Pairings: Andy Wilman/DI Lestrade (Gen)
Summary: Top Gear/Sherlock crossover. Ages ago sofish_sasha left me the prompt "Lestrade and Wilman meet in a pub after a long day, and start comparing notes on the insufferable madmen/geniuses/idiots they work with." This is that fic.
The pub door swung open to admit a waft of cigarette smoke from the frozen huddlers in the porch, as a figure in a battered trenchcoat made his way to the bar.
Sitting at a table in the window, Andy lifted his head briefly as the scent tried its best to lure him outside. But on further reflection it was bastard freezing, and there was also the fact that the man at the bar was now coming his way carrying two pints.
"Now there's a sight for sore eyes," Andy sighed appreciatively as one of the glasses was set down in front of him.
"You looked like you needed it." Lestrade grinned and shrugged off his rain-spattered coat. He caught Andy looking at a long burn mark on the sleeve and snorted. "Don't ask."
Andy raised his eyebrows. "Bad day?"
"You ever feel like you're surrounded by imbeciles and madmen?"
"All too frequently."
For a minute they drank in companionably sympathetic silence. Around them the crowd ebbed and flowed, the slot machine rattled and flashed to itself in the corner, and from the far reaches of the pub came the clack of balls on a pool table.
Finally Andy set down his glass at the halfway mark and started laughing quietly. Lestrade looked up enquiringly and he shook his head.
"Finally starting to strike me as funny."
"Second pint'll do that for you." Lestrade shifted back in his seat and stretched his legs out in front of him tiredly. "What was it this time?"
"Where do I start?" Andy picked up his pint again. "Maybe the poster campaign in the office." He sighed. "They claimed it wasn't them, but I knew it was. For a start you could tell who'd put up what based on the height of it and whether it was straight or not."
"Posters sound fairly harmless," ventured Lestrade.
"With official BBC branding? Campaigning for things like smoking indoors, the abolition of speed limits and the return of Empire? Can you imagine what would happen if one of the tabloids saw one? Or the Director General?" The more indignant Andy got the harder Lestrade laughed until finally Andy started laughing again too. "Bollocks. Tell me your day was worse."
"It was." Lestrade shuddered.
"Elephant. You know. Big grey thing with ears."
"Yes, I - what about an elephant?"
"He stole one," sighed Lestrade gloomily, and drained his glass. "Nother?"
"I'll get 'em." Andy hauled himself to his feet and sloped off to the bar. When he came back Lestrade was scowling at his mobile phone.
"Bloody Donovan. Keeps calling me Nelly."
Andy set the drinks down and regained his seat. "Elephant, huh?"
"Jeremy did an elephant impression at a garden party once," mused Andy. "You know I used to think he couldn't embarrass me any more, but he manages to prove me wrong at least once a week."
Lestrade choked on his beer. "The - ?"
"Yeah. How he's not in prison I have no idea."
"Tell me about it."
Andy put his feet up on a spare chair. "So about this elephant?"
Lestrade groaned. "Said he needed it to prove a point. Said it clearly wasn't stealing because everyone saw him take it, and that he'd been going to put it back." Lestrade rubbed his eyes tiredly. "Pointing out the fact he was dressed as a zookeeper at the time was apparently just me being picky."
"Three cars and a park bench, plus a traffic warden had a fit of the vapours."
"So not all bad then?"
Lestrade tried to hide a smile. "Not to mention a veritable mountain of shit in the middle of Regent Street."
"And I thought Jeremy 'borrowing' that tank last week was the worst thing that could happen," Andy grinned.
"God, don't give Sherlock ideas."
"Best for humanity if they never come into any form of contact at all I reckon," Andy said darkly. "I'd joke about there being some sort of explosion if they met, but it sounds entirely possible that wouldn't be a figure of speech."
"Could be the end of life as we know it," Lestrade agreed, smirking. "Still reckon my day was worse though."
"Oh the posters were just a distraction. Turns out while we were chasing all over the building taking them down, the three of them, apparently lacking a single brain between them, had dismantled the car of the visiting Mexican Ambassador, who was due to appear on Question Time, and reassembled it on the roof of the building. Upside down."
"Huh." Lestrade swallowed more beer and thought about it. "Did he see the funny side? The ambassador?"
"Not so's you'd notice. It might have been okay, except he was already in a bad mood when he arrived. Something about an hour long traffic jam on Regent Street."
They looked at each other and started to laugh again.
"Made good telly though?" Lestrade suggested when they'd finally stopped for breath.
Andy rolled his eyes. "The best. Bastards. How about you? Did the elephant serve its purpose?"
"Yeah. Caught us a double-murderer," admitted Lestrade gloomily. "I'd be more grateful if I couldn't foresee the amount of paperwork the damn elephant's going to cause me."
Andy snorted. "Jumbo size forms, huh?"
Lestrade barked with laughter and finished his pint. "Thank you for that, Mr Sympathy." He got to his feet and pulled on his coat. "Better go and face the music I guess."
"Same time next week?" Andy called after him, and got a thumbs up of confirmation as Lestrade disappeared through the door.
Following on more slowly, Andy paused outside to light a cigarette and realised he'd never asked Lestrade about the burn mark on his coat. Turned up his collar against the wind and smiled.
It was good to know however trying Jeremy and the others got that there was still somebody out there having a worse day than him.