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Title: The Old Bad Songs (chapter 11 of 11 plus tracklist of songs mentioned and quoted)

Author: fengirl88

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: sex, drug references, capture (for the story as a whole, not so much 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.   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:  1397 plus tracklist.

Tags: fic, Sherlock, Lestrade, Maurice, The Old Bad Songs, sherlock/lestrade, lestrade/other,  crossover

A/N: This story is for kopoushka , who asked for it and suggested how a present-day Maurice and a present-day Lestrade might come together.  ginbitch was an amazing beta and cheerleader, particularly in the later stages.  

Thanks to everyone for comments and encouragement!


Chapter 11


The Old Bad Songs




A few weeks later, and not for the first time, Maurice turns up at Lestrade's with a nice bottle of wine. A very nice bottle of wine, in fact. And obvious intentions. And despite all Lestrade's good resolutions they end up having sex again. Which is almost as nice as the wine, but still feels wrong.


We've got to stop doing this”, Lestrade says afterwards.


Maurice is still getting his breath back, so he doesn't say anything for a bit. Lestrade looks at him. Thinks again how beautiful Maurice is in his very particular, absolutely normal, fair-haired, regular-featured-handsome-Englishman way. Looking even better for being naked and frankly dishevelled, still all loose-limbed and befuddled in the aftermath of sex. Anyone in their right mind would be delighted to have this man collapsed across their bed in a just-fucked haze.


It really is a crying shame Lestrade's not in his right mind. But he still isn't, and he doesn't think he's ever going to be. Not while he still feels the way he does about Sherlock.


Maurice's breathing gradually steadies, and his eyes lose their cloudy look.


I know,” he says. “This is the last one.”


You said that last time,” Lestrade reminds him. “And the time before.”


Maurice grins ruefully. “I did, didn't I? But this time I mean it. I'm going to start looking. Seriously looking.”


For a partner, boyfriend, something like that. He doesn't have to say it. Lestrade knows. “Better idea,” he says.


Yes,” says Maurice. “I'm sorry it couldn't be you, but I do know it can't.”


Lestrade nods, because he finds he can't say anything.


You are wasted on him, you know that?” Maurice says gently.


Lestrade just looks at him, because even nodding feels too difficult right now.


He still has no idea what's going on with Sherlock. If anything, this whole business of Sherlock looking at him like that is getting more confusing, not less. Lestrade keeps thinking he'll manage to say something to Sherlock about it but he never does. Even when it happens again. Which it seems to be doing quite a lot.


Brought you a present,” Maurice says, getting up and starting to pull on his clothes.


What, another one?” Lestrade says, looking at the wine.


That wasn't a present, that was a seduction,” Maurice says. He doesn't quite add you idiot, but it sort of hangs in the air.


Go on then,” says Lestrade ungraciously, starting to get dressed as well. “What's this present?”


It's a CD. Nice-looking man on the cover, who must be the singer. Looks about their age. Classical, Lestrade registers, suppressing a groan. Trouble with posh lovers, they always want to improve your mind.


He looks at the track listing on the back and his manners desert him.


Maurice, it's in German.”


Maurice looks as if the words I know that, you fuckwit are hovering on his lips. But he doesn't say them.


There's a translation in the liner notes,” he says instead.


Sorry,” Lestrade says remorsefully. “I'm an ungrateful bugger, aren't I?”


You are,” says Maurice, now fully dressed and hugging him. “But I'm not. So this is to say thank you. Thank you and goodbye.”


That probably should be goodbye for now, on past form. Lestrade hopes so, anyway. He's got quite fond of Maurice.


They kiss once more, and Christ it's a bloody shame Lestrade can't feel what he'd like to feel for this man because he is fine, and a lovely kisser into the bargain. But it's just not going to happen and they both know it. Not for the foreseeable future, at any rate.


So Maurice goes, and Lestrade makes himself a massive pot of tea to try to fend off the hangover he can feel waiting in the wings. Looks at the CD, feeling guilty. Ought to put it on, really, give it a try at least.


He flips through the booklet, pulling faces at nightingales and more nightingales and linden trees and moonshine and the rest. Not his idea of a good song. Notices that Maurice has scrawled an asterisk by one song near the end of the booklet – at least he assumes it's Maurice. Wonders why. He puts the CD on, selects the track and sits down to listen, grumbling before the singing's even started because the piano is doing that jaunty German thing that reminds him of his sister's piano lessons when he was a kid. The Merry Peasant or some such bollocks.


Then he looks at the words, which are all about a boy who loves a girl who loves another boy who loves someone else, so the first girl marries someone else again, first person she sees, the boy we started with is hurt... Stupid fucking clichés. Don't know why the music has to sound so bloody cheerful about it either. The last verse says something like “It's an old story but it's always new, and when it happens to you it breaks your heart in half.” Yes, well, thank you for your input, Mr Hall. Some present this turned out to be.


He thinks about getting up to turn it off but he can't be bothered. And the singer is good, have to hand it to him, and the pianist is no slouch either if you like that sort of thing. Lestrade's almost dropping off when the last track makes him jump: angry, harsh chords and an edge in the singing that wasn't there before. This one sounds oddly familiar. Actually, thinking about it, various bits of it have been. He dimly remembers one of the posh lovers back in the old days who might have dragged him to a concert with this in. Probably fancied the singer or something. He doesn't think it was this singer, though he supposes it could have been.


He reaches down for the lyrics, which have fallen on the floor – he really was dropping off there. The singer is saying he's going to bury his old bad songs and his bitter dreams in a massive great coffin which twelve giants will throw into the sea.


Always good to have a plan, Lestrade scoffs -


And is doing fine at resisting the song until the last verse, when the music gets darker and slower. The singer's explaining that the coffin has to be so big because he's planning to bury all his love and pain in it. Sentimental tosh, obviously, but something in the way he sings it catches Lestrade right under the ribcage, like a punch he didn't see coming. Right in the middle of a word, the singer's voice goes away almost to nothing. It's like he can't quite believe how much of this pain there is, how much it hurts. Or like it's a secret he's trying to keep even from himself.


And that's the end, of the singing anyway. Piano's still burbling on, not unpleasantly. Lestrade coughs a bit, tries to clear his throat. Maurice's bloody idea of a thank-you present -


He's not even going to try to finish that sentence.


That concert's coming back to him now, bits of it anyway. Bunch of songs about a poet and his love, self-indulgent fool Lestrade thought he sounded. Going on about a love that never really existed except in his mind. Just a kiss, if that, and then carrying on for half an hour tormenting himself because the girl marries someone else. Should just go out and get laid, young Lestrade had said, disgusted. Plenty more fish in the sea. What's the silly fucker whinging about? Put your stupid old lovesongs in the coffin, best place for them. Get over it, get over yourself and move on.


In those days, it had seemed as if there would always be plenty more fish in the sea. It hadn't ever occurred to him that even if there were that might not solve the problem.


Now – well, Lestrade knows it would take a bloody big coffin to put his feelings for Sherlock in. He's not sure twelve giants would be enough.


Seems you don't get rid of the old bad songs so easily. Lestrade sighs and drinks his tea and wonders if he ever will.










The Old Bad Songs Tracklist


Chapter 1


Watching the Detectives – Elvis Costello (My Aim Is True)


Chapter 2


The British Police Are The Best In The World


from Tom Robinson, Glad To Be Gay (released as single, 1978; complete history of the song can be found at http://gladtobegay.net/  )


Chapter 3


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


from Elvis Costello, Fish 'N' Chip Paper (Trust, 1981)


Chapter 4


Mystery Dance – Elvis Costello (My Aim Is True, 1977)


Chapter 5


One Of The Minor Players


from Round Midnight, recorded by Robert Wyatt (Shipbuilding/Memories of You/Round Midnight, 1982)


Chapter 6


Waiting For The End Of The World – Elvis Costello (My Aim Is True, 1977)


Chapter 7


Just Too Bad That He Had To Fall


from I Don't Want To Hear It Any More, recorded by Jerry Butler (1964)


Chapter 8


Welcome To The Human Race


from Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra (Out of the Blue, 1977)


Chapter 9


Dreams Of What Could Be


from Round Midnight, recorded by Robert Wyatt (Shipbuilding/Memories of You/Round Midnight, 1982)


Chapter 10


Small Hours – John Martyn (One World, 1977)


Chapter 11


The Old Bad Songs –


Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen (A Youth Loves A Girl) and Die Alten bösen Lieder (The Old Bad Songs)


from Robert Schumann, Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love)


I imagine the recording Maurice gives Lestrade is the 2009 one by Simon Keenlyside and Malcolm Martineau.


The film JW and Clara go to see and which Maurice quotes from is Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis (1945). It is 190 minutes long, not six hours, and is seriously gorgeous.





( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 13th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
thank you so much! eek. I feel very proud of that comment.


had the ending almost from the start and then had to work out how to get there.

have loved writing this so much, I can't tell you.

Sep. 13th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
This has been beautiful. Thank you for the ride.

"Now – well, Lestrade knows it would take a bloody big coffin to put his feelings for Sherlock in. He's not sure twelve giants would be enough."

Heartbreaking, and perfect.
Sep. 13th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
ohhh - lovely comment. *blushes and squeaks*

thank you so much! that line was always where the story was going, from the moment I thought of using the Schumann (which I adore, especially that recording of it). poor Lestrade, having his fate mapped out by a song cycle! next time I will have to choose some more cheerful music for him.

Sep. 14th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
I am. That's what happens when art veers into reality (jolts me every time).
Not sorry for refraining to comment earlier because all you'd have got yesterday would be ungrateful whines about not getting the happy ever after. So I let it steam for a while and now I see the wisdom (briefly). They're so very much alive, how on earth have you achieved that?
That said, I hope for developments, if you're still up for playing with the boys *whistles enigmatically*
Sep. 14th, 2010 09:34 am (UTC)
Re: crestfallen
ohh - I am so sorry for the disappointment. I was afraid of that. I got the shape of the story really early on, before I'd written any of it down, so it was always going to end the way it did.

Was your happy ending Maurice and Lestrade or Lestrade and Sherlock? Am assuming the former but I have had people clamouring for both! I don't think I can fix THAT as a threesome - not even sure I can fix Lestrade/Sherlock/JW as one, though I admire those writers in the fandom who can...

I cannot seem to write a serious happy ending at the moment. Not sure if this is for the same reason the novelist A.L. Kennedy once gave in a talk ("I don't like my characters having a better time than I am"!). I don't /think/ it's just that...

I really would /like/ to write a happy ending. Especially for Lestrade, but I also got really fond of Maurice in this one. ginbitch has been encouraging me to get them together (and wants to shake Lestrade for being noble and stupid and not understanding that he should just get on with it and enjoy being with Maurice).

I think your lovely question about how they are so much alive is relevant to the unhappy ending thing as well. I started out writing Lestrade as a purely comic character, in Close Analysis, and he could have a brief happy ending there because it was just a joke. But in order to make him a serious character, make him feel real, I had to make what happened with Sherlock and JW /hurt/ him, and then it just didn't seem possible to fix that within the scope of this fic.

Do you know that children's book called The Velveteen Rabbit? Interesting things in it about being Real and being hurt.

In answer to your enigmatic whistling - these characters are not letting me go and there will be more fic involving them. Not least because writing this stuff is the most fun I have had in a very long time, even when the results should carry an angst warning!

Sep. 14th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Re: crestfallen
Of course i'm rooting for L/M! Sherlock has his lovely (and seriously creepy, in your story, at least) JW. To each his own, I say, no need to get greedy. So if you'd like to conjure a happy ending (i'm clinging to your words here)), DO, i beseech thee. If this leads to developing and elaborating the fic universe, well, we'll try to survive that, eh?
Re: universe, I was immensely intrigued by what could be going on inside Sherlock's head. Those looks, hm... What IS he thinking? (yet another helpful nudge)
Brackets aside, I'm so glad you're having fun! Spreading the fun, too, i should add.
To my shame, I don't think I ever heard of either the V Rabbit or Kennedy (should look into both), but what struck me most is his view on the characters' happiness. I mean, take our beloved EM Forster! Now HE had no qualms about his characters having much greater fun than himself (which wasn't especially difficult, poor man).
*still whistling*
Sep. 14th, 2010 10:13 am (UTC)
Re: crestfallen
yes, Forster was a generous soul and I should try to emulate him. A.L. is actually Alison and she is seriously good but quite painful to read. Wrote an AMAZING novel called Paradise, narrated by an alcoholic. Too good really. Still haven't brought myself to read her most recent one because I have to be in very good emotional shape before I'll open myself up to that. One of my favourites of hers is called So I Am Glad - it's really lovely.

the subsequent fic should explore what Sherlock is thinking, and may yet do so. thing I've just posted now is a little nonsense between Sherlock and Lestrade and nothing to do with the bigger plots at all. just needed a bit of silliness to recover from all that angst!

how was your trip to the Midi?
Sep. 14th, 2010 10:25 am (UTC)
Re: crestfallen
Glad you warned me about the Kennedy angst. I'm a wimp and i can't bear painful scenes. Well, non-cheesy painful scenes.
Midi was warm and sunny and oystery and I managed not to get thwarted by a surprise!strike (by the skin of my teeth, had to take a night bus and what a pleasure it was). I went to Beziers and later to Barcelona.
Gonna read your self-proclaimed nonsense now, oh the bliss.
Sep. 20th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Most enjoyable story - thank you!

"Bed makes everyone look better, right? Even Lestrade." I'm thinking of making this up in x-stitch...

Edited at 2010-09-20 10:57 pm (UTC)
Sep. 20th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I like your adorable RG icon here, very suitable, thank you for that as well...

of course Lestrade does not know how handsome he is. though he is probably the only one to think he /needs/ bed to make him look better.

would love to see your Lestrade x-stitch! have not done x-stitch myself since primary school.

see we have the same lj style. I'm very fond of that image.
Sep. 21st, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
Oh, my dear girl,

I had no idea until *this*very*exact*moment* that LeStrade was being acted by Rupert Graves. I mean, it's not that I don't have a reputation as pretty much of an airhead, anyway, but, uh, O.M.G. I'm absolutely fuzzy with the fierce whirlpools your genius has created in my poor brain! And with this fearsome knowledge, I must read this story all over again, yeah?

You are brilliant, to the nth level of clever! I kneel before you!

Edited at 2010-09-21 12:58 am (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2010 05:52 am (UTC)
*blushes and squeaks*

thank you very much! the Lestrade/Scudder connection was floating in my mind and then I found /this/ extraordinary icon by eumelkeks and it all went from there! I wrote a comic story called Close Analysis which started with the joke premise that Lestrade is really Scudder in later life, and that they share a taste for troubled men from a higher class than their own. and then kopoushka said how about having lestrade meet maurice now, maybe over a blackmail case? and the rest is history, or rather fic.

apart from eumelkeks (who is an icon genius) and kopoushka, I blame Rupert Graves. for everything.

happy days...
Oct. 4th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this. I've been looking for some good Lestrade fics and this is quite possibly the best one I've stumbled upon so far. i loved the build-up, the complexities. Also, Lestrade/Maurice...its awesome in so many ways even if they didn't end up together (darn Sherlock!). Anyways, i bow down to your genius!
Oct. 4th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
wow! thank you very much for this amazing comment. *glows*

re. Lestrade and Maurice - I could not resist giving them a happy ending eventually though it falls outside the scope of this fic, so wrote a little sequel called Beginning To See The Light:


have just finished another one called In Transition, set before, during and after The Old Bad Songs. it's mostly about Sherlock and John but includes an important stage in Lestrade's freeing himself from Sherlock. starts here, if you are up for reading more of this 'verse:

(Deleted comment)
Mar. 13th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
oh thank you! I think this is the one I'm most pleased about of all the things I've written, and I'm very grateful to kopoushka for prompting it. she suggested a first meeting between Maurice and Lestrade at the ages they are in this, so the nearest I could get to that memory was having Maurice remind Lestrade of one of the men whose window he did climb through...

I haven't written Maurice/Lestrade for a while, but ginbitch requested them in a writing meme I did, so there will be a new ficlet for them soon. I still need to finish the Nights at the Opera series.

the later M/L stories are not angsty, but there is angst by the bucketload in many of my other fics!
Apr. 11th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
ETA: finally worked out how to get Lestrade through Maurice's window (see Dreaming True). I think your comment must have triggered this - thank you very much!
Jun. 18th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
More late to the party commenting. Let me know if it gets to be a bother, and reply not required. Very much enjoyed and appreicated when they come but I don't believe in social obligation. Please let me know if i am breaking any LJ or fan fic protocol too.

I cried and I think my insides turned over as much as Lestrade's. Maurice, the film is in my Netflix Q due to arrive Monday but the story worked for me without it by looking at pix of the film, naked Rupert. whoo

Wistful is the word i keep getting. L's self concept is what hurts me. Like he sets himself up to fail in order to validate it. Older, chunkier, lesser than.

Sentencing nimself to loneliness for the sake of what's right.

I had watched the UK Office for the first time yesterday and so double whammy of unrequited love, and I'm a blubbery mess, but it hurts in a good way.

Thanks for the cry.
Jun. 18th, 2011 11:03 am (UTC)
thank you - it's not a bother at all! I'm really fond of this story and always very happy when people let me know they liked it. I'm so glad you will get to see the film of Maurice, which I love. the Forster novel is lovely, too.

I never expected kopoushka's suggestion to lead to such a long story, never mind a whole 'verse of Maurice/Lestrade! but I'm so happy that it did, because I love imagining the two of them together. I couldn't write a happy ending for Lestrade and Sherlock in this 'verse, but after I'd written this story - which was always going to end sadly - I found I couldn't resist writing Beginning To See The Light and making a happy ending for Lestrade and Maurice. since then I've written several more stories with them, just little vignettes of happy middle-aged romance really.

I've also managed to write the occasional happy version of Sherlock and Lestrade, though it needed a different idea of Sherlock from the way he is in the longer fics.
Jan. 30th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
Well, it's taken me long enough, but, after re-reading this, I'm finally leaving you some feedback. *g* I think one of the great strengths of this story -- besides the references to Britain in the seventies and eighties and that beautiful reference to Die Alten bösen Lieder and the coffin full of love and pain -- is the way in which Lestrade and Maurice don't have a happy ending. Maybe I'm okay with that because I know they get together later in this series, but I think a happy ending wouldn't have made sense considering where both Lestrade and Maurice were at the time, with Lestrade being in love with Sherlock and Maurice having just stepped out of the closet and latching on to the man who helped get him there. No, I think it works much better to have enough time pass for Lestrade to come to terms with his feelings for Sherlock (and get over them) and Maurice to pursue a proper gay relationship to see how that works. However, saying all that, I do admire the way in which you lay out the foundation for a future relationship and reveal the ways in which they both connect on a physical and emotional level. Lastly, and maybe this is actually the first point I should have made, I just love the way this story reflects Maurice itself and almost works as a modern retelling. There are some wonderful parallels with the inclusion of Durham, Cambridge University, Maurice's struggles with his sexuality, the class difference between Lestrade and Maurice, and even Lestrade's youthful experiences at the "big house".
Jan. 30th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
thank you for the lovely comment! I'm very glad you liked this, the parallels with Maurice and the ending in particular. I never expected to write a happy ending for the two of them at the time, but I'm glad I left that possibility open here...
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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