July 18, 2007
James laughed into the ear of the woman who was currently sitting in his lap in the dance club that he had gone to for a bit of fun post-mission. He was finding himself bored with is usual married women and men, so he went to find someone to take his mind off of it. There had been a few people who intrigued him, but so far the lovely woman in his lap was winning.
A birthday party in the corner drew James’s attention every time that the group let out a cry. Whoever’s birthday it was they were turning twenty and celebrating. It was an odd year to celebrate in James’s opinion, but he remembered nights drinking when he was in the Navy where it was stupid shit like someone actually got a letter from home. James was happy that the people were celebrating together, even if he would never do something like it.
“You are not paying attention to me, James,” the woman in James’s lap said. James looked up at the pout that she was wearing and grinned at her.
“Just deciding what’s going to happen tonight is all, dear,” James answered. He couldn’t remember her name, and thankfully he had no reason to. Every time he called her a pet name of some kind her pulse ramped up for a little bit. She was a lonely woman who wanted attention from anyone who would give it, and James was willing to give it. It was perfect payment for him wanting sex. James leaned up to nip at her ear before breathing across it and speaking. “Where I want to have you in the hotel. On the bed, in the shower, on the couch, or even in the kitchen area over the counter. Or all of them one after the other.”
The woman blushed and pushed James away for a second before leaning into him and kissing him. James manhandled her around to where she was straddling his waist, her sex rubbing on his cloth covered cock. James was quite content to stay there like that.
“Speech!” someone yelled from the general area of where the party was going on, but James pushed it out of his mind and focused on the attention starved woman in his lap. The party people were having fun, and it made most of the attention in the room focus on them so James knew that he could get away with a lot. The woman in his lap was wearing a long, flowing skirt and he was able to fondle her as he wished with no one getting a look. James picked up the edge of the skirt and slipped his hands under it. He found the smooth skin on her calves and gripped them hard, pulling on her a little bit. The woman gasped and ground her cunt on him more.
James knew that he could have her right then and there, and she wouldn’t stop him, but he liked this more. It was a thrill knowing that no one could really see what they were doing. James walked his fingers up her calves to her knees, and when he had a good grip on the joints, he pulled again at the same time that he thrust up some, letting her really feel how hard his cock was for her.
The woman shivered as James started to walk his fingers up her thighs. James took his time as he did, sometimes digging his nails in a little on the sensitive skin and dragging them down to her knees. Every single time that he did, she shivered and gasped, and James ached to be balls deep in her. It was heavenly, having her grind on him.
Finally, James stopped teasing her and himself and slipped his hands up to grip the edge of her panties to pull them down. The woman gasped as she felt the fabric on the top slip down below her ass. The fabric was cotton and didn’t feel like it was very expensive, so James found the seam and ripped it until he was able to get the panties off of her without making her get up.
“Naughty boy,” the woman panted into James’s ear as she tried to grind on him more. James stopped her though and pushed her back just enough to where he could get his cock out. James could enjoy her a little before taking her back to the hotel room he had rented. James used one hand to get into his shirt pocket and grabbed one of the condoms he had in there. Palming it, James slipped that hand back under the skirt before he opened it.
“Naughty boys have more fun,” James whispered as he rolled the condom down his cock. The woman just looked at him a little unsure until James pulled her close again, letting his cock rub on her naked cunt. He lifted her and guided her cunt right into his cock head. She reached down and felt the condom on his cock before she helped to guide him all the way inside of her. She was tight, hot, and so wet for him. James gripped her hips her under her skirt and kept her right there on him. He didn’t want her to raise up and down as it would draw attention but subtle rocking would work.
“Oh, we are darling, we are. This is just the first round. I’m going to fuck you right here and make you gush all over me and then when I’ve had enough of the public and the drinking, we are going to leave, and I’m going fuck you every which way but normal all night long in my room.”
James felt her muscles tighten as she orgasmed for the first time. James smirked as he sucked a bruise on her neck. Her body was all but pliant as he used his hold on her hips to keep her rocking on him.
“Your tight cunt is perfect for this. So wet for me and so willing to have my cock in it.” James slid his right hand from hip to her front, attention-starved her little nub and thumbing at it. She shivered and gasped. Her muscles contracted again, not in orgasm just in too much too soon after her orgasm. He kept on though. He kept rubbing and would dip his finger down to collect her juices to lube up his thumb enough to where he could keep on doing it.
“James, please,” she panted.
“Please what? Stop or more? Keep on doing this?” James pressed just a little harder on her flesh, and she nearly bucked off of his lap, his cock sliding almost all the way out of her and then back inside in a single push as she settled down again. She moaned as his cock hit all the good places inside of her. “Or do you want me to tuck myself into my pants and we go to the bathroom and finish this? I’ll fuck you on the sink in the men’s or even lock the door and fuck you on the floor.”
James felt her orgasm again, and he didn’t hold himself back. He gripped her hip and held her in place as he filled the condom, her walls tightening and releasing just enough to keep him going for a minute before he felt himself start to deflate. James gripped the base of the condom, slipping a finger inside of her at the same time with his other hand. She slumped back on him and allowed the cock to slip from inside. James took the condom off and knotted it before getting the baggie from his pants. He didn’t leave condoms in places that were no hotels, that was asking for trouble. So he had packed accordingly.
“SPEECH!” the crowd yelled again.
“Okay, okay,” a new lone voice said, and James felt his blood run cold. He started to look around behind the woman to see if there were any faces in the crowd that he knew, but there wasn’t a single one. The crowd for the party was too big, and James couldn’t see the speaker that was probably in the centre of it. James grabbed his drink and downed it. He dug into his pocket and got out his key to his hotel room. He handed it over. The people knew him well and knew not to charge anything to his account without him placing it unless it was certain women.
“Go ahead and meet me there. I have one thing to take care of first, and then I’ll be there. Be naked and horny, and I’ll fuck you when I get there.”
The woman kissed James, enticing him and giving him a reason to join her. James kissed her back, giving her what she wanted, but his mind was elsewhere. There was a certain set of guards that were on Q at all times, and James knew every single one of them by sight which meant that M either found a new one to add to his watch crew or Q had given his guards the slip. Which wasn’t hard considering that Q didn’t even know that they were there. Q knew of the electronic equipment that watched him, and he allowed it but the guards, those were only on paper, and hacking MI6 wouldn’t tell him a thing.
After another few minutes of kissing, the woman slipped off of James’s lap and sauntered out of the club. She was high on hormones, and it would take her a little too long to realise that James wasn’t coming to her. James had no weapon on him, it was in the boot of his car, and there was even a compact handgun in the glove box, but with dancing with a woman, he didn’t wear one and run the risk of it getting seen or felt.
James stood up and moved to the edge of the party crowd. There were many people there, and James realised now that he was actually paying full attention to them that many were from Staffordshire. Probably in town for the summer and visiting with college friends. James also realised that it was Q’s twentieth birthday. He moved until he had a good view of Q and watched as Q gave a speech. James couldn’t pick out a single word of it. He was trying to find the agent that should be watching Q. He had checked on the flat just hours before, seemingly going after a novel that he had left there the last time that he had Q sat and that agent wasn’t in the club at all. James frowned because this didn’t seem like anything that M would be happy about.
There was little to do except for watch for Q. It wasn’t long before James watched a new agent to MI6 slink in and look around until he found Q. James let his focus wander some. He watched the agent who was watching Q and forced himself to not watch Q.
One hour later, James watched as Q left the area of the club where the bathrooms were. He looked wrecked and not in a good way. Q had gone back there alone, but James wondered what happened. He watched as Q didn’t even go to where his friends were partying. Q didn’t even look at them. James frowned and got up to follow. He saw that the agent watching Q didn’t even notice him at all. Instead, the agent was watching a woman dancing drunkenly. James sneered at the man before following Q out of the club.
Q didn’t notice James at all, even when James rushed to catch the same bus as him, paying with cash and not exact change. James waved change away and focused on Q. He took a seat four rows behind him. Q didn’t move at all, his face down and no phone in his hand. James was worried that he needed to go back and do something to someone because they hurt him. Q wasn’t acting cagey like he had been assaulted. James observed him as the bus got close to where Q would need to get off to get onto a bus to take him to Hackney.
It took twenty more minutes after getting on the new bus to get dropped off close to Q’s flat. James looked up into the other flat and saw that all of the lights were out whereas Q’s were all on. James wondered if that was how Q escaped from his watcher. James hustled up to the MI6 flat just in time to see Q letting himself into the other. James turned on the screens to see that thankfully the surveillance software had just been running with the screen off instead of just off all the way. James walked to the window because he liked seeing with his eyes in person, watching Q strip naked in the flat before slipping into the bathroom. Q had no marks on him, and after getting into the bathroom, James played back the video to see that even up close there was nothing on his skin. James had no clue what happened, but he would make sure that M was aware of what happened and to have someone check on things at the club, someone competent.
Q was in the shower long enough that James knew that he probably ran out of hot water. James felt bad for watching him, but he was worried. Q walked to his dresser, naked and James saw the hint of a tattoo on Q’s thigh, but the picture wasn’t good enough to see what it was. Q pulled out heavy pyjamas and a long-sleeved T-shirt. James knew that Q slept in nothing but his pants year round so for him to pull out anything like that, James was shocked. There was little to do except listen as Q turned off all of his lights and laid down.
Walther came running, a bell on his collar jingling. James watched as he crawled up on Q with a meow. Q usually lifted his blankets to allow the cat under, but the man didn’t. Instead, he ignored the cat, his body shaking.
James pushed himself up, and he was out the door before he knew what he was doing. There wasn’t anything that James could really do, but he still left the building he was in and walking into Q’s. The code for it was burnt into James’s memory, and he wasn’t sure that he could forget it. Just like how to pick Q’s lock without making a sound was there as well.
Walther’s meows carried through the door, and when the cat realised that someone was trying to get in, the sound changed, but James kept picking the lock. When it opened, James pushed the door open and listened to the sounds of the room. He slipped into the flat and found that Walther was on the bed and looking at James. Q didn’t move at all, his breathing hitching as he cried.
James listened to Q cry himself to sleep and only moved when he was sure that Q wasn’t going to wake up. Q was worn out it looked like. The melancholy of the flat was pressing in on James and he wondered if nothing had happened at the club but instead Q was just too lonely to want to fake being out with people anymore. James wouldn’t ever really know.
Walther settled down as James made no move toward his human and so fell asleep on his own late in the night. James stayed where he was by the door and just watched Q sleep, waiting for the dawn to tell him that Q was safe and he could leave.
James made sure that he wasn’t in the line of sight of the cameras as it until it was time for him to leave. He didn’t even go to the other flat but instead took a bus back to the club and drove himself right to the hotel he had been planning on staying in. He closed out the room and made sure that the woman had actually left.
After that was done, James went right to M to make sure that the agent who had lost Q never worked something like that again.
April 18, 2008
James was in the middle of his second round of pushups when his personal laptop went off. James had been doing good inside of MI6and had not been stuck on Q duty in a long while. It had in fact been nine months since he had seen Q last. The night of his disastrous birthday party that had ended with James watching Q sleep after the young man had cried himself to sleep.
However, that had ended when James had mouthed off to M during his debrief from his mission that ended the week before. James had watched M’s face turn a very startling shade of red; she looked like she was about to blow. One word she had spoken and James knew what it meant. Hackney had become a punishment for James, again. Q didn’t need a Double-O watching him. He barely needed a full agent watching him.
James had set up his computer to detect when Q’s Internet usage went up, and it had gone up. By great detail. James grabbed his T-shirt from where it was draped over the arm of the chair beside him. James looked at Q through the window before moving to the bay of computer screens. The sound was off again, but James had watched the feed that morning to see that Q had silenced it because he had wanted a wank before getting out of bed and had just never turned it on again.
Three minutes before Q had started whatever the hell he was doing, he had received a phone call. The call was short, and his face was nowhere James could see it on a camera to read his lips. Instead, Q’s cell phone had dropped to the floor, and he had stood there stock still for two minutes before going to his laptop. Given the levels of usage that James was seeing, Q was brute force hacking someone, and he didn’t care if he was caught.
James made the feed show him current time just as his cell phone rang. It was M.
“What in the bloody hell is he doing? Internet usage in Hackney has dropped, and outages are being reported.”
“He got a call, and from what these computers tell me, he’s hacking someone big and doesn’t care what he does to get what he wants.”
“Tanner, figure out where the bloody hell St. Clair is hacking.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Tanners voice sounded normal, but then James had never seen the man acting stressed before. “Q-Branch is tracking him. Or at least trying to follow his trail.”
“Just find hi-”
“GOt him, Ma’am. He’s hacking a hospital. He is not doing it brute force like Bond thinks but is just using a lot of resources. He is trying not to bring…oh!”
“What?” M demanded.
“He is hacking the maternity ward information. There is a lady who was brought in last night, and she gave birth three hours ago to twins, a boy and a girl. The father listed is Mister St. Clair.”
“Bond, we will call back.”
James hung up the phone and grabbed his laptop before plopping it down on the desk. James followed Q’s hack into the system. He found the file on the woman who had given birth and then accessed her file in the car registry. James remembered her from the party for Q. That made James wonder about that night. Had something happened that Q didn’t want? James knew that Q was gay, but that didn’t mean anything when one was lonely or just wanting a good fuck. Q had not seemed that drunk when James had been watching him. M would be able to track back to that party as well. This was going to mess up whatever plans M had for Q.
James pushed his computer aside and sat down in the chair in front of the window so he could watch Q. The Internet usage dropped, and James was able to track the area around them using software every once in a while but more than anything else he was watching Q as the young man spent the rest of the day on the laptop.
It was Q’s day off, which James knew was a good thing. Q wouldn’t be able to focus on work at all; he probably wasn’t even doing whatever he was doing well at all. Q didn’t move from the couch he was sitting on until late in the evening, by then Q had to be hungry.
James called in a food order to the place that Q ordered from the most. When the food arrived at Q’s flat, he was shocked, but he didn’t turn it down. Q sat back on the couch with a notepad on his thigh and the food on the arm of the couch. James wasn’t sure what was going through Q’s mind at that. MI6 was probably going to wash their hands of him, but James couldn’t just do that.
It was two in the morning when James’s phone rang again.
“Yes, Ma’am?” James said as he answered the phone.
“Tanner is making sure that a DNA test is done, but the process has started for Q to become the father, in absentia as the woman doesn’t want the kids. She would have been better off just getting rid of them before it came this far.”
M sounded very upset, and James wondered if she had big plans for Q that having a child, or children would ruin. M hated her plans being ruined; she really hated that.
“Not everyone wants to do what’s best for themselves but what they think is best for the child.”
“You have a mission in Brussels in two days. We are pulling all active surveillance on Mister St. Clair. We will keep an eye on him digitally as much as we can, but that is it. Someone from Q-Branch will be over to pull everything from the flat you are in, and the cameras and mics are being left or now.”
“Do you want me to wait for the person from Q-Branch?”
“No, pull out all of your things, and Q-Branch will get the rest and give it to the agents who have possession.”
“Be back to my personal flat as soon as possible.”
“Good. Come in tomorrow afternoon to get kited for your mission.” M hung up with a word of goodbye. James groaned as he got up, not nearly enough sleep at all but enough for him to get a move on. James threw his items, mostly books into his bag and then made sure to pack his personal as well as work laptop into the large bag that he for it. He piled that by the door and made sure that he had enough cash for what he wanted. James found an off license that was open a few blocks away and purchased the same kind of scotch he had got before for Q on his eighteenth birthday, only a much more substantial size. He used the bag to carry it and slipped into Q’s building.
James used the edge of his Henley to unscrew a light at the end of the hall before he approached Q’s door. He set the bottle down, using the edge of the bag to keep his prints off of it. He knocked swiftly before running to the darkened spot. Q opened his flat door sixty-eight seconds later. Q still looked shell-shocked, and James figured that he would look like that for days while he adjusted. Q looked around before he stepped further out and his foot hit the bottle of scotch. Q stopped and looked down at the bottle before he picked it up. Q smiled at the bottle before slipping back into his flat.
Grinning, James turned to leave. He would leave Q alone for a little while before he hacked the feed that ran from the equipment in Q’s flat to see how he was doing with the kids. The flat wasn’t big enough so James figured that at some point he would have to move to a new one. James wondered if Q would find a whole new borough to live in or would stay in Hackney.
July 18, 2010
James stopped just two blocks from his destination when he saw something that he didn’t think that he ever would. Q was out and about with a hat on his head, and he was pushing a pram with his toddlers sitting beside each other in it. The two kids, a boy and a girl, were looking around and James knew from the direction that Q was headed they were going to the park that was close. James turned to a stand that was outside of the grocery store as Q passed him. Q’s eyes didn’t stop moving, taking in everyone who was moving around him.
There was no active agent involved surveillance on Q, but there were cameras which one of the Double-O’s and a Q-Branch member had replaced in the new top floor flat that Q had moved into about two weeks after he brought the twins home. James checked on Q with Q-Branch more than anything else. Q-Branch didn’t think it weird not when it was on file how many times James had been the one on duty. James always couched it as checking on the little brat that he watched too much for his own good. No one called him on it because he was known for being a bastard. He was known for not caring about anybody in the world but England.
Q though had slipped under James’s armour and was there, all of the time. James hadn’t realised it except over the two years where he hadn’t seen Q at all. James wasn’t going to do a damned thing about it because Q didn’t need MI6 in his life.
James followed Q all the way to the park, and when Q left the stroller at a park bench to take the twins over to the slide that they wanted to go down, James slipped over and set the bottle of scotch and two books into mesh pocket on the underside of the pram. James stayed where he was, sitting and watching Q with his two kids. The books were for the kids and Q would know that just from looking at them. The scotch was the smaller bottle, but since it was Q’s birthday, James wanted to get him something. James was wearing and had been wearing a pair of lambskin leather gloves since he had purchased the items, so it was safe for him to touched them without leaving prints behind.
There was never a trace of Q trying to find the person who gave him the presents. Or at least no record that James could find. He did wonder about security cameras in the area when he would drop them off before, but hopefully today there would be nothing.
Q was an attentive father and paid no attention to the women who were trying to get his attention or even the lone male who was there with a son. The looks the women were giving him told James that they wanted sex and given the rings on their fingers, didn’t care if they were married or if Q was. There was no denying that Q was good at ignoring people or just staring at them until they left him alone. Q did it to many of the mothers. Women with kids were one of the types of married women that James stayed away from, at least while the kids were younger. That kind of women got too attached and would start to think of him as someone who was in it for the long haul of raising kids.
James was far from father material. The thought of kids running around inside of his flat was disgusting.
“Amelia!” Q called out, and it drew James’s gaze back to him. Q was on the ground with the boy twin on his lap while Amelia ran around the both of them. Q was laughing, and his face was full of happiness. James knew that Q never wanted the kids the way that he got them, but that look on his face right then told James that Q loved them dearly.
James stood up, his eyes leaving Q and his kids before he turned fully away from them and started out of the park. It was a nice day out, and James felt like spending it window shopping, seeing there was anything that he wanted, item or person.
James found a lovely woman with a beach hut on the Koca Calis Beach in Fethiye, Turkey. The place that he landed after being washed away in the river after being shot off the train by his support agent. The woman was a dear and helped him mend enough to where he trusted enough to head into town to pick up what he wanted. James stayed inside a week because between the shot that he took from the man with the hard drive that he was chasing and the friendly fire, James was too stiff to move well at all. James didn’t trust that he wasn’t being hunted so for a week he had mended.
In exchange for food, shelter, and medical help, James gave the woman orgasms. At first, it was just him on his back, but as he got better and better, he would take her as often as she allowed.
James slipped from her bed with a kiss pressed to her head when she lost her pillow, stiffly, James found the clothes that she had found for him. It wouldn’t do for a day running around London, but for a coastal city that was a touristy location, he would fit right in. James had a list of things that he wanted, but first, he needed money. There were banks all over the world that James had money stashed in and the protocols set up to get the money out without ID of any kind. He needed to get to one as soon as it opened so he could purchase what he wanted.
“Where are you going?” the woman asked in heavily accented English.
“Need some things from town. You sleep, and I’ll come back and cook you a late lunch.”
The woman grinned before closing her eyes. James slipped from the house, his eyes darting around to check for anything and everything that could be a danger but there was nothing. As James walked through the streets to the centre of town, no one paid him any attention at all. Vendors were trying to get him to buy things, but he ignored them and pressed on. James knew the location of the bank that he wanted but he didn’t want to head straight there as it would get him there before the bank opened and waiting around outside of it would draw too many eyes. So James wandered around in a leisurely manner that slowly put him on the path of the bank.
It took an hour for James to get some of the money that he wanted and a promise that the rest would be there the next day. James was very thankful that the bank was just shady enough not to care why a man who looked as bad as James did wanted money and enough to do some damage. James had three things on his list besides some clothes that would at least be better than strictly linen pants and shirts.
Finding a shop for the clothes was easy. Finding a place to get a gun that James would trust to use was not that easy. James found a clothes shop first. It was simple to get clothes in his size, even if they hung a little on him. He would make sure that he fit into them as he should as soon as it was safe to start a workout regimen. James didn’t like being unfit to defend himself.
The gun took an hour to find a bar that had under the table dealings. James scared the bartender enough that he didn’t even try and kill James for the money that he flashed. James didn’t put it past the man sending someone after him so he would have to be careful not to be followed. The cleaning kit was easy to find in a shop that catered to locals.
“You need a kit?” the shopkeeper asked in broken English.
“Stupid airlines lost part of my luggage, and my kit was in that part,” James sounded bitter when he spoke, and the shopkeeper gave him the knowing smile of someone who heard that kind of story before.
“They always lose so many things, and one wonders how they stay in the air, no?” The shopkeeper showed James his various models of kids and James bought the best one as a thank you for not asking too many questions and at least acting like the believed James’s story. The nondescript bag that it went into was a blessing. James turned to leave when he spotted a holster that he liked. It would better than keeping it in the waist of his pants. James bought that as well before he left, slipping it into the bag with the cleaning kit. James had plans to spend the afternoon checking over the gun with a close eye before relying on it to save his life.
James wandered around, seeing if anyone followed him, and he couldn’t find a single one, but there was still at least one shop that he needed to find and finding the right one could take a while. James passed a few stores that advertised computers and laptops, but there was a smaller one that boasted a few more things than it. James slipped into that one and found that the shopkeeper of the store was a woman. James grinned and set his bag down on the glass case that separated her and him. She looked up from the computer with a pasted-on smile that spoke of her thinking that he was s tourist who wanted to get something cheap.
“I need a laptop, and I would prefer one that you built from scratch and are trying to sell more than I want an out of the box floor model.”
The woman’s smile turned into a pleased one.
“I have several like that,” the woman said with a feinted English accent. “You are British?”
“Yes. On vacation and an unfortunate accident with a waiter and a glass of water fried the one that I brought with me. I work from cloud-based software so getting what I need on that end won’t be an issue, but I need something fast and a hub for setting up a secure network that I can use between it and my phone.” James didn’t have anything more than a base model burner phone, but she didn’t need to know that.
“I went to London for schooling. I sometimes miss London, but then I missed here when I was there. Let me get the models, and we can figure out which one you want.”
It was just a few minutes later when she came out of the back with three laptops stacked on top of each other. James helped her set them down and open them up but let her turn them on. She came around the counter and signed them on. James saw that the password was just the name of the shop in English. He smiled at that.
James listened with his full attention as she went over the processors and storage and every little detail on the computers. He even asked a few questions of his own before choosing the most expensive because it had what he wanted. The network equipment was more standard out of the box, but James could work with that as he knew how to make it so that no one else could use it or even realise that it was there at all. James also bought a laptop case there that fit all of it in it. That would help when it was time for James to leave.
There was little to do but walk around to make sure that no one was following him after he got done at the tech store. Just before he left the central hub of the city for the beaches, James grabbed things to cook for lunch. He could spend the afternoon and evening getting everything set up for his new network and then checked everything one last time before accessing his server in a safe house tucked away in London. MI6 didn’t know about it so even if they put his things from his flat into storage, he could still access his server.
In the dark of the early morning, just before the sun rose with the woman sleeping the sleep of the well fucked, James accessed his server and downloaded the program needed to make sure that he would be safe even in Turkey. James accessed the MI6 servers and found that little was being done to find him outside of hunting the borders of the rivers that fed from the main one that he had fallen into for his body. James didn’t care as long as it seemed like they were staying with body retrieval and not hunting a living breathing person.
James accessed an MI6 feed that he shouldn’t have known about much less been able to access, but he had made sure that he had access as soon as it had popped up in Q’s new bigger flat for him and the kids. James typed in all of the credential information that would give him remote access, frowning as it was a little slow but given that he was as far as he was from a working connection and working with technology that wasn’t an MI6 issued set-up, he could live with it. James looked at the time on his computer, which he had set to London time. It was just after five there, and Q should be asleep.
What he found instead was Q sitting in his pyjamas in front of a desktop working station his office in the new flat. James frowned and minimised the camera feed before he started to search for Q inside of MI5’s database. James stopped because the flat that Q was living in had no name attached to it at all. James searched for Q’s real name and found no trace of Walmond St. Clair or his two kids at all. James searched for Amelia and Ashton St. Clair only to find no record of them in even the hospital that they were born at.
James backed out of everything except for MI6’s database, and there he searched. Everything on Q had been off the digital books so to speak, but his original pop up on MI6’s radar was there. James found that it was gone. Redacted from all record. James felt a cold sweat break out on his skin before he reaccessed the camera feed. There he found buried in the data where the feed entered MI6 a case number. James followed that to find that it linked to an application. That application was just on M’s computer and was blocked from access, except that James had the codes for that and got through in seconds. There was a notation typed in on the header of the application that Walmond St. Clair hacked MI6 and dropped his application on M’s desktop for a low-level Q-Branch position.
There was only a single reason that MI6 would be protecting his identity and that was that M decided to pull him in because of the application. It was the first time that Q had shown an interest in MI6 at all. M would have to do a lot of fast talking to make sure that Q never figured out what he was being watched for years by MI6. James figured that those who had watched him would be scared into silence.
James didn’t like that Q was going into MI6 without him there to watch over him, but he knew that with his head the way that it was, he wouldn’t do a damned bit of good. He would have to work for a while to get his body back to fighting fit and all the while work on his mind.
Q would do well in MI6, and even if his entry position was that of someone very low, he wasn’t going to last long there if he didn’t want to. M would hate it if he let himself languish in a dead end position with what she thought he was capable of but she wouldn’t have a way to make him take on more without tipping her hand. James almost wanted to go back to see that. To see M fighting with herself. She hated someone being lazy, but with the twins and his own fun endeavours that he did, he wouldn’t be that bored at work.
James leaned back in the chair before looking at his housemate as she worked on things around the bungalow. She was content to ignore him, so James thought about what he wanted to do for the rest of the night. He clicked the button that would make the video feed full screen and made sure that it was muted as he watched the feeds from the inside of Q’s flat.
Q stayed in his pyjamas before getting dressed for the day. He was dressed in a nice suit after he got the twins up and got them fed and dressed for the day. James accessed M’s digital calendar and found that she had only a single interview at nine. James figured that it was M.
At seven thirty, London time Q let a lovely looking young woman into the flat and the twins were not that happy to see her. She smiled and waved at them, and James was pretty sure that the twins hated her. Q left an hour and a half early for the interview, but the trip from Hackney to London by the tube took about forty minutes, so it was good to allow for more time. James wished that he could follow Q all the way into MI6, but James didn’t want to access the feeds for the offices because then he could be tracked by it.
Instead, James was just going to have to wait for Q to get home and maybe hack the application again after a suitable amount of time to see if Q was hired.
James breathed deeply as he exited the sliding doors from Heathrow airport and stepped out into London proper. He looked around for a taxi, and one pulled up just as he stepped to the kerb. James waved it down.
“You picking up someone?” James asked when the window was lowered.
“Just you, Sir.”
“Good.” James rattled off the address of Q’s flat. The feeds had been cut just two days after he had accepted the job that M had offered him, so James had been unable to check on him other than what his work file stated on him. The application had disappeared, but James had written down the number attached to it so that he could track the employee with that number after.
“Here you are, Sir.”
“Good. I’m stepping out for a few, and then you’ll take me to a different place. Keep the meter running.”
James exited the taxi, looking up to see that the flat was dark. It was too late in the evening for Q not to be home and too early for him and the twins to be asleep. James jogged to the door of the complex and entered in the code that he remembered. The door opened, and he jerked it open with more force than was needed. He ran up the steps two at a time, thankful that we were not winded when he got to the floor that he wanted. There was no one around, and James tried the door and pressed his ear to it to listen. There were no sounds inside. James’s frowned deepened, and he pulled his lock picking set from his pocket. It was a little too long on that before he heard the click of the lock, James made a mental note to practice that before he went out on a mission. He’d put his body through the paces in Turkey, but it seemed that he had forgotten a few tricks that he needed to keep up to date.
The flat was empty, and it wasn’t just devoid of people. There was nothing inside of it. James relocked it and pulled it shut, not even wiping down the surfaces before he walked back to the stairs. James didn’t know what to think about that. He hadn’t thought that Q would move out of the place where he had been with his twins, even with getting a job at MI6.
James dropped into the back seat of the taxi and gave the driver the new address. James would rather stop by and get back to into his cloth armour before he showed up at M’s flat to scare the shit out of her and report for duty. That trip took a good bit of time as the distance between Hackney and Bayswater was as great of a time distance as Hackney and Central London.
The driver gladly accepted James’s generous tip as he grabbed his single bag from the back seat. The only thing he had brought with him was the laptop bag with his collection of technology he had amassed during his time enjoying death. James looked up his building but was shocked when he saw a light on inside of it. He had not told Alec that he was coming back. Alec had enough to worry about on his mission, so there was no one who could be in the flat. James walked up to the building and put in his code to get in. It didn’t work. James frowned and tried again, thinking he had flipped a number. Nothing. James looked to see if the taxi had cleared the street and it had so he ran across the street. The little old lady who ran the flower shop was still inside, and James left his laptop bag with her. James liked her because she asked no questions, even when he had her stitch him up.
James climbed the fire escape that was in the building across from James’s complex. When he got to the level that he wanted, he looked into his flat to see a woman there with two kids. James knew that his four bedroom flat was usually for families, but he had liked it after becoming a Double-O and it was perfect for him to live in and have a room for Alec as well a workout room, and a storage room.
The boy child turned around as the door opened and James was shown Q stepping into the flat. It was the twins and Q living in his flat. He had hoped that M hadn’t sold his flat and put his things in storage because a body had never been found. He wanted to be utterly pissed about someone else living in his flat, but he watched as a very tired and worn out Q dropped to the floor to let the twins jump on him and all of that anger left. James did wonder why M had put Q in the flat and when she had done it.
James settled in for a long watch and focused on Q, who looked utterly worn out. James was glad that he had not been injured or one of the dead from the attack. James wished that he had audio in that room. To hear Q’s voice once before meeting him inside of MI6. That wasn’t to be though. James watched Q as he cuddled with his kids for a while before putting them to bed. The woman stayed, reading on the couch and ignoring everything that went on around her.
Q came out later and sat down at the bar in the kitchen. He had a glass of something in front of him but sipped at it. He looked worn out but happy.
When James could no longer ignore the call to go and see M, he climbed down the fire escape before hailing a new cab. The little old lady would watch his laptop for him. Her shop was open whenever she was awake, so if she had insomnia, she was awake for most of the night.
Breaking into M’s flat was easy. All he had to do was wait for her. It would be better for him to not scare her but he knew that getting into MI6 right now was going to run the risk of him getting shot. He found M’s drink cart and found a nice single malt that he rarely drank when he was buying it. It was dark, and James liked that. He hadn’t shaved since the morning that he found out about the attack. It was better to look washed up than to let them think that he was at his best. There was no twinge in his shoulder as he had paid for a doctor to remove the shards of the bullet. James patted his shirt pocket where the shards were sealed in a baggie. He would have someone at MI6 look at them.
James grinned as he heard the keys in the door. He was very ready for what was coming.
Reporting to the new Quartermaster as a little strange for James. He was upset that Boothroyd had retired. As much as the man didn’t advance with the times, he was a good man an James would miss him. Though he understood losing an eye in an experiment would slow someone down. James had been worried that Boothroyd had been one of the ones to perish but no. Neither he nor the man taking over for him had as the accident had happened just an hour before the explosion. The new Quartermaster had been in medical with Boothroyd working on getting things changed over.
The word was that the new Quartermaster had been at his laptop and stopped a more substantial explosion from happening. Only two had perished because he was able to shut off the gas lines just as soon as he realised what the goal was. James was looking forward to meeting the new Quartermaster, even if the man wanted to meet in The National Gallery of all places.
“Mister Bond?” A very familiar voice called out. James turned to Q and found him two steps away from him. James wasn’t sure what Q was doing there unless the Quartermaster was sending Q to take James somewhere else to meet him. Yes MI6 was under attack, but even James knew that meeting here in public was the best.
“What d you think of the painting?”
“What?” James looked at the painting before looking back at Q who was taking a seat beside James on the bench.
“It always makes me feel a bit melancholy. A grand old warship being ignominiously hauled away for scrap.” Q sighed, and James could feel his eyes on his face. “The inevitability of times, don’t you think? Still, the ship is beautiful even if she looks to be on her last leg. I think though there is still life in her.”
“I see a bloody big ship,” James said even though Q knew his name, he was sure that this was just a random meeting. James started to stand. “Excuse me.”
“Would you like a drink?” Q asked, pulling a flask from his jacket pocket. He twisted off the cap and took a sip before holding it out to James. James dropped down and took the flask. As soon as it hit his tongue, he knew what it was. James looked at Q in mild shock. Did this mean that Q knew exactly who he was? Or was this a chance that Q had developed a taste for that brand? “I’m your new Quartermaster, 007.”
“You must be joking.” James nearly inhaled his next drink but covered himself and handed the flask back. Q sipped it before capping it back and putting it into his jacket again.
“Why? Because I am not wearing a lab coat?”
“Because you still have spots.”
“My complexion is hardly relevant.” Q gave James a look that was fond, and his eyes swept James’s body. James knew that he looked good, but he wasn’t prepared for Q to be that open about it. Not this early in meeting for the first time in Q’s memory.
“Well, your competence is.”
“You know exactly what my competence is, James, just like I know how much you hide yours.”
“What?” James turned on the bench to actually look at Q. He looked like he was having the time of his life.
“Neither you nor M were that good at really hiding yourselves from me, and I know you had access to my systems when I wanted you to. You were the only one. Thank you for keeping most of what I did as Query off MI6’s radar until I wanted it to be on there. Query and myself are actually linked now. When I backhacked the person who tried to really destroy Vauxhall, I couldn’t hide what I was doing, and M threw a right fight. Then, of course, you came into her flat and pissed her off.”
“I think you have me confused with someone else.”
“No. I remember you from college, and I remember more that night that I was drugged than you probably want me to remember. I also remember how good of a kisser you are, Richard. It took a little, but I also figured out that you were the one to bring me alcohol on my eighteenth. You were always so cognizant of not leaving prints that you never thought to look for cameras watching. Neither you or any of the other MI6 agents ever realised that I was recording every single second of it all.”
Q grinned at James before he handed over a case. James took it but didn’t open it. Q handed over an envelope next. “Ticket to Shanghai as well as documentation and passport.”
“Thank you.” James slipped those into his suit jacket before he opened up the case. There were two holes in the foam of the case. One had a gun, and the other was empty.
“Walther PPK/S 9mm short. Your preferred weapon yes? There’s a microdermal sensor in the grip. It’s been coded to your palmprint so that only you can fire it. Less of a random killing machine and more of a personal statement.”
James pointed to the hole, and Q handed over a radio.
“Standard issue radio transmitter. Once you activate it, there is nowhere on this Earth that I won’t be able to find you.”
“Not exactly Christmas is it?” James hadn’t been hoping for anything really, but none of the weird gadgets of Q-Branch made it seem like he really was a grand old warship being hauled away.
“After Boothroyd lost his eye, M wants me to crack down on the items that Q-Branch is working on in unsafe conditions, and as I don’t have a lab or anything like it set up, I can’t trust what we have on hand to send out. I would rather send you out without anything than to give you something that could hurt you. Have a good flight, 007 and please bring the equipment back in one piece.”
James looked at Q one last time before he started to leave. He stopped and turned back to look at Q who was still staring at the painting.
“Has M told you anything about my new flat?”
“Your new flat? What’s wrong with your old one?” Q asked, but the quirk of his lips told James that he was very well aware that he and the kids were living in his old flat.
“While I was enjoying the freedom that death gave me a young little upstart moved in with his two spawn.”
“Oh, really? That must be very vexing. Too bad that young upstart hadn’t left your room exactly like it was, eh?” Q stood up from the bench and went back the way that he came. James eyed his back until he was gone from sight.
James inhaled deeply as he exited The National Gallery. He had gone to one of the safe houses that he and Alec used when they didn’t feel safe going home but Q’s statement intrigued him. He hailed another cab and asked to be taken back to his old flat. James tried his code to get inside, and this time it worked. James opened the door and took the stairs. It was comforting to slip right back into his old building. The door to the flat opened before James even got there.
“Hello, Mister Bond,” the woman who had been there when James had arrived back in London said as she opened the door. “My name is Nadia.”
James nodded his head but waited until she stepped back to allow him inside. James looked around to see that some of the things of his were there. None of it was in storage. James’s spartan life was well on display as the majority of what was in the flat was Q’s.
“Nadia, who is it?” Ashton asked.
James smiled at Ashton and saw that Amelia was looking at him from behind her brother’s back. Seeing them up close was very different than seeing them in a photo. They looked exactly like their father.
“Do you remember that work friend that your father said might come and stay with us?”
“Oh, Uncle James?” Amelia asked. She darted around her brother and wrapped her arms around James’s legs. “We have your room ready!”
Amelia pulled back and grabbed James’s hand to tug him along. James let her do it and held out his hand to Ashton to see if he wanted to come along. James had not stayed in the master bedroom of the flat, and it was apparent when James looked that Q had taken that room over. It had been James’s workout room. What had been the storage room held two bed with a very evident divide that one was Ashton’s and the other Amelia’s. James was led to his room that was spotless and in the exact same condition that it had been in when James had last been inside of it. The sheets were the only things that were changed, and James figured that Q had done it as soon as word had made it to him the day before that James was back in London.
“Papa said that you would be coming back even when Ashton tried to take over the room,” Amelia said before he let go of James’s hand and climbed up onto the bed. Ashton followed but tugged James with him. James walked up to the bed and helped Ashton up onto it. A few seconds later, James heard the jingle of a bell, and then Walther was jumping up as well.
“Hello you,” James said before he held his hand out for Walther to sniff. “And when did Ashton try and take over my room?”
“Just after we moved in. He didn’t want to room with me anymore. So Papa told him that if he slept in the living room alone for three nights, he could take over your room until you came back, and then he let him get his own room.”
“Yeah?” James asked.
“He lasted two hours before he jumped into bed with Papa.”
“This place makes weird noises.”
“That it does. I need to pack a few things for a trip that I have to take for work. So why don’t you two skedaddle out of here, and I’ll come play with you before I leave?”
“Fine,” they both sighed before slipping off of the bed. James shut the door behind them and leaned his head against it. None of this made sense. There was no reason for those two kids to call him Uncle. He had done nothing besides buying a book for them each. He had never met them before that night. James pushed off of the door and walked to his safe. It wasn’t hidden as he had no reason to hide it in his own home. James opened it to find that it was as he left it except for his guns were recently cleaned.
Packing a bag, James listened to the kids playing. He knew that Q would be staying at MI6 to get things ready for James’s mission. James’s phone chimed, and he looked at it, finding that it was the time of his flight. James pocketed his phone as he heard a door open. James looked at the bedroom door, but it was shut. He slung his bag over his shoulder and stepped to his door. He smelled the Thai as soon as he took his first breath. The kids were seated on the floor in the living room one on each side of the coffee table. Nadia sat down in the spot between them and waved for James to sit down opposite her.
“So Nadia you are their nanny?”
“Nanny cum bodyguard. I was hired by Wallie’s new boss for when he is not here.”
James scowled a little at the name, but he understood. He did not know Nadia from MI6 so probably another rescue of sorts like the family that had taken Q in after he had turned in his father. James ate what he was given and listened to the twins talk about their day. Amelia kept looking at James and about halfway through the meal she picked up her plate of food and scooted down to press up against James. Nadia only raised an eyebrow at her but said nothing. A few bites of food later and Amelia lifted up James’s arm to slip under it and into his lap.
“Can I help you?”
“Papa doesn’t talk about you much. Just that you were someone from his college days that he knew and you were letting him move in here after he got his new job because it was closer to work and he wouldn’t have to ride his bicycle anymore.”
James looked at Nadia, but all she did was raise her eyebrow. That was an interesting spin on things, and he could understand why Q would tell them that given that he had kept a lot of the place exactly the same and just added their things.
“What did your Papa do with the other bedroom?”
“Oh, that’s Alec’s room. We don’t go in there. It smells weird.” Ashton was making a face like he had eaten something that tasted really bad.
James laughed. He knew what Ashton meant. There was more and more from Q that just made James very confused and right now he needed to be focused on his mission. He had a lot to do, and he didn’t have a lot of time to do it. Someone was after M, and even if James didn’t like her that much at the moment, his job was to save her and to protect England.
James stared at the remains of Skyfall. He wasn’t as upset as he should be at the destruction of his childhood home but instead, the grief for M was overshadowing it all. James tried to understand what he could have done differently.
The sound of a helicopter told James that someone was arriving. James had turned on his cell phone again after he had collected himself after M had died in his arms. Tanner had been the first call. James didn’t turn to greet the newcomers. He stayed staring at the burning shell that was Skyfall Lodge.
“Bond,” Mallory said.
James felt the man stop beside him. James said nothing. The sound of another helicopter getting close almost made James look.
“006 and 008 arrived back in London just an hour ago from their missions. I tasked them with getting M’s body.”
James nodded. Mallory stepped back from where he was beside James. There was nothing for a few minutes, and then Mallory stepped almost all the way back but stayed at James’s back.
“It was a grand old house. Once I realised where you were going, I looked in your files on the lodge. It was in need of a good spruce up, but she had good bones.”
“My father loved the house. It was the only reason that I even kept it and the land in my name. Kincade said that someone had bought it but didn’t want anything sold off until he could get out and see what he wanted to keep. The extra weapons were useful. My father had a well-stocked armoury.”
“I think that you had best talk with Q about that,” Mallory said.
James finally turned around to look at Mallory to see him looking off at the helicopter. Q was sitting on the floor of it, his legs hanging out. His eyes were on the burning lodge.
“What do you mean I should talk to Q about that? What’s he going to do erase the fact that anymore bought it? I’ll pay the person off who had bought it.”
“The entire flight here, Q filled me in on his whole past, Bond. From the moment that he hacked MI6 to turn in his father to the time that he knew you weren’t dead and made sure that you lost nothing. His assets were disclosed when he joined up with MI6. I know of what the other Double-O’s did over the years and other junior agents once other agencies started to back off of him. He does not seem upset about it even though he has every right to be pissed off that MI6 stopped him from getting any job that he wanted in the tech world.”
“I think he wanted MI6 from the beginning and got tired when they never approached him. He hacked M’s computer and dropped his application for a low-grade tech position on her desktop.”
“Yes. He hacked my computer much the same way to give me the alert about this. He didn’t say that M was dead in that, that happened when he joined Tanner and me on the helicopter.” Mallory looked back at James finally. “He’s drugged. Medical gave him a shot of something to keep him calm for the flight. Do be gentle.”
James watched Mallory as he walked back to the helicopter. Tanner was there getting out on the other side. James watched as Mallory and Tanner spoke to Q before the two of them got into the helicopter. James frowned as it took off. James looked to see the second helicopter lifting on as well. Q stayed where he was, turning to watch the helicopter take off. James walked up to Q’s back and waited until Q turned around to face him.
By then the helicopters were gone from sight and gone from hearing.
“You bought Skyfall?”
“One day while you were watching me when I lived with my foster parents you drew a sketch of this place. From the perspective, I could get from the satellite it was from the church. I went behind M’s back and bought the land after she had it sold off with your assumed death. If nothing else and you never came back, I would have made this my fortress of solitude.”
“That’s a Superman reference yes?”
“Yes.” Q smiled, but it wasn’t a happy smile. “I found the cell of people that Silva was going to send to kill you if you were left alive. I trapped them in the car they were waiting in and blew it up. It was a totally online car. Before they could shoot themselves out of it, a SAM blew them up. It was Silva’s last line of defence to make sure that he took out MI6. Without M and without you, the rest, he thought would crumble because he figured that no one had as much, what did you say it was a pathetic love of country?”
“He didn’t think about you.”
“No, he didn’t. In some ways, I destroyed my own life over pathetic love of country. Though I think that I survived the fire and the destruction and came out stronger.”
“Was me losing this really the only reason that you bought it?”
“I disclosed all of my assets to MI6. M knew, and Tanner and that was all that was needed. Why not buy an ancient Scottish lodge in the middle of nowhere? As well as two others to double the size of the land? I figured that Ash and Mia would like it in the summer. Have the run of the moors. I’ll have to figure out a place to stay.”
“How much money do you have?”
“I’ll tell you that at some point.” Q’s smile turned into a grin for a few seconds, and James wanted to question what it was that would earn him finding out.
“At some point?” James liked the look of Q smiling or even grinning at him, even if it still wasn’t a happy smile. James wanted to lean in and kiss him because Q seemed to be the one constant that he had since before he had even joined MI6. Q had shaped James’s life for so long. If Q had never turned in his father to MI6, James would have never met M or Alec and would never have wanted join MI6 when he got bored with the Navy.
James needed to get himself set up and his head on straight before he brought Q and the kids into his life like that. James took a few steps away from Q.
“Why did Mallory leave us here?”
“Helicopter is only rated for three on board. There is a third heading to us. It was behind by about a half an hour.”
“Then what are we going to do for that half an hour?”
“I figured that you would say your goodbyes. I know that you never really liked this place, but Kincade is worth saying goodbye to. No matter how short your childhood was here, it’s best to say goodbye the right way.” Q turned toward where the church was, and James could see Kincade making his way to them. It was the dark of the night but still there enough light from his torch.
James followed behind Q; it felt a little like old times. Kincade looked Q up and down as they met in the middle of the moor.
“You have interesting friends, James.”
“Alec and Ariana are not even the weirdest of who we work of, Mister Kincade,” Q said. He extended his hand and Kincade reached out to shake it. “I’m Quincy.”
“That’s the second time I’ve heard that weird name in recent months. A man named Quincy bought this land. That’s going to be hard to explain. Maybe your new friends can help with that James.”
“No need, Mr. Kincade. I would like to discuss with your new wages. I trust you want to stay on?”
“Excuse me? Your Quincy St. Claire?”
“Yes. I knew that James wasn’t dead so I made sure that he had a place to call home, even if he hates Skyfall on some level. I’ll be rebuilding and no matter what James thinks it will go the way that I want. If you would be so kind, I’ll make you the person that is the contact for the people who are doing the demo and then the renovations.”
Kincade looked at James, and when James smiled at him, Kincade laughed.
“The kids will love it.”
“Kids?” Kincade asked looking very happy at that prospect.
“Yes, I have twin four-year-olds. Ashton and Amelia. They are right terrors but good little ones.”
“It’ll be nice to have kids on the land again.” Kincade looked at James. “No matter whose children they are. Mister St. Clair.”
“Call me Q. It’s the name I prefer, and after this, I won’t respond to anything else from you.” Q nodded like it was the end of the discussion and he started to walk away. James could tell that he was overly careful, a side effect of being drugged. James wondered how long he would be like that. James kept an eye on him even though the danger was long gone.
“He seems like a nice enough chap,” Kincade said.
“Only met him a few days ago really. Known of him for longer.”
“So what is it that you do?”
“I work for the government.”
“No, I got that. Emma pretty much confirmed that. Your Q seems like he is going to be the one to run you.”
“Yes well, he has another thing coming to him.”
Kincade smiled at James but said nothing. The sound of a helicopter had James looking. There was someone in the back, and James didn’t like that. He reached for a gun that wasn’t there.
“Want this?” Q asked as he held out a gun to James. Q had snuck up on James it seemed. James glared. Q just grinned. Q’s hand moved, tightening his grip on the gun, James watched the lights flare green before Q unclenched from the weapon. James took it and settled it into his hand. The lights turned green.
“I thought it was coded for my hand.”
“I would never give out a gun that could be used against me without a way to make sure I could use it as well.” Q had a cheeky grin on his face before he started forward toward the helicopter. The doors opened, and James watched as Alec got off. Q pressed a kiss to Alec’s cheek as he handed over a travel mug of something. James glared and did not even try and hide it. Alec just raised an eyebrow before getting back onto the helicopter. James turned to look at Kincade and nodded at him.
“Brave new world,” James said before he started forward.
James settled in at the furthest table from the rest. It gave him the perfect line of sight of the hotel that he wanted to access, without actually getting a room there, and the rest of the street. Mexico City was getting ready for its annual Day of the Dead festival, so it was easy for James to blend in, even if he was British. There were all kinds of people in Mexico City at the moment, but the only ones that James cared about were in the other hotel that James was watching.
There was a chime on his phone, and James looked at it, frowning as he did so. It was from Q and Q was no happy at all. James had turned off the GPS feature on the phone that had been issued to him in the wake of Q taking over as Quartermaster for MI6. The destruction of Skyfall and M’s death had been just months before, but still, Q was trying his hardest to pull James out of the funk that he was in. James had a mission to do, and he didn’t need the added distraction that was Q and the family that he made with his two kids. James swiped away the message without opening it. Just like the last five.
Q was trying to track James, and it was a good bet that there was some kind of tracking ability in whatever message he sent. Q had been vexed when James had taken over the phone and made sure that Q couldn’t hack the phone. James was one of the only ones at MI6 that could do it that wasn’t in Q-Branch. Q made sure that his new underlings were properly scared of him enough to not help Double-O’s with anything without proper clearance or at least asking Q first. Alec had learned that the month before when Q had been the one to grab him by his ear and cart him out of Q-Branch after trying to sweet talk a lovely young lady into letting him field test a pocket flamethrower in London. The video had been sent to every single Double-O, and they were not allowed to not watch it. It overtook whatever they opened the email with, whether it was the standard phone that all Double-O’s had or the work computer or laptop. James had laughed while watching his best friend get thrown out of Q-Branch in such a childish manner. The threat that Q had given was that the next time that he had to do it, everyone in MI6 was going see the videos. James took that to mean that every single video that Q had of it would be shown, meaning that not only was the current agent who was getting shamed going to be public fodder but any other agent who had been treated like that before would be shown again as well.
The new M, Gareth Mallory, was a very different man and he allowed Q to do whatever he needed to do to keep the Double-O’s in line when it came to his tech and his branch. James did not know exactly how it was handled under M before that. James had only come after the chaos and he never really asked for anything from anyone but Boothroyd.
James smiled as the waitress dropped off a fresh coffee for him. He made sure that his pleasure in her form was known. She blushed and sashayed away from him. James looked back up at one of the two rooms that he was looking at for what he needed to see a very beautiful woman step out onto the little terrace. She looked at the ground below. James watched her as she watched the building crowds. He waited for her to leave the window and prepared to meet her when she exited the hotel.
Whatever Marco Sciarra had planned, James had time to do what he needed before the plan came to fruition. He would do what he needed as far as luring the beautiful woman into allowing him access to her room. James reached up to touch his ear, making the motion seem like he was brushing a fly away from his ear. He had got used to Q being in his ear even over the short time so far hat Q had been Quartermaster. Doing this mission without Q was hard.
Q though would not look at this mission the same way, and it was the reason that James had opted not to alert Q of what he was doing. Q’s definition of what was better for England might just be different from James’s. James couldn’t see turning in his father to MI6 to get him possibly killed, but Andrew Bond and Q’s father were very different people. James had no depth for feeling the cold love of a parent.
James closed his eyes and enjoyed the sun on his body for a little bit. He wanted to go to the pool in his own hotel and get some sun in. He was losing some of his tan from his time in Turkey, and he didn’t like that.
Downing his coffee, James got up from the table and left a good tip as well as his payment. As he started to slip his phone in his pocket, he felt it vibrate.
I will find you, James was all that the text message said and James could read it without actually opening it. James grinned because while Q might be able to find him, it would not be before he was done with his mission and it would not be Q coming to him either. With Q’s fear of flying and the distance that Mexico was from London, there was no hoping a plane to get to him.
James was on two weeks of forced downtime, something that Mallory was making the Double-O’s take their downtime as actual downtime. James and a few of the other Double-O’s would take low-class missions that any agent would usually do. Mallory wasn’t going to let them do that anymore. For some people, Mallory would be the perfect boss. He actually gave a fuck about his employees, from that woman who had nearly been assaulted leaving work one night to the borderline psychopathic Double-O’s. It made for an interesting place as Mallory, Q, and even Tanner was working on bringing MI6 not out of the shadows but into the current century. M had one thing right from that farce of an inquiry into the Silva debacle. The world was more in the shadows, and England didn’t know who their enemies were because they were behind a computer hiding where it was hard to track them. Q was going to the best line of defence as far as that went.
Mexico was lovely for October and James hoped that everything went well and he would be able to enjoy the rest of his downtime.
James knew that things had gone not the way that he would have wanted them to. The whole killing Sciarra had turned out very badly and the extended helicopter fight to actually kill him was going to get James in some serious trouble. James wasn’t sure what would happen since technically he was operating under the orders of M, just not the current one.
Once again thinking about the video told James that M had never intended to survive Silva’s hate on for her. He was still unable to actually trace who had sent the package to him and if it was someone who could help him.
After James had landed the helicopter, he had fled to his hotel and packed up before making sure that no one followed him as he got on the quickest route out of Mexico City. Which had ended up being a flight that to take him home to London had two connecting flights. James didn’t like it, but he would take it. He would have to burn the alias that he used to get into Mexico without alerting Q-Branch that he wasn’t where he was supposed to be. That was bad on two fronts, one it was one of the better ones that James had, and it had never become suspect before and two, once Q figured out the alias and started to research, James’s whole scheme for his others would be laid bare. Just like a hacker, even people who made fake documents had their ways and their habits.
“You do realise that standing out in the rain is not the way to go about coming home,” Q said from behind James. James turned around because he had not noticed anyone getting near him. It was late at night, and the rain was disrupting James’s normal hearing ability. Q was underneath the awning of the store beside the alley with a cigarette pressed to his lips. James had not realised that Q smoked. Q’s flat didn’t smell like it nor had any of them before, and James wondered if every single person watching him had missed it. Q took a long drag of the cigarette before pulling it from his lips and holding it out to James. James sighed and started toward him because a good smoke was just the thing that he needed. James smoked when the occasion fit, and it was usually when on a mission. Smoking was a perfect habit to have when needing to cosy up to someone.
“Just enjoying the calm before the storm.” James stepped under the awning, enjoying the fact that water was not running down his neck anymore, even with his upturned collar.
“James, it’s after nine. The kids are asleep, and Nadia is gone. There is just me.” Q looked at James like he was stupid and it was a look that James had never thought that he would find endearing.
James raised his eyebrow at Q before he took the cigarette being offered him. He realised that the puff that Q had taken was the only one taken off of it. Q raised up another unlit one and held James’s hand steady before leaning in to light his of off James’s.
“Pity,” James said with a leer. “I thought that we would share, they taste better that way.”
Q just raised an eyebrow at James before taking a long puff. He exhaled the smoke and looked up at the flat.
“I guess I should be glad that you at least attempted to come instead of hiding out in one of yours and Alec’s safe houses. You were going to come up right?”
“I don’t know.”
Q looked at James with a little bit of anger there in his eyes. James ducked his head. He was being honest, and this reason was why he didn’t like being honest.
There was silence, and the only thing that was shared was their smoke when they exhaled. Q field stripped his butt when he was done, letting the paper and charred tobacco drop and he stuffed the filter into his jeans pocket. Q pushed himself off of the side of the entryway before he looked at James with such a strange look on his face. James wasn’t sure what it was.
“You have until I get to my bedroom to make up your mind. I will lock down the flat as soon as I get in there.”
Q said nothing else as he walked past James. James watched him jog across the street and then kept on watching as Q entered the building. James took several puffs on his cigarette before he started across the street. James had liked the security features that had been added to the flat, and while James knew that it was because Q wanted the twins safe, James liked that it kept Q safe as well, when he was home. Q had been logging more and more hours at work with the stupid merger that was happening aftermath of the Silva debacle. James had been on the receiving end of the rants that Q had given over it and the idiot that was heading it, Max Denbigh.
James punched in the code to get into the building and walked to the steps instead of taking the lift. James took the stairs at a run, taking several at a time. When James exited the stair well, he saw the flat door shut, and he walked up to it. There were cameras outside that showed Q who was standing outside of it, but James stopped just as he was reaching for the doorknob. There was no sound from the flat, but James could see Q stripping off his coat and grabbing the small towel that hung on the coat rack that hung on the wall. It was there for Q to dry his hair and to dry off the kids after going out in the rain. James had found it kitschy and sweet but never told Q that.
There was a storm coming of James’s own making, and he wasn’t sure what it was going to bring. James laid his hand on the doorknob and then just seconds later he felt the tumblers lock and the bar that went through the door from wall to wall slid into place. James could probably hack it, but that ran the risk of making MI6 known to the fact that it was happening and James didn’t want a tactical team arriving and running the risk of waking the kids. They were all better off with him going to the safe house that was a block over. It was newer, and James hadn’t moved a lot of things into yet. It was cold and empty and it would better than anything else for him until this was done, whatever end that was.
James pulled his collar up tighter around his neck before he started toward the lift. It was better this way. Q would understand when it was all over or he wouldn’t.
James knew that his smugness pissed Q off to no end, but it was all that he could be at the moment. Q had got his back with that damned prick joke, and while Q knew what he meant, and so did James, James wasn’t supposed to know. There was little that James didn’t now when it came to Q. Even when it came to things that were secrets that Q thought that no one knew, James knew them from the short time that they had lived together. Q still got up early to run or do yoga when he was home. If he stayed over at the office, Q would run in the gym for the DOuble-O’s or do yoga in there.
There was, however, the look on Q’s face when he realised that James was not alone when he arrived at Q’s hotel room. James could have soothed the hurt some, but he chose not to. Knowing that Madeleine wasn’t some strange woman that James had picked up on the side of the road and was, in fact, Mr White’s daughter would have gone a long way, but James kept his mouth shut.
“Bond, we need to talk.”
“We can talk when I get back to London.”
Q looked at James with a strange look and James wondered if that was a new look that was just for James or if James had never seen it before because he had never been this hurtful. Q turned to his computer and started to sit down. James, however, noticed something on his neck, just above the sweater that he was wearing. James reached out and grabbed Q’s arm. He pulled Q back around the desk, and then the smell of a recently fired gun filled James’s nose. It was from Q and not from himself like he thought.
James was rough with Q as he turned him and brushed his thumb over the dark streak. He looked down and realised that Q had changed his sweater. The smear on Q’s neck was blood.
“What the hell is this?”
“Nothing that doesn’t need to talk about until London,” Q said as he jerked himself out of James’s arms and sat down at the computer before James could do anything else. Q grabbed a tissue from the box on the desk and reached back to wipe his neck, getting the rest of the blood. “The ring is connected to several interesting people and to Franz Oberhauser, but I’m not sure on exactly what it all means. They all seem to be part of a huge operation that has been working in the shadows for years with one interesting connection.”
“You.” Q pushed his glasses up his nose and turned the computer around, making James go around to the front of the desk to look at it. Every single name that was on the screen was a stab to his heart. Every single person who had taken a little of who James was over the years since he had joined MI6. He wasn’t sure what it meant though.
“What is this organisation?”
“I don’t know. I will, however, make it my priority once I make it back to MI6. My flight leaves soon so I need to get going.”
“You flew here?”
“How else was I supposed to get here, Bond? I wasn’t going to be able to make it here and back by train before the deadline of M and Tanner arriving back and wanting to see you in the flesh after you sunk my newest car into a river after a chase through Rome. It has all of the earmarks of your signature and Tanner point blank asked M if you were still in London. I lied and said you were in Chelsea when he asked me. I’ll figure something out, you do what you have to do.”
Q closed the lid on the laptop and started to pack up. James was silent because he didn’t know what to say about it all.
“SPECTRE,” Madeleine said.
“What?” James and Q asked at the same time.
“The organisation’s name is SPECTRE.”
Q looked at her like he wanted to demand more answers but was unwilling for some reason.
“And L’Americain?” James asked. He turned around to fully face her, making sure that he couldn’t see Q. “Your father said that you would be able to lead me to L’Americain, whoever that is.”
“It’s a place.”
Q passed by James and didn’t stop until he reached the door. He turned around then and looked James in the eye before he started to speak. “The restroom is out of order. It’s how I got the room so cheap for such a short time. Wasn’t going to be staying long enough to sleep much less do much in the bathroom.”
James frowned but before he could ask anything, Q was gone, and James wasn’t sure why he was upset that Q was so short with him. James knew that not following Q up into the flat that night had hurt him but it was better this way, especially now with this whole thing of an organisation that made it their mission to destroy any chance at life that James had. Q didn’t need to be caught up in that.
Madeline stepped away from James, and he watched her step over to the bathroom door and open it. James heard the gasp, so he quickly stepped over to see two men on the floor of the bathroom, dead. James felt his gut clench at the sight. Madeline pushed past James to get away.
“Who was that man?”
“My Quartermaster,” James said offhandedly.
“And he can do that?”
“He handles all of the weapons that we use to defend England, and he has one of the better range scores for the whole of the division. I just…” James trailed off and closed his eyes for a second. Q had tried to tell him about this. That, someone, had followed him back to here. Probably more of the men who had taken Madeline. Instead of listening to him, James had brushed him off thinking that it had to do with James appearing with a woman. Q was going to the airport alone with more of those men out there. The ones who wanted to take him wanted to take Madeleine.
“Will he be okay?” Madeline asked.
“Yes.” James didn’t know if he was being truthful or not, but Q had to be okay to get to the airport alone if for nothing else than if they were watching. If James followed him to the airport, they would think him more important than Madeline, and that would be bad. It was better to keep them off of Q’s radar. James looked at the TV to see the news about the attack in South Africa. It was all too neat. The attacks happenings with the places that had to approve Nine Eyes for it to go into effect for at least part of the world. It wasn’t good, and James didn’t feel like he was going to like what was coming.
James settled into the helicopter that was going to take him to a plane that would take him home. Madeleine was settled in beside him. Even with Nine Eyes going live, there were still friends of James’s that would help him and not ask for much more than just getting rid of Nine Eyes.
Felix climbed in next and look at James before looking at Madeleine.
“We will arrive in London just after full dark. I can’t stay as I am expected back in the US, but I am glad that I was able to help.”
“Nine Eyes goes live tonight at midnight. I need to be there to stop it.” James kept his eyes locked with Felix who just stared at him like he was kind of stupid. Felix said nothing though, and for the entire helicopter flight to the CIA plane, there was nothing said. James liked it because it gave him time to get himself settled. Felix was the first off of the helicopter, and when James stepped off, he realised why. There was a small group of medical looking people standing around a van looking vehicle that James saw at disaster relief efforts.
“You are submitting to having them look at you. I don’t like the look of those injuries on your head and neck. If you do not, I will make sure that the jet does not take off, James.”
James wanted to call Felix a traitor, but James agreed that being looked at was probably a good idea. Madeleine went into the van with him. There were small versions of an X-ray machine and a CAT scan inside of it. Madeleine told them what he had endured and what Oberhauser was trying to do. James didn’t listen to that too much, just did what he was told, even stripping out of his clothes and leaving them in a pile on the floor of the vehicle. He was not ashamed of his nakedness even though one of the nurses tried to push a hospital gown on him. He just threw a towel over his crotch. Madeleine grinned at him from over the tops of the head of the nurse that was taking his vitals.
After the exam was finished with a quick read of the X-rays and the CAT scan, James was stuck with a needle, and a bag of saline slung over his shoulder. James was glad that they let him get dressed in an outfit before forcing the saline drip on him. James knew that it was because he was slightly injured and was heading into danger again as soon as they got to London.
Once on the jet, James laid down on the couch section with the bag thrown over the back. He closed his eyes and made himself go to sleep. It wasn’t going to be long enough for the sleep that he needed, but he was trained to sleep when needed, and this was needed, as much as he could get.
There was a lot to do once James exited the jet and the first thing was meeting up with M. Felix had taken care of that using a safe house that James had told Felix about that was MI6’s. Something off the books that Mallory would know about and so would Tanner, so it was perfect for Felix to be the in between in case C was watching them all.
It was a rush to get there and do it so that he passed no cameras that were known in London, at least not any that caught his face. The area of London that they were heading for was strangely empty. James didn’t like it, but all he could do was keep his eye out.
James didn’t realise it until after he had said the words to Mallory that he meant them. Q could do it, and Q was going to do it. It wasn’t even that London and the free world was at stake, it was that James was at stake and Nine Eyes couldn’t come to fruition.
Q had been on the bridge watching as James walked back to Madeleine who before now James had convinced himself that he could walk away with. Leave MI6 and forget everything that had been done to him in his life by a man who never aged past petty childhood jealousy. But when James turned around when he had reached Madeleine on the edge of the bridge, Q wasn’t in sight anymore. James had felt his heart near break in two at that. Q had stood by him through the whole thing and only to leave when James needed him the most.
The Double-O program was officially disbanded however Mallory had not be removed entirely from his job yet. He was still working the transition, and with the death of C, Mallory was technically now the head of the venture.
“Miss Swann is resting in a safe house that Moneypenny took her to,” Mallory said as he sat down in the chair that James had sat in for his bollocking he got after Mexico. “After I ordered Q and Moneypenny to stop following you so that C could not follow you any more than he already was. I wasn’t aware at the time that C was working for the person you were chasing. Q though didn’t. He made sure that C couldn’t trace him, unsure how as the words went over my head. He found the DVD.”
“DVD?” James asked. He never got an alert that said that his safehouse flat had been invaded, but if Q was the one, then he could see that not happening.
“The one that M sent to you. Don’t play coy. Moneypenny confirmed it when Q confronted her. You don’t trust us and given that M told you what to do, it would have behoved you to make it a mission of importance to MI6. She was not a fool, and her instincts were spot on in all aspects of keeping England safe. Explain to me why?”
“Because she didn’t tell me to tell anyone.”
Mallory looked at James for a few seconds.
“I’ll be meeting with the PM in the next hour to explain everything that has happened. Until such a time that you are allowed to go on missions again, you are grounded in London, and this time I mean it. If you are outside of London, I will have you thrown in a cell. Go see Q.”
James nodded and stood up. He was still in the clothes that Felix had given him, and he wanted to change. He wanted to into clothes that were his. James stood up and nodded his head at Mallory before he left the office. He felt out of sorts and didn’t know what to do really. He didn’t want to go and see Q at all. Instead, James left the temporary housing that MI6 was working from in while their old building was being fixed up. With Oberhauser setting the building to implode they would have to build from scratch, and the ugly as hell building that C had built would just not do for MI6.
The garment bag was handing right where it was supposed to be in the locker in the makeshift workout room for MI6. He showered and changed before leaving for the night. He was worn out and ready to just go home. James thought about home and what it really meant. James hadn’t felt like a place was home in a long time. Skyfall had been home until his parents died. Then he was welcome into the Oberhauser home until he died. James never felt a home with his aunt and never at the schools.
James waved down a taxi outside of the temporary building for MI6. He looked to where Q had taken Q-Branch to hide it from C’s eyes before he settled down into it. The bridge was still swarming with the locals. James rattled off the address and settled into the seat to watch the world pass him by as the vehicle was driven to his end destination.
When the car stopped, James was shocked to see that he was outside of the flat that he shared with Q. James swore that he gave his other flat’s address. James slipped out of the cab and stood at the base of the building to see that there were no lights on in the flat. James knew that all that meant is that everyone was asleep. With Q in MI6, the kids were inside with Nadia.
Deciding that he was too tired, Jame slipped into the elevator to make it up with as little energy extended as possible. Nadia was standing at the lift door when it opened. James didn’t know what to expect. Nadia didn’t talk much at all to James. She didn’t really talk at all unless it was to the kids or to Q about the kids. She was insular, and James couldn’t get a read on her if tried, which he didn’t because she kind scared him.
“Q messaged that he was stuck at work, something to do with the hullabaloo in town. I didn’t ask, and he didn’t tell. He didn’t tell me that you were back in town.”
“Got back tonight. I just came to get some sleep.”
Nadia looked James up and down before pushing off the side of the lift doors and started back toward the flat. James followed. There was little to do except for head into his bedroom. He didn’t lock the door, but he did shut it so that he could strip down to his underwear. Walther slept in the middle of James’s bed when James was away because the sun came in James’s bedroom windows more than any other. James didn’t open the door again, but he did lay down in bed.
There wasn’t much that James wasn’t used to but trying to move in bed and not being able was a new one. James forced his eyes open and saw a mop of black hair in front of him. It was Amelia, and she was cuddled into his chest. There was someone behind him, and he assumed that it was Ashton. James brushed the hair out of Amelia’s face to see that she was dead asleep. Her face was slack, but she looked so at peace. James shifted her away enough to where he could roll to look at her brother. Ashton opened his eyes and saw that James was looking down at him. Ashton moved, pushing at James until James laid on his back. Ashton crawled to lay down on James’s chest under the blankets and curled there, falling asleep as soon as he closed his eyes again. Amelia curled closer and James wrapped his arm around her. The kids barely knew him, and yet Q had told them enough about him and the things that James had done for Q over the years, so they thought that they knew him. They loved him without ever having met and for James that was scary.
Home. James knew that he had a home here and he had known it but never let himself see it. Q had said as much when James had arrived to find his flat invaded with a family that he didn’t know. It was his, and it was Q’s and it was the kids, and it was a home.
James stayed in bed until the kids got up for the day. Nadia had slept on the couch with a gun, but the kids didn’t seem to question that at all. James ushered them into the kitchen and got them a bowl of cereal each. Ashton liked sweet cereals with regular milk while Amelia liked the unsweet ones but sweet coconut milk. James had started to eat his cereal the same way when he was in a rush. He liked the slight sweetness of the coconut milk on the cereal and Amelia liked that they had something in common. For James and Ashton is was reading. Ashton liked to be read to, and James would tell him sanitised versions of his missions.
“What are we going to do today?” Amelia asked James after she handed him her bowl and Ashton’s after they were done eating.
“I don’t know. I’m going to go and get your father from work so that he can get some rest for a little bit then we can plan for the whole day of what we want to.”
Nadia only looked at James with a strange look on her face before she left the room. James wondered what that was about.
“When are you going to go and get Papa?” Ashton asked.
“I was thinking now. I could head nad get him, and then we can be quiet all morning until he wakes up. I think also maybe we could cook him dinner.”
“Cook Papa dinner?” Amelia asked.
“Yes. While your Papa is sleeping, we can go to the store and figure out what we want to cook.” James remembered well learning how to cook from a young age at the hands of his mother. She adored cooking with him. James had ket that love of cooking even though it had hurt at first.
“Would you like me to stay after you arrive back with Wallie?” Nadia asked.
James looked at twins who both looked at James with pouty faces. James knew that face well. Q always wore that pout when a Double-O, especially James, did something that upset set.
“I think that maybe I’ll take the twins in with me to get their Papa.”
Ashton took off at a run to the bedroom to get dressed, stripping out of his pyjamas as he ran. Amelia sighed and followed at a sedate pace, not stripping until the after she entered the room. James grinned at them.
“What is your angle, James?” Nadia asked pulling James’s thoughts and his eyes away from the twins.
“Yes. You’ve been here in name only since you got back from your little vacation in Turkey.”
James looked at her in mild shock. He had never said where he was and Q would never reveal secrets.
“M thought that as a nanny I could slip into his life and seduce him to remain where I am with no issue. However, she really didn’t understand how gay Q is. I agree with your assessment that desperation and loneliness are what brought about the twins. Hell, I’m shocked that he got it up enough to even fuck her. My name is Nadia Orden, and no you won’t find it on a paper in MI6 except for in the safe of M. I was a child soldier trained to kill. I found out that I was fed lies and I killed those who lied to me, and I sold myself to the highest bidder, except it wasn’t money they were offering, it was freedom and M’s offer of doing what I wanted was the best. I was surgically operated on when I was a teen and my ability to have children was destroyed. I adore kids, but I don’t really want one of my own, so I am a nanny for MI6. I take he jobs that I like, and the twins at least liked me compared to the babysitter that they had before. MI6 pays for my flat, and a small stipend and Q pay the rest. I keep up with the training that all agents take. I also know all threats that could conceivably come after my charges.”
Nadia stepped fully into the kitchen and James wasn’t sure what her plan was.
“MI6 doesn’t really like it that you live here, even if from Moneypenny’s own words you have another flat. She called t empty and showing that you don’t trust to stay alive, but I call that bullshit. It’s a safe house. I know that you and 006 have a few over town. It’s where you go to hide from the world.”
“You are correct,” James said. He wondered how he had never figured out exactly who and what shew as. He had been correct that she was like the family that had taken Q in but she really wasn’t and now she was tripping all of James’s signs that she was a threat but only to him.
“So what is your angle? You came back without him and he never once said that you were coming here. He always warns me. I just happened to see you getting out of the taxi. So he doesn’t realise that you are here. Now you are going to take the twins to MI6 to pick him up and then cook for him and care for the kids. You’ve never offered to do that before. In fact, the last time that Q asked you to watch them, you said you had plans already. So Agent James Herbert Bond, 007, what the hell is your angle?”
“I-” James closed his mouth and pursed his lips before he walked over to the electric kettle. He set it for black tea and turned it on. It was always full so that Q didn’t burn the place down by turning on an empty kettle. James found Q’s lesser used travel mug and the supplies to make Q a cup of tea to tide him over on the way home. James knew that Q would need it. “I’ve never had a home. Not since I was eleven and I’ve been running from this place as home. I realised this morning that no matter how far I run or how fast, or how many mission I go on. This place will always be home. It never was before, before I faked my death to get away before Q moved in while I had been gone.”
“I think that it’s the most honest you’ve ever been with yourself, James. Now since you are taking charge of the kids for the day, I’m going to head to MI6 to see if M needs anything from me. SPECTRE agents still abound, and I am sure that some need killed.”
James watched her as she collected her things that she brought with her on a daily basis before she knocked on the twins’ door and told them goodbye. James swallowed as he realised that when she left, e was in charge of the twins and if anything happened to hem, Q would likely kill him. THe kettle shutting off told James that it was time to start to get ready himself. He poured the water into the mug and settled the tea strainer full of leaves into it before setting a timer for that. James would be mostly dressed when it went off, but he didn’t want to over brew Q’s tea, James didn’t need that rant.
When the twins were finally ready, they appeared from their bedroom. Amelia was in a pair of jeans with a thick sweater on er upper torso while Ashton had a pair of corduroy pants in a lurid shade of green with a black long sleeve undershirt and a bright pink T-shirt over that. They both looked very much like Q’s kids at that moment. James smiled at them. He held out the mug and Ashton ran up and grabbed it before heading to the dor. James held out a sandwich that he pulled from the fridge. Q made them up for him to scarf down for whatever meal he was home and too tired to cook if the kids had already eaten. Amelia grabbed the sandwich. James knew that Q kept guns in the house, in the various safes that James had installed but all the same. James opened the one near the door and pulled a Walther out. He palmed it, and it lit up green before slipping it into his shoulder holster.
The drive to MI6 was longer than James would have liked. The car seats for the kids would not fit in the car that James had on hand, so he borrowed Q’s family sedan. The keys were not in it, but inside the flat, so James had to go back up and get them. Traffic was a nightmare, but James wasn’t used to the work traffic commute. He either came into work before it or after that.
James parked in a lot that was used for some of Q-Branch staff and found the spot that was Q’s with ease. The kids were bouncing on the balls their feet when they waited for traffic to clear let them cross the road. James had been shown the non-boat access to Q’s lair after asking Tanner how the hell the cars got out. Tanner didn’t realise that James wanted to use it to steal a car.
“Now, little ones,” James said as he swiped his card and the doors opened. “I want you two to be quiet when the doors open, and I want you to hide.”
“Are we surprising Papa?”
“You are.” Jame ushered each of the kids to a corner and as the doors started to open he held up a finger to shush them. Ashton was clutching the mug tightly with one hand, so he covered his mouth with the other. Amelia set the wrapped sandwich down on the floor and covered her mouth with both of her hands. James forced his face to neutral as the doors opened enough to where James could see Q at work at the desk in the middle of the room. James strutted forward, glancing out of the corner of his eyes at the kids.
“Bond?” Q asked and the use of James’s last name kind of hurt for a few seconds. The look of wariness on Q’s face hurt more though and James wondered exactly how much he had messed up things if the place that he called home was going to be allowed to be his home anymore after this. “I thought you’d gone.”
“I did, but there was just one thing I forgot when I left that I need.” James wasn’t shocked that someone told Q that James had left headquarters.
James stepped halfway across the room as Q came around his desk. Q’s eyes darted over, and James was shocked to see the Aston Martin finished. James smiled as he turned toward it to start walking. James darted his eyes up to Q, and he saw such pain on them. James stopped and looked thoroughly at Q, but that pain was gone in seconds. He looked the stern Quartermaster again. Q nodded and turned back to his desk, reaching over the desk and opening a drawer. The trousers that Q was wearing stretched over his ass and James unashamedly turned his head down to get a better look for a few seconds before James made his head snap back where it belonged, and his eyes moved to the middle distance between Q and the car.
Q leaned back up and held out a set of keys to James. It wasn’t the same set that James had used to drive the car the last time, those were long gone. Q took a single step closer to James before he stopped and dangled the keys down. James frowned and reached for the keys. Q let them go before James could get close enough to actually snag them. James lunged forward to catch them before they hit the floor. James stood up, straightening his suit jacket as he watched Q walk around the desk to sit down again. Q looked like he was settling in for a long day of work with the mug of tea that he had which was still steaming. There were many snacks scattered a top where Q had spent the night eating them. Q sat down at his desk and started to type.
James stayed where he was, he had never had such an impersonal interaction with Q. James knew that if he stayed where he was Q would eventually look up at him. It took two full minutes for Q to look up and James was pretty sure that the look he got would freeze lava solid in its tracks.
“Was there anything else that I could help you with, Bond?”
“Well, I didn’t come for the car, so I have not actually got what I came for.”
“You-” Q stopped, and the look on his face fell down to something else. “You didn’t come for the car?”
“I didn’t figure that it was done. I’m glad that it is as I will love using it again but no I didn’t come for the car.”
“Then what did you come for?” Q looked at James with a very leery look on his face. James knew then that he really did have a lot to make up for.
“Well, I came to feed and water you before sticking you in the car to take you home.”
“What about Miss Swann?” Q didn’t move other than his mouth. His hands still on the keyboard of the laptop.
“She’s in a safe house of M’s choosing somewhere in the city. You’ve been awake for too long.”
“There is much for me to do as far as making sure that Nine Eyes isn’t still active in our personal systems.”
“R and your other members of the branch can do that, and then after you’ve slept, you can double and triple check what they have done. You need sleep.”
“I will be fine.” Q started to type again, and his eyes dropped to look at his screen. James stepped up to set the keys down because there was no way that the kids would fit into the Aston Martin and that meant taking the sedan home. James walked around the desk and reached for the screen on Q’s laptop with every intention of shutting it. Q’s hand shot out and blocked him from touching hit. James diverted to stand behind Q, setting his arm on Q’s upper left arm. As soon as he started to put pressure, he realised that there was something under his suit jacket and it was slightly bulky at the same time that Q screamed and jerked out of James’s hold. Q was up and moving around his desk as quickly as he could go, looking at James with a very hurt expression on his face.
“Papa?” Amelia called out as she stepped around the edge of the car lift. Ashton was just a second behind her. They both had their packages in their hands.
“Ash, Melia, what are you doing here?” Q took a step toward them, and it made the both of them run to him.
“WHy did Uncle James hurt you?” Ashton asked as he settled the mug on the desk before wrapping his arms around one of Q’s legs. Amelia tossed the sandwich in her hands onto the desk before wrapping her arms around the other leg. Q looked at James with a look of pure shock on his face.
“I didn’t mean to hurt him, Ashton. I think that someone else hurt him and I touched that.”
“I fell and scraped my knee once and then later Papa hit it when he was walking past me when I was sitting on the couch. That really hurt. I forgive you, Uncle James for hurting Papa. Can I see the booboo?” Amelia looked up at Q with a look of curiosity on her face.
“Once we get home since it seems that Uncle James came all the way here to get me and used you two as bait to seed his trap.”
“And tea and a sandwich,” Ashton said. Ashton let go of his father’s leg to grab the tea and hand it over. Q raised his eyebrows before he accepted the mug and snapped the siping area open so he could take a sip. James was rewarded with a look of mild shock on Q’s face as he swallowed. James couldn’t help the grin on his face. He walked around the desk to pick up Amelia from where she was finally letting go of her father’s leg. James settled her on his chest so that she could lay her head down on his shoulder, where she liked to lay it when James was holding her. Ashton handed over the sandwich next before walking around where James had come from. He tried to get a look at the computer, but Q’s hand darted out and shut it. Ashton frowned.
“Why don’t you go and find Sniper?” Q asked.
“Is he ready to come home?” Amelia asked, her head shooting up as she looked around. James looked around as well because he had no clue what they were talking about.
Amelia wiggled out of James’s arms, and James set her down. They both took off running toward the back of the room.
“Who is Sniper?”
“He is a kitten that was found by 003 on a mission a week and a half ago. He’s been staying here because he’s a little timid, but he’s been doing well with my underlings and spent yesterday in my lap, so I think it’s time for him to go home and bother Walther.”
“You let 003 name him.”
“003 named him before beginning Sniper to me. You didn’t bring your car did you?”
“I would never put the twins in my car unless it was life or death. I drove your Sedan.”
“You drove me Sedan?” Q looked like he did not believe James on that.
“I did. Don’t think that I didn’t recognise some of the things you have done to it.”
“Well M wanted me to have a car that would protect me if I was attacked at home and get the kids here safe.”
“How is the tea?”
“Perfect which frankly shocks me as the last time you made tea it was horrid.”
James didn’t say that he had done that on purpose so that Q wouldn’t ask him to make tea. It wasn’t because he hadn’t wanted to make it but that he had not wanted to admit how much he paid attention. Q started to pack up a bag but left the laptop on the table and didn’t touch it at all. There were a few paper reports as well as a tablet that was dropped into his bag but that was it. James watched him try and sling it over his shoulder but he stopped with a wince.
“How did you get injured?” James tried to think back to the night before but Q had seemed hearty and hale on the bridge, but James had not seen the closer side of him.
James held his hand up in supplication and took a step back to give Q space. When Q was done collecting his things, James stepped up to hand the sandwich back to Q from where he had tossed it. Q unwrapped it and took a bite, his eyes closing in happiness. James was looking forward to getting him home to where Q would be freer with words as well as affection. James would make Q understand that James was all in now.
Q drank the tea slowly as James drove them home. The kids kept up a chatter that James was sure was putting Q to sleep. The sandwich had been gone before Q had even exited the car lift. Q utterances to the kids about what they were telling him slowly tapered off but the kids kept on talking. James grinned at them in the rearview mirror at every light or stop sign they came to.
“How are you going to get Papa inside?” Ashton asked as James opened their door on the car after parking back in Q’s spot.
“The good old-fashioned way, carry him. I’ll need you two to hit the buttons for me and carry your Papa’s things.”
“I’ll get the bag and carrier,” Amelia said. Sniper was in the carrier and had been quiet the whole trip. Q’s mug had been slipped into his bag after he had finished off the tea.
“I’ll get the doors and button.” Ashton ran forward to call down the lift. James walked around the car to open up Q’s door. Q was dead to the world, and when James shifted him to get a good grip on him before pulling him out, all Q did was give a light snore. James hefted him up and realised that Q did not have as much weight to him as he saved, he wasn’t vastly underweight, but there wasn’t a lot of muscle built up on him anymore. Amelia walked with James to the lift where Ashton was pressing the hold open button to make sure that it didn’t take him up without them. The kids were silent as the lift ascended the building to the penthouse flat.
The doors opening had Ashton running forward to start the process of unlocking the door. The kids had their own codes to the door, and as soon as the lock sounded, James heard Q’s phone go off to alert him that the kids had accessed the door. It was a rare occurrence that ey were the ones to open it, so an alert went out. James let the kids go in first before he walked in. Ashton was there to shut the door.
“You two be quiet while I get your Papa to bed.” James watched as Amelia set down the carrier and opened the door. Sniper was out of it like a shot and took off across the room and right into Q’s bedroom.
“Yes, Sir!” Ashton said with a smile while Amelia just giggled and nodded.
James carried Q into the bedroom. He shut the door, so he could have privacy as he settled Q into sleep. Q still slept in just his pants. James laid Q down on the bed a younger man tried to roll over onto his back as soon as James let go of him. James kept him from rolling over and started to work on Q’s tie. Q was not helpful at all as he was still out like a light but at least he wasn’t hindering James. Sniper climbed up onto the bedding and watched James.
When Q was naked on the top half of his body, James looked at the bandage on his arm but ignored the urge to look at it.
“James?” Q asked just after James had worked his trousers off. James stopped what he was doing and looked up at Q. Q looked like he was trying to wake up. James skinned Q’s socks off of his feet before slipping up the bed. He cupped the side of Q’s face and was rewarded with Q’s face softening, and he started to go back to deep sleep. James started to lift his hand away, but Qs eyes started to dart when he did. James settled his hand back down on Q’s face.
“Sleep, Q. I’ll be here when you wake up.” James pressed a kiss to Q’s forehead and waited for Q’s breathing to settle all the way before he got up of the bed. James found the old blanket that Q had used for years at his flat in Hackney and covered him with it. Sniper was right there ducking under the blanket and settling at Q’s neck. James watched him sleep for several minutes. He hadn’t expected Q to pass out like he did. James knew that he needed to figure out how the hell Q was hurt. For that, he would need to get his laptop out. James hoped that the kids were all right with watching a movie for a little bit.
Two hours later, James wanted to go in and wake Q up because the little shit had actually blocked James from getting into MI6’s mainframe at all. James shoved the laptop off of his lap and onto the coffee table before he figured out where the kids were.They were very subdued, probably because of the injury to their father. James’s injury was less evident, and James hadn’t brought any attention to it. He did not need playing nursemaid to him the way that they did their father. He remembered seeing Q’s hands covered in bandages from his two kids helping his boo-boos as they called them.
“Are you two ready to go shopping?” James asked as he stood up. The kids appeared out of nowhere, and James realised that they had been behind the couch which was a favourite reading spot of theirs. James was continually shocked by their reading ability. James knew that Q was a genius, that was the truth. That the kids were reading on their own stage four was a shock. There was a dictionary for when they found a word they don’t know but James never really saw them access it.
“Yes,” Ashton called out and ran toward the door to grab his and his sister’s coats. James still had his gun on him, so he walked to the kitchen to write a note to Q and left it on Q’s nightstand beside his glasses before he shut the bedroom door again and looked at the kids waiting patiently. James grinned at them and grabbed his own coat. He had changed out of his suit and was in a thin jumper so he would need a coat with the cold.
James crouched and helped the kids button and zip up because they were going to be walking to the store and not driving. James knew what he wanted to make and the store with the best ingredients was around the corner.
Just as soon as they stepped outside in the frigid November London weather, the twins took hold of James’s hands James gripped them tightly, and they started off. James and the twins got a few weird looks as they walked, but James ignored them. There was nothing that was the same in their looks, so James figured that a few looks were of pity because most assumed that the mother had cheated on him.
James wasn’t planning on getting a lot of things so as soon as they stepped into the store, James grabbed a basket of each of them. The store had smaller baskets that were for kids, and both of the kids were excited to have baskets of their own. Q kept the flat stocked with staples for Nadia to feed the kids but James had a few other things that he needed for the lunch he had planned for the four of them. Ashton had some food that he didn’t like to eat while Amelia hadn’t found anything except for the texture of scrambled eggs that she didn’t like. Like their father, they were willing to try anything once.
“How do you feel about lasagna?” James asked.
Aston didn’t answer, and Amelia just hummed. James stopped to look at them. They were both right there beside him. Ashton was looking thoughtful around the store.
“Papa makes really good lasagna so yes. I want to see what you make and if it’s better or worse than Papa’s.”
“Well, that’s a challenge. You two get to pick dessert.”
“Okay,” the twins answered at the same time. James smiled and used his free and to ruffle Amelia’s hair. She glared at him and started to finger comb it, but there was no helping it. She had a wild set of curls like Q’s when he let it air dry. Ashton had less wild curls, and when James moved his hand to ruffle his, Ashton snapped his teeth at him and hissed. James laughed.
“Spending too much time Walther huh?” James settled his hand on Ashton’s shoulder and pulled him close, giving him a half hug. Amelia looked expectant when he looked at her, so he changed the basket to his other hand and did the same to her. James remembered what it was like o be that young and think that love was someone giving you hugs and being around you.
James felt his phone vibrate so he pulled the kids with him to a spot where they would be out of the way, and he pulled his phone from his pocket. It was Moneypenny calling him.
“Yes, Miss Moneypenny?” James asked instead of saying hello.
“Are you at home?”
“No. I am out with Miss Amelia and Mister Ashton.”
“Who?” Moneypenny asked.
James stopped because he hadn’t thought that Q’s kids were a secret. Especially not from Moneypenny.
“Nevermind,” Moneypenny said. She sounded upset. “M wanted me to remind you that you are grounded in London and that you have a follow-up appointment scheduled for this afternoon. Also since you shave kidnapped Q, you get to bring him to yours for his follow up.”
“What happened? Last I saw him before he went with M to stop Nine Eyes he was fine. On the bridge, he looked fine.”
“After you were taken we were shot at. The window in the car shattered I asked if he was okay and he said he was fine. Come to find out after we had Oberhauser in custody that he left the bridge to get help from being shot. He hacked Nine Eyes with a bullet lodged in his arm. I wanted to box his ears, but he blocked all access to his branch by me. M was quite happy with Q, but I think it was more seeing what Q was made of. The kid is ice-cold when he wants to be. Tanner commented that it wasn’t the coldest thing he had done but refused to elaborate on it.”
James didn’t say anything because he knew what it was that Q had done, turning in his father or maybe even sleeping with the CIA agent just to get the CIA to back off. Tanner could know both of those things.
“Three. They are going to do both of you at the same time to lessen the chance of one of you running. R refuses to lock Q out of his office unless on orders of M. M won’t bar him out of it.”
“Q knows himself, Moneypenny. If he thinks he can work, he can.”
“Sometimes I feel like you know more than you let on with him.”
“I know a lot of secret things, and I don’t tell them to anyone.”
“Is Q okay?”
“Last I saw him he was sleeping. I must go I have very bored people with me that deserve my full attention.” James grinned at the kids to see that they were looking around but looked at him when he grinned at them. They grinned back.
“You cad,” Moneypenny said before hanging up.
“Who was that?”
“Miss Eve Moneypenny, she works with your father and me.”
“Oh, the lady that tries to make Papa sleep and eat like she’s his mum. Papa told her once that he would not allow a person to treat him like a child when he wasn’t ever treated like a child as a child. She got upset.”
“She worries because she is his friend.”
The kids said nothing to that. Instead, they started toward the baking aisle.
“What are you two after?”
“You said we got to pick dessert. We need a chocolate shell for the crust. One of those Oreos ones. Then we need Oreos and cream cheese for cheesecake. Papa loves it, and it can be made right when we got home.”
James nodded his consent to that. It sounded really good, and t seemed like it was something that the family ate a great deal of the time. He could have the twins help him make that and then help him prepare the lasagna. It would be all very simple and straightforward. It would also be a bonding time for him and her kids.
An hour later, the three of them were walking back into the flat to find that Q had moved from the bedroom and into the living room. He had covered himself up with a blanket that both Walther and Sniper were laying on. The TV was going.
“Papa must have had trouble sleeping. He doesn’t have aTV in his room so when he can’t sleep he come out and watched the telly and falls asleep,” Ashton said in a loud whisper as James shut the door.
“Then we will have to be quiet.” James looked at the TV to see that it was something fantasy as the small skinny creature with long hair and large feet was not human at all. James watched it for several more seconds listening to the creature before a memory popped into his head. “Gollum.”
“Yes. Papa likes to listen to Return of the King when he has trouble sleeping.” Amelia looked very pleased that James knew what the show was.
“Go change and get washed up really good so that you can help me make this Oreo cheesecake.”
“Yes, Sir,” Amelia said to James before taking off running. James almost told her to stop, but ten h remembered that as long as thro one else about, Q let them run inside. James watched them disappear into their bedroom before he walked over to Q and settled on the edge of the couch. Q looked to e deep asleep. James shooed the cats off of his chest, getting his first real good look at the slightly feral kitten that had been named Sniper. He was pitch black, and his eyes were very dark in colour. He could see why the kitten had been named Sniper.
James lifted Q’s injured arm gently and started to unwrap the bandage around it. There was no blood soaked through so James wasn’t worried about uncovering the wound. Underneath the wrapping was the plaster that was soaked in blood. James settled the arm across Q’s chest before going and getting his medical kit from the bedroom where he hid it behind the head of his bed. James kept a lot of things stocked in there that it could not be good for the twins to get a hold of. He carried the box with him to the living room and opened it and set it on the coffee table. James carefully peeled off the plaster before he grabbed a syringe and a bottle of local anaesthetic that he had nicked from Medical. James numbed up Q’s arm quickly. While waiting for it to take effect, James brushed the hair from Q’s forehead. He looked so calm and young while sleeping but Jame still felt that bit of desire for him.
Q was unlike any other person in the world to James. James might have watched him grow up, but he had never thought of him with any terms other than job before Q had become of age. It was all simple and easy to love Q. James had just never let himself acknowledge it before. Something had changed in James after Vesper. He had thought that he wouldn’t ever want someone again, for more than a quick tumble in the bed. Q had slipped under his carefully built armour in the aftermath of Vesper. There was every chance that Q had been under there the whole time and James had just built the armour around him already.
Cleaning the wound and the stitches that kept the wound closed, James knew that while the bullet might have slowed down because of the glass and going through something else, the bullet had been removed from Q. After getting the caked blood off, James was relieved when the fresh blood didn’t ooze as much. He used gloves and cotton to put on a new layer of Medical grade antibacterial. James had looked in Q’s bag and found his prescriptions for infection and pain. The infection medicine would be uncomplicated to get him to take but the pain, James was sure that he was going to have a fight on his hands. After placing a new plaster on Q’s skin, James leaned over and pressed a soft kiss just above the bandage.
“Papa says that only people who love you kiss your boo-boos,” Amelia said as she walked up to James’s side and she looked down at her father. “Papa told me that you would never love us the way that we love you. That something in you broke a long time ago, and you can’t love anything or anyone but England.”
James pulled off the gloves and tossed them onto the pile of debris from cleaning up Q’s wound. James would still go to his appointment if only because he wanted to make sure that Q went as well. When he had cleaned up everything around them, James pulled Amelia into his lap.
“I do love England more than I probably should, but I’m finding that I love other things and other people, some more than others. I like you and Ashton, and I can feel the love starting to build up, but I don’t love you two yet. Your father though, I love him a great deal, and it’s part of why I do what I do. To protect him. Even before he joined MI6, I wanted to make sure that he was safe.”
“When are you going to tell him?”
“Soon but that’s something that I need to tell him, not one of you two telling him.” James tickled Amelia a little before reaching around and pulling Ashton forward. The boy looked a little ashamed at being caught. “You will have to get a lot better before you are able to sneak up on me.”
Ashton giggled a little before he leaned into his sister’s side. “You’ll have to teach me.”
“I guess that I will. Now, how about you two teach me how to make this Oreo cheesecake. Go into the kitchen and get your stools ready.”
The twins nodded and walked away with only a few seconds of looking at their father each before they did. James carefully applied the wrapping again. Q was still sleeping deeply, the anaesthetic helping him not feel what James had done to the wound site. James wasn’t sure what to do. Part of him wanted to make a grand gesture to tell Q that he loved him. That seemed too much for Q. Choosing to play it by ear, James nodded to a sleeping Q and pushed himself up to a standing position before leaning over to slip Q’s arm under the blankets again and then make sure he was covered all the way up. James couldn’t help pressing a kiss to Q’s forehead.
By the time that Q was starting to wake up, the cheesecake was in the fridge firming up lasagna was in the fridge ready to pop into the oven when Q was waking up. James has few snacks ready for him to take his medication before he ate. The twins were working on schooling of some kind, self-paced workbooks that were on a bookcase in the corner at their height. A women’s cricket match was playing on the TV with the captions on and the sound off. Ashton was watching the game more than working, but as James was pretty sure they were probably ahead of what they should be at school wise, James wasn’t worried. James knew that they were homeschooled and would be for at least a few years before putting them into a private school. They had a group of friends that they played with enough to bolster friendship and keeping them from being too insular. They were also both part of a mixed-gender football group to keep them active.
“James?” Q croaked.
James reached up and squeezed Q’s knee to tell him where James was, which was sitting on the couch with Q’s legs over his lap.
“You got hurt, Papa,” Amelia said as she closed her workbook and turned around to drape herself over Q’s stomach. Ashton closed his book but stood up and turned around.
“A bullet ricocheted off the metal in the car we were in. It’s more muscles hurting than anything else. Why do I smell cooked meat?”
“You can’t have lasagna without meat,” Ashton answered. He frowned and took a deep breath. “Well I guess you can if you are a vegetarian, but you’ve never made us try that before. We’ve had meatless dishes but not lasagna. Could you make a good meatless lasagna, Uncle James?”
“I could. Maybe we could try that in a few weeks.”
“Where is Nadia?” Q tried to sit up, but Amelia was still laying on him. James reached over and pulled her off of her father and into his lap. Q frowned at the way that Amelia went limp in his arms and laid her head on James’s shoulder.
“A day off. I’m grounded in London for the time being, and this time I’m actually going to stay in London.”
“Why are you here?”
“Isn’t this my home?” James asked. He wasn’t trying to be an ass, but he was worried after Q thinking that he had run off with Madeleine that this was no longer his home and Q just hadn’t got around to telling him yet. Q didn’t answer, just stared at James for a few seconds before successfully getting himself to a seated position. James lifted up Amelia so he could get his legs free. Q’s stomach growled and that caused both kids to laugh.
“Uncle James made sacks,” Ashton called out as he ran towards the kitchen. He came back with a tray of snacks or the four of them.
“Cucumber sandwiches?” Q asked, but he plucked one off the plate and took a bite.
“I figured that they would be light enough for your stomach and keep your pills from upsetting it.” James reached over to where he had put out Q’s pills into a weekly pill container as well as his vitamins that James had found in the bathroom. He handed over the little cup that had the afternoon pills in it.
“Thank you.” Q devoured the first and looked at James before taking a second. James nodded. He had made three for Q and one for each of the rest of them. Between licking the bowl from the making of the filing as well as eating an Oreo each, the twins wouldn’t need more than that to tide them over until the lasagna was done.
“I’ll get the lasagna in the oven. Want to be my sous chef again?” James asked Amelia, bouncing her in his lap for a few seconds to make her giggle.
“Good. Ashton, you are on nursemaid duty..”
“Oh man,” Ashton said with a mocking tone to his voice. They had already picked what they wanted to do. There was little to do but get up and do what he said. Amelia followed behind James. James turned on the oven and started it preheating while Amelia was careful in getting the pans out of the oven. Instead of making one large pan, James had found two half cake pans and used them. James had directed the kids through layering, and each had worked in their own pan.
It had been a lot of fun for James, and it was something that he found he loved. He could see why his own mother had loved it. The look of pride on Ashton and Amelia’s faces had filled a spot inside of James that he never knew existed and now it was being greedy. Never having this made James not know what he was missing but now that he did, he wanted it. He wanted it all. Q and his little family seemed to be willing to give it, or at least the little family was, James was unsure on Q at the moment. Ashton came running into the kitchen and grabbed the pitcher of tea that James had made. Next, he climbed up to grab a glass. James watched him carefully pour out three-fourths of a glass before climbing back down. Ashton put up the pitcher and then carefully picked up the glass and started back into the living room.
“So I forget, Sous Chef, where is the foil?” James remembered where it was, but it gave Amelia something to do. Amelia crouch to get the foil from the bottom cabinet that was by the fridge. She came back over with it and set it down on the counter. James covered both of the pans and looked at the oven. The temperature was close enough him happy for sticking the pans in. James opened up the oven and grabbed a pan, handing it to Amelia. James covered his lips with a finger and shushed her. Amelia giggled and waited until James had slipped his pan inside before setting up to do hers as well. She was careful and stay well away from all surfaces inside of the oven. When the pan didn’t slide all the way in, James handed her a pot holder and mimed pushing it in. Amelia was just as careful with it and touched the pan to shove it in, having the larger side of the potholder hanging down, so it touched the wire inside of the oven and not her hand.
James figured that someone either Q or Nadia had taught them about ovens and how to not get burned. Q seemed very much of the proactive parent who instead of telling a child no would explain why, in terms, they would understand. Q might never have seen children in his future, but it seemed that he embraced them with open arms.
“You injected me with something,” Q said as James entered the living room after getting lunch in the oven. Q was dressed in a button up shirt and a pair of sleep pants. It took James a few seconds of looking to realise that it was one his button-up shirts, one of the clean ones. James could see it as Q moving his arm would hurt like a son of a bitch, so a t-shirt or pullover of any kind was probably out of the question. James’s shirts would be looser on Q and easier to slip over his injured arm.
“Local numbing so I could clean on the wound without waking you up. I have the syringe and the bottle if you want to look at it.” James stared at Q as Q stared at him for a minute before Q nodded. James wasn’t sure if he was nodding for accepting it or nodding because he wanted to see what he had been injected with.
“Ashton is putting your kit you left out on your bed. I wasn’t aware that you had kind of thing in here.”
“I keep it hidden and will know if the kids are into it at all. I keep a pretty stocked kit on hand.”
“Because you hate going to Medical.”
“Speaking of Medical,” James said with a grin on his face. He sat down where he had been before. Q was up, and while he was still facing James, he was only taking up two cushions with his body and legs. James reached out and cupped his hand over Q’s exposed foot. Q’s eyes darted down to it for a few seconds before going back up to James’s face. “We have appointments today. Me to get my head looked at and you your arm. We will be keeping them.”
“Who is going to watch Ash and Melia?”
“I thought that we could take them into MI6 with us while we are getting checked out. A few nurses on hand would be willing to watch them if you don’t want them in the room with you.”
“Only Mallory and Tanner know about them and my new R, she started today. The poor woman starting in the middle of all of this.” Q looked around the room, and James followed suit realising that neither of the kids was in the room with them. James raised an eyebrow at Q. “Probably in their room.”
“Why doesn’t anyone else at MI6 know about them?”
“I don’t want pity, and single father brings out pity in people. I’ve debated telling people that I adopted them but then that brings out why the hell I would do that as a single man. Though R has known about them for years.”
“The same woman from that night where you turned over people for hacking the Met?” James asked. James knew that it was a calculated risk by revealing it, but he didn’t care, he wasn’t going to go into any form of a relationship with Q without the truth being known between them.
“The same. Rene is her name, but she’s gone by R for years because she hates it. Much like I hate Walmond and go by Q, even before I became Quartermaster. Mallory kind of laughed when he read my full file, which M tried to hide from me but never could. I knew from the moment I say you in classes that you were someone deadly. I stayed away because I wasn’t sure that you were there for me and then you started to run near the same time as me and were in all of my classes. Then you’d be gone for a little, and a new person would take over, but they wouldn’t go to class. I knew the first time that you hacked my computer, and when you tried to hack MI5 and MI6, I threw you out for laughs.”
“So you’ve known that I was MI6 for how long?”
“The first time that I broke into your dorm room on campus that first year.”
James looked at Q in shock on that he had never noticed that someone had broke in. He started to change his opinion of Q in that few seconds, seeing him for who he was.
“My father taught me how to pick locks from a very young age. It wasn’t until I turned five that I started to figure out that he wasn’t good. Then Mom died, and I knew that something was wrong. I started to hack him first, his partition on the computer that we had. When I had everything compiled, I sent it all to MI6 after hacking them. It was the third time I had done so.”
“Why did it take so long for MI6 to put you and Query together?”
“You know that hackers have set ways of doing things. Query is my natural way of doing things; it’s what I know. However, I had started to form another way of doing things so that I could do things and not have them trace back to Query if I didn’t want it to. I had that before I went to college. It made things easier and harder at the same time. No one was going to find me until I wanted them to. When I dropped my application on M’s desktop, I made sure that she knew exactly everything that I had kept from MI6. You were harder to keep things from, I didn’t mean to tell you about Query that night but I remembered in the morning that I did and I waited, but nothing happened. You kept that from MI6.”
“You weren’t doing anything to harm England and went out of your way to make sure that you never did. Hell, you turned in your father. You made yourself an orphan of sorts for England. I couldn’t see you doing anything to harm it. So I kept your secrets as long as they didn’t harm England.”
“The kids who gave me the drugs were brought up on charges later. Caught in a web of instances like it.”
“I made sure that M knew what happened and she made sure that the right authorities were told. While our scope is outside the borders of England, letting fires burn at home despite protecting home from foreign entities is stupid, and M knew that. There is nothing left to protect if England burns because of the negligence of what happens inside of England.”
“Smart and very adaptive of M. Mallory seems to hold the same thought process. The Double-O program was reinstated as of early this morning. I’m sure that once Mallory gets over being upset about what happened, he will offer you your job back.”
James looked at Q and tried to figure out where Q’s head was at but James couldn’t. Q wasn’t looking him in the eye, he was holding back, and James didn’t like it. James shifted his hold on Q’s foot to where he was cupping both in his hands and lifted them. Q’s face turned fully to look at James with a hesitant look in his eyes. James settled the feet on the other side of James’s legs. He didn’t push for more contact between them.
“I didn’t quit, Q. I took Madeleine somewhere safe, and she’ll be there until MI6 helps her get a new identity underway and a new life where she wants. The remnants of SPECTRE are everywhere, and until it’s safe, it’s not good for her to be known to be linked to her father. She’s getting a new life, and I am staying here.”
“I’m shocked you aren’t following her.” Q tried to lift his feet, but James kept a hold of them, settling them over his lap all the way. Q had that look back on his face that said that he wasn’t sure what the hell James was doing.
“Why would I follow her when here in London I have everything that I never knew that I needed.” James moved even closer to Q, wrapping an arm around Q’s waist and pulling him up and into his lap, taking care of making sure that he didn’t hurt Q’s hurt arm again. Q gasped as James settled him onto his lap. “I have everything that I need right here in this flat.”
“James?” Q asked as he settled both of his hands on James’s shoulders to help hold himself up and away from James as much as he could. “What are you doing?”
“Something I should have done months ago.” James leaned in an kissed Q’s cheek. “I am saying that I should have told you this months ago. I should have stopped running when you saved me from Silva’s island. When you gave me a home that I could come home to with no strings. All you wanted was to give me a safe place, and I treated it like something I should run away from. It took me seeing my past for what it was to understand what my future is.”
“And what is your future?” Q asked.
“I have three years left until mandatory retirement from the Double-O program. I thought that at one point it was the end of my career and the end of my life. I don’t see that darkness looming anymore.”
“I’m tired from days on end of working, and you are being obtuse on purpose.”
James was finding it hard to say the words. He knew the words, he knew what he needed to say but saying it was hard. James reached up and gripped Q’s chin to make Q look at him. Q’s eyes were a wealth of knowledge to his thoughts, but right then, James could see nothing in them at that moment.
“Do the kids always hide in their room for long periods?”
“I’m sure that they knew something was weird and are giving us time to talk. If this is what we are doing.”
“It is what we are doing I’m just extremely bad at it.” James trailed his fingers from Q’s chin to his cheek before he cupped said cheek before he rubbed at the dark circle under Q’s eye. It was simple to do, but it felt terrific to James. To touch freely.
“I’ve never known you to admit that you are bad at anything.”
“I don’t like admitting I am bad at anything but with you I don’t feel like you are going to stab me in the back for it.”
“Even after what I did to my father? Most would assume that I couldn’t stay loyal to anyone.”
“You’ve been loyal to England and loyal to me since you knew about me, which I am upset that I’ve never knew about.”
“I do want to say I am sorry for feeling you up when I was high. I’ve never taken anything like it ever again. I stick to the alcohol you kept giving me, and that’s it. Medical has down my reaction to medicine like that and make sure not to give them to me unless it’s necessary.”
“You were cute, and I just wanted to make sure that no one was going to come after me and send the cops for me taking an underage, high student to a room alone.”
“You protected me for years. I found your gun in your safe in your dorm room. Walther PPK short. It’s why Walther is named like he is.” Q started to relax in James’s lap and looked at him with a fond look in his eyes. James missed that fond look since after the end of the Skyfall debacle.
“I wondered where his name came from.” James reached up with his other hand and cupped Q’s other cheek. He rubbed that dark circle as well. “You need more sleep.”
“I know. I’m looking forward to eating and then sleeping.”
James slipped his hands back to cup the back of Q’s head and pulled him down to rest his head on James’s shoulder. Q deflated down into James’s body, and his breath ghosted over James’s skin. It felt good. It felt right.
“I love you,” James said.
Q’s body tensed, but he relaxed when James did nothing else, said nothing else.
“I’ve loved you since I was fourteen, James. I stayed away because I knew that I needed to greet you on your turf for you to even acknowledge me at all. I worked my hardest to get where I am, but I will not lose my career over you.”
“I don’t plan on you losing it. Even if you do cater to me more than you should.”
“I don’t do it just for you. I do it for all of my Double-O’s. And they are mine. They were the ones who watched over me when I was young, while the names and faces have changed, I love them all the same. They are what stands between England and chaos of our enemies. I will always make sure that they have what they need.” Q pulled out of James’s hold and looked at him. He ran his hands through James’s hair. “I have lived with this love for a long time, and I can live with it for the rest of my life, whether we do anything or not. You’ve had your world turned on end with the rewriting of your past. I will not be your last ditch effort to have a family because I am safe and you know that I would stay with you.”
“I don’t think that you would stay if I didn’t love you. I don’t expect you to just drop into my life and slot yourself into whatever you have built up in your head that I want.”
“You treat sex like it’s something that you do as a hobby and I won’t be doing that. You will only come into my bed for sex when I want it.”
“Of course,” James said keeping his face straight. He had thought that he would have a great deal more of wining and dining to get Q to even look at him after it seemed he took James’s way of acting after Skyfall and what Q thought happened with Madeleine.
“When it comes to work you will keep your hands to yourself. I will not become fodder for the gossip mill of MI6 before I am ready. If you mess up, I will make you regret it.”
“Of course.” James swallowed as Q leaned his just a little bit, seemingly like he was going to kiss James.
“I won’t demand obedience in work because you have never been obedient at all at work however when we are home, and it involves the children I expect you to do as I say or as Nadia says.”
“They are yours, and I would never go against your wishes unless it is small amounts of candy snuck to them.”
“They have limits on that, on sugar in general but I am not a tyrant. Dessert is allowed after lunch and dinner.”
“No just a tyrant when it comes to your tech.” James closed the distance between their lips a little more, but Q didn’t come any closer.
“I’ve gone by Q for years, and while I don’t mind Wallie I don’t like it that much but if you must call me it, do. The kids are used to me answering to Q and Wallie.”
“I’ve called you Q in my head for years so that will not be an issue.”
“R is the only friend that I have that I keep in any form of contact with so you won’t need to worry about keeping a cover around anyone except those that I live in this building with, but since they are mostly scared of you I don’t see an issue with that.”
“I’ll be a good boy,” James said with a smirk.
“If I believe that I would be too gullible to ever be around you. You do what you want when you want, and I know that, but I am serious when it comes to working. If you are good and don’t fondle me inappropriately, I will allow displays of affection in my branch when I am more comfortable with it all.” Q brushed his lips over James’s hesitantly. James let him do what he wanted because he didn’t want Q to back off. James was well aware of what kind of relationships Q had, and it was basically none. The brief affair where he seemingly let a CIA seduce him into bed to rid himself of his virginity, as well as the agent, was calculating but it risked nothing of his heart. This was it all on the line. It was all or nothing. Q called himself in love with James and James was sure that Q knew his own heart and his own mind but being in love with someone you didn’t live with, didn’t really spend any time with was different than having a living breathing man in the flat.
Q gripped the short hairs on the back of James’s head and held him still, his other hand came around to James’s neck and gripped his chin hard, holding him precisely as Q wanted him. James let his hands drop down to Q’s hips to keep him there as Q ducked his head down to kiss James for real this time. Q’s tongue slipped inside of James’s mouth, and James couldn’t hold back the moan at the taste of him. He could taste the tea that James had made as well as the cucumber sandwiches, but there was something underneath that was all Q and James remembered it from that stupid Halloween party.
James pulled out of Q’s hold and looked at him. Q just raised an eyebrow asking why his fun had been stopped with no words.
“You knew exactly who I was at that party. You sat in my lap and tried to what?”
“I wanted to see what I could get you to do. Those idiots were no subtle at all on their trying to drug people. They were arrested later that night after giving a laced cup to an undercover cop who had been warned of what was going on there. I made sure that no one else was hurt that night and then I lured you in. I didn’t plan on falling asleep in that bed nor was my plan to have you have sex with me. I wanted a nice makeout session and then sleep, but I fell asleep too quickly. It really sucked.”
“Just not in the way you wanted,” James said.
“Cad.” Q pushed on James’s shoulder but he smiled, and that fond look was still on Q’s face. That look more than anything else told James how much Q cared for him. Q was staring into James’s eyes before he smiled. “I don’t expect monogamy.”
“Q,” James said, and he pushed himself to sit up more. This was not where he was expecting any of this to go. James was no addicted to sex to where he would have to seek it out until Q finally decided that he wanted sex with James. “I-”
Q covered James’s mouth with his whole hand, and James heard the hiss realising that Q had used his hurt arm. James reached up and pulled the hand free of his mouth.
“Let me speak,” James said.
“Let me explain what I meant before your male ego becomes hurt without understanding what I meant,” Q said with a glare. James raised his hands to show surrender before he settled them back on Q’s hips. “You use sex as a weapon in the field, and I do not expect you to stop. I want my agents to have every single damned thing that they need that will bring them home. I do expect you to drop the string of married women and men that you have around the city, that I do expect monogamy on. What happens in the field stays in the field unless you do stupid things that you don’t need to because you don’t listen to my people or me.”
“I see what our first fight is going to be about.” James did reckless things all of the time, and he had reasons, but he didn’t like to stop and explain those reasons when he was in the field. He made split-second decisions and trusted his gut more than anything else in the world.
“Riding a motorbike on top of that bazaar wasn’t stupid, no matter what anyone else says. You kept yourself safe and the civilians around you. Those men cared nothing for lives except for their own. There is a difference but doing stupid things like you used to do in the field will not be tolerated. I will bench your ass so fast that you will feel like your head is spinning if I think you are reckless with your life. That’s what this is James; you are promising me to do everything that you can to come home and safeguard my heart. My children’s hearts because no matter what you have tried to do, they love you.”
“Because of the wild stories that you have told them about me.”
“I told them the truth, as much as they can know it. They don’t need to know that the man you saved me from had tried to drug me to rape me before passing me around to his friends. But they knew that you are my knight in shining Armani.”
James laughed before leaning in to nuzzle at Q’s neck, nipping just a little there as he tried his hardest to resist the urge to pick Q up and deposit him on the couch on his back to show Q what he was missing by denying James sex. James understood what Q was asking of him though. There were too many relationships of James’s that only had sex as a reason for existing. It was horrible, and James wanted this relationship to last for the rest of his life, no matter how long or short it was. James did pull Q in closer to him and hugged him. Q wrapped his arms around James’s neck and hung on tight to him. It felt good. It felt right, and for the first time in James’s life, he had no regrets on what he was doing or what he was feeling.
Time was lost as they stayed there like that, right up until they heard the feet of the kids as they tried to sneak out of their room to probably sneak up James and Q. Q pulled back but didn’t get off of James’s lap. Instead, he just looked at James with that fond look still in place. James figured that it was what Q looked like when he was in love.
“I’ll do whatever I can to make you want to want me, Q but I won’t push it. I’ll respect the distance that you want.”
“Good. I do like a good snog though. We can do that before retiring to our rooms and take care of our erections with quick handjobs.”
“Rooms? Oh, no, Q room. I figure that Ashton can have my room if he wants it. I want to feel you in my arms every single morning that I am here in London, even if for the next while that is going to be every day. I want you, and I love, and I want to know you are safe in my arms.”
“Romantic, I’m still going to sleep in my pants. You aren’t going to stop me from that. I don’t care what you sleep in, but you must have pants on just in case the kids come in. I do expect to be fucked into the mattress when I finally let you take me to bed like that.”
“Of course. Since I’m grounded in London, why don’t you give Nadia a break for a little. I can shuttle them around and work on their lessons I am sure.”
“You don’t know what you are getting yourself into, but we can try it tomorrow when I go to give the full debrief on exactly what Nine Eyes was to the nine countries that had approved it to launch in their homes. I will be gone from around ten to three or four. Dinner ready at six would be lovely if this lasagna is worth eating.”
“You’ve not had my cooking, and already you are mocking it?”
“You made me cold tea, James. Cold tea.” Q said it in the same tone that James had heard him say agent down the single time he had. It made James want to smile, but that would not serve him at the moment as Q would take it badly.
“So you could use it to take your pills. I will gladly make you hot tea to go with lunch. Which if you want hot tea with it, I will need to get up now and do it as well as add the cheese topping to the lasagna. Sous Chef where are you?” James had been tracing the two of them around the room as they snuck around to bunk down behind the couch.
“Here!” Amelia jumped and pushed herself up and over the back of the couch to land on the cushion beside James and Q. She was on her back with her legs away from them.
“I see this,” James said with a grin. Ashton walked around the couch like a normal person, and he looked a little wary of James and Q and how they were sitting. He sat down on the spot on the other side of James though. “And there is Nursemaid Ashton. So while SOus Chef Amelia and I are working on getting lunch ready, you have a vital job, Ashton. Your job is to make sure that your sister and you as well as your father have everything that will be needed for another expedition across town to our work. I think that the mug will be needed and snacks and something to entertain the three of you. Do you think you can do this very serious mission?”
Ashton smiled and nodded his head so much that James was shocked that he didn’t have whiplash. James reached out and ruffled his hair, making Ashton slip off the couch to get away from him. Amelia darted away before he could do the same to her, so he focused on Q.
“And your job is to stay right here on this couch.”
“I got shot in the arm not the leg, James.”
“Indulge me, please. My heart stopped when I hurt you, and I didn’t mean to. I couldn’t figure out what happened.”
“I bandaged it up and got on with the job; no one else was going to be able to stop Nine Eyes. I had to do what I did, and it meant pushing away the pain. On the bridge, after you chose not to shoot Oberhauser, I sought out Medical, ours not the city ones. That was the only reason I left; I couldn’t take the pain anymore.”
“I thought that you had left me, that you were turning your back on me. Then I came back here, and I woke up with the kids in my bed, and I knew that no matter what this was home. My home is where you and the kids are.”
“I love you, James Bond,” Q said before he ducked his head down to brush a chaste kiss on James’s lips. James cupped the sides of his face to hold him right there.
“I love you as well, Walmond St. Clair.”