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fic: A Strange Adventure

Title: A Strange Adventure
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)/ Maurice crossover
Pairing: Maurice/Lestrade
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1238
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: He’d thought that Matthew Bourne ballet Maurice took him to was weird enough, but it had nothing on this.
A/N: Written for [personal profile] kalypso for the Help_Syria auction. My thanks to her, as always, for her patience and support; to kate_lear, ginbitch and warriorbot for their company at the event in question; and to thimpressionist and my fellow MiFus at WriSoMiFu for cheering me on to finish this...

Lestrade thought Johann Strauss was meant to be all waltzes and dance tunes, New Year’s Day concerts from Vienna on the telly, chocolate-box stuff like The Blue Danube. The tunes in Die Fledermaus are catchy enough, and some of them are even vaguely familiar, but the English National Opera production’s not chocolate-boxy at all. More like that mad thing by the other Strauss that Maurice dragged him to see at the flicks, the one where they were all shell-shock patients or whatever and the flighty soprano ended up in a straitjacket for being a nymphomaniac. Should have known it was going to be like this when the programme notes started wittering on about Freud.

He’d thought that Matthew Bourne ballet Maurice took him to was weird enough, but it had nothing on this. They’re well into Act One and he still has no fucking idea why there’s a giant stopwatch hanging from the ceiling, or why the hands keep going backwards, whizzing forwards at double speed, or stopping at random, never mind why the heroine spends the overture thrashing around in her nightie while giant bats flit across the wallpaper. There’s a crack in the bedroom wall he can tell right from the off is going to be trouble. Symbolic or something, he shouldn’t wonder.

The plot makes about as much sense as opera plots usually do, which is not much. The heroine and her husband are pretending to be very upset about having to be apart for the next few hours, while secretly gloating about the fun and games they’ll be having when their other half’s not around: he’s off to a party and she’s planning to shag the ex-boyfriend. There’s a scheming maid with a comic regional accent – at least it’s Welsh, which makes a nice change from bloody Mummerset. Always this class thing going on, isn’t there? The maid’s sneaking off to the party too, and ten to one she’s going to run into her boss when they’re both pretending to be someone else. Hilarious.

At least the ex-boyfriend looks good with his clothes off, which is some compensation. This seems to be a thing now in opera, from what Lestrade can see: when in doubt, get your kit off. Must put a lot of pressure on singers to keep fit. This one’s clearly been putting in the hours down the gym… The police arrive to arrest the husband, so of course the wife and the ex-boyfriend pretend he is the husband, as you do. “You see my husband looking cute, in nothing but his birthday suit”, the wife sings, and gets a big laugh, which Lestrade joins in, a bit grudgingly. The prison governor’s mad second-in-command with the jackboots has some sort of fit on the floor and then jumps up and starts waving his riding-crop around like Sherlock looking for a corpse to flog. After which they drag the ex-boyfriend off to prison and it’s the end of Act One, thank Christ.

“Champagne?” Maurice says as they head for the bar.

Lestrade’s relieved to see he’s looking pretty baffled too. It’s not just him, then.

“Whisky,” Lestrade says firmly, because this is a double whisky interval if ever there was one. Preferably Lagavulin, if they’ve got it.

“I’m not surprised it’s had mixed reviews,” Maurice says, making short work of his own drink. “Are you OK to stay for the second half?”

“What happens next?” Lestrade asks warily.

“Act Two’s the party, and Act Three’s the morning after,” Maurice says.

On the evidence so far, it’s going to be the sort of party Lestrade used to have to break up in his brief spell on the Vice Squad, and the morning after doesn’t really bear thinking about. He could just bugger off home, but he can see that Maurice would quite like to stay.

“I’ll be fine,” Lestrade says. It’s only opera, after all; how bad can it be?

“I’ll make it up to you,” Maurice promises, giving him a quick hug and a crafty squeeze on account.

Of course this would be the moment when Lestrade catches sight of Mycroft Holmes’s assistant on the other side of the Stalls Bar. He remembers her from that crime scene right at the start of things, the one where he realized Watson had shot the cabbie and Sherlock was protecting him. It’s not a night he likes to remember, even now.

He doesn’t know the handsome woman who’s with her, though she reminds him vaguely of the bodyguard in that 1990s fantasy series about people living in the Underground. The one with Peter Capaldi as an angel, which seemed a bit unlikely even in his pre-Malcolm Tucker days...

Mycroft Holmes’s PA doesn’t look any better pleased to see him and Maurice than Lestrade is to see her. He wonders if she’s out to her boss, because it certainly looks like she’s got something to be out about. Mycroft Holmes probably knows anyway; there’s not much gets past him. In the old days, having a girlfriend would have branded her as a security risk. Maybe it’s different now in the corridors of power, though he wouldn’t bank on it.

The bell for the second half goes, too bloody soon for Lestrade’s liking.

“Brace yourself,” Maurice says. “I have a feeling it’s going to get weirder from here.”

Truer fucking words were never spoken.

The second half accelerates rapidly from bizarre to flat-out bonkers. There’s a staircase leading nowhere that keeps moving around by itself, and every now and then some poor sod has to stand at the top of it and sing; there’s a depressed Russian prince in his pyjamas with a chorus line of Batgirls, a big guy in sparkly lederhosen and one in a tutu who must be at least six foot two. Oh, and the prison governor seems to have come to the party as a drag queen. Yeah, right… The doctor who’s nicknamed the Bat spends about half an hour sitting on the giant stopwatch dangling from the ceiling for no obvious reason. Probably thanks his lucky stars he doesn’t have to hang upside down. The morning after scene seems to be happening in some kind of horror-movie asylum, and from the looks of things the lunatics have definitely taken over.

Opera,” Lestrade says feelingly, as they stagger out of the Coliseum and into the night.

Maurice looks a bit stunned, and not in the blissed-out way he often does after a night at the opera.

“ENO: putting the bat into batshit crazy,” a girl behind them says to her friends. “Seriously, what did we just watch?”

“Come on, Maurice,” Lestrade says. “Let’s go home.”


He wakes up pleasantly achy the next morning, with a tune from last night still in his head. This may be because he can hear Maurice singing it in the kitchen as he makes the tea. Lestrade yawns and stretches, a bit cautiously. Mmm. Opera’s effect on Maurice is still the best reason he knows for sitting through the stuff, and luckily even a production as weird as that one seems to do the trick.

“Bitterness must turn to bliss, in sweet forgetfulness,” Maurice sings, to the accompaniment of teacups and saucers chinking together on the tray.

Lestrade sighs with contentment. Tea in bed with Maurice and then an encore of last night’s pleasanter activities… Now that’s the kind of happy ending he can really get behind.


Title from the Act Three trio in Die Fledermaus; more information about the ENO production is here.

The "other Strauss" opera that Lestrade remembers is the Glyndebourne production of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, shown in cinemas as part of the Glyndebourne on Screen programme.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/137745.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
I remember you posted a bit of this on WriSoMoFu, so glad you've got it finished. I enjoyed the fic a lot, though the production itself sounds like something of a disaster. And when I clicked through to look at some of the pictures from it, they were dancing around on beds, which is begging for disaster. My uncle (he's the Flying Dutchman in my icon), once broke both his arms in a rehearsal when his spurs got caught in some sheets. (An opera-singer's life can be a hazardous one).

Also glad Greg gets some compensation out of it all - and I'm now contemplating what Anthea and Ella might have thought of the night. (I may write their viewpoint, if that's OK?)
Dec. 14th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
thank you - very glad you enjoyed this. sorry to hear about your uncle's accident - yes indeed, a hazardous life...

I didn't think I could write Anthea and Ella's view of this production, particularly Ella's - but I'd be very happy if you did!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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