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Title: I Wonder As I Wander
(3rd in the Good Father Series)
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandoms: Sherlock and The Professionals
Disclaimer: These universes do not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: It's Christmas Eve, 2005. As a very private drama plays out between Lestrade and Sherlock, other eyes are secretly watching.
Historian's Note: This is a direct sequel to "Father and Farther," and knowledge of that story would be most helpful for reading this one.
Author's Note: If I've done my job properly, familiarity with one of these two programmes is all you need in order for the story to work. This fits in the same universe as my Sherlock story "The Distance Getting Close," but prior knowledge of that story is not necessary for reading this one.
Warnings (Highlight to Read): Mild language and violence, discussion of drug addiction.



Bodie felt the cold this season.

It awoke the complaints of his old wounds. It added weight to the burdens he shouldered. It burrowed into his bones, reminding him of his years and his mortality.

Melancholy was Doyle's department, not his. Yet as one new field report followed another to glow expectantly on his computer monitor, Bodie found himself staring out of his study window, unable to focus, troubled by something he couldn't identify. On the other side of the chilled glass, the rain had ended, and flurries threatened a coming snowfall.

The bare limbs of trees appeared dead and brittle beneath their shrouds of ice. He imagined London, blanketed in white…

You're turning maudlin in your old age, he told himself. Grow a pair, yeah?

With a sigh of self-disgust he pushed back from his desk and wandered out of his study in the general direction of Ray Doyle. He found the man in their room. As he knew it would, the sight kindled fresh warmth inside of him, easing his unnamed aches.

"Wish you could come with." Doyle frowned at his own reflection in the mirror as he smoothed the lapels of his tuxedo jacket.

"I don't, sunshine. Politicians and bureaucrats making small talk and kissing each others' arses?" Bodie shuddered theatrically before donning a cheeky grin. "Rather be washing my hair."

Doyle shook his head, but his lips quirked as he fought an answering smile. "You're rubbish as a trophy wife, you know."

Leaning against the wall, arms folded, Bodie assumed an injured air. "Fine. Be that way, Raymond. Just don't come crying to me the next time a military junta needs thwarting or a terrorist cell wants identifying at the very last minute. I might've made other plans: a manicure, perhaps, or a mud bath."

Their gazes met in the mirror, wry and fond, and nothing else needed to be said.

It was a very small price to pay, all things considered, for Doyle to assume the social responsibilities that came with the directorship of CI-5 on his own, sans any "plus one." They'd always had to be discreet, hadn't they? It was second nature to both of them, to keep the personal well behind locked and bolted doors.

At least the reasons made sense now. Just as Doyle's position had pushed him onto the national stage, Bodie's had pulled him into the shadows. If it had been otherwise, no doubt a public cry would've been raised at two men, so close, holding such combined power.

How the Cow would've laughed at that.

After all, they still were chalk and cheese, weren't they? Even now. Each fiercely protective of his own domain, his own expertise, his own raison d'être.

Doyle could debate and wrestle with fine points of policy that would put Bodie to sleep; Bodie could accomplish certain delicate and necessary tasks that would leave Doyle sleepless. Doyle crafted broad strategies with years, even decades in mind, on the scale of an entire agency; Bodie's precise efforts were defined by minutes and seconds, executed by a personally-chosen handful of special agents. Doyle provided Her Majesty's Government with national security; Bodie, plausible deniability.

If they sometimes felt that the two of them were pitted against the world as well as each other, well, that was nothing new, either. Then again, that world was a far different place now than it had been when they were simply 3.7 and 4.5. Four bombs in fifty minutes mere months ago gave proof enough of that.

At the end of the day, it was enough that they could share their closely-guarded secret of a home. Bodie gave Doyle perspective and received compassion in return. As a result, Doyle brooded far less these days, and Bodie failed to grow callous. Both were better professionals, better persons, for it.

"Stop staring at yourself and go on, then," Bodie said. "And don't do anything I wouldn't do."

Doyle chuckled. "Hardly narrows my options, does it?" They walked together as far as Bodie's study. "Go easy on your agents, yeah? Wherever the hell they are, it's still Christmas Eve."

"Bah, humbug," Bodie said. At Doyle's glare, he added a "Yes, mum" with obviously mock contrition.

A pause. Then, tentatively, Doyle said, "You know, it's not too late. 'Tis the season, and all that—"

"Ray."

Here it was, the heart of the matter, the epicentre of Bodie's recent mood. It lay naked and tender before them, just as it had ever since the night Bodie learned he was a father. Doyle studied him, as if calculating how much weight to throw against an immoveable object. After several moments he signalled his surrender with a nod.

"Yeah, well, these people – politicians and bureaucrats, as you say – they don't have families; they have staff." The regret was clear in Doyle's tone. "I expect I'll be late."

Bodie shrugged. "I expect I'll wait up."

A gentle expression softened the lines engraved on Doyle's face, reminding Bodie of a much younger man with dark curls instead of grey bristles, faded jeans instead of formal wear. "Ta, mate."

Doyle's fingers brushed Bodie's arm, and then he was gone.

Bodie's eyes once again strayed to the window. He reminded himself that he should examine the incoming reports. Instead, despite his best efforts, he wondered what Christmas meant to an overworked and widowed detective inspector.

Less than two hours later, as Bodie's various channels of surveillance sang out in emergency alert, he headed for his car at a run to find out.

***

The security team at the house balked at the idea of Bodie driving into the night unescorted. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that he didn't require anyone's permission to do anything. Apparently his glower had not lost its power to move, if not mountains, then at least the muscled men who did a passable job of impersonating them.

He knew some of the agents would follow him, but from a discreet distance, and with a healthy degree of fear and trembling. He wouldn't arrive on the scene with a bloody entourage, thank God.

The location in question wasn't in the belly of gang territory, but it wasn't far from it. Seedy, one might say. Disreputable. Not altogether safe.

Just like the old days.

Bodie parked a couple of blocks from the address. He wondered idly if his car would still be there, in one piece, when he returned.

He walked at a casual pace, gloved hands thrust deep in the pockets of his wool coat, alert eyes sweeping his surroundings. The various weapons he wore fit naturally against his body, familiar and reassuring.

The streets were all but deserted, no doubt because of the weather, but from the windows rising up on either side of him Bodie caught glimpses of cheap tinsel and fairy lights, green trees and silver angels, festive bows and shining ornaments. A thick, frozen silence enveloped the space immediately around him, but distant echoes of traditional carols and contemporary party music ricocheted above his head, an incongruous blend of human voices, piano chords, and heavy bass tracks.

Perhaps the holiday season itself was getting to him. Bodie might've spent every single Christmas of the last forty-two years without his son, but this was the first Christmas that he was aware of that fact, the first that he realised what he had missed and what he was missing.

Sentimental fool.

He swallowed the bitter thought and frowned into the folds of his scarf. The matter at hand was what the hell he intended to do once he reached his destination.

Good question, that.

As he rounded a corner, shifting layers of darkness took shape and moved forward from the entrance of a narrow alleyway. A string of curses and street slang carried to him, with a few words repeated by various teenaged voices like a chorus: "wallet" and "watch" and "phone."

He had no time for it, no time at all.

"You don't want to do this," he told the world at large.

One youth stepped closer. Bodie registered the glittering of his eyes and his flick knife. "Fuck you, old man."

This one wasn't worth arming himself.

"Son," Bodie said, "go home."

The blade rose higher. "I said, fu—"

With one blow Bodie put the boy on the pavement. The knife clattered into the night, unclaimed. The youth blinked and groaned feebly, but he made no effort to rise.

"Anyone else?" The sound of running feet was his only answer.

He felt no satisfaction. These were only children; they should be indoors celebrating the season, not preying on anyone unfortunate enough to be out in the weather with them.

Bodie put another block behind him.

At the sound of an approaching car, he edged farther from the street. When a large black sedan drew up beside him and stopped, he halted in his tracks, heaved a sigh, and rolled his eyes.

The back door opened, and a feminine voice said, "You'd be warmer in here."

It was a waste of a perfectly good double entendre, for the elegant brunette spoke without inflection, eyes riveted to the BlackBerry in her hands. She was wrapped in fine fabric and fur like a tastefully understated extra from the set of Doctor Zhivago; Bodie had to move a pace closer to discern her face.

God, he thought, she's just a baby.

As if reading his mind, she glanced up at him. "Yes, I'm new. Yes, I'm young. But I'm highly qualified, in constant contact with Mr Holmes, and fully authorised by him to share information of certain interest to you, if you will return the courtesy."

"Or," she added, when he failed to reply, "you can freeze to death." Her eyes returned to her personal data assistant. "I get paid either way."

Despite the gravity of the situation, Bodie felt the urge to laugh.

As he climbed in, she slid over and settled a laptop computer on the seat between them. The moment Bodie closed the door, the driver pulled away from the kerb.

"I assume you're here for the same reason we are," she began. "What do you know?"

This was no time, Bodie reckoned, to indulge in a pissing contest with Mycroft Holmes or his proxy. "Word of an alleged suicide. Not uncommon during the holiday season, of course. But the identity of the body has yet to be reported, and so-called suicides do, on occasion, turn out to be murder. This area has seen more than its share of violent deaths. I know my—that is, I know Detective Inspector Lestrade was here, but unofficially, off-duty. Seemed unusual. Thought I'd look about, make certain… well."

She nodded. "The detective inspector was here because of Mr Holmes's brother. It seems they are both alive, and they have no connection to the victim."

For several heartbeats, Bodie closed his eyes. The sheer physical force of his relief took him by surprise.

"I should be able to verify that momentarily," she continued.

He considered the screen. "You're monitoring the brother's flat."

"He maintains several 'boltholes,' as he likes to call them, located around London. We don't know the exact number, but fortunately this is one that Mr Holmes discovered and routinely keeps under surveillance." Her slender fingers danced across the keyboard and then returned to her BlackBerry.

Bodie studied the feed. It revealed a dingy, miniscule space nearly devoid of furnishings. Empty at present.

He'd seen Greg Lestrade in a few televised clips from press conferences, but never in a candid situation, never when speaking solely for himself rather than the whole of Scotland Yard. An unspecified yearning welled up inside of him.

He loosened his scarf. The young lady continued typing.

The seat was spacious as far as luxury automobiles went, but Bodie was a rather broad-shouldered man bundled in many layers. He shifted to see the small monitor better, extending an arm behind the woman's shoulder to brace himself.

"Excuse me. May I, Miss…?" he asked.

Arching an eyebrow, she gave him a look that would've put any of Hitchcock's ice queens to shame.

"If you've read my file, then you know I'm harmless," he said.

"I've read portions of your file," she replied. "And 'harmless' is the very last word I'd use to describe you." Nevertheless, she leaned forward just a fraction, making room for his arm. "You may call me 'A.' Shall I call you 'B'?"

"Yes. Thank you, A."

Had he ever been that youthful, that keen to prove himself? Of course he had. He felt full almost to overflowing with advice he wanted to impart to her, insights about loyalty and commitment, discipline and realism that he wished he'd known decades ago as principles rather than mere gut instincts.

But who was he, really, in the final analysis? A man who hoped to catch sight of his son in someone else's surveillance footage. He held his tongue.

"I can show you a muted image of DI Lestrade, to prove that he's well," she said. "Then we'll take you back to your car, or wherever you wish."

"I'd like to stay and watch, if it's all the same to you," he said, perhaps a beat too quickly.

"Mr Holmes prefers that his brother not be seen in—"

"I don't give a toss about Sherlock Holmes or whatever state he's in." He wasn't a pleading man, but he dredged up a single, quiet word from a place that felt raw and, God help him, desperate: "Please."

She never looked once in his direction, but she went still as he spoke. Her brow furrowed, and then she redoubled her efforts on the BlackBerry.

Some moments later, an intercom buzzed. "We're being followed," the driver said.

They both peered over their shoulders.

"Four back, that's my team," Bodie said.

"That's fine," A confirmed to the driver. "They're with our guest."

Just then movement showed on the laptop. A shadow first. Then a gaunt young man stalked into the frame, one hand scrubbing through his dark curls. He appeared to vibrate with unspent energy, his motions jerky and unceasing.

Bodie looked to A, wordlessly asking permission.

She consulted the BlackBerry once more. "All right," she said. "If you continue to watch DI Lestrade, you may see Sherlock Holmes in this… temper... anyway. Needless to say, Mr Holmes relies on your discretion." As an aside of her own, she added, "I expect you'll owe him a favour."

"Of course." Bodie swallowed. "Thanks."

She met his eyes for a brief moment, her expression unreadable, and then she turned her attention to the film footage.

"—just what it looked like, a suicide," the young man was saying in a cultured voice, deeper than Bodie would've expected from that slender body. "Dull, dull, dull."

Gravelly words came from off-screen, thick with weariness and no little sarcasm. "Yeah, it's a shame that people aren't killing each other fast enough this holiday season to keep you entertained."

"You never understood," the young man – Sherlock, Bodie reminded himself – sneered as he rounded on the unseen speaker. "You and your microscopic mind, content to bleat out Christmas carols with the rest of the assembled sheep. That's all you're—"

"Never claimed that I know how you feel, did I?" Greg Lestrade interrupted. He moved into view with measured steps, wearing a nondescript suit, rumpled coat, and healthy five-o-clock shadow. His tone deepened into a placating rumble. "But I do recognise that your brain needs something to work on, or it chews itself to bits. I'm here to help, if I can."

"Oh, Saint Lestrade of the Perpetually Overactive Sense of Duty," Sherlock intoned, pacing around the other man like an erratic satellite. His designer shirt and trousers looked slept in, even though he appeared not to have slept for quite some time. "I'm surprised you're not volunteering for more hours now, to let your comrades with families spend extra time during this 'special season' with their wretched spawn."

"Already have." The answer was matter-of-fact. "Been at the office, then on call for as many hours as I'm allowed. I was headed home… but I got to thinking how long it's been since you had a case, how many parties would be going on tonight, how easy it would be…"

"Don't make this about me!" Sherlock was winding himself to a manic pitch, a wounded animal that in turn sought to wound. "You're just looking for an excuse not to crawl into a bottle and stay there 'til the holiday's over, to try to forget your life's not some sickeningly-sweet greeting-card advert." Then the young man blinked and nearly stumbled backward, as though he realised he had crossed some unmarked boundary between them.

They stared at each other.

At last Greg spread his arms, offering himself up to the vitriol of Sherlock's attack. His answer came without heat. "Yeah, all right. I should have a family of my own to celebrate with. That's hard to forget, this time of year." He shrugged. "Is that what you want to hear?"

The man's lack of artifice, of any kind of self-defence, appeared to drain the hostility from Sherlock. The young man crumpled and then curled in on himself. "I don't want to hear anything from you tonight. I'm not your responsibility… and you're not mine."

"No, I'm not yours. I'm just another supplier, aren't I? Another way for you to get a fix. Of interest only as long as I've got the goods." The composure with which Greg spoke the words only increased their impact. He rubbed his hand across his face and gave a humourless laugh. "Jesus, I'm too bloody tired for this."

Bodie frowned at the screen, at sea in the storm of emotions the scene provoked. He thought, quite distinctly, Doyle would be better at this than I am.

For several moments neither of the men in the flat spoke a word. Then Greg took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. "Listen. You have four options, Sherlock. First: go home with me now. I'll get takeaway, feed you up, and you can have the guest room. When you've slept off whatever this is" – he waved his arm in the young man's general direction – "we can find something for you to do. Cold case files. Pending reports. Maybe I can pull strings, get you access to the morgue for some experiments, yeah?"

Sherlock remained unmoving, his long limbs tightened into a miserable knot.

"Second: let me take you somewhere else: a hotel, another flat, whatever, as long as it's clean in every sense of the word. Then tomorrow you can come by mine, or see your brother, or anything you fancy, as long as you stay away from the drugs.

"Third: I have you arrested right now." Sherlock's head jerked up at this, eyes wide, mouth open. "Don't play the outraged innocent; I know a search of this room will turn up more than enough cause. You spend the next hours in a cell – isolated, if you like, I can arrange it – well away from temptation. And I can get some sleep without imagining you overdosed in a gutter somewhere on Christmas morning."

Sherlock's mouth closed, and his lips compressed into a pale, thin line.

"Fourth: I walk away, leave you here, and we're done. No more consulting. I told you before, and I meant it: I won't have you at my crime scenes when you're using. Up 'til now, that's worked for both of us. Well, in fact."

"I'm not high, Lestrade. I'm bored." Small and tremulous.

"If I'd arrived later tonight, would the story be different?" No answer. "That's what I thought."

Long fingers tangled in dark curls. "You can't walk away from this. You need me." A threat, or a plea, or possibly both.

"I've lost more than one thing in my life that I needed, and I'm still here, Sherlock." Greg sounded tired, and older than Bodie felt, which was saying something, but remarkably steady for all of that. "I've solved cases without you. I made DI without you. Your work's important, but not more so than you are." He shook his head. "We could go 'round and 'round 'til the sun comes up, but I don't have the stomach for it. Make your decision. I'll be at the front door."

He moved to a dark drape of fabric on the threadbare sofa – a long coat, Bodie realised – and liberated a single cigarette from one of its pockets.

"Thought you were quitting," Sherlock mumbled.

"Yeah, thought you were, too," Greg replied.

As the detective inspector disappeared from view, A reached forward and tapped a key, pausing the feed.

"I trust that's" – she seemed at a loss for the proper term – "satisfactory?"

Bodie nodded and cleared his throat. Unsure what to do with himself, he reached for the flask in his breast pocket. He took a swallow and then offered it to the young woman.

"I'm on duty," she said, once more studying her BlackBerry.

"Did I say otherwise?" he asked.

Her lips quirked. She extended a delicately-gloved hand, accepted the flask, and brought it to her lips with easy grace. It was very fine brandy. She took one sip, then another.

"Thank you." When she handed it back to him, she looked him squarely in the eye once more for a fleeting second.

The car deposited him back on the very same patch of pavement where Bodie had been standing earlier. A was consumed with her personal data assistant. Preoccupied by what he'd witnessed, Bodie took his leave with a silent nod and half-bow – not that his hostess noticed.

Panda cars and an ambulance passed them and turned toward the rear of the building ahead, presumably on their way to claim the unfortunate suicide victim.

Before Mycroft Holmes's black sedan could pull away, the back door opened again. The young woman emerged and crossed the distance to Bodie in several swift steps, still clutching her BlackBerry.

"Happy Christmas, B," she murmured, and her free hand pressed something into his grip. Then she disappeared into the automobile, and it sped off, leaving Bodie to contemplate her unexpected gift.

He uncurled his fingers. She'd given him a lighter.

***

Bodie was following the pavement that led to the main entrance door as Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade emerged from the building.

It was a colossally stupid thing to do, Bodie knew, but he could no more deny himself this than his next lungful of air.

An automatic part of Bodie's mind catalogued the most apparent surface details: they were the same height, and roughly the same wide-shouldered, athletic build. Their eyes and chins were somewhat different. Their lips were quite similar, as was their hair.

Greg patted his pockets and swore softly under his breath, the cigarette dangling loosely between two fingers.

Bodie, the man of action who had fought – and, when necessary, killed – for decades across multiple continents, was seized by the overpowering urge to run. Instead he came to a halt and stood his ground, shamed by the trembling in his knees.

He watched as Greg took in his surroundings with a trained eye. When that dark gaze fell on him, it struck Bodie like a blow to the chest. It was all he could do not to gasp aloud.

Words failed him. Mutely, he held out the lighter. To his relief, his hand was steady, even if nothing else about him was.

"Ta, mate," Greg said, his throaty voice almost hoarse in the cold. He lit the cigarette and returned the lighter to Bodie's gloved palm. "Sounds like we may have a wet Christmas instead of a white one." He didn't act like a man who'd just had his life trampled upon by an ungrateful brat of a genius. Despite his visible exhaustion, he seemed admirably even-keeled.

"More rain, is it?" Bodie's question formed white clouds in the air.

"So they say." Calm and congenial. "You from around here?"

Bodie opted for something in the general neighbourhood of the truth. "No, haven't been in the area in years. Just needed to clear my head a bit. Park and walk a while, somewhere different. This time of year makes a man think."

"Truer words," Greg agreed. Then, with apparent concern, "Not the safest place for a late-night stroll these days."

"So I've gathered. I've had smarter ideas." Bodie shrugged. "About to call it a night, I think."

At that moment Sherlock Holmes exited the building, complete with coat and gloves and scarf. His long-legged strides brought him to Greg's far side where he stopped, shifting his weight and looking everywhere but at the detective inspector.

He hugged a rigid case to his breast.

"The first." It was hardly more than a whisper.

"Sorry?" That from Greg.

"The first option." Only slightly louder, still hesitant. "You meant what you said? About the morgue?"

Greg inspected the concrete between his feet. "'Course I did, you daft sod."

"Right. Well." Then, presented like an awkward apology, "I brought my violin."

Greg's response was quiet. "Thank you. Been ages since I heard you play." He rolled his neck and shoulders, stretching as if he'd just released a heavy burden, and took a long drag on the cigarette.

Sherlock gave a short, curt nod.

Just like that, the two seemed to regain some kind of balanced footing. Bodie didn't have to understand every nuance of the dynamic between them; it was clear enough that Greg, without any personal model to follow, had somehow divined the finer points of being a father. And for this night, at least, crisis had been averted.

"Well, I'm off," Bodie said, before his presence could become any more suspicious. "G'night."

"Think you'll be all right?" Greg asked. "We could walk you to your car, if..."

Dear God, Greg was trying to protect him, a stranger. At best the detective inspector carried a truncheon; Bodie was a walking arsenal.

The kindness in Greg's face was something Bodie fought to memorise on the spot.

"I'm fine," Bodie said. "Just around the corner. But thanks." Acting purely on instinct, he held out his hand.

Greg took it without hesitation. His grip was strong, forthright. "Right. Happy Christmas."

Bodie bound up all of the words of apology and praise and affection that he would never be able to speak, and he fed their meaning into far humbler phrases: "You, too. And happy new year."

Without a backward glance, Bodie retraced his steps. Only when he was well away did he wipe his eyes.

The ache that had been gnawing at his insides for too long grew quieter on the trek back to his car. Before Bodie climbed inside, he stood with his head thrown back, inviting the last of the errant snowflakes to land on his brow and cheeks and chin.

His son was safe. Wounded in some ways, to be sure, and tired and resigned, but far stronger than the injustices that fate had dealt him. Greg was a good man, truly, and with his patient influence, perhaps that mad younger Holmes might someday become one, as well.

Bodie had never been the sort who believed in fairytale happy endings; this imperfect and all-too-human one would do for tonight.

It was Christmas Eve. He'd received a gift he never expected. And he was going home to the man who could make him feel warm and young once more.


THE END

Note: This story takes its title from the bittersweet Christmas carol "I Wonder As I Wander" by John Jacob Niles.

Vital Stats: Originally written in December 2011.

Originally written for the "Discovered in the Christmas Tree" fest at discoveredinalj.


Or read it here at discoveredinalj.

Comments

( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
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thesmallhobbit
Dec. 5th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
This is just lovely. (Okay, I'm a sucker for this sort of fic.) The balance is just right, Bodie gets to see his son and that, despite everything, he is coping with life, but there's no grand reunion.
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you liked this! I'm very pleased (and relieved!) to hear that this struck the right balance. I really wanted Bodie to see for himself that Lestrade was a good man (and a father figure in his own right), but I wanted to stop short of the grand reunion. I'm a sucker for this kind of bittersweet story, and it means a lot to know that this worked for you. Thank you for reading and commenting!
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
Awww!!! *hugs you tightly* Thank you so much for reading this, my friend. I'm glad you found it to be moving.
reasdream
Dec. 5th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
*sniffle* Ta very much for the early Christmas gift.
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! *hugs you and gives you virtual tea* Thank you so much for reading it.

Edited at 2011-12-06 05:59 pm (UTC)
seren_ccd
Dec. 5th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Oh. Ow. In a good way! :D I really loved this. It felt like winter and that was very welcome. Really, really lovely.
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this! I'm so glad it was the good kind of ow. It really makes my day that this felt like winter to you; one of my main goals for this one was to try to capture a sense of the season. I really appreciate your encouraging words. Thank you for reading this!
sheffsfic
Dec. 5th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
You made me cry, dammit!
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
Aw, I'm sorry! (Although, selfishly, I'm also grateful that you found this to be moving.)

*offers virtual tea and biscuits to make it up to you*
noirrosaleen
Dec. 5th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
This kind of heartbreak I can live with. *snugs* I'm with the others, thanks SO much for the early Christmas gift!
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Aw, I'm so glad! *cuddles you back* Thank you</> so much for reading it. I really appreciate it. :)
jennetj
Dec. 5th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, lovely. You hit all the right notes. Thanks so much for sharing this (now I may go re-read me some Pros and wax all nostalgic).
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad this hit the right notes. I must admit, writing these two stories has put me on my own Pros nostalgia kick. It's wonderful to revisit old loves and find they're just as wonderful as you remembered! Happy re-reading. :)

And thank you so much for your lovely comments. I really appreciate them.
mazaher
Dec. 5th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
my pc crashed, I can't read at once, but thank you for what i'm sure will be another great story!
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry about your PC! I hope it's back up and running ASAP. Thanks so much for your kind words, my friend.
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so happy you think so! Thank you very much.
maggie_conagher
Dec. 5th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
it was unbearably sad until that last line; you made it all better at the very last second just as their relationship seems to be one of seconds rather than years.

Wow, the writing is this is so strong. There's an atmosphere here of bleak and empty and cold and hardbitten. I think I notice it more since I don't know Bodie and Doyle that well. You must be writing brilliantly the whole time and I'm just looking at S and J and L and not paying attn to the skills.

You have the restraint of a god to not let Bodie reveal himself. You also have the courage to let Sherlock be petty as he just might be. He isn't perfect.

These crossover continue to interest me without any foreknowledge of the show, that alone is some pretty amazing work on your part.
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that the last line made things better!

It means a lot to me to know that you thought the writing worked here. One of my main goals for this piece was to try to evoke a bleak and wintry atmosphere, so your description of "bleak and empty and cold and hardbitten" thoroughly made my day.

You have the restraint of a god to not let Bodie reveal himself.

Oh, poor Bodie. That was rough, let me tell you. I'd like to think that he got what he most needed, though, from the brief moments of interaction that he allowed himself.

You also have the courage to let Sherlock be petty as he just might be. He isn't perfect.

Thank you for this. I imagine Sherlock at his worst would have quite a cruel streak. I wanted to show a difference between the young Sherlock in "The Distance Getting Close," who was still together enough to seek out Lestrade when he needed distraction, and this one, who was so far gone that he was actively hiding (and, I presume, already had made arrangements for a different kind of "fix"). Even at this low point, though, I had hope for him - I liked the idea he'd shock himself with what he said to Lestrade, and that he'd eventually try to make things right with a very Sherlockian gesture (the violin).

When he wanted to be unpleasant, though, I can imagine Sherlock would be very unpleasant indeed!

It's wonderful to hear that this continues to hold your interest despite the fact it's a crossover (especially since the first section of this story is very Professionals-heavy). Thank you so much for reading it. I don't have any plans for more in this crossover 'verse at the moment, but I really enjoyed playing there. ;) As always, your amazing and heartening feedback is deeply appreciated.
witch_in_winter
Dec. 6th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Ah Morgan Stuart, you made me cry. What a sweet, melancholy tale. A fusion that works in both fandoms. Thank you...
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
Awww! *hugs you and offers you tissues* I'm so glad you found this to be moving. "Sweet" and "melancholy" is just what I was aiming for, so this makes my day. Um, sorry about the crying, though.(!)

A fusion that works in both fandoms.

I'm so happy that you think so! I appreciate it. I love both of these 'verses and their characters so much, and I hoped (with fingers crossed) that this would work for readers coming from either fandom.

Thanks again for your kind comments. I appreciate them.
rusty_armour
Dec. 6th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
You may think you're more at home with the Halloween atmosphere, but you're very talented at writing Christmastime stories! This is just so beautiful and moving! :-D

It's great that Bodie is finally able to see his son outside of press conference clips or CCTV footage. I was so happy that Bodie was seeing Lestrade at his finest -- trying to save a brilliant young man. BTW, I love the dialogue for the entire exchange between Lestrade and Sherlock, but this is one of my favourite bits as Lestrade can't help revealing his frustration and exhaustion:

The man's lack of artifice, of any kind of self-defence, appeared to drain the hostility from Sherlock. The young man crumpled and then curled in on himself. "I don't want to hear anything from you tonight. I'm not your responsibility… and you're not mine."

"No, I'm not yours. I'm just another supplier, aren't I? Another way for you to get a fix. Of interest only as long as I've got the goods." The composure with which Greg spoke the words only increased their impact. He rubbed his hand across his face and gave a humourless laugh. "Jesus, I'm too bloody tired for this."


As soon as Anthea gave Bodie the lighter, I could anticipate what might happen, but the father and son meeting still filled me with excitement and joy! I love the way Bodie isn't able to speak at first and can only just keep his hand steady when he lends Lestrade the lighter. And it's wonderful that Lestrade takes an interest in this kind stranger and is even concerned about his welfare when he learns about his night-time stroll. Then it gets even better when Sherlock shows up, and Bodie can see that Lestrade's words got through to Sherlock and knows that Lestrade has no trouble being paternal, despite the lack of a father.

I think you ended the story perfectly as Bodie recognizes the precious gift he's been given:

Bodie had never been the sort who believed in fairytale happy endings; this imperfect and all-too-human one would do for tonight.

It was Christmas Eve. He'd received a gift he never expected. And he was going home to the man who could make him feel warm and young once more.


BTW, I can't help wondering if Sherlock deduced anything in particular about Bodie... *g*
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
This is just so beautiful and moving! :-D

Oh, you've made my day! Thank you for being so encouraging and supportive. I really appreciate it. It means a lot to know you found this to be moving (and beautiful, too, of course!)... especially as it's outside my Halloween comfort zone. *g*

I was so happy that Bodie was seeing Lestrade at his finest -- trying to save a brilliant young man.

I'm so glad this worked! I really did want Bodie to see firsthand that Lestrade is a truly good man (and, like his father, doing a difficult job to the best of his ability). I was especially happy that you pointed out that Bodie gets to see Sherlock come around, proof that Lestrade's words got through to him, and Lestrade's paternal-like care was making a real difference to this young man.

I'm really pleased (and relieved!) that the dialogue between Lestrade and Sherlock seemed in character, especially the part you quoted, when Lestrade shows how tired and frustrated he is.

It's good to hear that the dynamic between Bodie and Lestrade - Bodie being unable to speak at first, and Lestrade being concerned for this lone man's welfare on a late night in a dodgy area - worked in this context. And I'm very glad that the ending struck the right note.

I was so worried about Sherlock blurting something out! LOL. ("When did your father get here? I thought you said you had no family!" or "Why is this man is carrying two semiautomatic pistols and extra ammunition?" or "Are you aware he has intense feelings for you, Lestrade?") I hoped he was a bit embarrassed or at least discomfited at the scene they'd just had (I'd like to think he's smart enough to know it was a bit not good), so he'd keep his mouth mostly shut for a while. Even so, I wanted Bodie out of there as quickly as possible, before Sherlock decided not to keep his deductions to himself!

Thank you again for your wonderful feedback, my friend. I appreciate it more than I can say.
canetr
Dec. 6th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
Bodie and Doyle were my first OTP so it is wonderful reading this xover with Sherlock. Your little references (chalk and cheese, 3.7/4.5) are lovely and does not detract from the story for those readers not familiar with Pros. I hope you will consider continuing in this 'verse, I would love to read more.
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this! I really hoped that this crossover 'verse would work for people who love The Lads without alienating those who don't know them, so your kind words have made me very happy indeed. I'm glad the little references work. I blame Lewis Collins and Rupert Graves and their wonderful grins for putting me on this road to begin with... ;)

It's wonderful to know there's interest in more from this 'verse, too. I appreciate it!

Thanks again for reading and commenting.
archea2
Dec. 6th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. You took the old "Christmas miracle" trope and mixed it with stark realism and elegant language, that unique blend of yours. I needed that after my twelve hour shift!
morganstuart
Dec. 6th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, this puts a huge smile on my face! I'm so pleased this twist on the old trope worked for you - especially on a day when you needed it! Thank you so much for your encouraging words. As always, they're most appreciated.

PS. Your kind comment about "stark realism and elegant language" - what a wonderful thing to say! I'm going to carry that around with me, like an invisible teddy bear. :) Thank you.

Edited at 2011-12-06 10:11 pm (UTC)
methylviolet10b
Dec. 7th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
YEEP! I have *no* idea how I missed this until now (things have been busy, but I didn't think they were THAT busy). This is absolutely LOVELY. You captured the melancholy feel of the carol beautifully, and you make me wish I was familiar with The Professionals - or at least your version of them. The relationship between Bodie and Doyle is so layered, so complex, so full of things not said (maybe they were said in the show, but somehow I doubt it). And the contrast with the rawness of the early quasi-functional relationship of Sherlock and Lestrade - that's just genius, full stop.

This was just a lovely treat, start to finish.
morganstuart
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this, my friend! I'm so glad you feel this captured the tone of the carol. I'm really pleased to hear that the contrast between Bodie and Doyle's seasoned relationship and Lestrade and Sherlock's early one worked. You've put a big smile on my face. Thank you so much for reading this (especially since you're not familiar with The Professionals) and for your lovely comments. I appreciate it very much!
mariole
Dec. 7th, 2011 04:31 am (UTC)
Aw, I adore your Lestrade. As level-headed and kind as one could ever dream of. I'm not familiar with Bodie, but I hope he gets the courage to introduce himself at some point. I think it would do them both good. Cheers.
morganstuart
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, this makes me so happy! I'm delighted that you like my take on Lestrade here. Honestly, I'd love for Bodie to introduce himself, too, although I don't know if he'll ever do it, out of protectiveness toward Lestrade. (And, to be fair, I also love the idea of Bodie being the secret "guardian angel" watching out for Lestrade from the shadows). But who knows... Mycroft does love to meddle, after all, so maybe he won't have a choice! ;)

Thanks so much for reading this, and also for your kind words. Cheers!
togsos
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:40 am (UTC)
i have to admit i went into this story really wanting hugs and fatherly cuddles :( but what i got was an excellent story that really hit a perfect character pitch. I am not usually one for bittersweet, i am all about the OTT fluff action, but this left me really wanting more and that is the best compliment i can give a story!
morganstuart
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
Awww! I'm sorry this didn't scratch the hugs and cuddles itch, but it means a lot to me that the story - and especially the characterizations - worked for you despite the bittersweetness. I really appreciate your reading it.

but this left me really wanting more and that is the best compliment i can give a story

Oh wow! I take that as a very high compliment indeed. :D Thank you very much!

(I love your icon, BTW.)

Edited at 2011-12-07 09:52 pm (UTC)
gryphonrhi
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
Really, really nice. Good of Anthea to loan him the lighter and poor Bodie; walking away on Christmas had to hurt. Thank you.

(PS -- small typo: "You're work's important"; you want "Your")
morganstuart
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I expect Anthea was thinking three steps ahead, even when she was brand new to the job. ;) And poor Bodie; it hurt me for him, that's for sure!

I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks for reading!

Thanks a million for this! I owe you one. 'Tis fixed.
(no subject) - gryphonrhi - Dec. 7th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - Dec. 19th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC) - Expand
cookiefleck
Dec. 23rd, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
This was just beautiful. I would be so proud if Lestrade was my son. You convey the emotions brilliantly.

The song made me cry. I couldn't even make out the words, but the juxtaposition with the photos, etc. - I dunno maybe it's my mood right now but I started thinking about all of the people I know and how each of us has grown up with different strengths and weaknesses, and each of us has happiness but also burdens... and a lot of other thoughts I won't elaborate here. But thanks.
morganstuart
Dec. 23rd, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this, my friend. I'm so glad the emotions came across here. I agree: Lestrade would make any parent proud. I liked the idea that this wasn't some kind of perfect reunion or instant solution, but everyone got enough of what they needed that night to be going on with...

I do love that carol; it always puts tears in my eyes, as well. It's got that melancholy edge to it that brings across a very wintry bleakness and introspection, I think. I hoped to capture just a little of that in my description of Bodie's thoughts and feelings.

I started thinking about all of the people I know and how each of us has grown up with different strengths and weaknesses, and each of us has happiness but also burdens... and a lot of other thoughts I won't elaborate here

*huge hugs* Like Bodie said, "This time of year makes a man think." And so does that song! I do hope it was a good kind of thinking, though, and not sad. *more hugs*

As always, I'm so grateful to you for taking the time to read and comment on something I've written. I appreciate it so much! Thank you.
monkeybard
Dec. 25th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
Just read this and its prequel. I haven't a clue about The Professionals beyond the title, but it so didn't matter. Lovely tone in both fics, and all the characters, unfamiliar and familiar, were beautifully drawn and accessible. Love your younger Lestrade and Sherlock. Really gorgeous work, as ever.
morganstuart
Dec. 25th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so very much for this! I'm thrilled to hear that the stories and their characterizations worked for you despite the fact that you weren't familiar with The Professionals. I felt like both of these were "atmosphere" pieces, so I was particularly pleased that you liked their tone. And of course it means a lot to me to know that these portraits of a younger Lestrade and Sherlock seemed fitting to you. Your kind words have made my holiday, and I can't thank you enough!
innie_darling
Dec. 29th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
I don't know The Professionals at all, but this series is just lovely and your Lestrade is simply amazing.
morganstuart
Dec. 29th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks so very much for reading this series! I'm really happy that it worked for you despite the fact you're not familiar with The Professionals. And of course I'm especially thrilled that you liked my take on Lestrade. :) I really appreciate your kindness. Thanks a million!
shezan
Dec. 29th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
These were wonderful. I kept expecting Sherlock to connect the dots between Brodie and Lestrade...
morganstuart
Dec. 29th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm really delighted that you liked these stories.

I kept expecting Sherlock to connect the dots between Brodie and Lestrade...

I know, right? I was quite worried about Sherlock blurting something out! LOL. ("When did your father get here? I thought you said you had no family!" or "Why is this man is carrying two semiautomatic pistols and extra ammunition?" or "Are you aware he has intense feelings for you, Lestrade?") I hoped he was a bit embarrassed or at least uncomfortable about the scene they'd just had (I'd like to think he knew it was a bit not good), so he'd keep his mouth mostly shut for a while. Even so, I wanted Bodie out of there as quickly as possible, before Sherlock decided not to keep his conclusions to himself!

Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it so very much!
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Jan. 2nd, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you very much! I'm so glad that, despite the sadness, this worked for you. I really appreciate your kind words.
pinchin_lane
Feb. 13th, 2012 10:46 pm (UTC)
Lovely... just lovely. :)
morganstuart
Feb. 14th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
Many thanks for this! I appreciate your reading and commenting so much. I'm delighted that you enjoyed this story.
zauzat
Mar. 27th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Absolutely gorgeous. I loved all the subtle details of the various characters and the way you made it hopeful but not overly sentimental.
morganstuart
Mar. 28th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you very much for this! I'm delighted that you liked it. I'm so pleased the characterization and details seemed fitting to you, and that it felt hopeful without going over the top. I really appreciate your kind words. Thanks for reading and commenting!
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