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fic: The Old Bad Songs

Title: The Old Bad Songs


Author: fengirl88


Lestrade/Maurice crossover

Wordcount; Currently about 4500


Cautiously rated M for sexual content in later chapters


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


Disclaimer: I do not own this Lestrade, or this Sherlock, or any other characters from the BBC Sherlock who may turn up in the story. Or this Maurice, who is an older version of Forster's as played by James Wilby in the Merchant Ivory film. Or the song quoted in chapter 2, the first line of which gives that chapter its title.


A/N: This story is for kopoushka , who requested it, and who suggested that Lestrade and an older Maurice could meet over a blackmail case. It follows on from the incidents in Close Analysis and Unpredictable. No spoilers for BBC Sherlock as yet.


The title of the story is a translation of a Schumann song title, Die Alten Bösen Lieder, and will make sense eventually. Individual chapter titles are taken from songs this Lestrade knew in his youth.

Chapter 1


Watching The Detectives




He's the first man who's been able to take Lestrade's mind off Sherlock for more than five minutes. That part of Lestrade's mind, at any rate. Which Lestrade knows he probably should be grateful for. God knows he needs something to do that.


Probably shouldn't be this though.


It really shouldn't be this.


If there's one cast-iron rule in the job, even more than not shagging your boss, it's that you don't do it with a civilian who's called the police in to help. Particularly if what he's called you in to help with is a nasty case of blackmail.


Not that Lestrade is doing it with M., of course. But he knows he shouldn't even be thinking about it. And the fact that he's thinking about it at all is a worry.


Hadn't realized how much the Sherlock stuff was affecting him. Clouding his judgement. He's going to have to do something about that, though he's not sure what. Go out and get laid? Chance would be a fine thing. And Lestrade has an uneasy feeling it might not do the job.


Can't exactly go on sick leave because you've been crossed in love, Lestrade thinks, and winces. Crossed in love should have been ironic, an obvious piss-take. Doesn't feel like one though. Feels a bit too close to the truth for comfort.


He's always known Sherlock could mess with his mind and, God help him, his body. Like nobody else. But it always used to seem like a game they were playing. Bit of a weird and twisted game, sure; the sort you mostly don't get into unless you've had one too many - or several. Games he's played before when he was drunk: Truth or Consequences. I've Never. Strip Poker.


Or that one where you end up with your pants round your ankles and having sex in front of the guy's flatmate. Just to pick an example at random.


Yep, being with Sherlock was a bit like being under the influence. Often, exactly like it. But the worst you'd wake up with usually was a hangover and a few embarrassing flashbacks, and that never stopped anyone from getting sloshed the next time.


This feels different. This actually hurts. Which Lestrade really wasn't expecting, and doesn't know what to do with. He'd thought that finally getting his leg over with Sherlock would mean he didn't mind about Sherlock and JW. Just goes to show how wrong you can be.


The sex had been pretty good. Bloody good, actually, in the circumstances. Probably not going to help to get Sherlock out of his system, though, not sure why he'd thought it would. He'd felt cheerful for a couple of days afterwards, had even thought it might happen again, given how much Sherlock had seemed to be enjoying himself – which would be nice.

Then he'd run into Sherlock and John Watson at a crime scene looking annoyingly pleased with themselves and a sight too comfortable with each other for Lestrade's peace of mind. Not clambering all over each other or anything like that. Just – easy, somehow. Like they've been married for years. Something about the way they look at each other, seem to know each other's next move... Enough to turn your stomach.


Enough to turn Lestrade's, anyway. That jealous knotted feeling seems to have taken up permanent residence in his gut. Plus, his chest hurts, which never used to happen.


He doesn't know if they're shagging, though he thinks they probably are. But even if he tells himself they aren't it doesn't seem to make any difference. DI Lestrade: new hobby, pining like a bloody schoolgirl. Great. Just what he needs in his life, a pointless emotional complication with no hope of resolution.


So of course he acquires another one. To take his mind off the first one. Stroke of genius, really.


Which is where M. comes into the picture, even though he absolutely shouldn't. If Lestrade can't sort himself out pretty damn quick he's going to have to ask to be taken off the case, and he's not looking forward to trying to explain that one to the Assistant Commissioner. Sorry, sir, I accidentally shagged the blackmail victim.


Not that it's going to come to that.


He does think M. is ... interested though. Lestrade's judgement may not be working but his instincts still function well enough for that sort of thing.


M. doesn't have to keep coming to the Yard the way he does, for a start. Lestrade's going to have to have a word with him about that, thinking about it. He's not sure about this, but he thought he heard Anderson saying something about the boss's new boyfriend last time M. turned up to ask yet again about developments. Being over-anxious is one thing, but M. almost seems to be making excuses to see Lestrade, claiming he's remembered something else the blackmailer told him, which then turns out to be too vague to be useful.


Lestrade's mobile rings, making him jump. If he's starting to have the jitters this really is getting out of hand.


Unknown caller. Hmm. That shouldn't be happening. He keeps his number a closely guarded secret. Unless it's Sherlock again, but he usually texts rather than calls. Probably just as well, given the effect his voice has on Lestrade. Sherlock could make the Argos catalogue sound like the early stages of phone sex.


Hallo?” Lestrade says, cautiously.


Silence at the other end.


Lestrade here. Who is that?”


You've been a naughty boy, Inspector.” Not a voice he recognizes.


Lestrade's stomach churns with apprehension. He tries to sound cool. “Sorry, I don't have time for nuisance callers.”


You really had better make time for me,” the voice says.


Man's voice, Lestrade thinks, quite a high one; could just possibly be a deep-voiced woman. Faint trace of an accent he can't quite identify.


Why would I want to do that?” Lestrade asks, still trying to sound casual and unruffled. Some hopes.


Oh, you surely don't need me to tell you,” the voice sneers.


Actually, I do,” Lestrade says. “If you don't want me to hang up, that is.”


There's a laugh. Not a nice one. Lestrade feels he really doesn't want to spend any more time getting to know this person better. Wishes for once he wasn't a poor bloody copper and could just hang up on the tosser, rather than feeling he's got to get to the bottom of this.


Well,” says the voice, “let's just say that you wouldn't want your dear friend to come to any harm. I'm sure we can agree on that.”


If I knew who you were talking about we might,” Lestrade says. Wonders if it is a wind-up after all: this is sounding pretty vague.


Come, come, Inspector,” the voice chides him. “It's not like you to be so disingenuous. Your transparency, pathetic as it is, is part of your charm.”


I'm going to hang up now,” Lestrade says, knowing he isn't.


No, you're not,” the voice says, accurately.


Who are you and what do you want?” Lestrade sounds shakier than he could wish, but this bastard is starting to rattle him. Which is really annoying.


That's for me to know and you to find out,” the voice says. “You have five days. After that, everyone is going to know.”


Know what?” Lestrade is flummoxed again. He didn't think he had any guilty secrets left. Apart from his feelings for Sherlock, of course, but he can't see how this person would know about them. Or indeed how revealing that would harm a “dear friend”. Sherlock already knows, and the only other person who would care is the blasted Watson. Not a dear friend of Lestrade's.


About you and your City gent, of course,” the voice says impatiently. “The charming Mr Hall. The gutter press will just love it, don't you think?”


Shit. Looks as if Lestrade is too late to warn M. off.


Are you the one who's been writing to him?” he says, before he can stop himself. Christ, Lestrade, show the nice blackmailer all the cards in your hand, why don't you?


Another laugh. Nastier, if possible. “You'd hardly expect me to say yes to that, now, would you? But let's just say I know about the correspondence. Quite a lot about it. And about how grateful Mr Hall has been for all your help.”


Lestrade is sweating now; he doesn't know what to do. “You've made a mistake,” he says hoarsely.


On the contrary,” the voice says, “the mistake is yours.”


There's a click and then the dial tone. Gone. Should have tried to put a trace on it, do it next time. But how do you explain to your team that some vicious nutjob is trying to make you part of the blackmail case you were called in to investigate?


Lestrade taps in a number. It's slightly worrying that he doesn't have to look it up.


M's voice at the other end, sounding agitated.


Has he – has the blackmailer tried to make contact with you again?” Lestrade asks.


Just now,” M. says. “Said he – they were fed up with the stalling and that unless I pay them twice what they originally asked they'll go to the tabloids with all of it.”


Lestrade nearly asks if the blackmailer mentioned him, but if they didn't then that's not going to help. No point in adding to M's fear.


This isn't how he'd have wanted to bring it up, but he can't see how else to do it right now.


Best if you don't come to the Yard for a bit,” he says carefully. “Don't want to aggravate them.”


It's turning out to be a field day for unnerving silences.


Eventually, M. says “I need to see you.”


Look, I'll send Sergeant Donovan round to take down any more details,” Lestrade says. Which is what he should have been doing all along.


It's not that,” M says. “Or not exactly.”


Oh Christ, not more of this. If M wants to have a mid-life coming-out crisis why can't he have it over someone else, for fuck's sake? Why does it have to be Lestrade?


Always assuming that's what this is, Lestrade rebukes himself. Assume nothing, wasn't that the slogan?


Look, Maurice,” he says, “it's not safe.”


Realizes too late that he should have said Mr Hall, or Sir, or nothing at all.


As the mystery voice said, the mistake is his.



Chapter 2


The British Police Are The Best In The World



Meeting Maurice Hall for the first time brought it all back to him.


Lestrade doesn't know the man's age for sure, but it must be much the same as his own. Which means he understands where Hall is coming from in a way that, say, Donovan can't.


She thinks it's all different these days. Doesn't really get why anyone would need to be in the closet. Understands that if you are in the closet of course you can be blackmailed about that. But she's obviously quite impatient about it, thinks Hall brought it on himself and basically must just be a spineless wanker.


Donovan's a good copper, and (despite that thing with Anderson) pretty smart into the bargain. Has her kinks – who doesn't? But the real problem here is that she's just too young. Too young to know what it was like when Hall and Lestrade were growing up.


Lestrade enjoys working with people younger than him, most of the time. Which is just as well, because most of the time that's what he does, these days. The policemen – and women – are getting younger, not a word of a lie. Their energy and enthusiasm and their stamina ... Christ, he couldn't do that now, so it's just as well someone can. But every now and then you hit a case like this where it matters that your team were still in nappies, or indeed not yet even a glint in the milkman's eye, when you were growing up a young gay man.


He's tried to give Donovan the lecture, but he's not sure it really went in. People think homosexuality stopped being illegal in 1967. That's if they know anything at all, which these days mostly they don't. But he remembers being sixteen, knowing any man who shagged him in the next five years could end up in prison. While all around him other 16-year-olds were having legal (if almost certainly ill-advised and fumbling) sex with their same-age girlfriends.


Any of the men who came to the big house, for example, in his bedroom-window-climbing days, could have ended up in jail for what happened after he climbed in. They might be legal with each other, but not with him.


He remembers parties in the late 70s, full of gloomy right-on teenagers singing along to Tom Robinson's “Glad To Be Gay”:


Make sure your boyfriend's at least 21

So only your friends and your brothers get done.


Remembers how it went on, too:


Lie to your workmates, lie to your folks,

Put down the queens and make anti-queer jokes,

Gay Lib's ridiculous, join in the laughter:

The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?


There was a lot of that, back then. Covering up by pretending you hated and despised the thing you secretly were. He didn't do that himself – doesn't know how he escaped it, though he's grateful he did. But he saw enough of it in others to recognize it for what it was. And to know the scars can last a lifetime.


He knows he was one of the lucky ones, in all the ways that matter. Never got sent out as a pretty policeman to trap some poor unsuspecting fucker out cottaging. He doesn't know how he'd have coped with that. Might have had to leave the job. Doesn't think he could have gone along with it. Hopes he wouldn't have.


There was a lot of betrayal, back then.


Lucky in his first DI, Williams. Lestrade was never sure if Williams knew he was gay, but something clearly told Williams it was a bad idea to send Lestrade on that sort of job. Even though anyone else would have thought young Lestrade had pretty policeman written all over him. Certainly had the looks for it, back then. These days, he tries not to let the mirror catch his eye.


Meeting Maurice Hall shakes him up, though. Because the first thing Lestrade notices, almost, even before he takes stock of the river view and the high-design decor and the hundred and one other signs in Hall's penthouse flat screaming serious money, is that Hall is ... checking him out. Which is weird, to say the least of it. But Hall's eyes are definitely inspecting Lestrade in a disconcertingly familiar way. One that would make complete sense if they were in a bar or a club. But which is seriously out of place between a high-flying stockbroker and the DI who's come round to see about the blackmail. And which makes Lestrade feel ... well, interesting, and more fanciable than he has for a very long time. Apart from that half-hour on the sofa with Sherlock, which he's trying not to think about.


Lestrade gives himself a mental slap and asks Hall to tell him what's been happening. They sit on opposite sides of the room, drinking the best coffee Lestrade's had in years as he tries not to sink into the rather too comfortable armchair. Man could get used to this sort of life, though not on a DI's salary.


Donovan takes notes. Lestrade wonders fleetingly if she noticed that thing with Hall eyeing him up. Decides it's best to pretend it didn't happen.


So, the blackmail. Started about a month ago. Letters, first. The usual anonymous filth. Surprisingly old-style, really: does anyone still cut words out of the papers and paste them onto cheap writing-paper like that? All a bit Agatha Christie for the 21st century. At first the letters are just abusive. Then they start threatening to Reveal All.


Mr Hall,” Lestrade says, “we know this is – difficult for you. But we need to ask you what it is that this person is threatening to reveal.”


Hall looks briefly angry, as if Lestrade has no right to ask such a thing. Lestrade's seen that look before. It goes with the money and the class confidence – arrogance, really - that says Lestrade and Donovan are just the hired help and they ought to know their place. He used to see a lot of that look at the big house when he was young. Often in the faces of men who would later be begging him to suck them off, or indeed who'd done exactly that the night before and were now regretting it and wondering -


He shouldn't be thinking about this. Doesn't help that Hall reminds him of one of those men he climbed in to, one of the nicer ones, poor confused sod. Never did find out what happened to him. Same fair hair and broad forehead, same classic handsome English features, same puzzled expression as if he was just waking up for the first time in his life. He'd probably look like this now, with those laughter lines at the corner of his eyes.


Hall stops looking angry and starts talking, which is just as well. Concentrate, Lestrade. Thank God for Sally, writing it all down.


At Cambridge,” Hall begins, and stops dead. Lestrade thinks for one ghastly moment that Hall might be about to start crying. Really hopes not.


Hall tries again. “At Cambridge, I had a – relationship. With someone who is – who became - “ Stops again.


Lestrade says nothing, hopes to God Donovan isn't going to butt in trying to be helpful. No, she's waiting too. Knows her stuff.


Hall says “I can't tell you his name. He's – in politics. But he would suffer if – if this – person does what he's threatening to do.”


They'll have to get the name, of course. Best not to push for it right now though. Let the man talk.


You say what he's threatening to do,” Donovan says. “Do you know this person is a man?”


Hall looks startled, though it's a perfectly sensible question.


I don't know,” he says after a bit. “I just – assumed. I – I don't have a lot to do with women,” he adds, almost apologetically.


Lestrade doesn't look at Donovan. Suspects he knows what she's thinking, though, and hopes her face doesn't show it too plainly. There's an awkward silence.


How old were you, then?” Lestrade asks.


Hall looks at him, a quick look that says You know about this, don't you? I was right.


I was eighteen, he was twenty-one. He's – he got married pretty much straight after Graduation. Always wanted to go into politics and knew he needed a wife if he was going to stand a chance of being chosen as a candidate. People were still talking about the Jeremy Thorpe case, even a couple of years later. Lots of suspicion of single men, especially the handsome ones.”


Lestrade remembers the Thorpe scandal. Well, he would: his part of the world. A lot of the guests at the big house seemed to know Thorpe or his wife, and would try to be worldly about it all while obviously panicking like crazy in case anyone thought they were like that. He nods, understandingly.


So your – this man you were involved with,” Lestrade says. “Is he still married?”


Yes,” Hall says, grimacing. “These days, he's rather hot on family values.”


Lestrade winces. Can't be much fun for Hall, seeing his ex become a right-wing hypocrite. Surprising, in a way, that Hall doesn't want to see the bastard outed. Except, Lestrade supposes, if Hall is in the closet himself.


Something of this must be showing in his face, because Hall responds as if he's said it out loud.


I keep my private life private. What there is of it, which these days is not much,” he says.


Christ, what a waste, Lestrade thinks. Follows it up with another mental slap. Focus.


Of course I was hurt when he got married. But even though he's become – what he has – I don't want to see him destroyed. And this would destroy him.”


Donovan can't contain herself any longer. “Bloody politicians, they're all the same!”


Sergeant Donovan,” Lestrade says warningly.


Sorry,” she says, though he can tell she'd like to say something quite different.


Hypocrisy in public life is pretty widespread, it's true,” Hall says wearily. “But it's not just about the – about what happened with him and me. It was – we -”


He stops, gathers himself for another effort. “Some of his friends were – rather wild.”


Drugs, Lestrade thinks. Probably. Complication. Going to find out things that would put him or his mate behind bars, if anyone follows through with a prosecution. Tricky.


Parties?” he asks.


Hall pulls a face. “Some,” he says.


So it's possible the blackmailer was part of this crowd,” Lestrade suggests. “Someone who came to the parties?”


Hall looks, surprisingly, as if that hadn't occurred to him.


Could be someone who needs the money now for a drug habit,” Lestrade says carefully.


Big drug habit,” Donovan says sceptically. She's looking at the admittedly eye-watering sum in the blackmail letter.


No such thing as a small one,” says Lestrade.


They sit there for a minute, looking at the letter.


Has this person made contact with you in any other way?” Lestrade asks.


Hall looks spooked, as if Lestrade is a mind-reader or something. Poor sod seems not to know this is the obvious next question. Or maybe he's just not thinking too clearly at the moment.


A phone call. This morning,” he says. “Not long before you got here.”


Why didn't the stupid fucker mention that first off? Oh well. No point in worrying about that now.


Landline or mobile?” Lestrade asks.


Landline. I – I don't give out my mobile number, but the landline's in the book. Kept meaning to go ex-directory and never got round to it.” Which sounds rather a weak explanation.


We can put a tap on your phone, try to trace the call if he – if they call again,” Lestrade says. “Apart from that, we can get forensics to go over the letters, see if there are any clues there. But really what we need is anything you can tell us about this person. Did the voice sound familiar?”


Hall thinks about it. “Yes and no,” he says eventually. Lestrade is aware of Donovan twitching irritably. Wills her not to say anything. She doesn't.


Yes and no?” Lestrade asks.


The voice did sound familiar in a way. But I really don't think I'd ever heard it before,” Hall says. “It sounded – like a voice I've heard before, but as if it wasn't the same one.”


This makes sense to Lestrade. Sort of. “Did you know who it sounded like?” he asks.


Hall shakes his head. “All I know is, it was an echo from a long time ago.” Not much help, really.


And is there anyone you can think of from that time, anyone at all, who might bear a grudge towards you or – this other man?”


Lestrade is already getting a pretty clear idea of who Hall's ex might be, but he tries not to let that show, or to think about it yet. If he's right, though, they'll need to look into the other man's contacts a.s.a.p., because he's a much more obvious target than Hall, despite Hall's wealth. What's odd is why a blackmailer would go to Hall first. If he did, if they did. Can't know that till you question the other guy, and at the moment Hall is obviously not wanting to give them his name. Have to lean on him about that soon; run the tests first and see how much more they can get out of Hall without leaning.


Hall looks blank. “I can't think of anyone,” he says. “I will try. If I remember anything I'll – I'll let you know straight away.”


They talk practicalities, what needs to happen about the phone tap and so on. Lestrade gives Hall his card with the Yard number on it, says there's always someone there to take a message, any time of day, so to call the minute anything occurs to him.


Donovan's already out of the door and pressing the button for the fancy glass lift when Hall gives Lestrade his card. The address and landline are on the front; but on the back there's a pencilled mobile number and the words Please call me. M.


I thought you said you didn't give out your mobile,” Lestrade says. If Hall is this free with his private contact details it puts the case in a new and even more worrying light.


I don't,” Hall says, astonishingly.


Lestrade doesn't know what to make of that. Puts the card in his pocket and prepares to forget about it. Doesn't know why Hall would do such a thing, except for the reason that absolutely doesn't make sense. The reason that means the last thing Lestrade should ever do is ring this number and really he should just refuse to take it, or drop it in the river or something. Well, not that, obviously. Not safe.


This is turning out to be a weird day, Lestrade thinks, saying goodbye to Hall and joining Donovan in the lift. Hall's still standing in the doorway, looking at them. Looking at Lestrade.


As the lift begins to descend, Lestrade realizes he hasn't thought about Sherlock once, not since that first moment when Hall looked at him like that.


Interesting. Best not to dwell on it though. Could be a serious distraction. And this is obviously one of those bloody cases where you really need your wits about you.


The edges of the card are sharp against his fingers. He takes his hand out of his pocket and tells himself he's not going to think about it again.


 Chapter 3

 You'd Better Speak Up Now, It Won't Mean A Thing Later )

Chapter 4


Mystery Dance )









( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 4th, 2010 10:45 am (UTC)
Meant to also say Memmed this! Obviously... (MAURICE!!!) I really hope you're writing a continuation!
Sep. 4th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
excellent! thank you so much - and thank you for the friending. now mutual.

yes, this fic is currently eating my brain. I have the end of it, or what I think is the end, and the third chapter. But want to get more of the middle sorted out before I post chapter 3, in case I have to make changes to it because of what comes later.

I love the fact that BBCSherlock propels people who never did this before into doing it.
Sep. 4th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
Totally agree! Bar a couple of 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' fics, it's my first time writing in over 10 years! God, that makes me feel old...

If you ever want a beta, PM me! Not that I'm trying to get hold of the sequels more quickly or anything, not at all... *innocent look*
Sep. 4th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for the beta offer! Life is full of new experiences at the moment.

I now seem to be writing the bloody thing BACKWARDS from the end, which is weird and must cease.

No Sherlock yet and he really needs to make an appearance soon.

Sep. 4th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
Not weird at all! Sometimes much easier, if you know where it's going, to retrohack the route map!
Sep. 8th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
This is the SHIT! I read Maurice when I was 17 and I loved it. This is perfect. I like the writing it backwards lark :P.

*on to part 3*
Sep. 8th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
misread this comment initially (skipped the definite article, which was slightly worrying). But very pleased you are enjoying it!
Sep. 8th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh! I totally squealed when I read Maurice's name! -^_^;
Sep. 8th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
thank you for the squeal!

I thought it was a great idea of kopoushka's and could NOT resist writing this...
Sep. 8th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm ever so glad that you didn't resist and am eagerly awaiting chapter 8. ^^
Sep. 11th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC)
thank you very much! glad you enjoyed.

your icon is a hoot - did you make it yourself?
Sep. 11th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC)
Ah no. I made this one though. ^^ And a few more of the lovely Rupert Graves, I haven't gotten around to making any of him from Sherlock though.
Sep. 11th, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
oh very nice!

look forward to seeing any you make from Sherlock...
Sep. 11th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
I've been avoiding long fics while battling with mine but now I finally found the time to read this :D
I was just going to comment at the end but I love this so much already it needed saying here. You've caught Lestrade perfectly!
On to the next part I go...
Sep. 11th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
eeee! Thank you - so glad you think so. I fell for Lestrade - obviously - and could not resist having a go at him. Writing him, anyway, since that's the only go I'll get. Sigh.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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