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Each To His Own

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When Maurice promised they weren’t going to the opera this time, Lestrade should have known there’d be a catch.

“It’s Matthew Bourne,” Maurice says, like that’s supposed to mean something.

“It’s ballet, Maurice,” Lestrade says with a groan.

“We can always leave at the interval if you really hate it,” Maurice says, putting his hand on Lestrade’s knee.

That’s what he said about the opera thing, the first time, and look what that led to. Wearing a sodding penguin suit. In a box. At Covent Garden.

To be fair, Lestrade had enjoyed their opera outings more than he expected, though some of that was down to the more than usually spectacular shags that tended to follow them. If ballet has the same effect on Maurice as opera seems to…

Maurice slides his hand higher and squeezes Lestrade’s thigh, gently but with obvious intent.

“Oh, all right then,” Lestrade grumbles, just before the house lights go down.

 

Like a lot of Maurice’s treats, it’s more fun than Lestrade thought it was going to be. He likes the puppet baby princess climbing the curtains, and the wicked drag queen who puts a curse on her. He gets a bit pissed off when the audience laughs at the servants flapping around in a tizzy – honestly, is there any form of high culture in this sodding country that isn’t about class?

And then suddenly without so much as a by your leave it’s twenty-one years later and a boy in corduroys is climbing through the palace window to get off with the princess. Not for the first time, by the looks of it.

Lestrade’s window-climbing days are long past but he remembers well enough what that was like, the thrill and the uncertainty of it, the risk of discovery. The way that sex and desire could take you into beds and bedrooms so different from your own, one floor above and a world away

These two aren’t going to end up together, though, are they? She’s going to fall asleep for a hundred years and be kissed awake by some ponce of a prince so they can live happily ever after. Meanwhile, he’s getting the blame when it looks like she’s dead, pin it on the servants, bloody typical.

Lestrade imagines Sherlock striding onto the stage and setting the courtiers straight with a few withering remarks (“Oh, this is so obvious! You see, but you don’t observe.”). Actually, even Sherlock at his most annoying, talking nineteen to the dozen, would be preferable to this sodding dumbshow. Lestrade’s pining for a bit of dialogue, or at least subtitles for the poor mutts in the audience like him who don’t speak ballet. It’s obvious there’s some sort of sign language going on, but he’s buggered if he knows what they’re on about.

End of the first act, the iron gates come slamming in as everyone in the palace falls asleep, and guess who’s left outside? That’s right, it’s our man in the corduroy trousers. Except that the fairy godfather, or whoever that guy in the light purple suit is, comes up and does a Dracula impression that Lestrade’s pretty sure wasn’t in any of the fairy stories his nan read him as a kid.

And that’s it, the curtain comes down with a jokey notice saying there’ll be an interval of one hundred years. If only…

“Doesn’t he remind you of Rory in Doctor Who?” a girl in the row behind says to her friend.

Lestrade doesn’t watch Doctor Who, not really, but Corduroy Man does look a bit like that actor who plays the male nurse. Wasn’t there a storyline about Rory waiting two thousand years for his wife?

“Oh look, there’s Sherlock,” Maurice says, not sounding too pleased about it. “I didn’t know he liked ballet.”

Bloody hell, so there is. Sherlock and John; the last two people Lestrade would have expected to see at Sadler’s Wells tonight. Apart from himself, that is.

Sherlock looks slightly dazed, like he’s just been woken up from a hundred years’ sleep, and John looks – well, quietly smug is probably the best description. He’s got his arm across Sherlock’s seat back, and he pushes his hand up into Sherlock’s hair, almost absent-mindedly. Sherlock leans against his shoulder and John kisses the top of his head. The language of love, Lestrade thinks; you don’t need a complicated system of gestures handed down by generations of Imperial Russian ballet masters to see what’s going on with those two.

He couldn’t have watched that, once upon a time; not without a knot of jealousy twisting in his gut. Now there’s nothing but a mild surprise that Sherlock’s apparently so comfortable being demonstrative in public.

“Do you want to go over and say hello?” Maurice asks, and Lestrade doesn’t need subtitles to read the look on his face either.

“Don’t be daft, Maurice,” he says, giving him a quick hug. “They’re busy. So are we, if it comes to that.”

He kisses Maurice, a quick light kiss on the mouth – because really if you can’t kiss your boyfriend at the ballet what is the point?

“Are you OK to stay for the second act?” Maurice asks.

Lestrade doesn’t speak, but he gives him a look he knows Maurice can read, the one that says Yes, and you are so going to make it up to me when we get home.

“Oh good,” Maurice says, squeezing Lestrade’s thigh again. “D’you fancy an ice-cream?”

In January? Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

“Yeah, why not?” Lestrade says. “I’ll get them.”

He has views on what flavours ice-cream should come in, and he doesn’t trust Maurice not to come back with acacia honey and stem ginger or some such nonsense.

“I’ll come with you,” Maurice says firmly, because he has views on ice-cream himself, and they don’t stop at chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.

Takes all sorts, Lestrade thinks, putting his arm around Maurice’s waist as they join the ice-cream queue.