In all honesty. He probably has never been that drunk in his life before. Not that Benedict could remember. Especially not right now. The atmosphere was fantastic, the people were fantastic. Mostly because the majority of people were more family to him than just some random co-workers. He loved this show and this job and wanted to make the most out of this evening, like everyone. They all worked so hard to get to this point. Season three was finished, meaning the end of principle photography, and he just knew this could be potentially be the best work he’d ever do. That was his time and he should enjoy the moment as long as it would last.
“You've got no idea what just happened.” Louise came up to him, slightly already very tipsy and willing to share some gossip. The party was at its peak and all Benedict wanted to really do was get drunk and lay low. He worked too hard over the last couple of months. Star Trek, Sherlock, and bits and pieces in between. Too many projects he already signed on to do and his parents nagging him about starting a family, getting married. Benedict huffed. That was the last thing on his mind.
“Spill Lou.” He nudged and took a big gulp of his beer.
“Martin can juggle three bananas. It's really fascinating actually.” Benedict froze instantly by the mention of his name.
“I mean. I had no idea that he would actually be here. But here he is with his juggling bananas.” Benedict had to laugh a bit at least by Lou’s sheer ridiculous enthusiasm about martins hidden talent. However, he and apparently most of the crew had no idea that he would actually be here. He was supposed to be on his next project shooting in Minnesota.
“Sounds jaw-dropping. Where is he anyways?” Lous giggled.
“Yeah, I know. He needs to show you that. He was just with Lucy at the bar a minute ago. Just look for the man with the slickest outfit in the room and you’ll find him.” Benedict kissed Lou on the cheek and made his way through the crowd. He had to giggle to himself, she was adorable when she was tipsy. Actually, Lou was always adorable. As soon as Benedict ushered through the crowd, he immediately thought what a bad idea it actually was to seek Martin out. Both have kept their much-needed distance so far, so to speak. It was definitely never uttered between the two why they grew more distant in the last couple of months as they seemed to be so close for the last few years, which was true. They were too close. Too comfortable, and Benedict seemed to find more and more a problem with that. So he decided for himself to build some space around him. Of course, never in a professional environment but in their free time it was best to not stretch whatever he was currently running away from. Martin didn’t seem to notice a thing and if he had, he didn’t voice it to Ben. He never did actually, that was just the way Martin was. Layed-back and easy to get on with. Benedict turned towards the Lobby passing the drunken crew members. The plan that Ben set for himself just didn’t seem to work out, because in reality, he couldn’t stay away from him. He didn't want to stay away from him, if he was completely honest with himself and why should he? They didn’t do anything wrong. So what issue did Benedict have then? The next Turn he took led up to the second Bar down the Floor and revealed a very giddy looking Martin Freeman, leaning at the Bar, Beer in his hand and in deep conversation with Lucy, one of the Ladies from the Costume Department. She was one of the prettiest Ladies of the Crew, surely Ben would find Martin amongst beautiful women.
“Hi. There you are.” Ben interrupted the scene between Martin and Lucy. Martin turned towards the younger man and his eyes fixated him. Ben knew that look. It was a sign of surprise and confusion.
“Hey. Here I am.” Martin responded with a light chuckle while Lucy greeted Ben with a warm hug.
“Finally. Our two stars together. You know that this party is actually all about you two.” She was more than ecstatic and definitely not what Ben expected.
“Us. No. It's about you guys, you do all the hard work. We basically just show up.” Ben replied while Martin still couldn’t take his eyes from Benedict. He was definitley not amused and sort of repelled by being interrupted in that way. That’s at least what Benedict saw in his eyes, because he stared back, both not really taking notice of Lucy's ramblings about how this party was awesome. Bens looked down on Martin as his eyes wandered over the smaller men's wardrobe. He was impeccably dressed as always. A grey three piece suit while everyone else looked like they just came from the pub. Benedict himself wore a Black shirt and trousers which definitely looked good on him but held nothing to what Martin was wearing.
“ I should tell you guys. This night is going to be magical. I’ve never seen a more exceptional wrap party than this one.” Ben agreed it was exceptional but also unnerving. Martins look finally moved towards Lucy who was pretty busy fumbling all over Benedict. He looked down and seemed all of a sudden really agitated. Ben noticed immediately that something seemed off. He went from giddy to shitty in seconds. Some would say he was a fucking good actor.
“ Lucy. Would you excuse us for a second.” Benedict turned towards Lucy who went on and on about how awesome this party seemed to be.
“ Hm. Sure. Is everything ok.” She looked between Martin and Benedict who both seemed slightly weird and off. Lucy understood that her presence was no longer welcome.
“Yes Sure. I just need to talk to Martin about something.” Ben explained and forced a smile. Lucy nodded slowly and made her way through the crowd. Martin sighed.
“Now that was not at all weird.” He opened while Bens Hand pushed through his hair. A thing he always did when he started to get nervous.
“Well. I just needed to talk to you for a second. “ Martin took a gulp out of his beer.
“Shoot.” Ben took a pause before he continued.
“Why are you here?” One for all, Martin definitely didn’t expect that question.
“Ex,…Excuse me?” He replied before Benedict began to lean over the Bar, raising his hand in an attempt to try to get the Bartenders attention.
“You heard me the first time. I thought you were supposed to fly to Minnesota for this new American show.” Martin frowned slightly. He noticed Bens weird behavior towards him lately but that just seemed to be straight out rude.
“Now what. I can’t go to a party anymore without your approval.” Now Ben frowned.
“No that's not what I meant. I was just wondering why…..” Martin interrupted him
“Well stop wondering then. The schedule was moved a couple of weeks back, so I could stay for a little longer if you have to know. What’s the big deal? Now you cannot even accept being in the same room with me for more than ten minutes.” Martin huffed amused.
“No. Don’t be silly. What is that supposed to mean?” Ben knew exactly what Martin meant but couldn’t say it out loud. Not to him. Not to make it more awkward than it already was.
“You know exactly what I mean.” He sank his eyes to the ground for a split second, an attempt to not be too obvious to open with his feelings. He wasn’t hurt by anything. Ben followed his gaze and tried to not be hit by the words too much and what lay behind them.“I…I don’t know what to say, to be honest.” Martin laughed.
“You don’t have to say anything mate. Really. Don’t worry about it.” Martin turned to leave while Benedict was at the verge of losing his last nerve. Martin was the best when it came to pushing his button.
“No, wait.” He lost his nerve but Martin had enough long time ago. He was just fed up with Bens behavior towards him. When it was not about work, he treated him like a stranger lately. Just being professional, that was what Martin wanted too but there was so much more that was holding him back from completely treating him like any other co-worker. They have never been like that, this distant, that weird around each other.
“What is it you want to say, Ben. Spit it out.” Martin grew more and more impatient. Ben felt his heart raising more and more. In what kind of situation did he get himself into.
“ I know you think that I’ve been quite distant lately. I’ve just had a very busy couple of months and been quit all over the place. I didn’t do it on pupose it’s just that…” Martin interrupted.
“Look, Ben. You don't have to explain yourself really. It’s none of my business really. You don’t owe me an explanation. We’re coworkers first and foremost and we don’t have to pretend we’re the best of friends just because we portray that on screen. I’m cool with us just being….” Ben’s eyes started to blink quicker.
“Stop it. Stop saying that. I was an asshole the last couple of months. Just concentrating on my work, forgetting the people around me, the people most important to me, supporting, getting me where I am today.” He tried to keep his voice stable while Martin turned more towards him, really listening to what Ben had to say.
“Right. I understand that you had a rough couple of months. Again, you don’t owe me an explanation, Ben. That’s the life of an actor. We both understand that, don’t we.” Ben nodded slowly and smiled.
“I’m just very much in my own head right now. Season 3 ending, My parents pressuring me to get married, the press, the expectations. It’s just sometimes a bit hard to handle. And the last thing I intended to do was disgruntle the people that are most dear to me.” Ben paused, and Martin took a breath. He let his eyes wander over Bens figure. Sherlock was not the only one with deducing powers, also Martin picked up how agitated Ben was over this. Over their apparent fall out due to Bens dismissiveness.
“You just don’t want to listen, do you. I appreciate it, really Ben, I do. But I’m ok. It’s not like we’re going to see each other on a regular basis anyway, at least for the time being, with the season being wrapped.” Martin said blunter than he intended to and Ben slowly losing his own paciens. He was standing here expressing himself, opening up about what was wrong between them for such a long time and Martin just putting him off like that. Was he really that careless?
“Right. You don’t care whatsoever. It doesn’t matter.”
Ben nodded more to himself as their eyes crossed. Why was it always so difficult between them? Couldn’t it be easier like with all his other friends?
Friend? Ben had no idea if they could even call themselves that any longer.
“It does. But You just can’t bring yourself to see the bigger picture here. There’s really no need for you to feel bad at all. I understand what you’re saying and your situation. Seriously Ben, You probably the biggest actor on the scene right now, you constantly monitored, so let me cut you some slack. There’s really no reason for you to apologize. I was not offended in any way. Of course, I enjoyed our time during the last two seasons and I thought we were friends. I still think we are. So stop explaining yourself and getting all tongue twisted.” Martin smiled and pat Ben on the back, which was sobering for Ben. He didn’t expect Martin being so casual about the whole thing while Ben really struggled over the last couple of months to define what they were. He felt foolish really to be so ready to open up to Martin while Martin was his usual chipper self, brushing anything off that could go more into the profound and uncomfortable. Ben looked down and back up, while Martins' eyes followed his every move.
“Absolutely. Ok. I get what you mean and I agree. We’re friends.” Martin smiled back.
“We are.” Ben sigh was long and lasting and both were deciding that the ground became more and more interesting.