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A Promising Start (Sherlock)

Title: A Promising Start
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: She could learn a great deal from this man: what not to do, of course, but also what to do.
Historian's Note: This takes place approximately three years prior to the events depicted in the Sherlock episode "A Study in Pink."
Author's Note: This is comprised of two parts, each a 221b ficlet (221 words, the last beginning with "b").
Chinese Translation: available here and here by freya_fsc




PART 1: A 221b Ficlet

She sat in his office, waiting. Apparently the workday began when he felt like it.

Promising start, this.

A few minutes later he appeared in a weary whirlwind, rumpled and stubbled and laden with hard-copy files. She realised he must've been at the office for hours already that morning. Perhaps he'd never made it home.

"Sorry I'm late." He deposited his armload onto the desk and scrubbed fingers through his hair, bringing new chaos to old disorder. "Glad you're here."

"Thanks, Sir."

"Don't thank me yet." A rueful, sideways grin. "Give you the bad news first, shall I?"

No pause for a reply. "I'm proud of my team. We do good work. But on the toughest cases, when time's of the essence, I sometimes bring in a consulting detective. My methods aren't always—"

Appreciated? Wise? Legal?

"—popular. My call. My responsibility."

So that's why he's DI Lestrade, not DCI, at his age.

"I'm good at questioning suspects and witnesses, talking to victims' families. But I'm rubbish at press conferences."

With a face like that?

"Your record's impressive. I'll rely on your PR expertise."

Huh.

He stifled a yawn. "God, I need a cuppa."

Here it comes...

"Be right back." Already he was halfway to the door. "Fancy tea? Coffee?"

Sally Donovan smiled.

Promising start, after all.

"Coffee, please. Black."


PART 2: A 221b Ficlet

"There may be jokes, at first." Lestrade sipped his coffee, then grimaced.

"Jokes?"

"'Middle-aged, lonely DI needs a new sergeant, and lookit, she's a beautiful young thing. How convenient.'

"I don't foresee you getting any less attractive or me any less alone," he continued without apology or, apparently, self-pity. "I can ignore 'em if you can."

Frankness was a trait Sally valued. She repaid it in kind.

"There'll be other talk, too," she countered. "'Whose arse is he trying to kiss, requesting a woman, and a black one, at that? Playing some political angle. Only explanation.'"

"People can be right bastards."

This startled a laugh from her.

"Your answer to that," he said, "is doing your job, letting your record speak for itself."

"And yours?"

"I need someone at my right hand I can rely on." No hesitation. "I researched the candidates. Did the only thing I could, didn't I? I asked for the best."

He means it.

The higher-ups might've had issues with Lestrade and his decisions, but rumour had it that his team members, past and present, considered any slights against him to be instant fighting words.

She could learn a great deal from this man: what not to do, of course, but also what to do.

"I'm honoured to join your team, Sir."

Let 'em talk, the bastards.


THE END

Vital Stats: Originally written in November 2011.

Originally written for this prompt at sherlockbbc_fic.

Comments

( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
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thesmallhobbit
Nov. 7th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
This is lovely, seeing Lestrade from Donovan's point of view. I particularly like the way he challenges her pre-conceptions from the beginning.
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm really tickled that you liked it.

I particularly like the way he challenges her pre-conceptions from the beginning.

I'm so glad this worked for you. I loved imagining that he would turn all of her (somewhat understandable) assumptions about him upside down and win her loyalty in the process.

Thanks for your kind words!
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed these ficlets!

Thank you for telling me what lines you liked most. That's so helpful! I'm smitten by the idea of Lestrade drawing fire from his superiors but fierce loyalty from his team. I tend to think that a lot of Donovan's hostility toward Sherlock comes from her protectiveness of Lestrade.

I appreciate your reading and commenting very much.
maggie_conagher
Nov. 7th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
Most 221B's leave me feeling a bit unfulfilled but these were perfect, little snapshots, moments of getting acquainted. So vivid that I felt like I had watched them instead of read them.

This is a different voice for you, versatile you.

Thank you!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
I am so thrilled by your kind words. I'm really pleased these ficlets seemed vivid and visual to you!

As you noted, I'm experimenting in style. *blushes* It means a lot to hear that this worked. You're so kind and supportive, and I appreciate it more than you can know. Thank you!
shaindyl
Nov. 7th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
These were great. I especially loved the line "new chaos to old disorder". And I'm glad to see that Sally isn't blind to the man in front of her ("...with a face like that?" *snerk*) And I loved how she expected him to ask her to get the tea/coffee and ended up doing it himself. You nailed both characterisations here - the world-weary DI on the one hand and the up-and-coming but defensive young sargeant on the other. Great work and thanks for posting!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you liked these! It's great to know what worked, so I appreciate your pointing out specific lines and ideas.

I'm glad to see that Sally isn't blind to the man in front of her

LOL! Who could miss that much gorgeousness? *wink*

I'm especially tickled that the bit with the tea/coffee worked for you. I had fun imagining him undoing all her expectations, one by one, without even knowing it.

You nailed both characterisations here - the world-weary DI on the one hand and the up-and-coming but defensive young sargeant on the other.

This absolutely makes my day! Your lovely descriptions of them here capture exactly what I was shooting for. This makes me so happy! You've put a huge grin on my face. Thank for reading and for your kind and encouraging comments. They mean a lot to me.
cookiefleck
Nov. 7th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
Very interesting idea on your part to consider what their first meeting would have been like. Always a hint of sadness in your Lestrade, and he wears it well.
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 11:59 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I saw the prompt and I couldn't resist it. I'm glad to hear that Lestrade works for you here. I loved the idea of seeing his practicality and world-weariness through Donovan's eyes, especially as he undoes all of her expectations. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it.
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 11:59 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I'm delighted that you like her, and that this fits for your headcanon. :D Thank you so much, my dear!
hardboiledbaby
Nov. 7th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
Always so excited to see a new story from you, and, as always, you do not disappoint. Lovely fleshing out of these characters. :)
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, what a lovely thing to say! You've put a huge smile on my face. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
monkeybard
Nov. 7th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
That was a lovely snack of ficcage with beautiful insights and characterisations.
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy you liked these two little ficlets! And I'm thrilled the characterisations worked for you. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Your kind words are most appreciated!
eanor
Nov. 7th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, I liked this a lot! Especially loved the first one where all Sally's prejudices are turned upside down! :) What a great start for those two, I can really envision this in the series!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for this! I'm so glad the scenario seems fitting to you. I'm especially happy that you liked the first ficlet, in particular; I had fun imagining him undoing all of her expectations, one by one, without even being aware of it.

I really appreciate your reading and commenting! Thanks.
brighteyed_jill
Nov. 7th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness I love your Lestrade so much. I love how honest he is: straightforward about his weaknesses, frank about possible roadblocks, and perfectly comfortable with sharing the reasons he chose Sally. Seeing Sally's expectations be subverted is great.
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
I'm thrilled you like this take on Lestrade. In the show he seems so honest and straightforward, even when this doesn't put him in the best light (I'm thinking of his agreement with Sherlock, that he does need him, "God help me," or his "Because I'm desperate, that's why"), so I hoped to capture some of that. I'm particularly tickled that Sally's assumptions about him, and the way he unknowingly undoes them all, one by one, worked for you. I had fun with that. :)

I really appreciate your kind words, my friend! Thank you so much.
goldvermilion87
Nov. 7th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
I love it!

And this phrase--"bringing new chaos to old disorder"--Brilliant!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
I'm so tickled that you liked this!

And this phrase--"bringing new chaos to old disorder"--Brilliant!

Aw, thank you! :) I appreciate it very much.
litlover12
Nov. 7th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
Very nice!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I appreciate it.
dimity_blue
Nov. 8th, 2011 12:30 am (UTC)
Ooh, I like these! I like Lestrade anyway, and I think there's a lot more to Sally than we've seen. I really like how Sally kept on being a little bit wrong about Lestrade. :oD

Thanks for sharing!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:26 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked these! I love Lestrade, too, and I agree with you that there's much more to Sally that meets the eye. I'm especially pleased that you liked how Lestrade kept subverting her expectations here. I really appreciate your kind words! Thanks so much for reading.
methylviolet10b
Nov. 8th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
You know I adore your Lestrade, and this view into the beginning of his working relationship with Donovan, the man he was then, the woman she was, the wariness and wearyness and humor - it's just fantastic. Stellar. My only complaint is that there isn't more. ;-) Brava!
morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so tickled that you liked this! I'm really happy that their rapport and characterizations here seemed right to you. :) Thank you for your kind words, my friend!
(no subject) - methylviolet10b - Nov. 10th, 2011 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
noirrosaleen
Nov. 8th, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)

This is going to sound slightly ridiculous, but -

Earlier I had a mini-meltdown over my stats class (I am Not Doing Well, for many reasons), and I hopped on my LJ app to see if there was anything new. I saw this - saw YOU wrote it, thought twice - and read it anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised to get warm fuzzies instead of an excuse for my tears. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(This does not excuse you from future heart-breaking expectations. I AM ALWAYS ON MY GUARD, SHAN YU. Oh, and I'm wearing my Blue Sun shirt today. ^_^)

morganstuart
Nov. 9th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, bless your heart! *hugs you, curses your stats class, and admires your Blue Sun shirt* Thank you for taking a chance on my story, despite my track record, even when you were feeling low. I'm so, so happy that it gave you warm fuzzies when it counted!

This does not excuse you from future heart-breaking expectations. I AM ALWAYS ON MY GUARD, SHAN YU.

*cackles* Fair enough, my friend!

Thanks so much for this. I hope you're feeling better now. As always, I greatly appreciate your feedback! *more hugs*

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( 55 comments — Leave a comment )