Nothing good ever came out of the words ‘We need some time apart’. Of course, it only usually came out of one person’s mouth, but it made that person feel better about themselves thinking they were speaking for both people at once. In this case, the person being spoken for was a man who had spent the last few years trying to delicately balance some kind of home life and advancing his career as DI.
But, really, what was Greg going to say? ‘Lisa, it’s a few days before New Years.’ ‘Lisa, I’m doing my best to spend more time with you.’ ‘Lisa, I know you’re not just going to your mother’s, or Marge’s, or whatever other female relation you’re going to feed me.’ Any of those would have started another fight, another round of his wife’s tears and another round of Greg feeling like a dick. It wasn’t exactly unexpected at least. To say they had been on the rocks for a little was putting it mildly. So, he just accepted it, supported the decision, went along with the ‘It’s only for a little while’ and didn’t leave Lisa with a reason to be mad while she was off doing… whatever.
It all ultimately led him to where he was now, in a pub with some of the people at the office, a bit more than a few drinks in him and the telly on some random channel with a couple of reporters talking about the coming new year. With any luck at all, it’d be better than this one, that was sure.
The dim light of the pub reflected off the top of his whiskey-laden drink as he glanced down to it, Greg’s eyes straying away from the group in front of him. At the moment, Anderson was setting up for a joke, one that Lestrade could half hear as his attention was pulled to his own thoughts. There was no telling what Lisa was doing right now, and it was very nearly an unconscious gesture that he pulled out his cell phone and glanced at the screen. No messages.
“And he said, ‘Oy! Mind the cat down there, no need to be rough,’” Anderson finished his joke with a drunken laugh, everyone else joining him. Yeah, Greg missed it, but he managed a little bit of a laugh regardless before finishing the last little bit of his drink and making eye contact with a bartender with a little nod for another drink. Ten minutes till the time, might as well try to beat the rush.
“Come on Greg, cheer up a little, you obviously need more whiskey,” Anderson had shouted right next to him with a drunken slur, hand on the DI’s shoulder and leaning against him heavily. Greg grinned a little, giving a bit of a laugh as he used his hand to grab Anderson’s shirt at his shoulder and straighten him up.
“Don’t worry, I’m workin’ on that, you just try to keep standing till the bell rings, yeah,” Greg responded in a light hearted way, never minding when people got arseholed as long as they didn’t get violent. You got used to it if you did the seedier pubs, which is what his stupid, twenty year old self did for a bit. Maybe it’s one reason he went grey early in life.
Anderson laughed again, nodding as he swayed, essentially being kept up straight only by the hand tightly fisted in his shirt. Then, he had to go and wave his arm, shouting at the bartender for more drinks. Well shit, now he’d never get his own drink. Greg gave a little sigh of disappointment as he carefully let go of Anderson’s shirt when he stumbled toward his wife, throwing his arm around her and miraculously not crashing both of them to the ground as his wife laughed and struggled to keep them both up.
The DI glanced back up at the telly, running a hand through his grey hair in an effort to keep himself from checking the phone again. His head was pleasantly light and he was leaning a little on the bar itself, one of the three people from the department to have a seat at the stools. It was enough to keep him relatively cheery, but there was a slowly growing sinking sensation.
Ten minutes to go til the new year, til first year kisses were exchanged in hopes of another year of a happy relationship. He and Lisa did that last year at one of her work parties and, well, look how that turned out. Again, his hand seemed to have a mind of its own, and when he came out of his thoughts, he was staring at the notification window on his phone. Nothing.
Greg sighed one more time and gave up, sliding his thumb across the lock bar and typing in his pass. He’d at least text her, let her know he was thinking about her. His thumb slid over to the address book, scrolled down to “My Better Half”, but he paused. His soft eyes were staring softly down at the name of the entry, wondering what she was doing now. Was she also drunk, laughing with her arm around someone else for the night? Someone she’d been seeing? A replacement?
Greg made a very soft, frustrated sound as he put the phone down on the bar, hand going for his glass and bringing it to his lips only to be smacked softly on the lips by cold ice. He put it back down in disappointment, hand automatically going back to his phone to at least hold something. He didn’t like not fixing the problem’s he came across, but without a drink and without a proper drive to text Lisa, he couldn’t work toward fixing anything.
Eight minutes, by the time displayed at the top. Well, he’d text someone then. No idea who, but not someone with their own someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight. Names flew past as he scrolled down: Mum and dad, Aunt Bettie who had Uncle Billy, his brother James was with his wife in Cardiff, most of the people from work who were here with him. Hell, even Sally had found some bloke to flirt at for the evening. Sherlock; hah, just what he needed, a display of the “powers of deduction” on a New Years Eve text. John; he could just see Sherlock grabbing the phone before John.
More names scrolled past, some acquaintances he’d only seen once or twice, work contacts mostly. Then, he flicked back up through the list, bottom to top this time. Hit the top, and frowned a little more as he started his third scroll through when his eyes stopped on a name he skipped over twice. Mycroft Holmes.
Well, it wasn’t like he actually called Mycroft too often, at least not socially. They were both in the business of looking over the younger Holmes, for their own reasons obviously. He knew Sherlock was a great man, damn sharp and useful so long as an eye was kept on him. For Mycroft, well, he could only guess it was out of some kind of obligation, sticking with family and all that.
It was usually Mycroft who started the text conversations, pointing out when Sherlock was getting himself into trouble and where he could be stopped to make sure he wasn’t getting in over his head. Or, getting someone else, like John, in over his head. He didn’t know too much beyond that, though he did guess he wasn’t attached to anyone. Maybe there were just certain jobs were you can’t get attached to someone while you’re in them.
Greg grinned a little sadly as it was probably the case for himself as well. He’d never think in a million years that he could guess what goes through the mind of Mycroft Holmes, but he was still human. A human who, Sherlock had joked, was the British government itself, but still human. He clicked the name, turned his phone over, and started typing.
How’s your new years eve Mr. Holmes? - GL
Sometimes, socialization was unfortunately necessary. There were appearances to keep up after all, and one does not hold a position in the British government without a bit of pomp and circumstance. That was where Mycroft Holmes found himself now, chatting cordially within a group consisting of the ambassador of France, the Prime Minister and the President of the Supreme Court. The ambassador was currently talking about a trip to Spain he had the pleasure of going on. Eye contact, body turned at appropriate angle, polite smile, small nods of encouragement every now and again, keywords: Salamanca, Anaya Palace, general approval of the location, cafe, coffee, croissant, disapproval of coffee. No, Mycroft wasn’t really listening.
He didn’t enjoy saying that his brother and himself were very much alike, but even he couldn’t deny the similarities. Yes, Mycroft got bored, but he got bored with people, not with situations. Whereas Sherlock has been known to take a gun to his own wall, Mycroft personally knew himself to have an occasional vitriolic commentary running in his head if he wasn’t interested. For example, how difficult to please the French ambassador was with anything he ate if it didn’t come from his own country, how completely unashamed he was to give his culinary taste to whom ever would listen while having not the palette nor the wit to find his way around a proper filet mignon and Cabernet Sauvignon. Well, of course, you can’t put all of the blame on him, he is French.
However, pseudo-listen he did, keeping the urge to look at the time down under wraps as that would give away his impatience. By the look of the couples gathering together that he could catch from his peripheral, it couldn’t be too long now. With the fresh tray of champagne just starting to go around and work its way around, roughly around ten minutes. No, he wouldn’t attempt an exact guess, ‘roughly ten minutes’ served his purposes well enough and he was not his brother.
A slight elevation in pitch, excitement, the end of a punch line. There were the beginnings of a laugh in the expression, so when it came, Mycroft gave his own warm but polite laugh in response. Then, there was a vibration coming from his waist coat during the blissful pause in the conversation. It gave Mycroft an opening to take a quick glance at it. ‘-trade’
Detective Inspector Lestrade. Damn it, Sherlock, tonight of all times? Mycroft looked up with an apologetic upturn of the eyebrows, nothing too extreme, just enough to express his regret that he must get this message. He exchanged hand shakes and then pulled himself away from the group. He didn’t always have to be so forced with his display of emotions; unlike what some may say, he had emotions. He simply learned how to display them at the appropriate level, unlike his brother. But, the learned talent also served well in situations like these.
Deft fingers slid the mobile out of his pocket, thumb tapping the appropriate buttons and finally on the notification of the text. The contents of which made him frown a little, pausing as he carefully slid through the crowd, heading for the edge of it. Not about his brother, as Detective Inspector Lestrade wasn’t a man to beat around the bush in an immediate crisis. However, it was none the less a text seven minutes before midnight. Perhaps it was something else. Mycroft slid the front of his mobile out.
Well enough, Detective Lestrade. Is there something the matter? - MH
Greg was almost surprised when his phone beeped softly, and he would have missed it if it hadn’t also vibrated. He glanced back down from the telly, thumbing away the lock and notification. Honestly, he had no idea what Mycroft was doing, maybe at some kind of big, official party. Like with the Prime Minister, or something.
…Shit. And here he was texting him in the middle of it. Greg cursed softly, blaming the alcohol and the situation as his thumbs tapped the screen.
No nothing. Sorry. Just
Well, what was it just? Sounds pretty damn silly even in his own head and he deleted the word, thinking some more.
No nothing. Sorry. Probably pulled you away from something important. - GL
Mycroft looked down at the phone in his hand when it vibrated, turning the screen on. Well, this was certainly curious, and his brows furrowed a little because of it. Nonetheless, he couldn’t help a very small, quiet chuckle as he slid the phone open again.
No need to apologize. With all honesty and respect, you have no idea how welcome your text is in pulling me aside for a bit. How is your New Years, detective? - MH
As the champagne tray came by, Mycroft slid his phone closed and took a flute with a smile and a nod.
Greg was staring at the screen as it rest on the bar, hand sliding through his hair, a little worried that he had annoyed a Holmes brother. That wasn’t a good thing, no matter what brother you were talking to. Instead, when the message came, the DI laughed softly as he dropped his worry, picking up the phone.
Who knew I had great timing. It could be better but I’m managong. - GL
Managing sorry. - GL
Just as Mycroft was reading the first text, the second one came through and he chuckled softly again. He took a small sip of his champagne before placing it on a small table to the side of him. He glanced up briefly, again noting the people gathering into couples and then the time. Five minutes.
I am sorry to hear, but I do hope you are managing responsibly. Are you nearly ready for the countdown? - MH
Greg rubbed his head while he lifted the phone into view, now not even putting it down. Damn drunk grammar; Mycroft was probably the only man he knew who actually texted in proper English, much less on New Years Eve. And actually typed more than a single word like ‘Boring.’
I’m on the force, always manage responsibly. Nothing to get ready for. Wife
…Well, what is his wife doing right now.
I’m on the force, always manage responsibly. Nothing to get ready for. Wife out with her friends, I’m just at the pub. - GL
Hm. So Detective Lestrade is still having marital problems and therefor texts him instead of anyone else? Well, he must be a few drinks in then. He was not necessarily adverse to small talk with the detective, though the need to do so had never occurred to him.
Well, that makes two of us, Lestrade. At least we have one another to talk to, yes? - MH
Greg was looking down at his phone when a small clink on the bar made him look up. His new drink. The tender was already off making more drinks, but he smiled anyway. Well, things were looking up a little bit.
Call me Greg Mr. Holmes. And yeah at least
Call me Greg Mr. Holmes. I’m just glad I’ve got good timing. - GL
There was a voice from across the room, calling for everyone to look out the windows at the impeccable view of Big Ben that would be counting down the seconds. Mycroft made his way to a spot with a good view but off to the side as much as possible. Wives were setting down glasses, sliding their hands into their husband’s, saying a few final words before joining in in an excited but contained countdown from the members. He looked down at the phone, sliding up the screen, typing.
Thank you Greg
Mycroft tried to hit the period, but paused. He always hated nicknames, and even on a first name basis, just leaving Greg sounded so… unprofessional, rude.
Thank you Gregory. - MH
People started chanting the seconds loudly, the whole bar joining in. Greg looked around at a pat on the back; Anderson trying to draw attention to the screen. Yeah, a little slow there mate. In fifteen seconds, it didn’t matter who was around, thousands of people would be focused on just them and whoever lips were locked onto theirs. And millions of texts would be sent out in an instant, making it almost impossible to get through. He wanted to send one more text, just one before the clock hit.
Happy New Years, Mr. H
An excited scream was all he had before a rough slam into his back jarred him forward with an ‘oomf’ as he was knocked into the edge of the bar, phone clattering onto the top. ” ‘ey, what’s this then?!” Greg called in frustration over the chanting, looking behind him as a very drunk woman apparently tried to run for her girlfriend, missed, and knocked into Greg instead. She called a half assed apology over her shoulder as she was hugged tight and Greg looked back at the telly.
3. 2. 1.
Greg cursed under his breath as he picked up the phone and quickly tried to finish it.
Happy New Years, Mr. Holmes. - GL
Send. There was no way in bloody Hell that message was going to make it in the mess of texts that were now going around. He had a small shot a few seconds before, but on the dot? No way. Greg sighed in frustration underneath the sound of noise makers, where it didn’t matter that he’d come with a group, he might as well have been sitting alone in his living room.
But, Mycroft is no ordinary man. The usual rules of technology simply didn’t apply to him as they did the common folk. Of course he was set up to receive, and send, text messages on a priority. Didn’t matter what was going on, thousands or millions of texts at once, those from and to his phone would go through first. And as the small, professional quartet started up Auld Lang Syne, his phone vibrated.
A click of a button, a tap of the notification and he smiled a little.
Please, Mycroft. And happy New Years to you too, Gregory. - MH