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fic: The Old Bad Songs chapter 8

 

Title: The Old Bad Songs Chapter 8 (of 11)

Author: fengirl88

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: sex, drug references, capture (though not particularly 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.   Finally, very mild SPOILERS for A Study in Pink.

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

Word count for this chapter: 2021






Chapter 8

 

Welcome To The Human Race

 

 

You mean he took the job because I lived in the building?” Maurice asks wonderingly.

 

It's two days later - the fifth day – and there are five of them in the sitting-room at 221b Baker Street: Sherlock, John Watson, Lestrade, Maurice and Clara. Donovan's gone home already, though she did at least stay for dinner. Quite a good dinner, too: JW can cook. In addition to all his other bloody virtues, Lestrade thinks gloomily.

 

Lestrade looks at Sherlock, waiting for the scornful response that would usually follow a question as dozy as Maurice's. Nothing. Not even a Do try to keep up, Maurice. Not like Sherlock.

 

Yes, that seems to be what happened,” JW says. Such a nice nature, Lestrade jeers to himself. Always ready to help the slower boys in the class.

 

Maurice continues to look wide-eyed and more surprised than anyone in his situation really has the right to be. Even though they're discussing the case, what strikes Lestrade the most is how weirdly normal it feels to be sitting here with this odd combination of people. Maurice looks right at home, too. Though Lestrade can still see the traces of nightmares, signs of broken sleep.

 

Maurice and JW seem to get on surprisingly well, despite their very different backgrounds. Maurice and Sherlock, who you'd think would have more in common, not so much. Lestrade briefly allows himself a fantasy where Maurice and JW fall madly in love and run away together, leaving him a clear field with Sherlock. Not going to happen though.

 

The different surnames slowed us down a bit,” Watson goes on. “That piece in the local paper didn't give Michael Hughes's surname. Wasn't till we found the inquest report -”

 

Sherlock gets up impatiently and goes over to the window. Almost a relief to see he can still be infuriated by someone going slowly through the bleeding obvious. But he doesn't say anything, which normally he would for sure.

 

Lestrade runs through selected items from the Sherlock Insults back catalogue:

 

Dear God, what is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring!

 

Oh look at you lot, you're all so vacant. Is it nice not being me? It must be so relaxing.

 

She's cleverer than you lot and she's dead.

 

Nothing. Really isn't like him to be this tolerant. All bloody Watson's influence, bound to be. Shack up with a man who's the intellectual equivalent of a teddy bear, it's going to have an effect. Sherlock is changing and Lestrade doesn't like it. He sighs.

 

Are you all right?” Sherlock asks, turning round quickly.

 

Second time in a week he's asked Lestrade that. Must be Christmas.

 

Fine,” Lestrade lies.

 

You don't look fine.” Sherlock's tone is suspicious.

 

Well, that's probably because every time I look at your hands and your mouth now I think of bed and every time you say anything nice to me like you just did I have to hold on to the table so I don't fucking well faint.”

 

He didn't really say that out loud, did he?

 

No, people are still drinking coffee as if nothing has happened. It's all right. Sooner or later he is going to forget and actually say it, and then -

 

Not even going to think about that.

 

Wish I hadn't given up smoking,” he says, thinking that nicotine cravings sounds like a reasonable explanation for not looking fine.

 

JW and Clara put on their Zero Tolerance faces, which pisses Lestrade off quite a bit. Wouldn't mind betting they have their own little addictions they don't want to give up. Could hazard a guess at JW's for a start. Still, he supposes that having a drunk like Harry Watson for a sister or partner would give you that look around addicts. Probably explains why there's a bit of snap and crackle between Clara and Sherlock: she knows about Sherlock's drugs history, isn't sure it's going to stay history, doesn't want to see John going through what she went through with Harry.

 

Doesn't explain why she looks at Lestrade the way she does from time to time though. It's almost like she knows something about what happened with Lestrade and Sherlock the other night. Bit uncomfortable. Seems a nice enough woman in other ways. For a lawyer. She certainly put her back into helping crack that case, when it wasn't her problem. She was the one who'd found the Hughes connection in the end.

 

What's happening about the enquiry?” she asks now.

 

Good question.

 

Durham's trying pretty hard to get it hushed up,” Lestrade says.

 

Maurice winces.

 

Lestrade keeps forgetting to be careful how he talks about Durham in front of Maurice, despite his good resolutions. Still thinks the man is a complete shit and that most of this has been his fault. But not helpful to say so to Maurice. Or not yet awhile.

 

Anyway,” Lestrade says, “we'll just have to wait and see.”

 

I made an awful mess of things, didn't I?” says Maurice, not for the first time.

 

Yes, you could say that!” Sherlock snaps.

 

Sherlock!” Three voices raised in indignation.

 

I'm going for a walk,” Sherlock says crossly. “Fed up with sitting around listening to the same things all the time.”

 

He's gone for a while, and by the time he gets back they've stopped talking about the case. Lestrade is sitting in the armchair, almost dropping off. Still hasn't caught up on his sleep, and the nightmares aren't helping. Having Maurice staying with him isn't helping either, though it's quite nice in a slightly odd sort of way. Maurice really should have gone into the Priory for a nice quiet nervous breakdown, but he'd refused to do any such thing. Or do anything except go and stay at Lestrade's. Understandable that he hasn't wanted to go back to his own flat yet. It's even understandable that he's a bit clingy after that fucking awful time they had with Hughes. Still thinks Lestrade is the only one who could have got him through that, and he's pathetically grateful. Gets a bit embarrassing sometimes.

 

Meanwhile, Lestrade has a crick in his neck from sleeping on his own sofa because he insisted Maurice should have the bed.

 

He really does need to do something about that chivalrous streak.

 

Tonight Maurice thinks he should brave the flat and go home. Lestrade has already said Maurice is not going back there on his own. But at least Maurice has a spare room – probably got several, size of the place – so permanent neck damage is not on the cards.

 

JW and Clara have got stuck into a conversation about this French film they went to see, which turns out to be one of Maurice's all-time favourites. The three of them keep quoting lines from it and either falling about laughing or groaning exaggeratedly with delight. Not a conversation any outsider should attempt to join in. So Lestrade doesn't. And neither does Sherlock when he finally comes back.

 

Sherlock seems preoccupied, maybe even unhappy, Lestrade's not sure. Fidgeting about, can't seem to settle.

 

What's up?” Lestrade asks.

 

Sherlock doesn't answer for a bit. Then he says “I put you in danger.”

 

Surprising. Not something Lestrade would expect him to worry about.

 

It turned out OK, though, didn't it?” he says.

 

It might not have,” Sherlock says.

 

Plenty more where I come from,” Lestrade says, knowing he's pushing it a bit but wanting Sherlock to say something nice to him again.

 

Fuck off,” says Sherlock.

 

Lestrade's quite happy with that, as it goes.

 

Watch it, Sherlock, you'll have me thinking you care in a minute,” he says.

 

Stop it Lestrade you complete and utter tart. Next thing you know he'll start batting his eyelashes at Sherlock.

 

Sherlock doesn't say anything. Looks at him.

 

Just as well Lestrade is sitting down, because the look makes him feel most peculiar. In a good way. If having your insides turn over can be considered good.

 

Sherlock seems to be trying to make his mind up whether to say something, and Lestrade would really like to hear what it is. Especially following on from that look Sherlock just gave him. Though he does think there's a serious risk of spontaneous combustion if the room gets any hotter than it seems to have got in the last thirty seconds.

 

There's a sudden burst of laughter from the other conversation, and the mood shatters. Sherlock turns away to the window again, leaving Lestrade feeling like he's not wearing enough clothes. Room temperature definitely dropping now.

 

I must go,” Clara says. “Got a big case starting tomorrow. But look, Maurice, if you want to go to that Carné retrospective next month give me a call, OK?”

 

She gives Maurice her card. Another unlikely connection, but why not?, Lestrade thinks. Clara probably has some like-minded friends Maurice can bang on to about French films. Do him good. The ordinariness of gay life: one of the things you miss if your life is stuck in the closet.

 

Or stuck thirty years in the past. Stuck at eighteen, quite a young eighteen at that, when Durham kicked him in the teeth and went off to join the Moral Majority. Maurice didn't know how to grow up because he was afraid, thought it was his fault. That if he'd been different it wouldn't have happened. Some of that came out in that first long rambling conversation with Lestrade. No wonder he couldn't make another relationship, or do much of anything at all. Maybe he'll be different now, though, Lestrade thinks. Experience like that is bound to change the guy in some way, even if you can't yet predict what it'll be.

 

Meanwhile, Sherlock still has his back to Lestrade. Doesn't look like he's going to turn round even to say goodbye. Maurice is saying they'll walk Clara to the taxi rank, Clara doing a bit of a feminist strop but then saying OK, thanks.

 

Fuck it. Lestrade is not having this. He gets up stiffly from the armchair and goes over to stand next to Sherlock, looking down into Baker Street.

 

You solved the case, Sherlock. And you saved Maurice's life. Most people would call that a result.”

 

Sherlock looks at him, and Lestrade can't read the look, except that it seems a darker, more unhappy look than before. Lestrade is very aware of the other people in the room, and how impossible it is to say anything private. Also that standing so close to Sherlock probably isn't a great idea if he wants to walk out of here with his dignity intact.

 

'Night,” he says, moving away. “See you soon.”

 

Yes, I expect so,” says Sherlock, sounding as if he's not looking forward to it at all.

 

Trust Lestrade to spoil the moment by doing something stupid. Serves him right.

 

Lestrade, Maurice and Clara go downstairs and out into the street. Lestrade looks back up to see Sherlock still looking down at him. They go on staring for a moment, as Maurice and Clara rabbit on about something or other, Lestrade's not even listening.

 

Then JW comes over to the window, looks down to see what Sherlock's looking at. Sees Lestrade looking up.

 

And pulls Sherlock into a very public and lingering kiss, which Sherlock certainly doesn't seem to be resisting.

 

Lestrade turns away quickly, doesn't need to look at Sherlock and JW getting it on, thank you very much. Message received and understood.

 

Because if ever there was a look that said Back Off, He's Mine, Lestrade just got it from JW. Right between the eyes.

 

Oh well. Time to see Maurice home, brave Maurice's flat, attempt some kind of exorcism of the place. Not looking forward to trying to sleep there.

 

He'll be glad when this week is over. Here's the taxi now.

 

Still wondering what that look of Sherlock's meant though.

 

Chapter 9   Dreams Of What Could Be )

 

 

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
capt_spork
Sep. 8th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Hey love,

Just dropping in to say, I'm really enjoying this so far. I haven't commented because I don't usually on WIPs, but really liking the tone and connections here.

<3
fengirl88
Sep. 8th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC)
Yippee! so glad you are liking it! zis from you makes me very happy.

*skips about like a skippity thing*

et_cetera55
Sep. 11th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
Ooooh John marking his territory...
fengirl88
Sep. 11th, 2010 08:30 am (UTC)
yep, lot of jealousy going on here. considered using the phrase "epic bitchface" but decided it was not quite right for Lestrade's vocabulary. Still, that IS the face JW is pulling here.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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