oddly unnerving. Lestrade stops moving.

 

No, Mr Hall didn't tell me,” he says to Hughes. “Do you think you could?”

 

Hughes looks for a moment as if he thinks shooting Lestrade would be a better idea, but the look passes. When he speaks, his voice is unexpectedly flat: “What is there to say about a boy who died at sixteen?”

 

Lestrade clings to the idea that talking is good. Doesn't think You tell me would be a good next move, but tries to find something that will do the trick.

 

That he was young,” he says carefully. “That it was too soon. That he was loved.”

 

He's never tried safe-cracking, for obvious reasons, but he thinks this is what it must have been like in the old days: turning the dial slowly, listening for a click or the fall of the tumblers.

 

All of that,” Hughes says bleakly. “He should be here now. Should have had a chance to get married, have kids. And this piece of shit took it from him.”

 

Maurice is breathing shallowly, almost hyperventilating. Lestrade needs to do something about this, not sure what. Tries to breathe deeply himself and says very quietly “With me." Maurice seems to know what he means, tries to steady his own breathing to match Lestrade's. Lestrade doesn't risk looking at him. Stays fixed on Hughes.

 

Why do you say he took it from him?” Lestrade asks. He keeps expecting Hughes to blow up. Thinks he would almost prefer that to this flatness which gives no purchase, leaves no chink.

 

Hughes picks something up from the coffee-table: it looks like the exercise-books Lestrade remembers from school.

 

It's all in here,” Hughes says. “Didn't know he kept a diary, not until I was turning out the house after Mother died. All this time he was walking around scot free and I never knew.”

 

This doesn't sound good. Lestrade worries about why Maurice never mentioned the boy. Then remembers Maurice saying he hadn't known the boy was dead. Wonders how well they knew each other.

 

I didn't know,” Maurice says suddenly, as if in answer to Lestrade's thoughts. “I had no idea he was dead. And I'm sorry – I'm so – sorry but – I don't understand.”

 

Hughes's face darkens, and for a moment Lestrade thinks the guy is going to hit Maurice. But he doesn't. Just stands there, looking at Maurice as if looking could make him disappear forever.

 

You really don't have any idea, do you?” Hughes says finally.

 

Maurice shakes his head. Hughes looks even more disgusted than before, which is quite a feat.

 

Easily remedied,” Hughes says. “You just have to do what I did. Read his diary.”

 

He opens the exercise book and holds it in front of Maurice's face.

 

Read it,” he says. “Read it out so your friend can hear.”

 

Maurice is shaking again, his teeth chattering. He's not going to make it through this in one piece, Lestrade thinks.

 

Maurice,” he says gently. “Try to read it. Please.”

 

Maurice starts to read, but it's not easy, because he is crying now. Lestrade wishes he was anywhere but here. Except then Maurice would be alone with this, and that's not right.

 

Come on,” he says. “Come on, Maurice.”

 

Maurice takes a shuddering deep breath and tries again. Falters and stops.

 

Do you want me to read it out?” Lestrade asks Hughes tentatively.

 

Hughes says “It ought to be him. Doesn't even have the guts to face what he did.”

 

Not sure he's going to manage it,” Lestrade says, trying to sound sensible and matter-of-fact and not like someone tied up and talking to a nutcase with a gun.

 

Seems to have worked. The book moves in front of Lestrade's face instead.

 

Where do you want me to start?” Lestrade asks. Is suddenly assailed by a mad temptation to say Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. What you get for being raised on Listen With Mother. Bad idea now though. Possibly reaction to the strain or something.

 

Start with the 5th of November,” says Hughes.

 

So Lestrade does:

 

I saw Maurice Hall at the fireworks on Midsummer Common. Can't stop thinking about him. Don't think he saw me though.

 

Oh Maurice, Lestrade thinks. He can see this isn't going to go well at all.

 

Chapter 7  Just Too Bad That He Had To Fall )

 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
badwolf56
Sep. 7th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
So, I've had Maurice for a week and hadn't gotten the chance to watch it, but this fic compelled me to make time today so that I could start reading it.

First, my goodness, that film. Gorgeous. Also, Rupert Graves. Gorgeous.

*ahem* ANYWAY I'm really enjoying this fic. And I'm quite anxious to find out what exactly is going on! With the blackmailer, and with Sherlock's sex ambush, and ALL of it. Looking forward to more :D
fengirl88
Sep. 7th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, that film, gorgeous, Rupert Graves, gorgeous. Absolutely.

Misread your post at first and thought you were talking about reading Forster's novel, which was also an exciting thought - I was rereading parts of it this week to get details clear in my mind for this and was bowled over once again by how good it is.

So glad you are enjoying the fic. Thank you very much for commenting! More on the way soon.

love your icon, too...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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