Chapter One: La Belle France
by Alicia (aisumitsukai at home.com)
Chapter One: La Belle France
It was springtime in France, and a glowing evening sun bathed the
rolling green hills of the countryside in a warm golden blanket, the
tips of the grass waving in a gentle breeze. Or, at least, Lestrade
was sure this would be the case, had she been able to see the rolling
hills of the countryside and not just the election campaign boards
that stood shoulder to shoulder along the tracks of the bullet train.
"I hate election time," she muttered.
"Oh?" Holmes raised an eyebrow. "I would have thought you the type to
glory in exercising your rights and making your voice heard, or some
such romantic thing."
"Well, yeah, sure, whatever, but itís always so depressing. Who to
vote for? The slimy little man on the right, the slimy little man in
the middle or the slimy little woman on the left? Either way, itís not
much of a choice. Though personally, I tend to go for the slimy little
woman on the left...."
"I think youíre doing the government an injustice. They work hard and
do as good a job as is possible. No one is perfect. Yes, there have
been mistakes but for the most part their work ahs been beneficial and
itís due to that that our world is as good as it is now."
"Oh yes, the world is so good right now. Thatís why half the world
doesnít have clean water to drink and mothers are selling their
children into slavery for the money to buy enough for dinner. Our
country is as good as it is because we went around the world taking
slaves and cheating and stealing money from everyone else. It took
them forever just to legalize same-sex marriage, and thatís just the
tip of the iceberg. What about-"
"All right, all right Inspector." Watson held up his hands. "You win, but
I still think youíre being overly judgmental."
Lestrade laughed, flashing him a grin. "And I still think youíre bring
"Iíve been told itís a flaw of mine." Watson smiled back. "But here,
have a sandwich; you havenít eaten since this morning."
Lestradeís face darkened as she accepted the sustenance. "Thatís not
my fault! If my zedding luggage hadnít been lost back at the airport,
and I hadnít been running around in frickiní circles trying to get it
back, I wouldíve. And not only that, but now I have to go buy new
clothes too. Heck, I have to buy new everything... and
I hate shopping."
Holmes chuckled. "Tch, here we are in the fashion capital of the
world, or so Deidre tells me it still is, and you, who are by all accounts female,
donít want to go shopping. This is a strange world indeed." He kept
his face admirably straight as he said this, but his lips turned up at
the corners just ever so slightly as Lestrade turned her evil eye on
"Zed off, Holmes."
"As you wish." Smiling amiably, he turned back to his honest-to-
goodness paper newspaper (a novelty he picked up at a French souvenir
The rest of the train trip was passed in silence, Lestrade dozing,
Watson surfing the net, and Holmes buried face-first in his paper. At
the station they were met by a government official -- charming and polite,
if a bit stiff -- and a brand spanking new hover-limo, which took them
to a shiny state-of-the-art five-star hotel.
Lestrade made peace with Watson, decreeing that there was absolutely
nothing wrong with rich politicians who decided to foot the bill for
your travels, especially when you were traveling for something really
stupid. Like, say, a teamwork seminar. He told her they werenít stupid and
she and Holmes could use it. She replied that yes, Holmes certainly
could, but there was no reason to make all of them suffer. Holmes
simply told her that it wasnít his fault if she couldnít keep up with
him. But he said it with a smile and she wasnít offended, though she
grumbled about arrogance.
After having thoroughly explored her hotel room, a veritable cave of
pastel wallpaper, potpourri and lush carpet, Lestrade ambled down to
the dining room to join Holmes and Watson. Ignoring the raised
eyebrows her rumpled clothes got, she quickly found her way to a small
table in the back corner; perfectly situated so as to be able to watch
everyone who entered and exited the room. Lestrade shook her head at
the detective as she sat down.
"Yes?" Holmes raised an eyebrow.
"Just complementing your choice of seating -- great view." Lestrade
glanced over the menu innocently.
He smiled; pleased, perhaps, that she noticed.
Watson grinnned. "I tried to tell him a nice relaxing view of the
gardens would be better on a holiday, but oh, no, once paranoid, always
"Thereís a difference between being cautious and being paranoid."
Holmes sniffed as the waiter approached.
"Est-ce que vous etes prÍt pour faire vos ordres, mísieurs,
Holmes raised his eyebrows at Lestrade who nodded. "Oui, merci, je
vais avoir le saumon avec orange et..." He turned to Lestrade, waiting
for her to tell him what she wanted. Instead, she turned to the waiter.
"Et je vais avoir une crepe de diner, merci."
The waiter smiled. And waited. So did the three at the table. The
waiterís smile faltered.
"Oh!" Lestrade put a hand over her mouth to hide her smile. "Oh no,
pardoner moi, monsieur, il níest pas- ah, il ne mange pas."
"Ah." The waiter looked puzzled but he left politely, without asking.
Watson chuckled under his breath. "Poor man. How embarrassing..."
Lestrade grinned in agreement.
Holmes however, cocked his head at Lestrade. "I didnít know you spoke
"Really? Iím surprised." Her grin grew. "French, Spanish, and Italian.
My father, Peter Lestrade, was a purebred Englishman-whatever and my
mother was a mixed blood French gypsy. It was all very romantic, until
he ran off with another woman. Anyway, in hopes that I would take her
mantle, she taught me all the languages she knew. Appears I got stuck
with my fatherís genes, though... unfortunately for everyone involved."
Lestrade finished with a wry smile.
However, at that moment their food arrived, and anything Holmes might
have said was forgotten in favour of dinner.
After having been fed and watered, Lestrade returned to her room,
stripped off her clothes and flopped into bed, pausing for a moment to
curse whatever zedhead stole her luggage. Her eyes were closed before
she even hit her pillow, but open again just as quickly. A brick had
just come crashing through the French doors, angled so as to land
scarily close to her head.
Wrapping herself in one of the many blankets, she grabbed her ionizer
off the night table (she wasnít stupid enough to pack that in her
luggage) and ran out onto the balcony. Three stories below her the
swimming pool glistened silver under the moon. Encircling the pool,
extensive gardens stood dark and silent, and there was no sign of her
Lestrade shook her head. Probably some kids out on a dare. Sheíd tell
room service in the morning... right now it was all she could do just to
get back into bed.
French phrases in order of appearance:
Are you ready to make your orders, Sirs and Miss?
Yes, thank you, I will have the salmon with lemon and...
And I will have the crepe with egg and cheese, please.
Oh no, sorry sir, heís not-ah, he wonít be eating.
On to Chapter 2!
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