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fic: On Display

Title: On Display
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)/ Maurice (1987)
Pairing: Lestrade/Maurice
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1012
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, and it was kopoushka's idea to put them together in the first place.
Summary: He's not sure Margate beach is the best place for it, even these days.
A/N: written for maggie_conagher, who requested more Maurice and Lestrade; fill for the "Public Display of Affection" square on my cottoncandy_bingo card.

“Saturday in June, you'd think this place'd be heaving,” Lestrade says.

They've practically got the beach to themselves. Obviously the Great British Public didn't get the memo about Margate being the trendy place to go these days.

“Maybe the weather forecast put them off,” Maurice says, looking at the dark clouds further out to sea.

Lestrade grins. “Bet you spent your holidays abroad, didn't you? Used to take more than a bit of weather to clear the beach.”

He'd seen it year after year in Weston-super-Mud. Kids in wet bathing suits spattered with sand, shivering and covered in goosepimples, huddling behind canvas wind-breaks. Mums and dads doggedly wielding umbrellas against the drizzle, waiting for it to be time to go back to the B and B...

“My prep school was by the sea,” Maurice says, dodging the holiday question. “I remember my mad R.E. teacher deciding the beach was the ideal place for a spot of sex education.”

“You what?” Lestrade doesn't like the sound of that one little tiny bit.

“Oh no,” Maurice says, laughing, “nothing like that. He gave us all a lecture about it. Complete with diagrams in the sand. I don't think any of us knew what he was on about at that age.”

“Prat,” Lestrade says, with feeling. “Could have put you off sex for life.”

Maurice grins at him. “Not bloody likely,” he says.

“Lucky for me,” Lestrade says, thinking he'd like to snog Maurice right now. But old habits die hard, and he's not sure Margate beach is the best place for it, even these days.

“Me too,” Maurice says, and looks at him so lovingly that it makes Lestrade catch his breath.

“Come on, you,” Lestrade says. “Let's go and see this exhibition of yours.”

He doesn't know much about this artist except that she's from here, apparently, and famous for having an unmade bed. Seems a bit of an odd thing to be known for, but Maurice thinks she's good, so here they are.

From the outside the gallery looks like a tin hut gone mad, but inside it all makes sense. Light and space and emptiness. He likes it, and he wasn't expecting to.

Maybe it's because the first thing he sees is that sculpture, with nothing but glass between it and the sea and the sky.

“Christ,” he says, “what's that doing here?”

White marble. Two lovers, naked, kissing as if nothing and no-one else exists in the world. Even he knows what this is: it's Rodin's The Kiss, and shouldn't it be in Paris or somewhere?

“It's not the original,” Maurice says, reading the gallery leaflet.

“Oh,” Lestrade says, disappointed. Should have known it was too good to be true.

“No, it's real all right,” Maurice says. It's nice, the way he understands things without being told. “Rodin made another one for a collector over here. Made it for him and his boyfriend.”

Seems an odd choice, though Lestrade supposes you couldn't exactly say Oh by the way, Monsieur Rodin, could you do us one with two blokes kissing instead?

“Apparently he asked Rodin to make the man's genitals more prominent,” Maurice says, grinning. “To do it the way the Greeks would have done them.”

“Oh right,” Lestrade says. “Always knew those Greeks were a randy bunch.”

Maurice gives him a look that says Look who's talking.

“Get upstairs, you shameless DI,” he says.

Bit forward, even for Maurice – oh. That's where the main exhibition is.

You,” Lestrade says. “You did that on purpose.”

“Sorry,” Maurice says, sounding anything but. “I'll make it up to you later.”

“You'd better,” Lestrade threatens him, taking advantage of the blind spot at the half-landing for a crafty grope.


“Are you quite sure about this?” Maurice asks.

“'Course,” Lestrade says. “Day out at the seaside, got to have proper chips. With salt and vinegar. Not sure about these fancy cardboard boxes though.”

Apparently they're more ecologically sound or something. Chips taste the same, though, which is the main thing.

Maurice looks a bit doubtful at first, but before long he's getting stuck in, licking his lips. There's just something about chips and sea air...

“Not sure what that thing with the mattress was meant to be,” Lestrade says.

Why would you cast part of a tree in bronze just to plonk it on a used mattress on the floor? He doesn't think he'll ever get the point of modern art.

“It's called Dead Sea,” Maurice says. Trust him to have read the catalogue. “I think it's something to do with the menopause.”

Sounds about as depressing as it looked. She must be the same sort of age as them, thinking about it.

He puts his arm round Maurice's shoulders and hugs him, a quick manly hug, the kind you can get away with in public. It's a lot less than he'd like to do.

“This town is not properly laid out,” Maurice says, obviously looking around for a convenient alleyway. “Christ, I want to kiss you.”

“Oh look,” Lestrade says, suppressing a groan. “More art.”

A disused power station, by the look of it. The exhibition's called Close To Darkness, and apparently it's supposed to be a collaborative exploration of duality and polarity – whatever that means. The woman explains about the darkened room and the cloud of sound; she says they'll get used to the dark after a few minutes, and then they'll be able to see the photographs.

“Would you like to go in?” she asks.

“Very much,” Maurice says.

There's a glint in his eye that makes Lestrade hope the bloody place doesn't have CCTV. And that the next lot of punters doesn't turn up too quickly.

“There's a light over the exit,” the woman says, “so you can find your way out again. Are you all right about being left in the dark?”

“Thank you,” Maurice says, “I'm sure we'll be fine.”

Maybe there's something to be said for modern art after all, Lestrade reflects, as the door to the outside world closes and Maurice takes him in his arms.


Rodin's The Kiss was on display at Turner Contemporary in Margate from 4 October 2011 to 2 September 2012; details here. The sculpture's history is related here.

Tracey Emin's exhibition, "She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea", runs from 26 May to 23 September 2012.

Details of the exhibition "Close to Darkness" are here.

Maurice's memories of prep school are loosely adapted from the opening scene from the 1987 film, in which his schoolmaster attempts to explain "the sacred mystery of sex".

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/88833.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2012 07:13 am (UTC)
This appealled to me in all sorts of ways. I can remember a wet summer holiday in Weston-super-Mud when the gardens flooded and the players in the bandstand were barely above the water. I share Lestrade's views on modern art - anything that requires me to read the explanation clearly hasn't succeeded. And chips really should be eaten out of paper, preferably with hair blowing into the mouth as you eat them (in my case, not Lestrade's, his is too short for that).

Oh, and of course Lestrade and Maurice are really sweet together.
Sep. 11th, 2012 10:49 am (UTC)
thank you! *beams* I'm very glad you liked it, and that it brought back memories...

it's strange to think how different B&Bs are now from the ones in my childhood - I remember very clearly the awfulness of having to be out of the house until a particular time each day!

I did like the Tracey Emin exhibition, and the Rodin was an unexpected bonus.
Sep. 17th, 2012 05:57 am (UTC)
I do like Maurice's repeated attempts to introduce Lestrade to culture and the rather mixed responses: you always manage to make them seem plausible. And the story about Rodin is wonderful. I also very much enjoyed the way you work in the beach scene of "Maurice" (and Lestrade's immediate assumption would be of something dubious happening, wouldn't it?). It's a sweet story but also slightly sad that even now they have to think about what they're allowed to do where; public displays of emotion still aren't easy (let alone anything dodgier).

Has Maurice yet dared to tell Lestrade about Emin's tent "Everyone I have ever slept with"?
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:13 am (UTC)
thank you - I'm very glad you liked this, and that you find Lestrade's responses plausible. I was pleased when I made the connection to the opening of "Maurice", and I do think Lestrade would assume something dodgy about that story. I agree about the slight sadness here re. public displays of same-sex affection - I felt that they would have a particularly strong sense of that because of their age and experiences.

I expect the Emin tent will come up in conversation at some point...
Oct. 10th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)
I'm finally playing catch up with my feedback. Sorry for the delay. I think you've done a wonderful job of filling maggie_conagher's request. I love the reference to Rupert Graves's childhood in Weston-super-Mare and that opening scene in Maurice. Lestrade's got some great comic material, especially when it comes to his reaction to Maurice's story about his public school sex education and his lack of enthusiasm for all the art exhibits (“Oh look,” Lestrade says, suppressing a groan. “More art.”). That's why it's such a nice twist when the more serious and straight-laced Maurice is the one who recognizes an opportunity for PDA and takes it. *g*

Oct. 11th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm really pleased you liked all those things. I had been wanting to write about Margate ever since I went there early in the summer, and was happy when it all came together, including the opening scene in Maurice!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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