Fandom: James Bond
Year: Post Spectre
Tags: Angst, Romance, Weird First Dates (That Shouldn’t Be Considered First),
Pairings: James Bond/Q
Characters: James Bond, Q,
Spoilers: Up Through Spectre
Summary: Q always answered when Bond called him. He always did what he needed and then stepped back into the shadows as Bond lived his life. This time was no different.
Notes: I have years between Skyfall and SPECTRE in this instead of the months.
Warnings: Canon Typical Violence,
Q berated himself for the entire train ride from London to Paris. He was in the seat beside James Bond, and ignored him. He didn’t know why he had come when Bond had shown up again at his house. They were in the dining car, and Q should have known to not leave room for the other man to slip in beside him. Bond had sat down next to him and hadn’t let him up at all.
Bond had been waiting on the porch of his house when Q arrived there after work. There was evidence that the former agent had tried to break into his house. Q had felt a little smug that he had been unable. It had been the first thing that Q had done. Bond had gotten too used to just slipping in and out of Q’s flat, and bed before he had taken off with Madeleine Swann.
It hadn’t taken long to figure out what Bond wanted from him, and it wasn’t a fuck. Instead, he wanted Q’s help with an issue that had popped up for him in Paris. Something that Bond asserted only Q could help with. Q had dismissed him and entered the house, trying to ignore the shadow haunting his doorstep. He made it all the way to getting into bed, but then the rain had started. A dreadful downpour that had made Q’s heart melt. He’d opened the door and there was Bond, still on the step. Hunched into his coat with the collar turned up to stop the rain from sliding down his neck.
Q wished he had just gone back into work. There was much to be done still in the aftermath of Nine Eyes. Mallory had been trying to get him.to take a vacation, and Q figured that he would spend a few hours helping Bond in Paris. He would then slip away to Lyon to spend the rest of the two weeks off that he had asked for. Mallory had nearly crowed that Q was actually taking time off.. The man hadn’t been upset about being woken up. In fact, he told Q he was happy he was taking time off as HR would get off his neck.
“Where are we going exactly?”
“My suite first. I have the computer that I need access to in there.”
“Suite? Not a house?” Q questioned.
“Why would I have a house?”
“I didn’t figure that Miss Swann, or is it Mrs. Bond now, would settle for a suite at a hotel for long term.” Q watched Bond closely, but he didn’t react to the words at all.
Bond didn’t answer. His face was unreadable as he looked out the window on the far side of the train. The waitress came around taking drink orders, and Bond ordered a scotch for himself, and a glass of Q’s favorite wine. Their dinner was served just moments later, and the waitress brought their drinks around before Q had even tucked into his food. Q ate quickly and methodically as he nursed the glass of wine. He didn’t need it to go to his head at all. He was glad that Bond didn’t want conversation while he ate. Usually the man was talkative and flirty. That threw a red flag to Q, but he wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong with him.
Their plates were taken away, and Q was getting ready to pull out his tablet to get some work done when Bond finally turned towards him.
“Madeleine left me three months ago. She couldn’t handle the man that I am.”
“Why? She at least talked to me, and I saw it coming.”
“Don’t,” Q said as he started to stand. He snagged his wine glass and his laptop bag before he turned to face the aisle. Bond stood and allowed him out. Q went back to their sleeping cabin. Bond had opted for it, even though there would barely be time to sleep before they got to Paris. A show of opulence and arrogance. Q stopped at the bar and refilled his glass of wine before he went back to their cabin. Bond had even procured them one with a single bed. It was a three hour ride, and Bond had said the room was so that Q could work if he wanted. Q instilled himself in the chair, balancing his wine glass on his knee. He wasn’t sure why Bond needed him, but he hoped that when it was all said and done, the man would never want Q for anything ever again.
Q stared at the screen of his tablet, but didn’t do any actual work. His crush on 007 had started long before he had worked with the man as his Quartermaster. He always had been attracted to assholes, and it was why he stopped dating even before he entered uni. He focused on his education, and then getting into MI6. He had wanted that job since he was a kid. What job he wanted inside of MI6 had changed as the years had gone on. His love of spies had never gone away, and his love of the spy trade only grew after he had first joined MI6. His aunt blamed herself, and she made sure that he was well and away from anything that could be deemed dangerous, but she hadn’t blocked him from joining MI6.
In the aftermath of the attack on MI6, his aunt hadn’t fought him when he had wanted to step up into the place of Q. They had lost a good bit of Q Branch when the explosion had happened. The top five boffins inside of Q Branch had died, and the branch had been listless until Q had arrived, and started to bully them around. He had been the head of TSS, and while many in Q Branch had balked at what Q had wanted them doing, they had caved in the end.
No one inside of MI6, outside of Tanner, knew that while M hadn’t had any children, she had taken in her nephew when his parents had been killed in a airplane crash when he was three. Q had barely remembered them by the time that he was a teenager, being raised mostly by his uncle with his aunt on the periphery. He loved his aunt even if he hadn’t seen her much while growing up.
Olivia Mansfield had blamed herself for Q wanting to get into MI6. She had given him the nickname of Q just weeks after he had moved in with them. She found him in the kitchen with the toaster in pieces all over the kitchen table, crumbs scattered everywhere, and black marks from burnt toast all over his face. But, when him and his uncle had put it back together, it quit catching, and the toast stopped sticking inside and not popping up.
When she was home before Q went to bed, M would tell him stories. Usually very sanitized versions of mission, but missions nonetheless. Of course, his first brush with an agent in her service had been when he visited M from the science bunker his aunt had stuck him in for his first three years at MI6. It was the start of the Casino Royale mission as M had called it. Q had been in his bedroom when Bond had gained entry to the flat that his aunt and uncle had moved into after he left for university at fifteen. He had his own room in the new flat, but he made sure it was protected better than the rest of the flat. Bond had one day proved how easily his aunt’s security could be breached. The tech that Bond had used to get access to the SIM card on the phone, Q had created as part of what had got him into MI6. It was the first piece of technology that Q had made that he had seen in action. He never got to see his technology in action, and it had been part of what endeared Bond to him before he’d ever met the man.
Bond had never even known that he was there, and if his aunt had been more willing to look at his texts, she would have seen his message that Bond had gained access. Thankfully his uncle had been at a bridge game. After Bond had left, Q had exited his bedroom. M had been shocked to see him there. Q had told her to quit ignoring him, and she would have known that he was there before she stepped off the elevator.
The door opening startled Q out of his memories. Bond had a bottle of wine in his hand, Q’s favorite. It wasn’t opened yet. He had two new wine glasses in hand.
“We have an hour until we disembark.”
“And?” Q actually started to work on his tablet, trying to not look at Bond as he shut the door and set the wine and glasses down. He started to work open the buttons on his suit jacket.
“You are too tense.”
“I’m always tense. Just because I am heading off with you doesn’t mean that I can just drop everything. I have thirteen agents that I have to take care of, and seven of which are on missions right now.”
“Thirteen?” Bond asked.
“Yes.” Q actually looked up because Bond’s tone was weird. “Did you think that the moniker of 007 was going to be retired? That no one would ever be able to fill your shoes?”
Bond said nothing as he popped the cork on the wine, and poured some into his glass before he drank half of it and refilled it. Q watched him with a disinterested eye. When Bond continued to say nothing, Q turned back to his work. The coding on the drive for 007’s next mission was giving him fits. He disliked Russian programming, it made him feel like he was back at uni.
Silence filled the compartment and after nearly twenty minutes, Bond left the room. Q hacked into the camera feed for the train and kept an eye on him. The wine bottle in the room was empty. Q worked on the code as he checked on Bond as he ambled down the train to the bar compartment. Q watched, as instead of going for the woman at the bar alone, Bond just moved to one of the seats in the back of the car. He sat down and set his half full wine glass on the table, just staring at it. Q wondered if Madeleine had done the last bit of destroying the goodness that seemed to have survived after what Vesper Lynd had done to him.
At twenty minutes before they pulled into the station, a voice called out over the intercom system on the train to tell them that they were arriving in Paris, and all who were departing needed to be ready. Q packed up his things that he had scattered about, which wasn’t much at all. He slipped his tablet into the case, and then it was put in it’s compartment in Q’s bag. Q stayed seated though, and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. He brought up the camera feed from his house and checked on his cats. He found them lazing on his bed. He had set the house on lockdown which meant that no one would be able to enter at all, or all of MI6 would descend on them. Ozma and Mombi had automated feeders on the first and second floors, as well as several spots where water was kept fresh. Q had set up pipes that ran directly to those spots from separate filters, and a reservoir, just in case the water for some reason was ever shut off. There was enough water to last them a month in the reservoir, and enough food for the same amount in the air tight feeders. Q Branch would miss seeing them when he did bring them in on the weekends when he worked, but it was what it was.
The door to the compartment opened and Bond was standing there.
“Are you ready?”
“Just checking on my cats.”
Bond said nothing as Q stood up from his seat and pocketed his phone, but not before locking it. Bond frowned as Q just went by him and out into the hall.
“You’ve changed,” Bond said as Q prepared to disembark along with other people on the train.
“It happens to people,” Q said.
The Athénée was a beautiful hotel. Q wasn’t shocked that it was where Bond was staying at in Paris. On the cab ride over from the train station, the man hadn’t answered a single question about what exactly kind of trouble Bond had gotten himself into. The man was tight lipped, even more than he ever had been when he had worked for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Bond opened Q’s door to the cab before Q could, as he was busy looking at the hotel. Bond held his hand out to help him out of the cab, but instead of taking it, Q hung his laptop bag over it. Bond frowned, but he hefted it over his shoulder while the cab driver popped the trunk to get Q’s backpack and suitcase. Q shouldered the backpack, and took the suitcase before moving towards the doors. Bond rushed to follow.
Q regretted the arrangement of things as soon as Bond’s hand settled on the small of his back. He should have given Bond his suitcase, then the man wouldn’t have been able to tuck Q into his body like he had as they walked towards the elevators. Bond said nothing to the couple that was in the elevator with them as they ascended up inside the hotel.
“The Eiffel Suites. I choose one of the Art Deco ones when I checked in. I think you’ll like it,” Bond whispered in Q’s ear as the couple left the elevator. The woman looked back at them as her husband started down the hall. Q could read her thoughts by the look in her eye, but her gaze was centered more on Bond than him. She wanted him, and she was right up his alley. He did prefer married women for his dalliances because it was easier. That had been before Vesper. Post Vesper he only dallied with women on missions, and then after Skyfall, he’d turned his eye to Q. Q had no clue why the man had kept coming back to him other than he was easy and available every single time he wanted sex. Q had started to look more into it than what it was, and just at the moment he had come to depend on Bond, Bond had left him with egg on his face. He traipsed off with Madeleine Swann.
“A room is a room. I would think you’d know that by now.” Q didn’t even look at Bond to see if his words had a reaction. Bond had said as much to him the first time that Q had given into his seduction. Throwing the words back at Bond felt good. Bond, though, didn’t rise up to the challenge. Instead he stayed silent as the doors closed, and they continued to the upper floors. When the doors opened again, Bond bowed and Q waited for him to exit before he did. It was better with Bond in front of him. Q shifted his suitcase to his other hand and shifted the backpack on his shoulders.
Bond opened the door and Q finally passed by him to enter the suite. As soon as he did, Q knew what Bond had done. There was only a single bedroom. He could see into the bedroom, but there was no other room off of it. Q set his suitcase down on the couch, and then his backpack before he confirmed it all. He walked around the main room before he moved to the bedroom, and then finally the bathroom. It was all very James Bond esque and Q knew that whatever Bond needed, his plan was for him and Q to share a bed until it was done, but that wasn’t Q’s plan.
Q walked back to the main room and looked at the two couches. He sat down on the first one, and then the second before deciding that the first would be the one he did his work on, while the second was the one he was going to sleep on. He started to open up his laptop case and laid out his things across the top of the coffee table between the couches.
Bond didn’t bother him at all while he was getting access to the things that he needed access to. As soon as his laptop was up and running, a chat box appeared from his new R.
You are in Paris. Inside of a swanky hotel, and from GPS location of your laptop, you are in a very expensive suite.
“I’m fine,” Q spoke aloud to the computer while he worked on getting his secure net set up on his equipment. He didn’t trust the hotel Wi-Fi at all. It wasn’t anywhere near the best.
Why are you in Paris?
“Unfinished business that will be done as soon as possible. I’m safe.”
Why is Bond with you?
Q glared at the computer, even though R couldn’t see it. She had to have hacked the security and saw him on camera.
“That’s the unfinished business. Keep an eye on this location, but do not let Moneypenny, Tanner, or Mallory catch you watching this. If you don’t hear from me by 2000 hours, send someone.” Q looked up to see Bond in the kitchen. He looked to be making coffee. He was pretty certain that Bond was listening to every single word. “Check in tomorrow.”
Q closed the app and executed the program that took control of the hotel’s entire digital signature and made it his own. The only hiccup would be if a credit card was run at that second, but the hotel would just consider it a fluke. There wasn’t going to be a person inside the hotel that Q wouldn’t know everything about within seconds. No signal was going to go in, or out that Q found suspicious. He started a top to bottom search for anything out of place, and within moments he found that there was nothing. Whatever this was that Bond wanted his help on, it wasn’t centered here, so this was just a distraction. It was a place for him to act like whatever was going on wasn’t going on.
“I can’t start anything if I don’t know what is going on.” Q stood up and when he walked towards the kitchen, the smell of coffee did not hit him as he entered. Instead what he smelled was bergamot. He looked and saw a few canisters of tea all on the counter by the electric kettle. There was a cup with steam coming out of it.
“It’s been a long day and we need to get some sleep. I’ll explain it all in the morning once we’ve had a proper meal.”
Q looked at Bond as the man raised his hand from the cup in front of him. With it came a tea strainer. It was set down on a small plate beside the kettle before the former agent finished making the tea perfectly to the way that Q liked it. Bond had seen him make it in the office enough that Q wasn’t shocked by the fact that he knew how to make it, he was just shocked the man had made him a cup of tea.
“That should do you for the night.”
“Bond, you are going to have to come clean to get my help, you know that right?” Q took the cup when Bond handed it over. He sniffed it before he took a sip. He was used to hot tea, most of the time needing the caffeine to wake him up after a long night and not enough sleep, drinking it before it really should be drank.
“I’ll explain what I need from you in the morning. I can tell that you’ve not got enough sleep. You need it and yes this is decaf tea.”
“I’ll be ready to go when I wake up. My net is up and running and it will watch us.”
“You always have my back.”
Q didn’t answer. He drained the tea before setting the cup down and leaving the kitchen. He moved towards the bedroom and found the extra linens tucked in a closet. He pulled a pillow, a sheet, and a blanket. Back in the main room, Q set about making his bed as he listened to Bond cleaning up in the kitchen. It was all ready for him to lay down when Bond entered. He looked shocked.
“There is a nice big bed in there.” Bond pointed towards the bedroom.
“Yes, there is and we both know what happens when you and I sleep in the same bed. I’m fine out here.” Q searched in his suitcase for the sleep pants that he’d brought. He found them and looked at Bond as he stripped down to change into the pants. Bond’s eyes never left his face, but he could see the interest in his eyes. Q knew that he was desirable. He wasn’t sickly with his weight,but he was on the lithe side. He had some muscle from what little exercise he did fit in. He liked running, usually coding verbally to his computer while he ran on the treadmill in the mornings before work. He had a routine, and he would keep to it once he got home, but first he had to make sure that the parts of his life that worked before it was disrupted were gone. That meant making sure that Bond knew that this was the end. “Go ahead and find your silk pants and slip into them, Bond. Enjoy your fine things.”
“Q.” Bond looked a little put out, and it was a look that Q had fallen for before. Not anymore.
“Bond. You said I need sleep.” Q turned to get ready to lay down when he heard the whisper of clothes that told him that Bond was behind him. He was braced for the touch on the small of his back. Bond’s hand started there and moved up to spread out on his shoulder blades. He knew the feel of that hand on his back, but he didn’t allow it to turn him to mush like it used to.
Bond’s lips brushed the shell of his ear. “I can wear you out.”
“No, thank you. I won’t get much sleep at all like that. I seem to remember that you like seconds and thirds then a small meal for breakfast.”
“You never minded before.”
“Well, I do now.” Q didn’t even have to jerk away from Bond. The hand left his back and the breath stopped on his ear. There was silence in the room until the soft click of the door told Q that Bond had shut the door behind him. Q released a breath of air before he laid down on the couch and covered himself up with the blanket. He didn’t put it past Bond to try and convince him into the bed in the middle of the night, but he trusted that Bond wouldn’t do anything untoward. Bond at least had those principles.
The sound of windows opening was what woke Q up. He didn’t make as sound as he listened for signs of it being someone who wasn’t Bond. When a knock came at the door and room service was called out, Bond laid a robe on the back of the couch, but Q just looked at it before moving towards the bathroom with his suitcase.
Q dressed quickly in clean clothes, and looked to find the hamper in the bathroom. He figured that Bond would handle sending them out to be cleaned if they stayed long enough. He didn’t pack any of his favorite clothing, just to be safe. He didn’t want to lament losing anything if they had to run.
By the time that Q exited the bathroom, Bond had a room service breakfast sitting on the balcony. The man was pouring a cup of coffee in a cup as Q moved to take a seat. He’d give the man a little of what he wanted in hopes that it would make him more inclined to talk.
“I’ve been here in Paris for five weeks at this point. One week in I noticed a few things that were odd. I’ve been following it all, and I snuck into a hotel on the other side of the city. That’s where I got the laptop. And I can’t get into it, even with some of the things from Q Branch that I kept over the years. I have figured out that it all centers around one man. I’ve been following him every day, but nothing. I was hoping you would go with me and help me track him.”
“Let me see the computer.”
Bond didn’t stand but stayed right there.
“After we eat.”
Q sighed but he started to eat again. The view from the room was beautiful. It was overlooking the Eiffel Tower just like the name of the room suggested.
“How are Mombi and Ozma liking their new house?” Bond asked after he tucked back into his breakfast. Q looked up at him and tried to figure out if Bond was making small talk because he was wanting to fill the silence, or if he truly wanted to know. He couldn’t figure it out.
“They are adjusting. They love the backyard and the bird trees. I let them run around there when I am home long enough. Mombi slipped the fence once, came right back and sat outside the front door and yowled until I let her back inside.”
“They know where their food comes from,” Bond said.
“Hmm.” Q reached over for the pot of coffee and poured himself a cup. He liked his coffee black. There wasn’t any cream or sugar on the table at all. He knew that black was how Bond took his coffee as well.
“And the bigger space?”
“Mombi has claimed the upstairs bathroom and Ozma the ground floor. They adore chasing each other up the front stairs in the living room, and then back down the ones in the kitchen.”
“Yes. I did create that motorized mouse chasing toy that I talked about.” It was easy to act like he was talking to a friend. That he wasn’t talking to a man who had visited his bed for over a year before just leaving without a single word. Just the thought of it turned Q’s mood sour. He plucked his cloth napkin from his lap and laid it on the table beside his plate. “I’m done. I’d prefer to look at this computer.”
“Of course, Quin.” Bond stood up but Q didn’t, he glared at the former agent.
“We are working, Bond. It’s Q or Quartermaster.”
“Of course, Quartermaster. I’m sorry.” Bond at least looked like he was sorry, but Q was unused to being around him, and he couldn’t tell if it was fake or not. Bond laid his napkin on his seat and moved inside. Q followed him after a few seconds. Bond went to the bedroom while Q sat down in front of his own equipment. When Bond came back with a fairly new looking laptop, Q held out his hands for it. It was passed over without any words, and Q booted it up. The screen that greeted Q wasn’t what he was expecting. There was a solid wall of code blinking at him with seven different lines for execution. Q frowned. It had been a long time since he had a challenge like this computer was.
Grabbing cords from his backpack, Q started hooking the laptop to his own. Only to frown when nothing happened. He grabbed up a power reader and tested every single port. The only port that worked was the charging port. Someone had rigged it so that no outside access could be gained that way.
Q didn’t notice when Bond slipped away, he only noticed the passing of time by the cups of tea that were set beside him. He drank them, not caring the flavor. He worked for hours, trying to decipher the code, but it in itself was a code as well. After his seventh cup of tea, the code changed. Q stared at the screen as the coding changed and none of it was the same. This time there were eight lines for execution. Q dug into his backpack and found his digital notebook and stylus pen. He synced the two up to each other before syncing the notebook to his laptop. He liked cracking things by hand and since there was a time limit, he needed his best. Q looked at the time and realized it was eleven. He ticked that in the upper hand of the notebook page before he started trying to crack it all.
When Q was lost in work, he lost track of time. His coworkers in Q Branch were good at pulling him out and forcing him to eat.
“Q,” Bond said, laying a hand on his shoulder.
Q looked up at him and his eyes unfocused themselves a little. It took a few seconds for him to be able to see Bond. In his hands were Q’s prescription sunglasses.
“My target goes to lunch every day at a little bistro a ways away. I thought we would talk and eat while watching him.”
“I…” Q looked at the computer as it shifted in code again. He sighed and looked at the time. It was 1400. Q saved the work on his notebook, his laptop, and powered down the seemingly unhackable laptop. He did need a mental break. He could use his tablet, and look over the code just in case that arrangement of executable lines came up again. “Let me just…” Q pointed at the bathroom. He moved towards the room and when he entered the bathroom, he locked the door. He hadn’t even heard Bond getting into his bag. That wasn’t good. He wasn’t staying as alert as he should have been with him.
Q washed his face before looking at himself. He didn’t look different, but then nothing was different. He slept well despite where he was. He trusted Bond enough to protect him from whoever they were going after. That much was sure. He was ready to face Bond again after staring at himself a little longer.
Bond had his tablet in it’s neoprene sleeve and his phone stacked on top on the table just by the door. In his hands was a change of clothes. Q’s clothes. Q looked down and realized he was still in his pajama pants. Q blushed and took the clothes before heading to the bedroom. He could tell that Bond had chosen with care, keeping to Q’s normal style, but with a more upscale style. Q frowned at the choices for a few seconds before he changed. He was glad that Bond had put pants in the pile as Q slept in just sleep pants. He fixed the outfit, tucking in the dress shirt before slipping the dark blue cardigan on. There was even a tie, but he just left it by the sink as it wasn’t his tie, and he wasn’t going to stroke Bond’s ego by wearing one of his. Bond was waiting for him right outside the door, his eyes swept from head to toe before settling on his neck.
“I bought that tie for you.”
“I don’t feel like wearing a tie right now.”
“Hmm.” Bond walked past him into the bathroom and picked up the tie. “Wearing it isn’t going to give me a claim on you.”
“Any more than you already feel?” Q asked. Bond moved back into the living room area and laid the tie down on Q’s suitcase that was on the far couch. He turned and it was like the conversation never happened. Q upped the tension by going back to his case and getting out one of his blander ties. It matched his cardigan. He felt Bond’s eyes on him the entire time he was working it around. The bland smile was on Bond’s face as he ushered Q to the door.
The walk to the Bistro took time, and Q would have rather been doing anything else. Bond kept up a litany of facts about the area that they were walking in. Quips about shop owners and whatnot. Q was listening to him with one ear, and watching everything around him. He realized too late that he’d stopped paying attention to where Bond was in relation to him. He felt the hand on his hip and almost jerked out of it’s hold, but before he could he turned, and found that Bond was right there.
“Inside that shop there, I killed an assassin from Prague.” Bond’s words were soft and right in Q’s ear. His body was close enough for Q to feel his body heat. When they started moving again, Bond stayed there. Right at his back, hand on his opposite hip, and too close again, but Q knew what he was playing at this time. They were in public, and the only way to make Bond stop what he was doing was to make a scene. Q decided that he was going to play the act that Bond wanted, at least for now.
As they started to move again, Q tucked himself even closer to Bond and laid his head on his shoulder. Bond’s body stiffened for a few seconds before he relaxed into it, and they looked very much like a couple walking, tucked as close as they could be.
The bistro was nothing fancy, but it looked homey, and Bond led them to a seat in the front corner. Q wasn’t given the option of where he was sitting as the former agent stuffed him into the booth first and slid in after him. Q glared at the man as he reached over for the card that gave the daily specials. Q read it over as the waitress came over to the table.
“House hot tea for me,” Q said before Bond could answer for him. Bond gave him a smile for his cheek and ordered a coffee. The waitress nodded and walked away, without saying a single word.
“I think she’s a little shocked that I finally brought my fiancé in with me.”
“What?” Q asked, his voice low as he tucked his ears in towards Bond’s neck. For anyone looking, it was a gesture of affection and friendliness, but for Q it was to make sure no one heard him.
“I had to have a good reason to be here in Paris and coming here every single day, so I told the waitress that I was here in Paris on vacation, and that my workaholic fiancé was running late. I’ve been coming here every day and sitting for hours while trying to talk my fiancé into leaving work to join me in the city of love.”
“You have created a very elaborate back story on this.”
“I haven’t had my Quartermaster to do it for me, so I have to make up my own by winging it.”
“And what you have done if I hadn’t come with you?”
“Been very heartbroken.”
Q looked up at Bond, trying to figure out exactly the meaning of his words. Bond stared back at him, but his face was impassive except for his eyes. He didn’t think that he had ever seen Bond look scared before. Q didn’t know what to make of that, so he pulled out his tablet and set to work on the code that had been on the computer.
“When does this mysterious man get here?” Q asked, not taking his eyes off of the screen in front of him, even when a pot of tea was set in front of him with a small cup of cream and a sugar bowl. He reached forward to grab the cup, but Bond beat him to it. Q looked at him briefly before turning away. Just as he was settling back into looking at the tablet a roguish thought crossed his mind. He smiled, leaned over, and gave Bond a kiss on the cheek. He nuzzled his nose in briefly before muttering just loud enough for the closer tables to hear, “You always take such good care of me.”
Bond didn’t say a word, and Q felt like he’d won something with that. What it was, he wasn’t sure.
The waitress came back a few minutes later for their order, and Q just waved at Bond to order for him. The menus were in French, and while Q could read and write French, he didn’t quite want Bond to know that. He kept a lot of his education a secret from everyone around him. Moneypenny had tried for a long while to crack him and had finally given up. Mallory had stopped trying to get to his real personnel file a day into taking over as head of MI6. Q wasn’t even sure that an actual real file existed anywhere. He had his information in his own head, but when he had filled out all the paperwork, it had been with the identity that was created for use when in school.. His real name had been filed as dead with the world when his parents had died, and a new alias had been given to him. He was sure that somewhere there was a record, but he was certain that M had made it lost to all but the most desperate.
“Any luck?” Bond asked.
“None, but I just have a single piece of a giant puzzle. I need a lot of time to figure it all out.”
“You will.” Bond gripped his chin between his thumb and forefinger, turning him to face him. Q felt that happiness about winning a few moments before fade as he was kissed. The kiss was just on the bad side of allowable in public, and Q felt that old need rush back into his body. That need that Bond was always able to make surface was right there under his skin. “Beautiful.”
Q turned away, not even having to fake the blush on his face as he focused more on the tablet. He worked through a few lines of code, and figured out that what he thought was a break wasn’t and had to erase it all.
Food was set down, and Q picked up the sandwich half on his plate and started to nibble on it while he worked. The smell of the soup drew him out of his work when he was about halfway done with the sandwich. He set down the tablet and picked up the spoon. It was a spicy chicken noodle soup, Q found when he took the first spoonful. Just enough spice to be perfect. Q practically inhaled the soup, and found himself still hungry as he looked at the dregs in the bowl, and the crumbs from his sandwich. He turned to try and flag down the waitress, but in Bond’s hand was the other half of the sandwich.
“The soup is unlimited, and I like their chicken and gnocchi, so I ordered my sandwich for you.”
Q took the sandwich and smiled at him before taking a bite. Bond’s eyes watched him as he took a few bites and turned back to his tablet. He could feel that gaze on him the entire time. Q’s bowl was taken from him and not replaced, but his tea was.
Another hour and then Bond’s entire body went rigid. There was no outward change, but Q could tell as he had seen the man both relaxed, and on edge, and trying to not act like it for years. Q made a show of refilling his tea so that he could look at the man that entered the bistro.
The man was old, weathered in a way that was more than just age. He felt as old as he looked and acted older. Q looked at Bond through the corner of his eyes, and saw that his gaze was glued on the man. This had to be the man that Bond was following to try and figure out his role in the whole scheme of things.
Q went back to working on his tablet, but looked up at the man as he ordered coffee and what looked to be just the soup. He ate three bowls over the course of an hour as he read in a book. He was almost as boring as Q when it came to what he did when he was in public. Still Bond watched his every move whether it was with his own eyes, in the window of the bistro, or using the mirror that was placed to help those in the back see the counter. It worked for Bond as he was able to see the man in it.
After his last bowl, the man sat at the table for another hour before he moved to pay. Bond laid a hand on Q’s shoulder, telling him nonverbally to stay. Q did as he asked as the former agent moved to pay. Still he powered down his tablet and kept his eyes on the old man. Bond wasn’t watching him that close, but instead was focusing on paying, so Q took up the watching mantel. He could tell Bond wasn’t worried about losing the man, so when the old man stepped out of the bistro, Q just watched which direction he went then turned to look at Bond. When Bond turned from the register, the smile on his face was beguiling. Q found himself smiling back at him, and he was sure that the other patrons of the bistro thought that he looked sick in love. Bond stepped towards him, their eyes locked before he pulled Q up and laid a kiss on him that took Q’s breath away, and made his knees weak. Only Bond’s hands wrapped around his upper arms stopped him from falling.
“Let’s go back to the hotel,” Bond whispered when he pulled back just enough to speak. It was like a bucket of ice on Q’s skin. He pulled back farther and leaned down to grab his bag, slipping it over his shoulder before placing his tablet in it. Bond stepped back to a respectable distance, but still with an intimacy that spoke of their fake relationship. Q tried to figure out what Bond’s true game was. He couldn’t be missing sex. He could pick up anyone. Even if the ruse as fiancés was in play, he could hit a brothel somewhere in the city, and no one would know, so why was he doing it. He also seriously doubted that Bond’s bed had been empty after Madeleine had left him. Q used the bag as a shield. Bond said nothing as they exited the bistro, but the man did walk with his hand on Q’s back. He settled in for the walk and after a few minutes of walking a little faster than normal, they caught up with the old man.
The pair slowed down so that they wouldn’t overtake the man, and through the streets of Paris they walked. L’aquarium de Paris was the destination that they ended up at, Q looked at Bond and was a little shocked at where they were, but the old man was definitely going in there. Bond said nothing as he paid for them to get in.
The aquarium wasn’t that full of people. In fact it was nearly dead inside. The older man took his time as he walked down the shark tunnel. Bond was fascinated at looking at the sharks as they swam above, but Q just looked ahead. He frowned as he almost ran into Bond as the man stared above him.
After a while in the shark tank, they followed the older man to the large tank that housed a lot of fish, Bond sat them down in the back while the man just sat and watched the fish.
“I keep waiting for someone to approach him. I want your help in watching.”
Q settled down and watched. It was calming, watching the fish. Hours they sat there watching. Bond would get up and move towards the tank, watching sharks swim among the other fish in the tank, and even a school of fish started to play a game of tag with each other. When Bond sat down again, he was closer to Q, wrapping an arm around his waist and holding him there. No one paid them any mind, as they passed by.
As it turned to late evening, the man stood up and after a minute, Q and Bond followed him. The man wandered back towards the houses near the aquarium, and he just walked into one.
“His house isn’t locked?”
“No. He never locks it. I stayed overnight watching him and nothing. I even spent a day flirting with a lady, and got that he lives alone, and that his name brings up nothing, but he’s connected to that computer and the mob that’s connected on the edge.”
“I can do some deep research on him,” Q offered.
“I’ve done as deep as you could do and nothing. I need in that computer.”
“Then I’ll get in it.”
Q woke up on the couch and covered his head with the blanket. He was frustrated. He could hear Bond moving around the hotel room. He was tired of the routine. He would rather stay at the hotel and work on the laptop, but Bond drug him out to the bistro every single day for soup and sandwiches, pots of tea, and watching an old man eat soup. Then it was off to the aquarium for hours. Q had started to copy down all the lines of code the laptop gave him, and spent the hours at the aquarium trying to crack it. He needed time alone, but Bond didn’t let him have it. He was right there all the time. Q had never been exposed to him as much as he had over the past week.
Today was day eight of Q being in Paris with Bond. He was going to force Bond to leave him. It wasn’t until Bond dropped a book that Q figured out how to do it. He moaned like he was in pain then soft footsteps came across the room. Bond didn’t rip the blanket back, but he crouched at Q’s side.
“Q?” Bond asked, his voice soft and easy, like he was afraid of hurting him. Q pulled the blanket over him tight.
“Headache,” Q croaked. Bond had been over once, sneaking into his apartment to find him in bed. His head had been pounding, and even the sound of Bond’s breathing had made him want to kill the man. Still Bond had made him tea and sat with him for a while, rubbing his head until his medicine was able to knock him out.
“Shh,” Bond said and he moved away. The sound of the curtains being drawn, and the lights turning off followed. Q listened hard as he heard water start up in the kitchen before the noise of the kettle being turned on sounded in the now quiet hotel room. Q didn’t move at all, instead he just listened. This was…Q had put up that boundary between him and Bond after that first day. When they were out and about, Q was good at acting like a loving fiancé, but in private, Q stayed far away from him.
Bond was silent as he moved around, so Q jumped a little when he felt a weight settle on the couch.
“I have your tea in the bedroom. Do you want to walk or be carried?”
Q sat up, keeping the blanket over his head. He wasn’t going to have James bloody Bond carry him to bed. He allowed the former agent to direct him, even though, he knew he could walk there with no assistance, even with his eyes covered. Q settled himself on the bed and kept the covers over his head. Bond’s weight disappeared, and Q gave it a thirty count before he moved the cover off his head. The room was pitch black, but the smell of tea had already filled the room. He took a sip of the cup as the door to the room opened again. He braced himself for light, but found Bond had turned off all the lights in the entire hotel suite. Q set the cup down and laid down, his eyes closed. He wondered what Bond was going to do.
Bond sat on the bed and leaned over him. A kiss was placed on each of his eyelids before a cool, wet rag was laid over. Bond’s fingers buried themselves in his hair, and his head was massaged some. Q let out an involuntary moan at the pleasure it spiked in him. He kept his face as close to a mask as he could get as Bond work on his head. His fingers were magic and Q wasn’t going to ask him to stop. Even though he slept the entire night, Q found himself drifting closer to that edge of sleep. As his breathing deepened, Bond pulled his hands away and Q was certain he felt a brush of lips on his cheek, and then his own lips before the man got up from the bed, so easy that Q barely felt it. The door shut with a soft snick and Q was asleep.
Q woke up sometime later, his body relaxed. He sat up and stretched. Looking at the time, he was shocked to find he had slept until two. He moved towards the door, and found the suite just as dark as it was empty. Q moved back to the bed and turned on a low light. There was a note from Bond.
I called room service to drop off a tray of sandwiches to you around noon. I’ve gone to follow our old man and try and see what I can see. Please rest and make sure to get rid of your migraine.
Q stared at the closing on the note. He sat down and read over the note. Room service would have dropped the tray off in the living room, not the bedroom. Bond didn’t need to leave the closing of the note like that. He stood up, and moved out to the living room, not even turning on a light, and booted up the stolen laptop. It was the screen with thirteen executable queues on it.
Going to the first, Q typed a Q. And then for each line after he typed u, a, r, t, e, r, m, a, s, t, e, and then finally the last r. The screen shifted to a background that made Q gasp. He brought up his laptop as well, and hacked into the feeds for the city. He checked the bistro, but Bond wasn’t there. Q moved to the kitchen to find the sandwiches there on a tray, as well as a carafe of tea that when he poured a cup it was still hot enough to burn his tongue a little. He combed through Bond’s laptop and found that it had his own operating system on it. It was a laptop that Q remembered Bond had said he had been shot on a mission, so he burned it. Q wondered then how much of his tech was actually destroyed, and how much the former agent had squirreled away.
Movement on Q’s laptop showed Bond had arrived after the old man that day. Q watched the screen for a few minutes before he turned back to Bond’s laptop. He found the coding that had blocked him, and figured out why he had been unable to crack it. It had been made to be gibberish. The code lead nowhere, and each of the screens had a word that unlocked it. Q read over the passcodes and as each word sunk in, he knew that Bond hadn’t brought him there for a mission. He wasn’t sure exactly what Bond’s game was, but he wasn’t going to be a part of it anymore.
Q grabbed his cell phone and dialled R before he turned on speaker phone and set it down.
“Q, this is early. Is something wrong?”
“I need an exit from Paris without Bond knowing. I don’t have anything but my standard faked ID on me.”
“I’m on speaker so obviously he’s not around.”
“No. I’ll explain it all when I get home. Tell no one until I am safely in England.”
“Are you hurt, Sir?”
“Just my ego at being played. I can be ready to leave in ten minutes.”
“I’ll have a car there as soon as I can. I’ll message you the time. If it’s too long I’ll let you know so you can find somewhere safe.”
“Oh, I have eyes on Bond. I’ll link you. I want my exit blocked. I don’t want him to figure it out.”
The phone went dead as Q worked on linking R to his computer. She would be good at watching Bond to make sure he stayed where he was supposed to. Q packed his bags, throwing that tie that Bond had bought him in the trash, and left just a bit hanging out so Bond would see it. He moved to his laptop and saw that the old man was gone. Yet Bnd was still sitting at the table. The camera Q had access to sucked, but he knew it was Bond, but he couldn’t see what the man was doing.
Q remembered the old man’s address so he looked him up. He looked up everything on him and found nothing. He was a widower whose wife had died years before. There was an article in a small paper about him and how he went to the aquarium every day, the place his wife had worked at and sat and remembered their life together. He lived off the small money his retirement gave him, and he kept the same routine every single day.
The chime on his phone had Q shutting down the windows on his computer and picking it up.
Extraction in ten. Front of hotel.
Q gathered his things, slinging his laptop bag over his shoulder before slipping the backpack over both, and then picking up his suitcase. He let himself out of the hotel suite, and thought about just flinging the card back inside that Bond had given him, but instead he had another idea. The elevator was thankfully empty and he rode down to the ground floor in silence. The doors opened and Q looked at the time. He still had over five minutes before his extraction got to him. So he strolled to the front desk.
“May I have a pen, a piece of paper, and an envelope?” Q asked. The concierge handed over what he asked for. Q penned a short sentence before stuffing the letter, wrapped around the card into the envelope. He sealed that before writing on the front. He just put Bond’s name. “Thank you. Can you make sure that Mr. Bond gets this as soon as he returns this evening.”
“May I ask who it is from?” the concierge asked.
“He’ll know, I promise. If he asks where I went, tell him I went back to where I belong.”
“Of course, Sir. Do you need a car?” the concierge seemed to understand that something was wrong and was trying to make him happy.
“No. I have someone picking me up. Your hotel is lovely and the room service staff has been wonderful.” Q dug his wallet out of his trouser pockets and handed over a few bills, thankfully he had changed it over. “This is for you, for all that you are doing for me.”
“It is my pleasure.” The smile on the concierge’s face was truthful, or at least as truthful as Q could tell. Q nodded, turning away. He stepped out of the hotel in time to see one of his babies pull up. Q frowned at the man driving. 007 was supposed to be in Prague with that car. The trunk popped at the same time the passenger side door opened. Q put his backpack and suitcase in the trunk but took his bag with him to the front seat. The seat was back all the way and Q had plenty of legroom, even with the bag.
“Quartermaster, R sends regards and wanted me to tell you that my mission ended early and instead of pulling me home, she had me come here. I’ve been in the city for three days. She also said something about I could return my equipment to you?” 007 smiled and waved his hand at the dash where there was the watch and the dart gun. He lifted the edge of his suit jacket and there was the gun.
“A trifecta. Good. Now I assume that we are driving to London?”
“Of course. Buckle up as it’s going to be a long ride.”
“I will be working on some things so don’t feel the need to entertain me.” Q waited until they had pulled out of the hotel property. The agent didn’t even try and talk to him until they were leaving Paris, making sure that he didn’t want to stop for a drink, or something to eat. Q declined. The food he ate and the tea he drank had tasted sour in his mouth and a lump formed in his stomach. The laptop Q laid across his legs and waited for it to boot up.
After Bond kept going off the grid and stole the last DB10, Q installed a wireless system attached to the MI6 satellites. Q tapped into that and brought up the feed of Bond in the bistro still. Bond was reading a book.
“Is that…I thought he retired and ran off with that woman.”
“He did. Then she left him and he decided to fake an emergency so he could fuck with me. He’s why I needed an extraction.”
“I feel like going back and shooting him.”
“It’s fine. I’d rather just be done with him. I was just checking to make sure that we still had a head start if he decided to come after us.”
“No one will set their hands on you, Quartermaster.”
The rest of the trip was silent. Q worked on a few upgrades to the system as well as hacking into Bond’s laptop and making sure that all protocols to access MI6 were deleted. After that, he made sure all tech of Bond’s that he claimed he lost over the years was unable to connect as well, including the eight phones. He went ahead and did the same to every single device that any agent had lost. He checked on his cats and found them sunning themselves in a window on the second floor. He felt sad for what he was going to do, but it would be days before he came home. There was only a single window set that had bars, and not steel plates, and it was in his bedroom. Ozma and Mombi would find it. Q activated siege protocols for the house and the steel plating slid down to protect the windows, and the bars did the same in the bedroom. The two outside doors had steel rods slide out from the walls through the entirety of the door to slide home in the wall on the other side.
“We are twenty minutes from the edge of London. Where am I taking you?”
“To MI6. I’ll be doing some work from there.”
Q pulled his phone from his pocket shocked to see a text he hadn’t heard ding on it. It was from R ten minutes before telling him that M found her watching Bond, and that he demanded to know what was going on.
“Take me to the executive entrance, please, 007. It seems that Mallory has been made aware of what happened.”
As if Mallory had heard him, Q’s phone rang with the soft music he’d set as Mallory’s ring tone.
“Quartermaster, R has explained everything to me. I can also see why you went along. We’ll debrief when you get here.”
“007 will drop me at the executive entrance. If you’ll have Tanner meet me.”
“Of course. R said to tell you that Bond is still at the bistro and the old man is at the aquarium.”
“Thank you, Sir. I’ll see you soon.” Q hung up and sighed, leaning his head back against the headrest.
“Not in trouble?”
“No. Bond always had a good instincts for problems, and all of MI6 learned to trust those instincts. He used that against me, and it burned me, but I doubt that Mallory would have an issue. The only bad hacking I did really was to snuff out Bond’s lies, and I didn’t wreck anything. I doubt he’ll do more than look at me like I’d disappointed him.”
“Still, you know what we would do to protect you, Q.”
“I know.” Q also knew that the we in that statement was the whole of the Double O’s. He nearly doubled their life span since becoming Quartermaster. He brought them home from situations that shouldn’t have been impossible. The only agent he’d failed so far, he still had been able to bring home. Martin was now training new agents, and happy to be alive, even if he would walk with a cane for the rest of his life.
“Are you up to date on your weapons training?”
“Yes. Blades and guns alike. I still have that taser that R made me for Christmas last year.” Q never left without it, and he knew he should be wearing it, but he had trusted Bond, and look what it had got him.
007 was quiet the rest of the drive. Tanner was waiting at the drop off point that the upper staff used. Tanner nodded at 007 as Q got out.
“Q, I’ll take your things down to Q Branch from the trunk.”
“Thank you.” Q smiled at him as he shut the Aston Martin’s door.
“M has cleared his schedule for you.”
Q was settled in at his desk in his office two days later. There was no physical copy of the report that he gave to M, but a verbal one had been given. Q Branch had lost tracking on Bond just an hour after he’d gone back to the hotel. The cameras had shown that Bond had been given the envelope and had stalked off to his room. From there, he’d been lost.
Mallory had made him agree to an escort home at night, and into work the next day. It wasn’t until 007 had come to ask if he needed a ride that Q had figured out that Mallory had meant a Double O escort.
“Q, you’ve been in branch for almost three days. Go home and cuddle with your cats. Take a day or two. You need the break.”
“M making you talk me into it?”
“He said if they could sedate you and get you into your bed they would, but the siege protocols make that even more impossible than it had been before. You need sleep and you need to relax. Take that device you’ve been tinkering with for weeks. Or take your cats and go home.”
Q thought about that. Going home. No one would expect him to be there. His house was his house, but home was the actual home his aunt and uncle raised him in. It was protected much like his house, but without the metal bars. No one would expect him there. Bond would never find him there.
“I think that I will. Going home sounds good.”
“Good. I’ll get a hold of Tanner.”
“I’ll go talk to Tanner and Mallory.”
“Coming clean?” R smiled at him. She’d guessed it because she said that him and his aunt had the same deadly smile.
The walk to Mallory’s office felt longer than it was and Tanner was already inside. The door to the inner office was open, and Moneypenny wasn’t at her desk. Q stepped inside and shut the door.
“Tanner, I request your assistance in taking me home.”
“Home?” Tanner asked.
“One of the Double O’s will drive you,” Mallory said.
“Sir, I don’t want any one of the Double O’s to know where home is because it’s not the house I live in.”
“Tanner, do you remember M talking about her nephew? Taking him in and raising him?”
“She cursed a blue streak about him once,” Tanner admitted.
“Probably when he changed his track of what he wanted to go to school for.”
“No. About him taking Krav Maga, and she worried he’d break every bone in his body.”
“Certainly helped when 004 decided that no wasn’t no.” Q sat down in the chair across from Mallory.
“There is more than one reason, Mallory, that I am disinclined to call you M when we are mostly alone. My Aunt had me call her that from childhood. M is the name I cried out when my parents died. M is the woman who bought me my first computer. She gave me my first gun, and made sure I wouldn’t shoot my foot off. The flat she moved into isn’t home, but the house that she was still in when she died. I was raised in that home, and right now, going home sounds good. I trust Tanner to take me there.”
“Your file is a complete lie?”
“My accolades are correct, but the family history and my name are not. I’ve been him for so long that I don’t know how well I would respond to another name.
“What is your last name, at least.”
“M legally adopted me. My last name is Mansfield, but he was marked as dead so long ago.”
“You look tired. Tanner take him home, and then we can discuss the issue you brought up after. What about your cats?”
“R will bring them to me tonight. She can access my house.”
“Good.” Mallory didn’t look happy, but he wasn’t upset. Q stood up and moved towards the door. Tanner was behind him. “Quartermaster.” Q turned to look at Mallory.”You are the best man for the job.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
Tanner said little as they made their way down to the executive entrance and there was a car waiting on them.
“Efficient as always, Tanner.”
“Of course. I never knew.” Tanner opened the passenger side door on the car that was used by him to do business. Q slipped down into the seat while Tanner moved around. The house was already set up with all the things needed by him to not go insane. He had personal projects there as well. Clothes. Everything was there. He had some nights where he went there instead of the apartment.
“She was a wonderful woman. I know that your time with her was not as much as you or her would have liked, but you take after her in so many ways. I’ve been sitting here thinking and you never showed grief at her passing. You never blamed Bond.”
“She didn’t want to die alone in her bed after years of going soft. She died protecting one of her Double O’s. I couldn’t think of a better way for her to die. She missed my uncle, but she had a duty to do.”
“No wonder you protect her Double O’s.”
“Other than me, they were her children. She mourned them in her own way when they were killed.”
Q was silent after that and Tanner honored that silence. The drive to the house only a few miles from MI6 was good. Q could feel the past settling on him as he did. He always did when he got close.
“Do you want to become a Mansfield again?”
“What do you mean?”
“We can resurrect you. I’ve gotten good at that paperwork with Bond and Trevelyan.”
“Let me think on it, but I will probably say yes.” To hear his name again, even if it’s only from Mallory and Tanner. R called him that anyway.
“R knows doesn’t she? With the way that she dotes on you.”
“She said that I smiled too much like her to not be related. She thought son for a while.”
“Here you are.” Tanner put the car into park and Q looked at the dark house. He fiddled with his phone and the lights turned on in the living room. “You need anything just let me know. Do you have food?”
“Freezer meals. Not store bought but things I cook and stick in there. Enough tea to think it’s the Boston Tea Party.”
“Okay then. I won’t worry about you.”
“Never have to worry about me. I survive and I carry on.”
Q exited the car and started up the stairs. He knew that Bond had broken into the house before, but he had no reason to now. It wasn’t attached to Olivia Mansfield’s name anymore. It was lost in a sea of names, but Q would like to see it have the Mansfield name again.
James slipped in the same way he always had before. He was shocked that for an MI6 safe house, this house wasn’t that safe. James wasn’t drunk, but he wanted to be. He hadn’t been drunk since Madeleine had left him. He crawled into a week long binge. When he crawled out, he was in a bordello and had spent a lot more money than he ever had before on a binge. His inheritance from his parents had been invested well from when they had died to when he finally started to touch it when he became an agent.
M’s house looked the same. There was no difference in it at all from when he had broken in before Skyfall. The pictures were still all over. James stopped at the same one he had stopped at before. It was M with her late husband and the young boy he assumed was their dead son. The bedroom on the second floor that James had never entered. He knew that there were boundaries so he kept to them.
The boy in the picture looked very happy, but there was a sadness in his eyes. James wondered what had taken him from them. There was nothing in M’s files about a son much less the loss of him. It explained a lot about the woman, though, and the rough, but maternal way she acted towards her Double Os. James sat down at the dining room table and looked over the place that M had called home. When M’s husband had got sick, they had moved to a flat for ease of their lives. After he had passed, she had moved back home.
“You always set me right, M. I don’t know what to do now. I screwed up, and I don’t know how it to fix it. He’s stuck inside his house and I can’t get to him. I should have just talked to him once we got to Paris, hell before. I tried it my way, but I messed it up even worse.” James leaned back in the chair and looked up at the ceiling. There was a wire running along one of the beams on the ceiling. He followed it until it disappeared inside the wall that led into the living room. He wondered then if someone from MI6 did know he was there and wasn’t doing anything about it yet. Or a squad of Double Os were descending on the place to kill him. He had hurt their Quartermaster, and he knew that if it had been any other Double O when he’d been with MI6, he’d have killed that Double O.
James closed his eyes and looked back towards the ceiling. He would take whatever came.
The cocking of a gun and it being placed at the top of his head wasn’t what James thought was going to happen, though. He kept his eyes closed.
“What are you doing here, Bond?” Q asked.
James’s eyes flew open and he took in the sight of Q above him with a gun pointed at him. Q stepped back and it allowed James to turn and look at him. He stood up and raised his hands.
“Why aren’t you in the fortress you call a house?” James asked. Q only raised an eyebrow in answer and James knew he wasn’t going to let James deflect him from the question he had already asked. “I thought that no one was here and I came to talk to M.”
Q stared at him and his finger came off the trigger of the gun. He cocked his head to the side and stared at him more. James wanted to touch him.
“MI6 was trying to track you coming into London. How did you slip past them?”
“I have a lot of identities and ways.”
“Bond.” Q sounded more than just exasperated. He sounded tired. James hated that he was the one that made him feel that way.
“I’ll just go, Q. I’ll not darken your doorstep or London again.” James a last look at Q, memorizing everything about him.
“Why here Bond?”
“This was M’s…the former M’s house.”
“I know. I want to know why you are here. Why did you even come to London?”
“I messed up.”
“I figured that it was obvious when I left. Whatever game you were playing, I don’t want to know.”
“It wasn’t a game,” James said, his voice low.
“What else was it? You had me in Paris for a fake mission. I don’t even know what your true purpose was other than to mess with me.”
“Mess…” James looked up at him. “No. I…chickened out on why I brought you there halfway to Paris and I just didn’t…”
“Explain this to me because right now I am sure that R has made sure that every single Double O is going after you.”
James sat back down at the table and Q moved around it, setting the gun down first and then taking a seat.
“Madeleine left me and I lived in a bottle for a while before I crawled out. I was at rock bottom. There was only one thing I missed from my life as an agent. One person. I thought about what I could do and I thought that there was only one way to get what I wanted. I set about getting it. I went to Paris. The City of Love, the place I could get what I wanted. So I spent a few weeks trying to figure it out and then I went for you. You never would have gone with me if I just asked, so I concocted this big problem, thinking that the time spent together I could woo you. I hoped I could show you how solicitous I could be and you’d fall in love with me again.”
“In love again?” Q asked.
“I knew you were before. I used it to my advantage and I used you and I am sorry for it. I didn’t realize what I had walked away from until it was out of my reach. I went about getting you back all the wrong way. I let myself think that you were staying because I was doing a damned good job. I assumed the distance that was between us when we were in the suite together was you unsure, and not wanting to jump back into bed with me. That how you were acting in public was how you really felt. I am sorry.”
Q looked at James and James didn’t look away from him. He looked at Q and made sure that the emotions were all over his face. It was strange, waiting and not being sure of exactly what was going to be the outcome.
“The Casino Royale mission,” Q said and it wasn’t what James was expecting at all. He wasn’t able to control his face. That anger was still there, like a living thing in his body at Vesper and her betrayal. He’d gotten good at hiding it, but having the rest of his emotions right there made it so much easier to find.
“You broke into M’s flat. She was very upset, but she never told you why.”
“She was upset I had broke into her flat.”
“She couldn’t have cared less except that there was someone else there.”
“No, there wasn’t.”
“You didn’t go into the one bedroom.”
James stopped breathing for a few seconds. Q really did think the worst about him.
“I wouldn’t go into a shrine for a dead child, Q.”
“You saw the keep out stickers and a few other things and assumed it was a child’s room, just like here. Come, Bond.” Q stood up, leaving the gun behind. Up the stairs he went and James followed. The younger man stopped at the doorway to the bedroom that James had never entered. He opened the door and James stopped because it wasn’t a shrine to a dead child like he thought. Instead, there was evidence of an adult. The bed was rumpled and queen sized. There was a very familiar laptop on the bed along with debris on the desk from what looked like a bomb.
“There is a reason that I don’t fly. I was orphaned when my parents died in a plane crash. My aunt and uncle took me in and up until Uncle started to get sick, this is where I lived.” Q moved into the room and grabbed the laptop and set it down on his desk before he sat down on the edge of the side of the bed.
“Your aunt and uncle?” James asked as his mind wrapped around the fact that M had raised Q.
“Who is the blood relative?” James asked because he wasn’t sure if he could wrap his head around M having a sibling and a blood nephew.
Q though didn’t answer, not in a typical way. Instead, he smiled. It wasn’t a happy one. It was bloody thirsty and it was the same one that M always gave James when he had done a damned good job and she was proud. James felt his heart skip a beat at that.
“My birth last name is Mansfield. M had Uncle take her name as she’d already made a name for herself.”
“You call her M?”
“It’s what I have always called her. When I was a child it was fun because I thought that it was a nickname only I could call her. I was upset when I heard someone else call her that. Before Casino Royale, when you broke in, I was over during a break at uni. That equipment you used was something I’d brought to M to show her that agents could use in the field when needed. I had long decided that I only wanted one job in the world, and I was making sure that M couldn’t turn me down for it. She tried for a while, and kept me safe until she couldn’t anymore, and was forced to put me in as Quartermaster.”
“You…” James looked at him, trying to see M in him and other than that smile, it wasn’t there. It was better than him being her actual child because that would give him thoughts that he wasn’t sure that he could live with. Thankfully, he had already had sex with Q before finding out his real identity.
“So you lied to me to get me to Paris in hopes that you’d woo me back into your bed?”
“Yes, well no. I…” James shut the bedroom door, even though there was no one else in the house. He wasn’t sure why but it was like M was listening. “I wanted you back. I realized that what I wanted with Madeleine, I already had with you. Someone I could come home to. Who understood if I woke up with a flashback or a nightmare. Who would let me have my dark moods for what I had seen. Who would hold me when I needed it. Who wouldn’t take my shit if I lashed out when I was trying to push them away. Madeleine couldn’t handle me. I thought she could, but she wanted to root out all my issues instead of just letting me be. Resentment built and I came home one day and she was gone.”
Q nodded, letting James know that he was listening but he didn’t say a thing.
“Can you forgive me for leaving? Especially the way that I did. I saw the gutted look on your face when you realized that I was only after the car.”
“I…” Q looked unsure and James took a step back, not even realizing that he’d stepped closer to the younger man. “My job is here.”
“I know that, Q.”
“Then what are your plans?”
“Mallory offered me a position in training, and possibly back up on some missions after he took over, when I was ready for it. I was going to talk to him about that.”
“So we were on a mission in Paris, just not the one that you told me we were on.”
James gave Q a small, fond smile. “Yes. I called it To Woo A Q in my head.”
“And.” Q stopped and looked at a small device on the wall beside the bedroom door. James turned around to see it and saw that a light was blinking green. “Authorized access by the front door. I’d say it’s R. Stay.”
Q stood up from the bed and moved past James. He was out the door before he turned and came back. He cupped the side of James’s face, drawing their eyes even. Whatever he wanted to find he must have because he leaned in for a brief kiss.
“If I find that any part of this is a lie, there won’t be a place small enough for you to hide on this planet.”
“I haven’t lied to you since you left Paris and I won’t start again. You have my word, Q.”
“Q?” R called out.
“Stay here,” Q said before he turned to leave the room again. James stayed in the room, but he went to the edge. The jingle of two different bells heralded the arrival of Mombi and Ozma up the stairs. Mombi’s nose was moving back and forth as she darted around Q’s feet and made right for James. He crouched down and lifted her up into his arms. She started purring instantly while Ozma wound around his feet three times before going back to Q. Ozma meowed several times and James saw him pick her up and stop at the bottom of the stairs.
“Where did Mombi go?”
“My room. Thank you. I’m going to stay here for a few days and then I’ll be back to my house.”
“Still nothing on Bond. We can’t find him. All incomings have been scanned at all methods of entry. We will know if he makes it into London. M has him on a detain order.”
“Good.” Q’s voice sounded weird, even to James and he closed his eyes. R was going to notice it.
“Just exhausted. Was waiting for you to get here with Mombi and Ozma and my things before going to bed. I won’t be checking in until I get home.”
“Okay. I brought in that new order of tea, I hijacked it from being dropped at your house tomorrow. It’s in your bag. I will check in on you in three days.”
“Ping only. I might be busy.”
The noise that R made sounded like she didn’t believe him. James wondered though why Q wanted to stay where they were. James wasn’t sure that he wanted to. He could feel M’s displeasure at him even now. He’d been in a sex only relationship with her only nephew, one she raised. James shook his head to clear that thought away because it wasn’t going to help him at all. The sound of the door shutting pulled him the rest of the way out of his thoughts. He looked up to find Q standing there. Mombi was still purring in James’s arms.
“She has missed you. You left that gold colored tie that one time and after you left, I threw it away. She dug it out of the trash and has claimed it as her own. I hated you because she didn’t understand why you were gone. My own broken heart I could mend but hers…” Q stepped up to James and reached out to scritch at Mombi’s head. The cat’s purr sounded even louder, near echoing off the walls. “Thai or Indian?”
“I’m hungry and there is a good Thai and Indian place close. I don’t care which one, but I wouldn’t go out if I were you. I might not even place a call on an MI6 watched line. I wouldn’t be shocked if they are looking for you over all lines.”
“What are you going to do about that?”
“Let them keep their eyes outside of London for now. Take a few days here, then move home and from there I’ll see what I can do. For now you are a veritable prisoner in my house. Right where I want you.”
James raised an eyebrow at that. He wondered for a few seconds exactly what Q’s real plan was because keeping him contained never lasted long, especially with nothing to do.
“Don’t worry, Bond. You’ll be kept well entertained.”
“Really?” James asked. He looked Q up and down.
“No, not that. I was thinking of renovating the house. I want to rip out the walls in the basement and build a generator. Make this a place I can go when I need to work on things and don’t want to be in headquarters. I can still be available and close enough to get to MI6 if needed, but not on hand for small issues. So I hope you have more clothes than suits.” Q looked at the one that James was wearing with an appreciative eye. “My clothes won’t fit you, and all of Uncles were given away when he died. M’s as well.”
“You can always slip away and get me clothes in the morning, or have them sent over. I’ll pay you back. I strapped my cash getting back into London.”
“How did you?”
“Wig and a horribly unflattering dress. The bus driver flirted with me. I felt like I needed a bath afterwards.”
“You kept a safe house here in London with clothes?”
“Always. Maybe sometime I’ll take you to it.” James leaned down to set Mombi down on the floor. She harrumphed at him and trotted off. Ozma following behind. When he straightened up, he stepped into Q’s personal space. “With MI6 looking for me, I can’t rent a flat. I’m homeless.”
“No, you aren’t. You have a home with me.”
Q smiled as he felt someone step up behind him. Hands settled on his his shoulder blades, pressing in just right and starting to rub. Q closed his eyes for a few seconds as the tension his body settled a little bit. He could smell James’s aftershave.
“Almost done?” James asked.
“I’m close. I just have to get Alec through finding the right computer and then R can take him through getting out. So far he hasn’t been detected.”
“Good.” James stayed right close to Q as he walked Alec through the mission. Once Q had signed off, he turned to find James at the other side of the room with Q’s coat in hand. “Three day weekend, Q and it should have started an hour ago. I was nice, but we are leaving.”
“Pushy.” There was no heat to Q’s word, but still James huffed at him.
“You’ve been working nonstop in the past five weeks since I came in from the cold. Our dates have been quick ones here or late ones at home. Tonight is you and me at a restaurant followed by two days of not working for either of us.” James stepped closer, twirling a finger until Q turned around so that James could help him into his coat. “I spent a lot of money on my new suit and your sweater. So much softer than that one you wore in Austria, but looks exactly like it. And better pants. We are going out to dinner and we are going to have a marvelous time.”
Q smiled at his partner, knowing that this was more than just a dinner to James. They had been working into a sexual relationship since James had come to London and snogs on the couch were not holding either of them over anymore.
“R knows not to call unless the world is on fire. I’m sure that you threatened Mallory well enough.”
“Actually Tanner. And it wasn’t a threat. I explained that we’ve both worked six to seven day weeks and we need a few days off. HR is chomping to see you take a few days. We need this.”
“I know, James.” Q turned in James’s light hold and brought his face in for a kiss. Displays of affection were rare between them inside of MI6, but Q wanted a kiss. James acted nothing like he had before. He was perfect, and while he rarely left for missions anymore, and those that he did we just support, James had found a happiness in what he was doing. He was content. Of course, even on his current contract for MI6, he put that Q was more important, and that if it came down to the country or Q, James would pick Q. Tanner had just snigered at the added paragraph while Mallory’s eye had started to twitch.
“Come, Q. It’s good I figured you would stay over some, as we are not late for our reservations.”
“What would we have done if I hadn’t?” Q asked as he allowed James to escort him out of the branch. James was silent on the elevator ride up to the main floor. Q stopped when they went to the executive entrance. James, though, pulled him along with a smile. James had bought a new car. It was a sleek purple two seater, DB10. “Where did you get that?”
“I had it made. For you. I still find it appalling that you only have a car from MI6 as your personal vehicle. So this is yours. Your minions have been modifying it.”
“I wish you would stop calling them that. They have been signing their emails with their minion numbers.” Q tried to sound put out, but he knew it wasn’t happening. He looked at the car. Other than some new clothes, James hadn’t been giving him many gifts at all, which Q knew wasn’t normal. Now he knew why. “If it’s my car, that means I am driving it.”
“So I have to know where we are going.”
Q just quirked an eyebrow at James as he moved to get into the car. The keys were in the ignition and Q smiled at the fact that James had lifted his keys. It was his normal set with the key to M’s house, and his work keys, not that he ever used them as Q Branch was never closed. There was no key to his house. It was all keyless entry that ran on a generator if the power went out, and the generator was in the basement, so no one could cut the power to his house. James liked that it made him safer. England’s enemies would still come after James, and Q was and even bigger target.
The Aston Martin drove like a dream. Q had done small test drives on the ones outfitted for missions, but he’s never drove one he could call his own. The Firehouse was packed, but the valet that took the car wasn’t rushed or upset. He looked at Q’s car like he’d won the lottery. Q watched him get in carefully and drive like he had a baby on board.
“Did you like how it handled?”
“You know I did, but you have never answered my question. What were your plans if I had got off work on time?”
“Snogging in the car like teenagers somewhere in the parking garage,” James whispered in Q’s ear. Q didn’t even stumble in his steps. Instead he started towards the doors. James’s hand settled on his the small of his back. The Maitre’d smiled at them as they stepped up. “Reservations under Mansfield.”
“Mansfield. Right this way Sirs.”
“Why did you use my name?” Q hissed out of the corner of his mouth. While Tanner had resurrected his birth name, he still didn’t use it much.
“Because I wanted to, Fin.” James’s lips caressed the side of his ear. James had taken Q telling him his birth name as freedom to use it, when they were alone.
“You are insufferable.”
“But you love me anyway.”
Q didn’t answer either way on that statement. The word love hadn’t been brought up. James had taken to calling him love on occasion, but he’d never actually said that he loved Q. Q hadn’t said it to him either. That small fear that James would leave was there. They were building a life together, but he was still afraid that James would decide that Q wasn’t worth staying in London full time.
“I’ve asked for a special menu tonight so they’ll bring out each course when we are done with the one before.” James said as he pulled out Q’s chair. Q sat and waited for James to sit before he laid his napkin in his lap. The table was set, but only water glasses were on it. Q quirked an eyebrow at that. “We were both inebriated the first time we fell into sex together. I don’t want that tonight.”
“Really?” Q asked. James just looked at him. Q’s hand was sitting on the table and James reached over to cover it. “I’m not sure that your reputation will survive this.”
“Several betting pools have fizzled out. Me going back to a Double O, me not cheating on you with the first buxom blonde that flirted with me, that I haven’t had you in your office.”
“You sound almost proud.”
“I am. I make you happy, and you make me happy. There is nothing more I want.”
“Even if I said that today was not ending in sex?” Q asked.
“Even if. I’m content to just hold you while you sleep.”
Q held him to that, but the agent didn’t stop on his seducing of Q. The man didn’t pull any punches. There might not have been a drop of alcohol drunk but Q felt drunk by the time that James escorted him out of the restaurant. It was one of the best dates that Q had ever been on, and he didn’t want it to end because if it did, reality was going to crash into him.
James drove them back to the house because Q wasn’t sure he could drive. James’s hand lived on his thigh the entire time. His fingers pressed to the inside, and teasing up farther on his leg. Q was hard before they had even made it out of the parking lot. When they pulled into the garage attached to Q’s house, Q leaned over and grabbed the switch for pushing the driver’s seat back. James looked shocked as Q climbed into his lap, pressing their lips together. James’s arm wrapped around Q’s waist, sliding him down to where they were touching from hip to chest while his other arm moved up and his hand grabbed Q’s hair, holding his lips in the exact place that James wanted them.
“I want you, James,” Q said when James pulled back to gulp in a breath. The man never tried for finesse with him, not when it came it kissing. Instead, he went for honesty. Kissing Q until he needed to breathe, inhaling, and then diving back in. James didn’t dive back in this time. Instead, he gripped Q’s hair tighter and leaned up, pressing Q into the steering wheel.
“You had better do whatever is needed to get that door open before I get to it, otherwise I might fuck you against the garage door.” James let go of Q’s waist and opened the car door. Q scrambled off his lap and made his way to the door. He had it opened before James even touched him. Q was spun into the wall and then pressed into it. Hands settled on his thighs, gripping hard before lifting. He wrapped his legs around James’s waist as the man pulled back from the wall. Q kissed with urgency. He loved it when James manhandled him. The most memorable fuck they had was when James had held him down on the kitchen table at the old flat and fucked him. Q had not been able to move at all, not that he had wanted to anyway, but just the knowledge that he had been – at James’s mercy, it had fueled his fantasies for weeks.
They made their way through the house, and Q barely remembered the trek up the stairs except for the fact that every few, James was pressing him into the wall so that he could rub their cocks together through their clothes.
The bedroom door was, thankfully, open, and the twin cries of welcome told Q that the cats were downstairs. As they passed the door, James kicked it shut with a loud bang. Q expected to be dropped to the bed and pressed down into the mattress, but that wasn’t what happened. Instead James sat down on the edge of the bed and kept kissing Q. Q settled on his lap with his legs bent on either side of him. He pulled back to grip the edge of James’s suit jacket, and near rip it off him before he did rip the buttons off of James’s dress shirt. He wasn’t wearing an undershirt. James rumbled his pleasure before he worked on the buttons to Q’s trousers. James cursed at the buttons.
Q slinked back off his lap, undoing the buttons before slipping the trousers down his legs. James’s eyes followed the pants on the downward track, his eyes getting darker and darker. Q was barely out of them before James pulled him back into his lap, pants still on. Q laid one hand on James’s shoulder before splaying the other on the side of his face. James wrapped both of his arms around Q to where he could grip Q’s ass, pulling him just enough inward to press their cocks together.
The heat from James, even half naked was intense. Q loved it. James worked his fingers into the back of Q’s briefs, teasing the crack of his ass.
“I don’t want slow, James. That can come after. Right now I want you to claim me. Let me feel you.”
James growled into his lips and his hands grabbed the edges of Q’s pants and ripped them. The cool air hit the crack of his ass making him shiver before James spread his cheeks to press finger tips onto his hole. One arm tightened around his waist before James lifted him up, rolling them to where Q was underneath him, splayed out on the bed. James jerkily removed the tattered remains of his pants as he tried to sit up to remove the sweater. James pressed him down into the bed though.
“James,” Q protested. The man just smiled down at him before sliding up between his legs, rubbing all along his cock.
“You want me, you’ll get me how I want. And I don’t want you naked. I want to fuck you in that sweater.”
“I’ll get come all over it.”
“Yes, you will.” James dropped and kissed him before he could respond. Q tried to reach up and push James away, but the insufferable man linked their hands before pushing them down into the bed. When James lifted his hands, Q kept his right where the man wanted them. He gasped as James moved down his neck, laying kisses, before sliding all the way off the bed to strip himself. Q stayed where James wanted him, willing to play his game for the time being. James stripped with the efficiency that Q had only seen on mission, there was no attempt at play or teasing. Q brought his knees up as James moved back onto the bed. The man slipped between his legs and gave Q a brief kiss before he reached over to open the bedside drawer. James’s body stilled. Q knew what he was seeing there. There were the toys, varying sizes of plugs, two dildos, a few different kinds of cock rings, all things that James had seen before.
There was something missing though.
“Fin?” James asked as he grabbed the bottle of lube. He settled over Q, looking down at his face.
“Your mine. We don’t need condoms but if you prefer them, there are some in the loo.”
James leaned down and kissed Q, taking his breath away with the emotion that he felt in the kiss. Q framed James’s face with his hands and held him there. The man above him shifted slightly and he felt a hand working down. James’s thumb circled his hole for a second before pushing inside him. Q gasped into James’s mouth, and it was all the man needed to thrust his tongue inside. Q moaned into his mouth as that thumb worked in and out of him. That bottle wasn’t the most silent, but every single time, James opened it without Q hearing.
Q arched up into James’s body when he felt the thumb leave him and two fingers press inside, going right for his prostate. James only played for a few seconds before he pulled his fingers free and sat up, staring down at Q.
“You look so beautiful aroused, Finley.” James slicked up his cock before tossing the lube on the table. James grabbed the ever present hand towel that was on the floor and wiped his hands on it. Gripping Q’s thighs, James wrapped his legs around him. The breach was slow and nothing like what Q wanted. Slow could come later, after Q had forgot the ability to say anything other than harder and James’s name. Q tightened his legs around James’s waist trying to pull him in more. Q reached out for him.
“Please,” Q begged. James took Q’s hands in his own and pressed them down into the bed, James smirked at him before thrusting hard, sinking his cock all the way inside of Q. “James!”
Q’s body arched up, pressing into James’s as the older man settled above him. James took his mouth in another kiss as he set up a fast and hard rhythm, thrusting into Q hard enough that he could only lie there, panting into James’s mouth between kisses. Q lost himself in the feel of the man above him. His cock inside of him, his mouth on his own. James squeezed his hands on every thrust, every single time that Q met him on that thrust.
James wrenched his mouth away from Q’s dropping his forehead down to where he was looking Q in the eye. “Don’t ever leave me, please, Fin.”
“James,” Q said, but the look in James’s eyes stopped whatever else he was going to say. The words got stuck in his throat.
“I love you, Finley Mansfield.” James kissed him again stopping him from saying anything back. Q fought out of James’s hand hold, wrapping one arm around the other man’s back, and wrapped his other hand around the back of James’s neck, holding him where he wanted him for once. Q kissed him like a man possessed, letting his lips and tongue do the talking that his words couldn’t at the moment.
Sex they were good at, emotions and talking not so much. James pressed Q down into the bed more as his body stilled and his cock swelled in orgasm. James thrust inside of him a few more times, making sure to rub all along Q’s cock as he did, getting him closer to his own release. James slowly pulled out before he started rocking their bodies together again, never letting up on Q’s mouth.
Q spilled between them with a cry moments later, James wrapped his arms around him tightly, and tipped them to their sides. Q knew that cleanup would come later. James never feel asleep without at least using a wash cloth.
Needing to breathe, James pulled back, smiling at the sated look on Q’s face.
“I love you, too, James Bond,” Q said before reaching up a little to place a kiss on the end of James’s nose. He closed his eyes and settled down, tucking his face into James’s neck. He was pretty damned happy so far. Even if James had made him come all over his new favorite sweater.