Guardian Agent Chapters 6-10

Chapter 6

October 2004

James was thankful that Walmond loudly talked about what he was doing on Halloween. It allowed James to get a costume that covered his face. After the last party that Walmond had been to just over a year ago, James wasn’t letting Walmond out of his sight. Walmond had shown no want of going to any party the rest of the year before after losing his virginity to the CIA agent. James had learned nothing of what happened with that, but there were no other agents that James knew of sniffing around Walmond.

M was upset because if the CIA wanted him, there were others who wanted him and she knew nothing of why. According to Q Branch, they had found nothing on him on the Internet or the even the shadier parts of it. The last time that James had checked, MI6 still had nothing on a hacker named Query, and it made James laugh his ass off every time that he checked. James knew that at some point he would have to share that, but he was going to wait until Q Branch clued onto the hacker before he shared that Walmond and Query were the same.

Walmond wasn’t the life of the party by any stretch of the imagination but he at least stuck with drinks that he poured himself and that gave James the ability to at least enjoy himself a little. Walmond had learned his lesson at way too young of an age. It was a Sunday, and it was already after nine, and it looked like Walmond was not going to be stopping to go home anytime soon. There were plenty of very nice looking women and a few nice looking men who were dancing to keep James entertained while Walmond sat on the edges and just watched everyone.

As the clock on the wall chimed that it was ten, Walmond moved for the first time in nearly an hour. He moved to where there was a keg and grabbed a glass to fill with the beer from the keg. James watched him and the group of guys that were scattered around Walmond. One of the taller boys poked one who wasn’t looking and pointed at Walmond. James could not tell what the men were saying, but it wasn’t good when there seemed to be a small fight break out among them before the one who had been poked nodded and grinned. James felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He frowned at the cup in Walmond’s hand and stood up.

James was a master at drugging people to get them to allow him places that he shouldn’t go and even drug people to just get them out of the way. He had been trained to drug to kill but hadn’t been given that licence to kill yet. Still, it wasn’t hard to understand that the boys standing around the keg had done something to the cup and while they thought it would be a girl to walk up, one of them wasn’t above doing what he wanted to Walmond.

Making it to the small but open kitchen, James knocked into Walmond quickly, making the kid drop his cup. The beer splattered all over the boys who had laced the cup, and one of them looked at James like they wanted to kill him.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” James said as he reached for the stack of cups that were still in bags. He opened it up and took out two new cups. James filled one and handed it to Walmond. “Here you go.”

“Thanks.”

“The name is Richard,” James said with a smile that Walmond couldn’t see except for the way it was crinkling the little bit of skin around his eyes. Walmond took a sip of the beer and frowned at the taste. James filled his and nodded toward where he had been before. “Talk to me so I can make up for spilling your first drink.”

“Okay.”

James wrapped a hand around Walmond’s shoulder and looked back at the boys. The boys were scattered to the wind, one of them dropping a few cups in the trash. James made sure to know their faces so he could find them in the school registry and get them in trouble.

“What’s your name?” James asked as he settled into a chair. Walmond sat on the arm of that chair, his back to a wall.

Walmond looked at James like was trying to see beneath the mask. After a few seconds, his head cocked to the side, and he grinned. “My name is Q.”

“A man of mystery I see,” James said, turning on his charm. It was safer for Walmond to flirt with him than anyone else in the place. James at least would not be taking advantage of him. However, he would have to keep Walmond entertained to keep him there. James reached up to lay a hand on Walmond’s thigh. “I like men of mystery.”

“Wow, that was cheesy.”

“I can be cheesier,” James assured him which made Walmond giggle. James turned his grip on Walmond’t thigh hard and pulled, coaxing the kid down into his lap. Walmond pouted when after settling down into James’s lap, James took his hand away. So James rewarded him with a hand on his back, making Walmond shiver.

“So who are you supposed to be?” Walmond asked, taking in what he could see of James’s costume.

“A masked assassin.” James unbuttoned his coat to show off the fake knives inside and the real holster with a gun that was not fake but looked faked. Walmond’s hand reached out to touch, and James slapped it away with a grin before buttoning up his jacket again. Walmond gave him another pout, sticking his lip out and looking the epitome of someone who was so very innocent. James didn’t believe it for a second. He knew from the kid’s actions a year before that his morals were not what most people would call normal. Hell even for MI6 the actions weren’t very moral. “And what are you?”

“I’m a hacker,” Walmond said with a grin.

“Oh really?” James looked around Walmond. “Where is your computer?”

“A hacker doesn’t take his laptop to a party. Strange people could get onto it, and that’s asking for trouble. Why? Did you want to look at it?”

“No, just curious. How will anyone know what you are without showing?” James leaned close as he spoke and if there were a mouth cut out on his mask, his breath would have licked the edge of Walmond’s ear.

“They will just have to trust that I know what I am.”

“Q!” SOmeone yelled to get the kid’s attention, but James reached up to stop his face from turning away from him.

“Assassins are very possessive people, Q. They don’t like to not be the object of their subject’s attention.”

“I thought that it was an assassin’s job to be invisible.”

“When killing. I’m not killing right now; I’m looking for fun.” James lifted his mask enough to where Walmond wouldn’t be able to see anything but James could whisper directly in his ear. “You have to make the decision of whether you want my attention or everyone else’s.”

Walmond acted like he was going to get up but instead turned to where his back was to James’s chest. That put Walmond’s ass directly over James’s cock, thankfully that afternoon he had a visitor to his dorm, and she was more than willing to make sure that he had nothing left to even think of getting hard with friction on his prick.

“Hackers like stimulation, Richard. You will have to make sure to keep my attention.”

“I’m sure that I can do a fine job on that,” James said before tipping his mask down again. James wrapped an arm around Walmond’s chest. His hand was going up to Walmond’s shoulder to hold him in place more than anything else. There were several sets of eyes that were on them, many looking jealous and since James was masked and hadn’t moved around a lot, those jealous eyes were for the fact that James had Wlamond’s attention.

Walmond drank his beer in his glass nearly chugging it. “I hate warm beer. I hate beer in general, but I don’t want to tempt the hard stuff.”

“You really shouldn’t be drinking beer at all, won’t that impair your ability to hack?”

“Some of the best hacks were done under the impairment of a drug of some kind. My best hack was done on a sugar high from eating candy all day for food. It took me three hours, but I got where I wanted to be and back out without anyone ever knowing or leaving a trace for them to follow.”

“Really? Who did you hack?”

“Shush,” Walmond whispered before turning his head to brush his lips over James’s ear. “The CIA.”

“Oh? The Yanks never knew what hit them, eh?”

“You have no idea. I crashed after that for a day. Once the high wore off that is.”

“I think I would have loved to have seen it. I’m sure that you smiled a lot then. A big grin on your face and just floating along in your life for a while. High on what you had done. I know that feeling.”

“I bet you do, Mister Assassin.” Walmond took James’s beer from him and took a sip, he frowned. James lifted his hand to grab Walmnod’s to lift the cup up to drain the beer. Walmond didn’t let go, and he didn’t look at James’s face at all. James was intrigued by that. If it were James, he would have looked.

When James took the empty cup to set it inside of Walmond’s empty cup, he felt fingers on his face lifting the mask. However, Walmond only lifted it far enough to kiss James, his tongue tracing the seam of the lips but never getting inside.

“I know you are under eighteen.”

“But over sixteen. You’ve got me in your lap; if you won’t kiss me, I’ll find someone else who will.” Walmond started to slip off of James’s lap, but James couldn’t have that, so he grabbed Walmond’s hips and pulled him back. Despite the afternoon marathon sex, James felt his cock responding a little.

Walmond gasped and wiggled a little but pop to his hip from James’s hand stopped him.

“Be good little minx, or I’ll leave.”

“Yes, Sir.”

James growled a little before laughing as Walmond leaned back into him again. He lifted up his mask and took it off laying it on the arm of the chair. He had come prepared with a secondary mark that he pulled from his pocket. He hadn’t expected that Walmond would have to be the object of his affection, but he brought a mask that covered the part of his face that was above his nose and left his mouth free. James slipped it on.

“Always prepared?” Walmond asked as he picked up James’s full mask.

“Always. One never knows what one would need his mouth for.”

“You make that sound very tempting.” Walmond turned his head to nuzzle at James’s neck, and he brushed his lips over James’s. James was thankful that he stopped at that and did go any further.

“So where else have you hacked?”

“Oh, a hacker never tells all of his secrets, especially to an assassin who won’t tell me who he works for. What if you were sent to interrogate me?”

“At least if I was it’s a pleasurable interrogation.” James slipped his hand forward to grip Walmond’s thigh.

“Not nearly as pleasurable as it could be.”

“That kind of pleasure can’t be done in public, and I don’t feel like leaving.”

“I thought that assassins were all about the pleasure in their lives?” Walmond asked.

“And this is a pleasure to me. A beautiful boy in my lap and everyone knows that he is mine.” James nipped at the expense of neck in front of him. Walmond shivered.

“So what about at the end of the night?”

“I’ll walk you back to your dorm, and we will go from there.” James had no plan to do more than drop Walmond off, but Walmond didn’t need to know that. He didn’t want to leave kid alone at a party that seemed to use drugs. Walmond had the worst luck when it came to that. James hoped that he would just stop going to parties like this and stick to clubs or even bars.

“My knight in shining Armani.”

“This is not Armani,” James said.

“Then one of the other snobby suits that make you stand out in a crowd. Horrible for an assassin, standing out.”

“But does anyone see me?” James asked.

“I did.”

“You are special, Q.” James knew that he was laying it on thick, but it would keep Walmond right where he wanted him and safe.

Walmond was affectionate, and thankfully James didn’t have to put him off as crossing any lines. Instead, Walmond just kissed him when he felt like it and touched whatever he wanted. James’s cock stayed half hard until the party started to wind down. Walmond crowd watched with James, and they discussed various people and how drunk they were.

“Are you going to walk me home now?” Walmond asked as he turned in James’s lap to straddle it, trying to bring their groins into contact.

“I am.”

“Good because I’m tired. You might have to carry me.”

“Carrying you would make it hard to defend myself. You never know when a rival assassin would try and take me out.”

“I could ride you.”

James’s mind blanked on that. Instead of the image that Walmond was trying to conjure up, Walmond on James’s back with legs wrapped around to his front and arms around his neck, James was seeing Walmond naked and overtop of James, riding his cock like a whore.

“Minx,” James said when he could speak.

“That’s not a no.” Walmond slipped off of James’s lap, looking like a kid trying to be an adult and it helped to knock down James’s desire for sex.

“No, it’s not. I guess you will have to see what happens when we got to your home.”

Walmond held out his hand, and James took it, pushing himself up to a standing position. James looked around at the people left at the party; no one was paying them any mind and James was glad of that. James let Walmond pull him by that hand out of the house and toward the centre of campus. Occasionally when they found a doorway or a wall that looked good, Walmond would push James into it and snog him for a minute. If it were anyone else, James would take what Walmond was offering, but it would cross a line that James was unwilling to cross with the kid.

James used Walmond’s key to open the door. Walmnd though looked to be half awake on his feet. James hoped that if he got Walmond down on the bed, he would fall asleep and James could take his leave.

“You remind me of the man from my dreams,” Walmond whispered into the skin of James’s neck.

“What does the man in your dreams do?”

“He puts me to bed and watches over me, never touching but watching. Watching me all the time. Be him tonight but touch. Please touch me.”

“Get on the bed, Q,” James ordered. He wasn’t going to do what Walmond wanted, but he was sure that if the kid settled in the bed, he would sleep. Walmond did more than just get on the bed, he stripped down to his pants. James watched the play of subtle muscles as he crawled into the bed. Walmond looked up at him with half-lidded eyes. He looked like a temptation, and James knew if he were weaker he would give in. James knelt on the bed and plucked Walmond’s glasses from his face before kissing him.

Walmond moaned and tried to pull James all the way down, but James stopped him.

“Patience my sweet,” James whispered into Walmond’s mouth. Walmond tried to force James to kiss him more, but as James resisted, Walmond’s kisses became slower and slower.

Another ten minutes and Walmond was asleep. James wiped down the room to remove any of his prints just in case before he left the room. James made sure the door was locked, wiping the handle down again. James wasn’t looking forward to the next year if Walmond was still in college, he would be old enough to be housed with the rest of the incoming freshmen. That would make it harder for James to do his job.

The All Hallows Eve festivities were winding down for the night, but there were a few places that James knew that he could go and get a little drunk for the rest of the night. Find someone to fuck that he would never have to see again to wipe thoughts from his head that he had no business having. M would have his bollocks for garters if he ever touched Walmond that way.

In the end, James went back to his room and settled in for a night of wanking to the porn that he found tasteful enough to actually be on his laptop. There wasn’t a lot of it but enough to drain his bollocks and made his hand cramp.

Chapter 7

July 18, 2005

James was back from a short mission helping Alec steal some files from a corrupt General in Mongolia. Alec told James that it was the rumour that it wasn’t going to be long before James was put up to Double-O status.

Walmond was turning eighteen that day, and when James had arrived back in London, instead of to the house that Walnond’s foster parents had lived in, James was directed to Hackney. The agent that James was taking over for had an apartment there, and it was already wired for everything that James would need in his watching of Walmond. Including a line of sight on Walmond’s flat.

The flat was tiny, a single room that held kitchen, living, and dining rooms. James knew from the blueprints for the room that there was a bedroom in there but no line of sight let them see what was in there and no one had invaded the flat yet as Walmond hadn’t left it since getting the last of his things moved in. The electric bill for the place told James that it was something to do with Walmond and his computers, but there was no way to confirm until Walmond left.

James had a plan on that because Walmond had gone to sleep at two am, and it was just after four. Walmond was asleep on his bed in the front corner by the window and totally sacked out. James wasn’t sure if a bomb going off would wake him up.

It was the work of a few seconds for James to pick the lock on Walmond’s door. He was a little worried about that until he remembered that this kid didn’t have to worry about anything from the world that wasn’t digital. Walmond’s only worries came from the computer.

Walmond slept without making any sound at all. James wasn’t sure that he was breathing until he really watched for the slight rise and fall of his back from breathing. Walmond was face down on the bed; blankets tucked all the way to his neck. He was in the centre of the bed.

James looked around a little, little for cameras and such but he could see none. James settled the bag he carried with him onto the counter using a handle to pluck the heavy bottle from inside. He settled it onto the counter dan rolled up the canvas bag before tucking it into a pocket. There was little to do except look around.

Walmond’s flat looked not that much different from his dorm room at uni. It was clean if a little cluttered with computer bits but nothing that was in a place to trip over. It looked like the lair of an evil genius more than the flat of a computer skills uni student.

There was a warmth in it though that had been lacking in the garage room that Walmond had been in with his foster parents. The little bit of interaction that James had with Walmond told James that this as more like what he wanted, he just hadn’t cared to do anything beyond the basic of what he needed to entertain himself.

Walmond snorted and rolled over, James froze in his spot, waiting to see if Walmond woke up. Walmond sprawled on his back, his mouth open for a few seconds before it closed and there was no sound again. James marvelled at the kid and his ability to sleep with no sound coming from himself. James smirked to himself because Walmond wasn’t a kid anymore. He could be classified as a young man now that he was eighteen.

It took a little bit of James just being in the apartment for him to hear what was going on in the bedroom that had the door shut. It was as he thought, a server room of some kind. James tested the handle, and when it gave quickly with a push, he stepped into the room, tensing for an alarm to go off, but nothing happened. There was a bank of computer towers in the back side of the room, the single window into the room had the blackout curtain pulled around it. James mostly shut the door behind him, knowing that the change in the sound of the room could wake Walmond up.

It looked like a smaller version of what James had seen of the server room at MI6, which was woefully outdated compared to this. There was also a lot less dust. James could see no master computer with screen and keyboard, but he wasn’t even going to try and do anything like touching it.

James had learned one simple thing in all of the classes that he had been taking. Walmond didn’t learn this stuff so much as he was this. Computers were his lifeblood, and he was damned good at them. The knowledge that James retained from his classes was nothing compared to what Walmond just seemed to know.

There were more piles of parts inside of the room. Guts from computers that looked fried as compared to the ones that were in the living room area that was pristine. Walmond’s laptop had been out in the living room, but it looked like he was building a new one in the server room.

James made sure that he knew every inch of the server room before he started to really look at things. He found what he was looking for and that was a thing that looked like a tablet velcroed to the side of one of the towers. James grabbed gloves from his pocket and slipped them on before grabbing it.

A simple touch to the screen and it woke up, even with latex gloves on.

What can I do for you today, Q? was on the screen. James frowned. That wasn’t what he was expecting. The screen was black with the writing in a bright purple. James was little shocked by that, but if this were his central access, James would have no way of hacking that with his tiny skills at hacking.

A.I.s were talked about in class, small discussions in the realm of science fiction and not science fact but this computer of Walmond’s was piquing James’s interest. This explained some of why MI6 still had not actually caught onto Walmond’s exploits. James wouldn’t be shocked if some of Walmond’s hacking he did to get caught and let MI6 see him and the rest he kept quiet.

James made a vow to check the MI6 servers when he got back to his flat for the morning. See if Query had popped up on their radar at all yet. James also wondered if he could get into MI5 and check their database. MI6 would only care about Query if he was a threat to the world and if he were only hacking local it would be on the MI5 radar. James knew that MI5 and MI6 were linked, and it would make a hack from MI6 into MI5 easier, but James had never tried it.

A clock sounded in the living room ad James knew that he was on borrowed time. He needed to get out of the flat and make sure that he took care of his prints. James wiped down what he touched, even with gloves on as he stepped out of the room. He locked the door behind him and shut it before testing it. Everything was good. James had near perfect line of sight of the flat from his flat, so after stopping at a little twenty four hour place to grab a few quick meals for the day, James settled into the desk area where the bay of screens was for him to watch Walmond.

Walmond woke up around seven after five hours of sleep, which was sometimes normal for him. James was at the desk working on a personal bit of searching before he started to actually work on trying to hack MI5. Walmond walked around in nothing but his pants for nearly an hour while drinking five cups of tea and stretching. It took a few poses for James to realise that it was yoga.

After the yoga was done, Walmond ate breakfast. It looked like yoghurt and granola, but James couldn’t be sure as the young man ate it leaning against the counter near the fridge, which was the only area that wasn’t that visible from the cameras that were placed in sight spots. Walmond ate well for a uni student, much better than James had in his short stint in uni the first time and many times better than his years in the Navy. Walmond was thin, but it was a wiry thin that could hurt someone if he really wanted to.

James had to wonder if Walmond was slightly afraid of someone coming after him for turning in his father. His security measures sucked for that, but then it would be more getting away than keeping someone like them out. Anything he did would be hard pressed to keep people like them out.

It wasn’t until halfway through the morning that Wlamond noticed James’s gift to him. Walmond stared at the bottle of damned good scotch for ten minutes before he stepped over to it. James left no tag on it or anything that would identify where he had got it. He had also paid cash for it in another country and snuck it back in, just to be safe from Wlamond tracking him.

Walmond cracked the seal on the scotch and sniffed it before taking a drink. James was rewarded with the look of shock on his face at the strength of the drink. After Walmond got used to it though, he took a healthy sip with a grin on his face. M would skin James alive if she knew that James was giving Walmnd alcohol on his birthday, as a present or just as anything. Agents of MI6 already had issues with drink, and if M were going to pull him into MI6, she would not want him already on the bottle before he started.

James had promised the young man his first bottle of drink on the day he was legally able to purchase it. James did not want to risk actually waiting for Walmond to go to a bar so sneaking in and dropping it off was the best thing.

Walmond held off drinking more until late in the afternoon after he had eaten lunch and after he had eaten a snack. At about seven in the evening, James regretted getting the large bottle as Walmond was halfway through it and had been on his computer for hours. James was reasonably sure that Walmond was hacking someone, but he had no way of telling.

Instead of focusing on that, James started his search for Query in the database of MI6. There was a brief mention of the name in a report filed by MI5 to MI6. So James set about beefy up the firewalls on his computer before he started the hack into MI5.

After half an hour, James found a backdoor into MI5 that was well hidden however when he started down that rabbit hole; it kicked him out of it.

Naughty, naughty.-Query

James grinned and turned to look at the monitors. Walmond looked down at the corner of his screen and James watched him start to type away, but instead of looking happy, he looked vicious. James had already covered the webcam on his computer, so when the icon popped that his webcam was on, James just grinned and executed a wipe. Everything was backed up to the MI6 database on a nearly hourly basis, and James hadn’t don’t anything that he would miss, but the way to backtrack would be gone.

Walmond frowned and took another swig of the scotch before changing tactics. It would only seem like someone had tried to follow his path and hopefully, James would be safe. It meant though that Walmond was already inside of MI6 and MI5. James trusted that the young man was good. He had turned his father in at a young age, and there wasn’t a single thing that James had learned about him over the years that said he wasn’t loyal to England anymore.

Q before now to James was the Quartermaster of MI6. Old Major Boothroyd who needed someone like Walmond on his staff to make sure that MI6 was safe for the long term. Q-Branch was the slowest to change when it needed to be the first. James thought about M’s screen in her office and on her wall that was high tech, but nothing like that came from Q-Branch. It could though, and James knew that from the university. James wanted to see better things from MI6, and for that they needed bright, young things like Walmond, Q now in James’s mind because without doing a damned thing besides hacking MI6 many times, he was more worthy of that moniker than old Boothroyd.

James looked at Q through the window, watching him hack or do whatever he was doing and looking like he was having the time of his life, drunk off of his ass without leaving his flat. James had got little sleep the night before a nap on the flight home, but he would stay up all night so that after Q passed out, James could watch over him.

Chapter 8

June 2006

James was sitting in his flat sipping his bottle of scotch and trying to figure out what he wanted to do. He wanted to go out and find the asshole that had made Vesper love him and betray her country to save him. It was all too much, and he needed something else to do but sit there and mope, and he knew it. Going after the fucker wasn’t an option because M was watching him. He would bide his time and go about it in his own way when it was time.

The chime from his phone told James that Tanner had texted him. James liked Tanner, he was a good man and good at what he did as Chief of Staff. It meant he had to corral the Double-O’s but that was more like herding cats, and he knew it and didn’t try and keep them contained as much as just knowing where the hell they were at any given point in time. James debated not getting up, but it could be a mission. It could be anything, and James would take it just to feel like he was getting something done. Even if it was something stupid like escorting a high MI5 official somewhere outside of London, James didn’t care.

M wants you in Hackney as soon as possible.

James grinned because while it was stupid as fuck for him to watch over the young man it was at least something to do, and James could have some fun in Hackney while watching the young man. Q had taken a dead end job James had heard from Alec as Alec was the last Double-O that had watched Q. Of course, James was the only one that thought about Walmond as Q, and it did fit so well. James hadn’t thought much about the young man in the almost year since he had seen him.

Q got smashed on his birthday and Query was found to have hacked more than seventeen websites, all tracing back to a house with little old lady and man inside that had a computer to watch cat videos, and that was it. MI5 had spent months looking for Query if the scuttlebutt was to be believed and since it was from M, James believed that. MI5 and MI6 had not linked Walmond to Query yet. James figured that it was a merry old game for Q to do it. One day Q would be caught, and he would either pick MI6 or MI5, but James figured that he would pick MI6. Q had made his choice plain. James wondered if both MI6 and Q were waiting for the other to come forward to make the first overture. James didn’t care enough to do anything about it. Hell, MI6 still hadn’t figured out that Query was someone they needed or that Query was Walmond.

James could have got a taxi to Hackney, but he wanted his car with him. The newest Aston Martin with its perfect interior. The MI6 flat was better than the one that Q rented, and it came with a parking garage that had cameras so it wasn’t in danger but James would want to find someone to take his mind off of things.

This assignment had been the one that James had dreaded after being assigned it, and even after he had got used to it, he had come to dread long hours with nothing to do but watch a young man type away at a computer.

The area in Hackney that Q’s flat was in looked the same, even if James hadn’t been there since July of the year before. James drove around the block that Q’s flat was on as well as the one that the MI6 flat was on before he finally parked beside the nondescript grey car that he knew was an MI6 issue. James hated those cars because while many people drove them, it was a standard government issue, so they were looked for in a situation more than a car like his own.

Security for the flat was lacking, but James knew that. They weren’t afraid of Q getting into it because the young man still had no clue that he had a watchdog and if it was someone who was taking them out to get to Q, well they were in for a surprise. The security was dumped into the computers that were in there and not into securing the flat at all because the agents or agent inside was the security. Nothing else was needed.

“007,” 009 said. James knew that his name was Jim Demarco and that he had been promoted to Double-O just before James.

“Jim,” James said with a grin. Jim laughed and stuck his hand out for a shake. James knew that many of the Double-O’s were going to be wary around him for a while. The whole of the Casino Royale affair was no secret. James hated that it was cannon fodder for the masses, but he would rather it than a secret and have to confronted with questions. Secrets were for everyone else, not those that worked in MI6.

“He’s been holed up for two weeks. He’s not left and has all of his groceries brought in and eats takeout every single damned night. This kid’s the easiest job in the world.”

“He has been for years, except when he isn’t.”

“Yeah, I read those files about the time he was drugged and the time he was almost drugged. Quick thinking on your part. I’m off to Ibiza now, and you get to sit and watch moss grow on his back.”

James grinned even brighter, and Jim laughed before leaving. James looked around, seeing that his personal work laptop had been dropped off at some point. M had planned on sending him to watch over Q. There was also his kind of scotch in the cabinet. He could see a little left of Alec’s Vodka in a bottle and grabbed it to finish it off. James wasn’t going to be pulled from this duty for a long while. So Alec didn’t need his alcohol at all.

It was just after in the afternoon when James looked at the time. Late enough that getting drunk sounded like a good idea.

“Hello, you,” a voice said after nearly a half an hour of James sipping at his scotch. The Vodka was long gone, and all that was left was James’s scotch. The dregs of two other bottles having been drunk as well. There was little to do but watch the screens, but Q hadn’t moved in the time that James had been there, so his mind had been wandering. It wasn’t anymore.

James focused on the screen to see Q looking down at a cat that was in the flat. James had looked over the notes that were left about him, and it seemed that it was a stray that Q fed when it deigned to come into Q’s flat.

“Still so pretty,” Q said as he sat back and picked up the cat.

James was shocked to have audio that was as clear as it was. Some mics did well at picking up voices through windows, but none were as clear as this. James pushed himself up off the couch to sit down in the chair in front of the bay of monitors and grab the tech book. Even with time away, James still read the notes better than probably the people who wrote them. James marvelled at the fact that Alec had got a mic inside and had been able to keep it there.

Q wasn’t stupid, so he was either blind to it or never looked for it. James would go for that because the young man trusted way too much in life. James didn’t want the day to come where the trust was broke, not like James felt right now. James had always trusted those that he worked with. Alec trusted him, and he trusted Alec. James had trusted the men and women that he worked with in the Navy. James wasn’t sure that he trusted anyone anymore. He didn’t know what to do, and while time on his hands to figure that out was good, James didn’t want that.

James picked up the bottle of scotch and put the lid on it before putting it back where it belonged. According to Q’s schedule, he was going to be starting his job in a few minutes and working until it was late in the night. James had time to go out and find someone. It had been a year, but he was sure that someone was around for him to find and fuck.


James arrived back at the flat, and the screens showed Q in the same place that he had been left. James watched the feed on a fast forward from the moment that he had left and found that other than to get up for tea or take-out, Q didn’t get up from the desk he was working at until around midnight. He was gone for ten minutes and came back looking like he had made a new cup of tea and had hopefully gone to the bathroom. Then it was back to work. James had no clue what Q did other than online and over the phone tech support. MI6 stayed out of the company’s records for Q as it was a domestic place with no need to hack or do anything untoward.

There was nothing in Q’s file with MI6 under his real name on why M was still following him if it seemed that M wasn’t going to hire him. Q had several degrees, gotten at the same time under his belt and was still pursuing another that was totally online. According to the file, Q had given his last term paper to his professor by hacking the man’s computer and dropping it into his work folder. The cheek of it as well as the strength of the paper had earned Q an A., So it was a game now according to what MI6 knew. Q had to submit all of his papers that way from now until the end of his term. If he couldn’t, Q would get a B on them as the highest grade.

Several emails from Q-Branch told James that Q was still hiding himself behind a wall that he let no one into. There was evidence of the hacks that Query did in the system, and it didn’t match the hack that Q had done to turn in his father.

James spent the rest of the hours of the night, coming off his drunk to go over both sets of code to find something that told him that Query was the same as Walmond St. Clair, even though he had the words from Q’s mouth several times, trust was a rare commodity to James.

“Come on you,” Q said aloud to the room, and it caused James to look up at him in shock. The cat was back and was jumping onto Q’s bed where James realised that Q was wearing just pants. He knew that from Alec’s file but still to see it. To see his lithe body again had James watching as Q fell asleep on his front with a pillow bunched under his head and a stray cat on the bed beside him.

James watched Q as he didn’t move for an hour. It was weird to see him so still, even when his body was still, his hands were not, typing away at a computer for hours at a time, stopping once an hour to stretch and make sure that his hands were not going to cramp.

Shoving the files off of his lap, James stood up and grabbed the lock picking set that was on the stand at the door. It was just after two and James knew that once Q was asleep, nothing would wake him. Probably even that cat in bed with him.

Getting into Q’s flat was just as easy as it always had been. It looked the same except for the catbox in the corner. James smiled at it because this was more than just a stray cat. There was evidence of the cat using the box. James figured that a cat was a perfect pet for Q, their personalities were matching.

James went to the server room to find that it was still pristine and there was no collected dust on any of the towers. There were three new towers in the lineup. James smiled at the towers because unlike before all of them had names. The two biggest were Arthur and Merlin, and the two smallest were Bit and Bob. The other eight had random and weird names like Helga and Rowena. James left the room without touching anything.

The cat jumped off the bed to come over and investigate the new human. James smiled and petted it, finding a collar around its neck. James grabbed the little tag that was on it and saw that the cat’s name was Walther. James was a little shocked by that. Why the hell would Q name his cat after a gun? As far as James knew Q had never been around a gun besides when James was wearing one when he was around Q. It had to be a quirk or just something interesting about Q. James wanted to ask. He looked at Q, still asleep in bed before wandering toward the window. James looked over at the flat he would be in until M decided he was allowed to go on another mission. Cooling his heels in Hackney sounded like hell, but at least it would give James time to do what he wanted.

James looked over the window, the small window into the life of Walmond St. Clair that James had and as he did, he looked at the little defect in the corner. At a closer look, James realised that it wasn’t a defect at all but a small microphone. James was shocked that Q-Branch had made something that had escaped the notice of Q in his own apartment. James tapped it and stepped away. Q’s laptop was just asleep on the desk, and James brushed his knuckle over the trackpad to find that it woke up and was on the main screen, not a login screen. James was tempted to get onto the computer to find evidence of what Q was up to when he wasn’t working, but he knew that he’d never be able not to leave a trace that Q couldn’t find. James walked away from the computer and hoped that it went back to sleep. MI6 had never been able to get inside of Q’s computer in any way shape or form. One agent had got inside while Q had been out for a checkup with the doctor but the virus planted had been found within seconds by whatever safeguards that Q had on the damned thing and destroyed. There was no evidence of anything to link Q to hacking after he had hacked MI6 to betray his father. Outside of the hacking done while he was in college and taught how to hack.

As he was leaving, James looked at the bookshelf that had many of the texts from college as well as a vast collection of paperback books in stacks. James’s eyes roved over the titles and smiled as he saw many fantasy and science fiction books as well as a few biographies of world leaders. There was a small section of books that were up and down and not in a stack, leaning against a bottle of some kind. James stepped closer to it and saw that it was the bottle that had held the scotch that James had bought for him. There was nothing inside of it at the moment, but James wondered why Q had kept it. He wondered if Q was keeping it to remind himself that someone had broken into his place on his birthday or if he thought that the person who had broke in would like that he had kept it. James knew it was the same bottle because there had been a scratch on the label and that scratch was there.

The cat meowed and jumped up onto the bed. Q groaned and held up the side of the covers and the cat dove underneath. James could hear him purring from across the room. James stayed where he was as he waited for Q to become totally still again. It took ten minutes for James to feel safe moving and leaving. James had wiped his prints as he had moved around, so he only had to clean up the doorknob as he left.

Hackney was dead at nearly four in the morning. There was an off-license open and James bought himself a bottle of scotch because he would need it.

James didn’t feel like trying to sleep, even though James knew that he should. Sleep should be got when the target was sleeping, but James knew Q like the back of his hand, and that had not changed in the year that he had been away. Instead of laying in bed and staring at the ceiling, James settled into the chair that had been moved close to the window to allow the agents watching Q to sit there and watch him instead of on camera. James had the laptop with him, and he started to search for the name that Vesper had given him.

Mr. White was going to be found, and James was going to make sure that every single bit of pain that James felt for the betrayal was going to be visited on him. Mr. White was the only name that James had, and he was going to use it figure out the game plan because Le Chiffre had been a ploy, a game piece moved across the board by another hand. Mr. White would lead to where James needed to be.

Chapter 9

January 2007

James listened to Beatrice as she ordered a bottle of champagne and strawberries. James would have gone for the caviar, but he had told her to order whatever she wanted. James was glad to be back in England, and hopefully, he would be for a while. He had not visited most of his distractions in months. Putting the final touches on the Vesper mission and making sure that the people who had turned her into what she was had taken a lot of time.

The light in the sitting room of the suite dropped off, and James blinked at the low light. The only light was from the kitchen area and the bathroom and bedroom. James watched Beatrice as she stripped off her sheer robe. James licked his lips as she walked to him in just her underwear. She tanned naked on a regular basis and her skin was a perfect colour to pull off the blood red bra and panties that she wore. Beatrice leaned over, bracing her hands on the arms of the chair before she ducked her head for a kiss. James kissed her with fervour. She was perfect, and James couldn’t wait to have her riding him in the chair. It was his favourite way to have her, and he indulged at least once during his nights with her.

“What do you want, James?” Beatrice asked, her lilting accent went right to James’s cock, making it finally want to take part in what was going on. James was down to his trousers and undershirt, Beatrice having stripped him that far before pushing him into the chair and giving him the drink. Beatrice had rented the room and arrived before James. The dress that she had been wearing when James arrived had not lasted past the outer door. James had used his wandering hands to work on the zip at the back of it, and it was still in a puddle on the floor by the door. Beatrice would have to pick it up before she allowed room service in.

“I’ve dreamed about your mouth,” James said before he rubbed his thumb over said mouth. It was heady, watch her lips part before she sucked his thumb into her mouth. James applied pressure to her jaw, and instead of opening her mouth to let the thumb slip out, she dropped to her knees between his spread legs. Only when she was level with James’s cock did she let go and allow James to have his thumb back. Beatrice quickly ducked her head to licked his cloth covered cock, which was hard and throbbing already.

“What have you dreamed of doing to my mouth?” Beatrice asked before she started to work on James’s belt. James lifted his hips up enough to where she could pull the leather free of its loops and toss it back behind herself. Nimble fingers worked on James’s button and zip before finally pulling his cock out of his pants and trousers. James sipped at his drink as Beatrice licked the head of his cock. Beatrice had paperwork that stated that she was free of anything so she wouldn’t have to put a condom on James for at least the oral section of the night. James was not going to go inside of her ass or cunt without one though. She was still young enough to where she could get pregnant, and James did not want a child. No matter if any child of his could easily pass for a child of her husband’s. It was a complication that James didn’t want or need.

“Everything,” James said before setting his glass down on the small stand beside the chair. He ran his fingers through her hair for a second before those fingers tightened and gripped. Beatrice gasped and ducked down as James tugged on her to get her mouth wrapped around his cock. James didn’t mind coming in her mouth, and he knew that he could get it up quick enough for her to enjoy his cock in her for a little while. Beatrice had a wicked mouth and loved to use it so she wouldn’t see a problem with him getting off quickly.

James used his hand to hold her in place as he thrust in and out until he was over the first wave of the want to go off. When he was more settled, he let go and grabbed his drink again. Beatrice needed no words to start to bob up and down on him, her little hands tugging at his trousers. James lifted his hips to allow her to start to strip him the rest of the way. She pulled off his cock only long enough to pull his pants down after she got his trousers to his knees. James loved to thrust in an out of her mouth but loved letting her do what she wanted just as much.

There was no need to warn Beatrice that his orgasm was imminent because she had her hand on his balls. She felt them tighten and pulled her head back. She looked up at James before moaning as he came in her mouth. Beatrice kept her eyes locked with James’s as she swallowed. It was always so damned good.

“You’ve been drinking a lot,” Beatrice said as she took the tumbler from James’s hand to wash the taste of semen from her mouth. James waited until she had finished it off before hauling her up to straddle his waist and kiss her again. James chased the taste of damned good scotch in her mouth, grinding her soaking wet cunt on his naked cock. James lifted his hand to cup Beatrice’s tit and thumb at her silk encased nipple before separating his lips from her. James smirked at her before ducking his head and licking at her nipple. Beatrice had very sensitive nipples. He could make her come just from that alone, and he planned to do that.

“James, please,” Beatrice begged as he stilled her hips on him. Holding her to where she could not thrust on his cock anymore, giving her no sensation beside his hand on her tit and his lips on the other.

“Come like this, my dear, and you’ll get everything else that you want,” James uttered into the silk covered flesh. James slipped his fingers between silk and flesh and pulled up, popping her tit free from the cup. He slipped that had back behind her and switched which tit he was mouthing at. He cupped her other tit with his now free hand and slipped it out of the cup just enough to tease at the nub with his thumb. James scraped his teeth down the swell of the tit he was mouthing at before letting the tip just catch on the nub. Beatrice came, undulating in James’s hold enough to where he had to use his hand he was using to keep her still to keep her on his lap. James didn’t let up, sucking the nipple into his mouth to swipe at it with his tongue before sucking a little harder.

“James, James. JAMES!” Beatrice screamed as James kept her right there, her body wanting less of the sensation but more at the same time. She keened out her pleasure as James kept on making her shudder and shiver at the feeling until finally, she slumped in his arms.

“Beautiful,” James utter against the flesh between her tits.

“Cad,” Beatrice said.

There was a knock at the door, so James helped Beatrice’s tits back into the bra cups before she slipped off his lap to find the sheer robe and don it.

“I’ll get the door, you wash up,” Beatrice said, eyeing his cock.

“Be a dear and look fetching when I get back,” James said before he got up to walk into the bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror, not liking who he was seen staring at him but this was needed to get himself back to who he was. Before he had become a Double-O and his heart ripped out and trashed. He fucked married women in hotels, never at his place, and he had a string of them so that no one would think that he liked them for more than the sex that they had. There were no strings on either end. There were even a few married men, who married for status but wanted fucked by men to feel alive. James would have to visit one of them soon. He thought about Peter who hated that he loved a cock in his arse. He liked to be fucked like a whore, over and over as the night went. James liked to indulge him because it was so good. Getting off over and over with a man who wanted nothing more than to be fucked. Peter was perfect because he could come just from a cock rubbing over his prostate and James could fuck him to where that didn’t happen, making Peter beg and beg until finally James really fucked him.

James took his time washing up, stripping his undershirt off finally and tossing it out into the room where the rest of his clothes were. He could hear Beatrice in the bedroom, knowing that she likely cleaned up some, picking up her dress and stockings from the living room and setting them in the bedroom. There was a small kit in the bathroom so that Beatrice could clean herself up after James was done with her. She didn’t mind leaving in the same dress that she came in but she would not leave with her makeup or hair out of place at all.

Beatrice was on the bed with the bucket with ice and the opened bottle of champagne on the nightstand. There were two flutes already filled beside the bucket. The strawberries were on the bed beside Beatrice with several of them placed on her body. James grinned as he looked at her nipple with a half a strawberry on each covering up his second favourite body part. There was a trail of them up and down the centre of her chest from the hollow of her throat down to her shaved cunt. She had her legs canted up and spread so that he could see all of her cunt, including the strawberry that was whole and laying on the bed right at where her cunt was. James grinned because it would be hard but not impossible for him to get on the bed without dislodging a single strawberry and so he knew it was a challenge.

James went for the strawberry on the bed first, snagging it up and letting it roll into his mouth to where he could lick the naked cunt in front of him. James sucked on her clit before chewing the berry in his mouth. There was another right at the apex of her sex, quivering in her need to keep still despite what James’s tongue had just been doing to her. James wasted no time going from cunt to throat, ignoring the tits and their berries. James reached over to the other nightstand to grab the condom there as he licked at the hollow of her throat. Getting a condom on was easy, and James only used two hands to rip the package open.

Slipping the condom on, James watched Beatrice as she prepared to be fucked. James grabbed a flute of champagne and downed it quickly. Beatrice moaned and shook her body like she was trying to remind him that she was there.

“Pushy.”

James pushed up to press his covered cock into her cunt, rubbing a little before snagging her flute of champagne. He slipped a hand below her head to hold it up to where he could drizzle the champagne into her mouth. Beatrice moaned as his cock kept rubbing her in all the right ways as he slowly fed her the champagne. James grabbed a strawberry when her flute was empty and fed it to her.

The bottle of champagne was only partially empty, so James picked it up to drizzle a little on Beatrice’s tits, stomach, and even down between her legs. James drank the rest and picked the last strawberry from the container before tossing it away. James set it down on the swell between her tits and reached down to line up his cock with her cunt. In one smooth, sure stroke, James was inside of her. She gasped, and one of the strawberries almost fell off.

“Ah, ah.” James held up his hand in a stop motion. “If one of those falls before I get them, I’m pulling my cock out of your cunt.”

“James,” Beatrice whined.

“Be a good girl for me,” James said as he ducked down to pluck the strawberry from between her tits. He leaned up to drop it into her mouth to give her something to focus on while he fucked her hard. Beatrice grabbed her tits to keep them steady when James really started to fuck her. When she was right on the edge of orgasm, James caught the last strawberry in his mouth and licked her nipple before catching the nub in between his teeth. Beatrice came so quick that her body could only tighten up and she threw her head back, mouth caught in a silent scream. James braced himself better on his hands and fucked her through the orgasm before gentling the pace to get himself off.

The ring of James’s phone had him pushing himself up to his knees, cock still buried in Beatrice’s tight cunt. James saw that she was getting aroused again, so he used his free hand to cup her cunt, his fingers teasing her lips wrapped around his cock and his thumb finding her clit. Beatrice moaned finally free of the intensity of her first orgasm.

“Bond,” James said not even looking at the number.

“Well I am glad that you are finding a nice diversion, 007 but you are needed in Hackney.” M sounded pissed, and it only made James want to rebel. He had been dreading a call from her because he knew that he wasn’t going to be sent on a mission anytime soon. Psych wanted him to have a month off.

“Why me?” James didn’t need the cooldown of going into Hackney. He needed to get back to his life and forget all about the bitch that had fucked him over.

“Because I ordered you to and I need 006 on a mission, and he’s the current watcher that we have. When 002 gets back, I will be sending her.”

“He’s just going to sit in his pants and code again. I don’t know why you have me and mine doing what any other staff could do. Hell, it could be done from the basement.” James knew that he had to be careful about what he said. Beatrice was flying high from sexual hormones, but she could hear something or remember something that he didn’t want her to.

“Because I ordered you to, Agent Bond and I will gladly bust you back down to regular agent if you piss me off. Get to Hackney and this time take a fucking taxi to get there and not an Aston Martin.” M hung up almost before she got the full sound of the last N in Aston Martin out.

James tossed his phone on the bed and looked down at Beatrice. He had kept on fucking her until he had stopped talking to M. James finished with her, getting her off one more time before he allowed himself to orgasm as well. James pulled from her body, and she was laying on the bed seemingly asleep.

Using the bathroom to shower quickly, James was gone from the suite in ten minutes, dressed again and his phone in hand. James stopped at his flat quick enough to get some clothes together and to grab his gun. He wasn’t going without it.

Alec was gone before James made it to Hackney, the only evidence that he had been there was the vodka that was still out. James capped it and looked the equipment that was there. Most of it had been upgraded. There was also a note that James should read all of the files over the year.

James snorted as he read the note and binned it before dropping down to look at the surveillance equipment to see what Q was up to. Walther was there on the bed, asleep by the look of him and James wasn’t shocked that the cat was still there.

The files on Q were there, and all of them listed him as Walmond and James wondered when Mi6 was going to catch on to who Q really was and if they were going to offer him that job then. James wondered if M was waiting for Q to do something that was going to get him in trouble and then decide to step in to save him from a horrible fate from the goodness of her heart. There would be a lot of files wiped if that happened. James could see Q destroying MI6 from the inside if he ever found out that M had been watching him. There was a reason that all files on Walmond St. Clair were on paper only. Even when an agent was assigned to watch him, there was a code name for a mission that didn’t exist in actuality. James didn’t care about telling him the truth because Q was nothing to him but a mark that he thankfully didn’t have to seduce.

M needed to make a decision soon on inviting him or get someone better in Q-Branch that would actually be able to catch him on what he was doing because no one had caught him.

There was a woman in Q-Branch that was going to be perfect to be the one to catch him if Boothroyd let her do what she was hired to do which was bring MI6 into the current times. It was insane that a still teenager could run circles around MI6 and hack them and no one notice it. James knew that some of the bloody people in the Home Office didn’t care for how M ran MI6 but they had no one else they thought would actually do better in her position, so James wondered if not letting MI6 step forward in time was part of their plan on getting rid of her. Show her to be inept and be able to remove her. James hoped not because there would be a fight on their hands.

Q finally moved from where he was actually at a real desk that faced the window. There were parts all over it, and James had to wonder what Q was building, but there was no rush to know. James instead found a novel that was in the corner of the MI6 work desk and picked it up. There was a sticky note on it from Alec. Telling him not to get attached to the characters as his favourite had been beheaded at the end of the first novel. James laughed and opened it to the first page.

There was nothing to do but watch Q work and James was not going to do that. He would take his licks for doing what he did to get justice for Vesper, and when M allowed him out in the world, he would go and be the agent that England needed, which probably wasn’t the agent that M wanted him to be.

It was two weeks later that James realised that Q still ran around in his pants more than anything else in the flat and he drank more tea than water and still lived off of takeaway. He didn’t leave the flat unless he had to, which seemed to be only for doctor visits or to get a new phone when he invariably fried his. His phone company had to love him.

James was reading through another book he found in a shop after following Q to get a new phone when he realised that while Q spent little on anything that wasn’t cat or phone related, he was spending too much on phones that he paid cash for. James picked up the record of Q’s financials to find that MI6 had already noted that Q worked under the table for a few places in the area around where he lived. He made a good bit of money helping them with websites and other trivial tech things that would usually cost an arm and a leg to have anyone else do it. If Q bought things from the place, they paid him nothing but gave him free goods, if he didn’t they paid him in cash, and it was dropped into his mailbox in the ground floor of the block. It was an odd way to do things, but it seemed right for Q.

That helped James understand why Q was doing what he was doing. Q was smart and what he had gone to university for was not working a dead end job as tech support and back-end maintenance to a large company. Any other demanding job would not give him the time he wanted to do what he wanted, and James could understand that.

James had seen a lot of people like that in his job. Too intelligent for anything truly mundane but not driven enough to actually make themselves into anything. Most of the ones that James had met though had gone to the wrong side of the law to keep themselves entertained. Q though was the model British citizen. It made James want to stab his eyes a little. He knew that he needed a mission and he needed to stay on M’s good side to do that so maybe he was better off just reading when Q was awake and sleeping when Q was asleep. The system was set to wake James if Q moved in the night and not the damned cat.

Plans made, James went back to his book and tried to ignore the young man running around in his flat in pants and only pants with a cup of tea in his hand and a sandwich in the other.

Chapter 10

March 2007

James looked around the flat and sighed before dropping down into the chair that was facing the window. There was a new stack of fantasy books on the window sill. It was three in the morning, and James wasn’t all that shocked that when he had been in MI6, it had been a ghost town. James had filed his report before leaving the Vauxhall building and headed to Hackney all on his own.

Knowing it was where he was going to end up, James figured that he could get a headstart and be there before M even woke up for the day. He would rather be yelled at by her over the phone than in person.

It was almost dawn when James looked up from the book again. The lights in Q’s flat were on, and James was shocked by that. He hadn’t looked at Q’s files for the two months since he had been there.

The phone in the flat rang as James was making himself a cup of coffee. He added a little bit of cream to it and a teaspoon of sugar. It was an excellent brand of coffee. Alec liked coffee, and he bought good brands. James had been used to the swill that the Navy had and drank whatever was there. Alec though might make him a coffee snob. It was a bit of banter between them with James liking all of the more elegant things in life but drinking whatever swill he was handed when handed coffee.

“Hello,” James said, forcing himself to say that instead of answering with his name. There was the chance that it was a wrong number and he had no clue what name the flat was under anymore.

“I was shocked when Diebold was here this morning. He said you had relieved him. What the hell are you doing?”

“Permitting you sending me here. Isn’t that what happens to me when I do shit that pisses you off?”

M let out a sigh that told James that she wasn’t upset with him. James frowned.

“When you kill people, we want information from yes I get pissed, but since you killed a woman who attacked you, I don’t see how I can be upset with you. You finished the mission with a small body count compared.”

“Well, I’m already here.” James looked out to see Q moving around the flat. It was way too early with Q working the late shift as he had been the last time that James was there.

“I’ll send someone around soon.”

“Good.” James hung up not waiting for M to say anything else. James pushed himself up and out of the chair to grab the paper logbook that marked everything that Q did. All of the notes were in Alec’s handwriting with a smattering of 003’s. Q had been swapped to an early shift for the past two weeks. Starting at seven and going until seven in the evening five days a week. James hoped that there were enough books to keep him entertained.

Q settled into his desk with a bowl of something from the fridge about ten minutes before his work started. Q went outside even less than before, living in a digital world that MI6 couldn’t find.

James did what little working out that he could do inside of the flat. He would get a running route set up for himself the next day, figure out which block he wanted to run around. He might do a figure eight around both blocks.

It was boring, being on Q duty. James hated it because no one had tried to do anything as far as Q went since the CIA had tried when he had been younger. There was no reason that a junior agent couldn’t do this duty. There was really no reason that a Double-O had to be the one doing it.

James’s attention was brought back to the window when the motion sensor for the front of the building went off. James stood up and looked out. A group of two guys and a girl were pressing the button to talk to someone. Stepping back to look at the monitor, James saw Q look at the door. He frowned and stood up to walk to the door pressing the button. James hit the mic to hear what was said in the room but it picked up nothing. James frowned. He sat down at the computer and tapped a few keys. The microphone was not working. James was not sure why. It had picked up Q moving around earlier that morning. James had muted it when Q had been working, but the microphone should be working.

Running a diagnostic, James figured out that it stopped working right when the bell had been rung for Q to let the people up. That was not a coincidence. For it to stop then meant that Q had turned it off at his end. That meant that Q knew that the microphone was in the room and indulge MI6 in listening to him.

Hacking the microphone, James turned it back on. It was something that James shouldn’t know how to do, but still, he did. Mostly due to the classes he had taken while watching Q years before. James kept up with most of it during downtime on missions. The laptop that James was assigned only sent back to MI6 what he wanted it to. He was just good enough at that to do it.

The small group of people were inside of Q’s flat then, and James took pictures to run against facial recognition making sure none of it went back to MI6. All three of them were on MI5’s watchlist of hackers who hadn’t done anything to warrant the government stepping in but could with a blink of an eye. James grinned at that because it proved that he was right that Q’s world existed online and little in the real world.

“So, Q, who else is coming?” The girl asked.

“Just three others. Mattie, R, and Fran.”

“Just the Magnificent Seven then.” The girl giggled as she spoke. James rolled his eyes because even without looking he was sure that she was flirting.

“Always,” one of the guys said.

Q sighed, and the mic picked it up easily, so James looked at the cameras to see that Q was standing and looking down. It was too early for Q to be entertaining. He had another hour of work. As if alerting Q’s bosses that he wasn’t working a call came over Q’s computer. The room went silent, and James filtered out the call where Q was helping someone remotely. When he was done the noise of talking started up again, and the bell rang to let more people up. It was busier, so James was ignoring the alert for movement being set off.

James switched the feed to the outside cameras and saw that there was a car letting off two people before pulling away. One of them stepped up to the door and waited for the one that parked the vehicle came jogging up. The woman pressed on the keypad and James watched them enter. Whoever she was, she lived in the complex.

A few minutes later, James watched as the three of them entered Q’s apartment. The woman who had been typing on the keypad walked up to Q and hugged him while the other two stayed back.

“R, it’s been too long,” Q said.

James frowned. That meant the other two were Fran and Mattie. James was a little shocked that Mattie was a male and older than the rest of them. Usually, males dropped the Mattie when they hit puberty. James had been Jamie for a while until he had lost his innocence after the death of his parents.

The party that followed once Q was actually off of work was unlike any that James had ever seen before and really never wanted to be a part of or actually watch again. Laptops were brought out, and everyone was on them. It was a hacking party, James figured out twenty minutes into it. It seemed that they were playing around and seeing who could hack places first. Q won more times than anyone else. Mattie and Clyde got more and more upset about it as the night wore on.

“One last hack,” Clyde suggested just after two in the morning.

“Sure,” Q and R said at the same time.

“The Met.”

The other five were not looking at R or Q when Clyde said it. Instead, they were looking at each other. R gave Q a wicked grin before cracking her knuckles. James wasn’t sure what was going on, but he was sure that the other five were not in on whatever Q and R had planned.

It took an hour for Fran to claim herself victorious with Clyde, Mattie, Steve, and Austin getting in just a minute later. Q and R stopped typing then and grinned at their friends. The party wound down quickly after that. Computers being shut down, food being depressed because most of it was things that James didn’t see Q eating.

The next three days passed with no issue. Q didn’t leave the flat and didn’t make a single call. He only talked to his cat and usually just when Walther initiated contact. James purged his mind and his body pushing himself to the brink with runs around the block and workouts that he could do in the flat. During his morning run, he always fetched the paper. Several papers that he spent the rest of the morning reading.

James liked the little bit of domesticity that was fetching the paper and reading it while he ate breakfast. Buried near the end of the paper was an article that spoke of the arrest finally made on the group of people who were hacking the Met. James wouldn’t have thought anything of it except for the names. Austin Patricks, Clyde Stewart, Francine Haberdash, Matthew Allen, and Steve Quirks were the names and James got goosebumps at that. There were no images of the people, so James had no way of confirming if it was the five that had been at Q’s for that party. It was too damned close in time, and James didn’t like coincidences. The article went on to say that the group had been turned in by a woman who was in their inner circle. No mention of names of that person but James figured that it was Q.

Q was going out of his way to not be caught up in anything. That told James more than anything that Q was never going to be what MI6 wanted nor was he going to do what MI6 wanted and that was get caught to where they could offer him the job or prison speech. This just really cemented that a Double-O was not needed to watch him and James planned to tell M that when he met her for his next mission.

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