Mycroft Holmes knows the social niceties. After all, they are needed to safeguard Her Majesty's realm.
Waltz of Deception
Of course, Mycroft knew all the social niceties. His mother once told him, "Sometimes, my son, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Certain places are rich fields of information...if you are willing to make a few sacrifices."
Those sacrifices included dance lessons as a child. He bore them with a stiff upper lip; after all, such skills might pay off later in life. Sherlock, of course, complained bitterly throughout the whole ordeal. Ironic, considering Sherlock had an uncanny sense of rhythm and timing for music. It hadn't surprised him a bit that his little brother selected the violin as his instrument of choice. If only Sherlock applied himself, perhaps he could have become a great concert violinist.
Of course, Sherlock could have been a great scientist or politician. Then again, what could you deduce from a child who had been fascinated by pirates?
Mycroft listened to the Viennese ambassador with a sliver of his attention. His eyes were glued to the dance floor, his ears to the music. One, two, three. One, two, three. Three-quarter time, the waltz.
He spotted her standing there all by herself, a crystal flute of champagne in hand. Baroness Alissa von Hirnbaum, a 'minor' member of Austrian nobility, wife of Baron Gustav von Hirnbaum, the adviser to the Austrian President. Like Mycroft himself, Alissa held more power and influence than anyone expected. Her delicate hand affected Continental politics without being felt.
A worthy ally, or a worthy opponent, depending on how she felt that particular day.
Mycroft politely excused himself from the conversation and slowly made his way to that side of the dance floor. Alissa saw him coming, her dark blue eyes glittered in the bright lights. His mouth twitched in grim humor. Well, it appeared that she would be a worthy opponent at this moment.
"Frau von Hirnbaum," he greeted her in his flawless German. "You look lovely tonight."
"Thank you, Herr Holmes. You flatter me too much."
He inclined his head towards the dance floor. "I would be much amiss if I do not dance with the hostess of the party. May I?"
She gazed up at him with that icy look. Alissa was such a tiny thing, much shorter than John Watson by nearly a foot. But her smile was perfect. "Of course, Herr Holmes."
Mycroft swept her up into the waltz, and they began another kind of dance. The dance of deception and politics.