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12 March 2013 @ 12:09 am
FIC: Holding Pattern  
Title: Holding Pattern
Author: joonscribble
Fandom: Skyfall & Sherlock (BBC)
Rating: PG
Timeline: Set after the events of "Skyfall" and after "Reichenbach Fall"
Spoilers: Spoilers for season 2 of Sherlock and some of Skyfall
Disclaimer: I don't own a single person who appears or is even mentioned in this.
Summary: Q really does have a day job to be getting on with.
Author's Note: Like 99% of the Skyfall fandom, I've apparently decided Q is the third Holmes brother. Yeah, I gave in. And I also wanted to try and write something that wasn't a clinical write up or a paper about psychology.

It was late and the whole of Q-branch was empty of its workers save for one. Most might have grumbled at having to do what was arguably a stressful job at odd hours. But protection of Queen and Country did not fall within the usual nine to five. One had to make allowances and cope.

But in Q’s case he enjoyed working late at night.

All around him were empty desks and rows of monitors. Each one featuring the same screensaver of a forever rotating rubix cube with the exception of the one Q had commandeered. He glanced at the blinking white square that told him the location of the agent. Satisfied that 007 would be at least another half hour before be reached the destination point, Q swiveled away from the terminal and returned his attention back to the laptop open on his lap. He tapped quietly away before his blissful solitude and silence was interrupted by the sound of his mobile going off.

Checking the screen, Q bit back a sigh before answering.


“It’s good to know that MI6 has you so busily engaged,” replied the familiar voice.

“It’s hardly impressive when you use my equipment to locate my whereabouts.”

“And you realize that it is not your equipment. It is equipment of Her Majesty’s-“

“What do you want, Mycroft?” Q interrupted impatiently.

The youngest Holmes could practically hear the smile spreading across Mycroft’s face. “I believe it’s time for you to pay a visit to our mutual friend.”

Q scowled. What he liked most about his job (apart from the easy access he had to just about every piece of data in the civilized world) was that legwork was all confined to his computers and bluetooths rather than his actual legs. Apart from one or two personal deliveries, Q firmly expected every agent to come to Q branch to collect the necessary items. To make a point, he silently typed at his laptop, strong arming a server in Croatia to link to the one he already had set up in Florida before answering his brother.

“I do have other things to be getting on with,” said Q, mildly.

“Yes, your position is extremely taxing,” Mycroft answered in that tone that always managed to be agreeable and yet completely and utterly condescending. “All the more reason to make sure that you’re in top physical condition.”

“What’s brought on this sudden concern?” inquired Q, his eyes still focused on his task.

There was a momentary pause. “Tomorrow is the 12th of November.”

“I know that, Mycroft. Similar to how I know that today is the 11th.”


Q stopped typing, his lips pressing into a thin line as he felt a small, traitorous barb of shame hook into his chest. Damn Mycroft and his abilities to instill guilt. Damn himself for still falling for it after 25 odd years.

“I know sentiment isn’t part of your general make up, littlest brother,” Mycroft began.

“A family trait,” added Q, choosing to ignore the hated endearment.

“However we cannot say the same for the average man. One visit and you can assure me all is well."

“If you’re this concerned you could call on him yourself.”

“Yes, but I lack your finesse with ex-military men.”

Telling his 12 year old self to not rise to the bait, Q resumed his typing until a small clock popped up on his laptop. Doing a quick calculation, he set it for 11:23pm tomorrow. He could very well refuse and Mycroft could hardly force him. Q had done plenty in the past several months, still doing plenty to insure Sherlock would always manage to fall through the cracks, that no eyes would rest on him. Did he really now need to be running around, looking after former flatmates?


Closing out the window, Q opened up a new web browser and helped himself to the work account of receptionist Sylvia Carter. Checking the times, he booked an appointment for Alex Fraser-Smith for a standard check up tomorrow.

“Dr. Watson is the only friend our dear brother has managed to make all on his own," Mycroft's amused voice stated. "We would do well to keep him out of trouble.” Q raised an eyebrow. As if sensing it, Mycroft amended, “More so than the usual.”

Logging out of Sylvia Carter’s account, Q closed the laptop just as the white square on the monitor began to close in. The piece in Q's ear trilled as 007 called in. “Have to go, Mycroft. I’ll be in touch later,” said Q.

“Sherlock will appreciate the gesture.”

Q smirked as he began to track the now rapidly moving square. “No, he won’t,” he answered almost cheerily.

“Yes, I don’t know what I was thinking,” Mycroft agreed.


007 was not the first nor would he be the last agent to express some skepticism regarding Q’s competence upon laying eyes on him. This type of kneejerk underestimation was something Q had often enjoyed as it almost always worked to his advantage.

M…the old M in any case had thought the same. She had been beyond pleased that the brain of someone who could be a more than effective Quartermaster was housed in a body that was often mistaken for a student’s from the back. A student attending secondary school. One couldn’t ask for a better cover.

With that in mind, Q’s flat was equally inconspicuous. What made the look so perfectly seamless was that most of it was not for show. Unlike his brothers who each had a natural love for hoarding various items like their mother, Q had never put too much stock in amassing random objects. His current flat, like all his other living spaces before it, held the general necessities and looked lived in enough. But it was mostly dull looking and rather devoid of any real personality or purpose.

All of that was saved for the slim laptop that usually sat on the coffee table.

Opening the device now as he settled in for the night with a cup of tea perched on the arm of the sofa, Q recalled the one time Sherlock had looked at him with something akin to envy.

“You could leave whenever you want,” his brother had said. “Your life fits under your arm.”

Of course, Sherlock had said that before Baker Street.

Taking a sip of his tea, Q saw the digital clock on his desk hit 11:23. He typed in the appropriate web address and was taken to a site that happily informed him he could Talk to Strangers! Meet Strangers with Common Interests! In the appropriate box he typed in ‘apiaries’ and hit Text chat. After awhile he was connected.

Stranger: Was this really the most convenient method of communication?

Q gave a small smile.

You: I assure you this was hardly convenient. It’s about security.

Stranger: I see.

You: You wouldn’t appreciate it.

Stranger: You mean it’s boring.

Q sighed but he had long given up trying to impress upon his siblings the elegance of what a few well placed keystrokes were capable of.

You: How is Montreal?

It wasn’t Montreal but for whatever reason that was the code word his brother had chosen to stand in for his actual location. Q might have been mortified if he hadn’t already had the experience of being mortified before when he found out this sort of code system was common practice amongst MI6 agents.

Stranger: Cloudy for days. No rain in sight, however.

Ah. Well that was good at least.

You: I had a doctor’s appointment today.

Stranger: ?

You: An anniversary I’m reminded.

Stranger: And?

You: I’m in fine health, thank you.

There was a significant pause, the impatience more than obvious.

You: He’s fine under the circumstances. I suppose one might say he misses you.

Stranger: He makes little effort to hide his feeling

Even from without seeing for himself, Q knew it was a high level of the scorn at the fingertips that typed out the word ‘feelings.”

You: Yes that much was obvious when he started shouting.

Stranger: Shouting?

You: Just a bit. He figured out who sent me. Told us both to leave him alone and stop babysitting him.

There was another pause. Q let it go for a few beats before typing himself to fill the silence.

You: I can see why you two get on.

The pause continued which irritated Q a little. He had worked fairly diligently to make sure they’d be secure for a good ten minutes and a precious handful was getting wasted on his brother’s sudden bout of tongue-tiedness. Finally there was typing being indicated on the screen.

Stranger: Tell your brother to mind his own business.

Q snorted at that.

You: OUR brother. Don’t be such a middle child.

A quick glance of at his clock showed it was 11:26pm.

Stranger: Need to go. Busy day tomorrow.

Q paused a moment before typing but soon sighed and gave in to the clichéd espionage moment.

You: Send me a postcard.

Stranger: Fine.

The chat disconnected before Q could reply. He leaned back and took another sip of his tea. Most might have wished Sherlock to be safe. But Q knew Sherlock hadn’t been safe since he was a teenager.

That’s how he knew his brother would be fine.


The Writer They Call Tay: CP: Arthur is happy - a lotawanderingbard on March 12th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so overjoyed to see Scribble fic! And it's really good. I really like how much affection you're showing by how very little affection is being portrayed, if that makes sense. The dialogue makes it clear that they all know each other well, but there's no sentiment to it and that's what makes it touching. It's an excellent portrayal of Holmes family dynamics in any case.

I like that Q is checking in on John, and that 'apiaries' is Sherlock's Omegle interest. That made me grin.

Is November 12th a significant date in the Holmes canon? My Holmesian scholarship leaves something to be desired.

Anyway, yay for stories and very great job! I really enjoyed it. :-D
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on March 13th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC)
Yay! Thanks for reading!

Is November 12th a significant date in the Holmes canon?

Not as far as I know. I randomly picked it as the date John and Sherlock met and moved into Baker Street. There might be a real date for when Holmes and Watson met in canon but I couldn't find anything.

Glad you liked it! I'm eagerly looking forward to yours!
The Writer They Call Tay: SHERLOCK: Sherlock cameoawanderingbard on March 13th, 2013 01:53 am (UTC)
There might be a real date for when Holmes and Watson met in canon but I couldn't find anything.

I saw it on tumblr once, but I can't remember it now. If you want to go by the (extremely dodgy) dates in John's blog, I think it's January 29th? Somewhere in there. Not that it particularly matters, because according to the dates in his blog, John and Sherlock solved The Blind Banker case, had a Bond Movie Marathon, went to the Czech Republic, and had their flat blown-up in an about twenty-four span. Which seems a bit much, even for their hectic lives.

Glad you liked it! I'm eagerly looking forward to yours!

Thank you! It's turning out rather epic. Not that we had any expectations it wouldn't, because I'm not exactly known for my brevity. I'm sort of writing to feel out the 'verse now, and discovering things along the way.

Sherlock won't deduce for me, though. He's being very uncooperative in that respect, though doing very well in the brotherly banter department.
aelfgyfu_mead: Sherlock and Johnaelfgyfu_mead on March 12th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
Now I kind of wish that I had seen Skyfall! At least I've seen photos of Q, so I know what he looks like (rather more like Sherlock's brother than Mycroft does, I think).

Now, of course, I'm wondering how John figured it out. Did Q have the gall to go in faking symptoms he didn't really have? That would go over well—for a few seconds.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on March 13th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
rather more like Sherlock's brother than Mycroft does, I think

I feel like he has Sherlock's face and Mycroft's physique. Or rather Mark Gatiss' physique minus the padding they give him for Mycroft. Personality-wise, I wanted Q to be more Mycroft-ish in that he's somewhat diabolical and hates the idea of running around.

Did Q have the gall to go in faking symptoms he didn't really have? That would go over well—for a few seconds.

BAHAHAA! I actually did have a scene that I scrapped where you see how his interaction with John goes down. It was less Q being a bad actor and more John having learned a couple of things from living with Sherlock. He didn't, however, figure out Q is related though.