Safe Quarter

Title: Safe Quarter
Series: Reigniting Love
Ratings: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Fandom(s): James Bond
Category: M/M
Relationships: James Bond/Q
Characters: James Bond, Q
Tags: Canon Divergence, Canon-Typical Violence, First Time, Angst, Drama
Summary: James cherished the friendship that he had with Q but when he meets Madeline Swann, he realizes that he has all that he needs already, he just has to reach out and take it.
Words: 24,597
Year: Spectre (2015)
Spoilers: Up Through Spectre
Notes: There is dialogue from Skyfall and Spectre in this story.
Beta: ScarsLikeVelvet

Part 1

James Bond looked at the broken man that was at his feet.

“Finish it,” Oberhauser said. When James did nothing in response to what he said. He repeated it with more of a beg to the tone.

James dropped the magazine from the gun and released the bullet in the chamber. “Out of bullets.”

The look to where Mallory was showed nothing, so James looked at Madeleine. He looked back at Mallory when he heard a minor commotion. Tanner, Moneypenny, and Gale were there. Standing as far back as they could but still see what James was going to do. Seeing Gale there right then made James hesitate about what he was going to do. He looked back at Madeleine and sighed. He knew what he wanted. He knew what he needed, and she wasn’t it.

James looked again at Gale and let his memories wash over him. The biggest on his mind was the first time James had seen Gale after he had been shot off of the train in Turkey. Gale had known he was alive but kept that to himself, even from M. James hadn’t wanted Gale to think that he was dead. That really should have been the first clue to James, but it took until this moment for him to see his life as it should be.

The location that Gale had chosen to meet had been the strangest in the world to most. To James, it spoke of more because they had been to the particular section of the gallery many times, debating what started out as art but ended in much more than that.

“And besides, I’ve got something better to do,” James couldn’t help the grin that he gave Oberhauser before he started to walk over to where Madeleine was. He needed to get her to safety and MI6 were the only ones that could do that, but first, he needed to get her out of here, just in case someone came after her.

Settling Madeleine into the safe house was easy. It was one that not even MI6 knew about. He had kept it from them after it was found out that the merger was going through. James didn’t trust any of the assholes who ran MI5. He hadn’t since the whole Vesper thing.

“Where are you going, James?” Madeleine asked when James was checking the other gun that he had pulled from the safe. He also had a new phone there, burner with a single number programmed into it.

“I need to make sure that things are going well and check in with Mallory.”

“When are you coming back?”

“When I have things settled, and it will be safe to get you out of here.”

Madeleine looked upset that James didn’t go to her and give a kiss goodbye. James regretted very few things in his life. Regret wasn’t something that agents could carry and live, M had taught him that. James left, pulling the door shut and making sure that Madeleine locked the door behind him. When it was done, James walked down the stairs that would take him to the small parking lot that was for the residents. Guests had a much smaller lot. James found his car there. Gale had helped him rebuild the damned thing and add a few things here and there that were very much not stock on the vehicle.

There was a paper on the little ledge in front of where the speedometer was. It said that Gale had taken it for its oil change and usual maintenance just before James had made his trip to Mexico. Gale’s words on that were still ringing in James’s ears. James laid his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. And he remembered.

There was the shuffle of footsteps, and James almost looked. He had no clue who had replaced the old Quartermaster. There had been no leakage on that part. James wasn’t even sure when the old one had retired. Or if he had been one of the losses during the explosion.

“Always makes me feel a little melancholy.” Gale’s voice washed over James, and he relaxed some. He wondered why Gale had chosen now to approach him. Gale should have been at work, making sure that everything was secure and ready to go. “A grand old warship being ignominiously hauled away for scrap.”

Gale sighed, and it was what finally made James look at him. He looked the same as ever, just a little more tired. He was relaxed, and there was no anger in his posture. The emails between them while James had been enjoying death had been short and to the point. The last one that James got was the one that said he had made it through the explosion. James’s return emails were never answered, and while James usually would have been worried, he figured that Gale was being tapped to set up somewhere new. M trusted him and gave him a lot of jobs.

“The inevitability of time, don’t you think? What do you see?” Gale looked at him fully this time, even though James could only see that through the corner of his eye.

“A bloody big ship. Gale, I’m sorry, and I would love to catch up, maybe tonight depending on my flight. But I need to have you-”

Gale interrupted. “007. I’m your new Quartermaster.”

James turned his entire body to look at Gale. “You must be joking.” James had never even heard the whisper that it was the job that M wanted him for, but it did make sense. She had fought long and hard after his twin sister’s betrayal of the British government. She had made sure that his name was not sullied. Gale had fought just as hard, and James now fully understood why. The job he now had.

“Why, because I’m not wearing a lab coat?” Gale’s lips quirked into a smile as he said the words. It was an old game between them.

“Because you still have spots.”

“My complexion is hardly relevant. Though yours could do with a shave,” Gale said.

“Well, your competence is, and my facial hair is fine, thank you very much.”

“Age is no guarantee of efficiency.”

“And youth is no guarantee of innovation.” James kept the grin that wanted to break out onto his face firmly off of it. It was never good to give up the game this early with Gale.

“I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pyjamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.”

“Oh, so why do you need me?”

“Every now and then a trigger has to be pulled.”

“Or not pulled. It’s hard to know which in your pyjamas. Q.” James let the grin take over then, their little tête-à-tête was over and just like usual, neither of them won. James extended his hand for a shake.

“007.” Gale shook James’s hand, the hold lingering a little more than reasonable for strangers meeting in front of a painting, but it was all well and good because James didn’t give a fuck. “Ticket to Shanghai. Documentation and passport.”

“Thank you.” James slipped the envelope into his pocket and then looked back as Gale hadn’t got up.

“And this.” Gale handed over a sleek black case. James opened it immediately, there was a gun and an empty spot inside. “Walther PPK/S 9mm short. There’s a microdermal sensor in the grip. It’s been coded to your palm print so only you can fire it. Less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement.”

James would wait to congratulate him on the coding needed for that because he wanted to see how it worked before he praised Gale. Gale had been working on it for several months before James had shipped off to Turkey.

“And this?” James pointed to the empty spot. It was small, and nothing much could really fit there.

“Standard issue radio transmitter. Activate it, and it broadcasts your location. Distress signal.”

“And that’s it. A gun… and a radio. Not exactly Christmas, is it?”

“Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that anymore.” Gale stood up and walked over to James’ other side, forcing James to follow him to be polite. There was a shit-eating grin on his face. “Good luck out there in the field. And please return the equipment in one piece.” Gale was gone with that parting shot. Gale knew full well how much trouble James got into for not bringing things back.

“Brave new world.” James stood up and followed behind Gale. The man was waiting at a taxi just outside. James watched him get into it and just seconds later, the new cell phone that Tanner had given him chimed. There was a text.

/Still at the same old place./

James shook himself out of the memory there. There was no reason to go any further into it. He knew it all. He knew his history better than anyone else. He had been going down memory lane since he had figured out that Oberhauser was alive. He refused to think of him as anything but by the name he was born with. The name given to him by the father it seemed he had killed. James regretted that he hadn’t killed Oberhauser now that he was over the thought that he had to do what he could to make Madeleine love him more.

The thing was that James knew that he didn’t need her love. He had what he needed in his life but had been too scared to step forward and grab it. James had never been afraid of anything in his life like he was losing Gale. Sitting in that chair in Tunisia, strapped down and told that he was going to forget Madeleine, he had looked afraid, he had felt fear, but it wasn’t her but Gale.

James forced himself to get going. Sitting around wasn’t going to do him any good. James headed toward where MI6 was stationed and found that the place was still crawling. High officials were milling around, talking to each other. James wondered what was going to happen with the merger now. MI5 was without a head, a head who had been a terrorist. James wondered what happened to C. He would have to ask Mallory or Gale.

“Bond,” Tanner said as he stepped up to James’ car. James got out and nodded at the man. “M wanted me to escort you to him as soon as possible.”

“How is Gale?” James asked.

Tanner’s face broke into a small smile. “He’s fine. He’s down in his branch, securing everything. There is going to be an inquiry. He fought this as you well know. While hacking Nine Eyes, he found something worse.”

“What?” James asked. He followed along with Tanner as they entered the building, security knowing them both on sight and not even trying to stop them. The place sounded like it was the middle of the day and not the middle of the night.

“There was not just the nine countries with access but the network that Oberhauser was running and that linked to many terrorist organisations who were paying for the right to have that information.”

“So C was selling out not just England but every single country?”

“Yes. There is much to be answered for on the global scale. The good thing is that this will not come down on MI6 because we have enough data to show that we were fighting it tooth and nail while the rest of our government rolled over.”

James knew that this was going to make England look like they were school children trying to play in the big leagues, but James couldn’t help that at all. He had been one of the ones fighting this.

“Gale might be in a spot of trouble though,” Tanner said.

“Why?”

“Because he actively blocked C from getting into files that he was supposed to have access to. Though Mallory might just back him up and tell the world that it was an order because he didn’t trust C.”

“What files?”

“The current status of every single Double-Oh that was in the field, including you. He was also working on maintaining your file after Mallory had told him not to trace you with the Smart Blood.”

“Mallory has let him get a little distracted by the fact that he’s younger than most in the position that he is in.”

“Agreed but I think that Mallory is figuring it all out. Do you need medical?”

“Yes. My brain was drilled into some by Oberhauser in Tunisia, and no, I did not tell anyone when I was seen by medical there before coming home.”

“Then let’s go there.” Tanner snagged a tablet off of his desk, and James recognised that it was the one used to access files inside of MI6’s mainframe. It only worked inside of the building, losing all connection if it was taken out. Something that Gale had made.

James set through the medical exam and gave everything over to Tanner from the moment he had watched the tape that M had sent him to the bridge. Tanner didn’t need to know where Madeleine was. James listened as the doctor told him what not to do, stressing the things that would damage James more than he was. There wasn’t any brain swelling, but he was to come in for a daily scan until it healed.

“I’ll send these to the Quartermaster as well,” the doctor said. All of the doctors at MI6 knew that if they wanted James to follow what they wanted him to do, or not to do as the case was, they needed to make sure that Gale was given the instructions.

“You have the hands of a clumsy child!” Gale near screamed.

James was on his feet and out of the room that he had been examined in before he was even aware of getting up. There was the A&E area that was curtains around beds. There was only a single area that was blocked off, and James was over there ripping the curtain back in seconds. Gale was stripped nearly half-naked, and there was blood down his arm.

“Gale?” James asked as he looked at the fresh blood that was coming from where someone was trying to clean up the wound and doing a shite job about it.

“James?” Gale questioned. He looked like he was shocked to see him. “What are you doing down here?”

“Post mission medical examination. What happened to you?” James walked around the bed in time to see Tanner there. Tanner looked shocked, or James was going to yell at him.

“We had a small issue, and I just thought that I had bumped my arm into the side of the car and bruised it, but I guess when the bullets were shot into the car when we were getting out of the tunnel, I was shot. It was a graze, but I didn’t notice it until I was down in Q-Branch and trying to get things cleaned up so that no one gets into our systems with Nine Eyes down.” Gale looked down at his arm, a little queasy look on his face. “I’ve never been shot before.”

“It’s not something anyone really wishes to have happen to them.” James pushed the nurse who was cleaning the wound away and picked up the stuff to do it. He wasn’t sanitary, but James had been doing this long enough and Gale didn’t say a single word. The nurse huffed and handed over gloves. James put them on taking care to make sure that he didn’t touch the parts that would be touching Gale.

“I’ll update M on all of this,” Tanner said as he raised up the tablet in his hand that had James’s report on it.

Gale was sitting on a hospital bed on the side, and beside him was his tablet that was used to access reports and other things. James figured that he had planned on working one-handed in-between visits from medical personnel.

“Where is Miss Swann?”

“At the safe house with the Jaguar XF.”

“Ah. I got the maintenance done on that not too long ago.”

“Yes, I know. I saw the slip on it.” James turned his focus to the cut on Gale’s arm. It was bleeding pretty freely, which was a good thing as it was helping to flush anything bad out of the open wound. James saw marks that Gale had been given at least two locals. He probably wasn’t feeling pain, just the pressure.

“I am sorry about not believing you.”

“About what?”

“Oberhauser.”

“Q, we live in a real-world, and when people die, they die. Don’t apologise about thinking I was jumping at shadows.”

“M knew about this, you know. Mallory M, that is. Seems our M left him a few notes.” Gale stopped looking at his ripped open arm and picked up the tablet. James watched him type as he finished cleaning the wound. It didn’t seem to need stitches; it was too shallow and would cause more issues if it was closed.

“Great job, Bond,” Doctor Heather said as she entered the area. “You did better than I would have thought given I was told that you had taken over rather forcefully.”

“I merely moved her out of the way. She had Gale screaming at her.”

“Yes. I was told about that as well.” Doctor Heather was the standard doctor who dealt with Double-Ohs who was severely injured as she had the ability to actually cow them. James was glad that she was taking care of Gale because she was the best.

“Your scans were fine. There is no glass or anything else embedded in the wound. So we can just dress it and send you on your way to work again. I’m giving you a sling, and I expect that arm to be in it. You can work one-handed. I’ve seen you do it enough. Anything more and you’ll risk on keep opening the wound. Clean up, Bond. You are going to be my nurse for this.”

James laughed, and Gale smiled.

“Then I am sending you back to your Branch, Q and Bond will be your guard until such a time as M decides that it’s no longer needed.”

“What?” Gale asked.

“There has already been a threat against you for dismantling Nine Eyes. It won’t take long for word to get out that it was you who did it.”

“And why are you telling us this?” Gale asked. There was a look of suspicion on his face.

“Since I am here. Tanner told Mallory where you were so he called down, It’s why I took so long to get to you. If you don’t want to take the job, Bond. You can let me know, and I’ll get security to escort him and stay with him until another Double-Oh can be called in.”

“No need. I can watch over him just fine.”

“What about…” Gale stopped and looked at James with a weird look. There was a chime on his tablet, and he swiped at the screen. It was Gale’s personal work tablet, so he did have his email get to go off on it. “It seems I am to build a new identity for Miss Swann.”

“Yes. There are enough tendrils of Spectre left that Mallory and I think she would be better off, safer with a whole new identity.”

“Shouldn’t just having you with her be enough?”

“If I were going with her.”

“Gentlemen, let me in,” Doctor Heather said.

James stepped back to see that Gale was looking at him with a bizarre look on his face.

“It seemed like you were going to give up your job for her. You didn’t kill Oberhauser on the bridge. Moneypenny said that it was because you were showing her that you were better than her father.”

“I was showing her that but I kind of regret it now. He will have to be housed where he can contact no one and has no contact with anyone outside of people who are very trusted.”

“There is a new prison in the Scottish highlands that monitors everything remotely, and even food is given to prisoners with a time lock system. The guards put the food tray in a slot, and after they clear it, the other door opens. It’s how the clothes exchange is handled as well. Books are read on a screen that’s a closed system that is monitored heavily.”

“You helped with that part, didn’t you?” James felt pride that Gale had been part of it.

“Actually a lot of it.”

“Okay, gentlemen, you are done. I mean it, neither of you are allowed to leave MI6 until this threat is contained. Mallory will be down as soon as he can.”

James waited for Gale to slip off of the bed to step closer to him again. A nurse was outside the curtain. The medications they both needed were in his hand.

“Food will be dropped off as soon as I can run and get it,” the nurse said. He waited for James to nod before he rushed away to get it.

“Here’s to a working holiday at work,” James said.

Gale laughed, and it was one of the best sounds in the world to James; he really just wanted to hear it for the rest of his life. To learn all of the ways that Gale laughed when he was alone or with a lover. There was just the catch that Gale still hadn’t had a relationship since his sister’s betrayal. He was happy just finding someone for a night and never more. James would have to move carefully, or he would lose him, and James would rather that never happen.

Part 2

James knew that his headache was from the injury to his head, but usually, he could push that kind of pain off. Instead of that, it was bugging him and making him irritable. He had snapped at Gale once already, and so Gale had retreated into his actual office. He had even shut the door on James. There was no other access to the office from anywhere else. James was camping outside of it while trying not to let the techies bother him with their moving around. Doctor Heather had given him pain medication that wouldn’t dull his senses too much but would give him some relief so James would take those when breakfast was finally brought to them.

“How did that take that long?” James asked, worried but sounding too gruff to be anything but mean. He took the drink that was offered to him from the tray, and as soon as he had it in hand, he smelled the coffee. The nurse winked at him. He was pretty sure that coffee was on his not to drink list. He wondered what had been procured for Gale. He couldn’t smell it over the coffee, so it was probably tea.

“Tanner had the food looked over before it was allowed to be brought down here.”

James frowned at that. It wasn’t his worry about Gale that was doing this. This was something more than that. This was an active threat, it was the only time that food was inspected. James took the bag that the nurse gave him before he watched as the man took the food to Gale. The door was opened, and James saw that Gale wasn’t even working. He was sitting on the couch with his arm on his chest in the sling and his head back.

“James, just leave me alone, please. I can’t handle your upset and my own pain at the same time.”

“Well, I hope getting some food in you will help.”

“Ta, Robin,” Gale said as he sat up to take the bag. Robin, the nurse stayed and actually sat down beside Gale, pulling the food out of the bag. James saw a wrapped sandwich from the place around the block that was open twenty-four hours. The food wasn’t the best in the world, but it was good for store food that was made who knows when and probably from frozen. James grabbed his own and found that there was a fruit and yoghurt parfait in there. James liked them, but few knew that.

Robin was too friendly with Gale and James didn’t like it. Though, Gale hadn’t noticed the subtle flirting that Robin was doing. Which made James happy. Though James knew that Gale had gone out a few times to get laid; usually James heard about it afterwards and how Gale found it enough for his needs for human connection when he had friends like he did. James had too much casual sex to miss the human connection at all.

James unwrapped his breakfast sandwich. It had cheese and egg and a healthy amount of bacon on it. It seemed to be a match for Gale’s except for the fact that Gale’s was on a muffin or possibly a crumpet, James wasn’t sure which, though he would guess it was a muffin. Gale liked to eat sandwiches on both, usually only crumpets when he was out of muffins. Halfway through the sandwich, Gale took his pills and James did the same after nearly forgetting. His pills were much more than Gale’s, and it took him a few swallows to get them all down. The times to take each pill were written on the side of the bottle in the fine print. It made it much easier to remember and to not miss anything.

Medications were easy to track, and it wouldn’t do good for MI6 to have their Double-Ohs, and other agents tracked that way. Things like this were given to them with the records made for personal files, but it never went further than that. Especially the higher up officials inside of MI6. While they all had a doctor of record, that doctor was their personal MI6 doctor. Gale’s was the same as James’ and while he had not been on staff the night before he would be made aware of everything that had happened to the two of them.

The other issue was that with the Double-Ohs, their injuries were nasty, and extra attention could be brought to them. There was the whole privacy thing, but doctors wondered and looked into things if they thought that their patients were in bad situations. It had proven horrible a very long time ago, and so it had just been settled into MI6 hiring in doctors to take care of the staff who would be injured or needed more security around their file. There was also the whole; not everyone worked a nine to five, and it was easier to just pop down to medical than to leave the building and traipse about London.

Robin stayed in the room long after Gale had taken the pills and finished off his food. James wasn’t sure until Gale’s head started to droop. Robin then waved at James. James got up and walked into the office and saw that Gale had his pills sitting out and the one that was a muscle relaxer was one of the ones that medical gave to Double-Ohs to knock them out. However, there was only a single pill in that one according to the bottle.

“He’s not slept all that much since you went to Rome. Doctor Heather had me slip in a sedative for the first dose. His one that won’t knock him out is in there as well. She would like him to get at least four hours of sleep.”

“Sure. How bad is the threat against him?” James asked.

“I don’t know. I’m not given that kind of information. Just told that I could only give him the pill if he was with you.”

“Thanks. I’ll take over from here. I have a tablet that he’s given me to entertain myself when I visit him so flip the lights off when you leave.” James grabbed Gale’s favourite blanket and threw that over him before slipping his pillow under his head as well. Robin left and shut the light off before shutting the door. James found the tablet in the drawer that he could reach and turned it on. It was still at a lower light setting, so it was perfect for him to read on without waking up Gale sooner than he should be.

James trolled through all of the news websites. Tanner had got in front of the information and lied his ass off that this wasn’t a terrorist attack but an isolated rescue attempt that was well taken care of now. The blowing up the old MI6 building was something that was going to attract attention no matter what so it was better to control the information now instead of letting it get a head of its own. There were still going to be those who didn’t believe what MI6 put out about it all, but there was no fixing that at all.

There was also nothing to be done at the moment about getting Gale alone and not at work. The man had a damnable way of being too professional at work. Especially if James was around. James had only got him to drink at work once. It was just after Skyfall, and when Gale had lost the only Double-Oh, he had lost so far to death. Gale did everything in his power to get all of his agents back.

After a while, James settled on the couch and put Gale’s legs over his lap. The couch was the only comfortable thing in the office to sit in long term. James was reading through his third magazine that he had a subscription to when he heard a knock on the door. He looked up as the door opened and it wasn’t Tanner as James assumed would be the one to come in give James and Q an update but Mallory.

“Sir.”

“Don’t get up, Bond.” Mallory waved at James when he moved to settle Gale’s legs off of him. James did slip the tablet into the space between Gale and the couch. Gale was still dead to the world, which James counted to be a good thing. There was a little blood seeping through where the bandage was. It was stark on the white bandage, especially paired with the blue hospital scrub top that he was wearing.

“What can I do for you, Sir.”

“I’ve just come from medical. Doctor Heather is going to clear you for a mission.”

“A mission?” James interrupted when Mallory paused to take a breath. With the injury to his head, there was no way that he would be cleared for anything.

Mallory raised an eyebrow at him. James shut his mouth.

“It’s not a standard mission, and according to your file, you are going to be on medical leave. R will step up and take care of everything here in Q-Branch, including the inquiry into why we withheld information. Between her, Tanner, and I, we can cover.”

“Where will Q be?” James asked. Calling Gale by the name of Q felt funny, but he had tried to show that he wasn’t that attached to Gale, though given the way he was sitting at the moment, it wasn’t doing him any good.

“Wherever you can convince him to go.”

“What’s with the security detail?”

“When I assigned that, there was just a few things popping up on what little bit of the underworld that we could find that made me upset. One, someone within Spectre, and we are unsure who has put out a hit on Q. The money is sitting in a bank that we can’t touch, and all that they have to do is bring his head back to the bank, and when the account manager runs the DNA, then the money will be handed over.”

“That’s lovely,” James said. He looked at Gale, who moved a little. There was a hiss a few seconds later as he tried to roll onto his injured leg. James started to rub a thigh, digging in when he got to the knee, Gale settled nearly instantly.

“Two, today C found out that Gale Lynd is in fact GRLVRL.”

“I assume that is his hacker handle? Or used to be?”

“Oh, no. He stays active with it so that no one can steal it. Your M made sure that he couldn’t be traced back, but he still worked on things at random and even for a few companies getting the money through bitcoin and such. He was always above the board with it, and in the years since I’ve taken over, he comes to me each time someone wants to hire him. He declares his money and does everything that he should. It’s how he supports his flat.”

James knew how much that flat cost now that he lived in the one right below him. Gale had purchased it while James had been faking his death using James’ money. Gale had also stopped Skyfall from being sold. He couldn’t stop M from emptying his other flat, but he had made sure that James had somewhere to come home to when he was done enjoying death as it were.

“So we have a hit on not only Q but his real-life name and his hacker handle as well.”

“Yes and that’s not the end of it.”

“Really?” James wondered what else he was going to say.

“There was a prison break. Seven prisoners escaped from their cells, but it was assumed that all of them were put back until the rounds this morning.”

“And?”

“Vesper Lynd is out of prison, and we have no clue where she is. We have to assume that it was Spectre. They were the ones that recruited her if we believe that they are the hidden group behind Quantum as per Mister White.”

“What are they going to do with her?”

“That is unclear. Gale has had no contact with her. He receives letters every few months, but he has Tanner read them, deal with what she says, and then destroys them. Gale does make sure that she has what she needed as far as books go and that the library at the prison gets the books she likes, other prisoners are enjoying that as well. But it’s all done through the family lawyer.”

James knew that all of that as Gale had kept him up on it all. Gale had written Vesper off and still had not actually spoke her name at all.

“I didn’t trust him at first. I knew of him. I knew of the shit that had happened with Miss Lynd. While your file was full of information on her and the whole thing, his was less so. Then I found her file. The psych evals that he had been put through. That he had submitted for deep interrogation that we don’t use on our own damned people unless we have full proof they did something wrong. I’ve never known a set of twins before. Never seen them interact. His interrogation was recorded, you know. I watched it before making sure that I was the only one who could ever see it. It’s one thing to read a transcription of it, but it’s another to see it. He was broken by the end of it. Not by anything that our people had done. His mind had already divorced itself from what had been done to him by her. He was building himself up from the ground again as someone who didn’t have a twin. Most people would have been broken by that. I know that family is supposed to stick by each other but twins I thought were supposed to be the same. Twin souls who yearned to be one again, split in ways that it was hard to not be in each other’s pocket.” Mallory walked around Gale’s desk and opened up a drawer. James knew what was in there, it was kept for James to drink. Mallory filled a glass much more than he should have given it was a workday and still not yet noon at that, but he downed it before putting both things back.

“I’ve come across a lot of twins in my job, but none have ever been like Vesper. Given how the flat was, how he was. He tried his best to be the family that she needed, but she took him for granted, and it very much showed. I don’t think I could even understand what he went through when he figured out that she was a traitor to the nation.”

“Your M theorised that in the wake of Vesper never allowing Gale to get that close, he put the country into the spot for family, MI6 into that slot when he got there. I have never found a more loyal person, but I was unsure of him. I understand why he did what he did now, but when I first came in here, I didn’t. He gave up his sister, his twin sister, for a life prison sentence if not death. He could have hidden that and tried to get her out, but he didn’t. Then there was the friendship with you. Tanner can’t explain it to me how the man who fell in love with her after a few days became the centre of Q’s world. Tanner knows that Gale is partial to you over a lot of other Double-Ohs. You and he have dinner at least one night a week when you are in town, and that’s just the ones you announce when you come and collect him from his branch. You should hate him for what he reminds you of, and he should hate you because if you had never existed, he had never heard of her flirting with you, his sister could still be free and happy. We both know that rationality rarely comes into this.”

“The first time I met him, he was distraught. It wasn’t until I’d already taken a friendship liking to him that I realised who he was. I was devastated by what she had done and what it meant for me, but then I saw that my anger was nothing compared to his. He took up kickboxing after that, using it to get rid of his anger. He literally beat all of his feelings out about her into a punchbag. It wasn’t the healthiest thing for him, but he could do it when he felt like it. He used the gym here when he needed a break and then would spend at least an hour a few nights a week training.”

“Yes, his file on the kickboxing makes him one of the best trained non-field agents we have, myself notwithstanding, and not including security and the like. We have to assume that she will be used against him. She’s already hurt him enough. I want you to take him somewhere. I don’t care where. He’s got your Aston Martin finished, and it’s ready to go. I’ll have R remove the trackers. Your Smart Blood is already locked to where only Q can access it. I don’t care where you go, but please don’t take him flying anywhere. That will bring too much looking at him. Too easy to trace. I’m sure he has IDs that don’t have his birth name on them. And for once you use your cover ID as well.”

“Of course, Sir.” James knew that he never used it, but then he wasn’t afraid of people coming after him, and it had served him more than it had harmed him before this. But with Gale at the end of it all and it being his protection that was called into question with him using his real name, James would do it.

“Good. Tanner will get with you and R and work on the IDs and such. There is a computer that Q has set up for that, and it’s got the best protection. It will be wiped after R makes them up.”

“Gale isn’t going to make them just to be sure?”

“What do you mean?”

“This whole group is much more detailed on a lot of things than other groups we’ve come across. I wouldn’t put it past them to take R and make her give up the ID if it’s both Gale and me on the run.” James looked at Gale to see him moving more now. He was waking up, and it wouldn’t be long at all.

“I think you might be right on that. I’ll send Tanner down to get things going. He’s nearly awake, yes?”

“Yes.” James rubbed at Gale’s thigh a little more to hopefully keep him down a while longer, but he wasn’t sure it would work, not with a drug-induced sleep. “I’ll handle telling him, Sir.”

“Thank you. Bond, keep him safe.”

“I will.” James picked up the tablet again as Mallory left the room. James had a little bit of work to do that he needed to figure out before they left. He would need weapons from Q-Branch and a sure way to get more ammo wherever they landed. Whatever background they went with, it would be better to have Gale’s input on that instead of him doing it all on his own. James would be good at the cover ID needed to look at them the least, but he didn’t want to put Gale into a situation where he would be uncomfortable. James didn’t like running and hiding. This was like Skyfall and running with M where a trail was being led to get the enemies onto James’ own turf. No this was something very different where he would have to stay hidden and hope that no one found him and Gale while MI6 was finding whoever it was that was after him and get the contract killed. James could do that but too many assassins coming after Gale would mean he couldn’t control anything. Too many cooks in the kitchen as it were. He would have to trust that someone was going to get word to them when it was safe again.

James looked at Gale again. He was upset at what was happening but being alone with Gale where Gale couldn’t run was going to help, at least James hoped that. If Gale didn’t want more, James would have to live with being friends. Gale had been steadfast since Vesper’s betrayal at never having a lover that could be used against him. James could be used against him. He could be held, but James trusted that Gale would never let that deter him. Gale would never betray England, no matter the cost.

Part 3

James watched as Gale hung up all of the clothes that had brought with him. Gale had taken everything a lot better than James thought. He had been near-emotionless at the mention of his sister being broken out of prison but worried more about what was going to attempt to be done to her to get him to do whatever Spectre wanted him to do. They had ended up in Winterthur, Switzerland. Gale had picked a place he had wanted to go to.

Looking down at the ring on his hand, James wondered again where in the hell Gale had got two wedding bands in such a short time. They were black bands with infinity symbols stretched across them. Tungsten carbide, according to Gale. He had been unwilling to talk about them. Their cover was that of a newly married couple. Having put off the honeymoon for work reasons, they were now enjoying a vacation together that was doubling as their honeymoon. James wasn’t sure that it was a good idea, but he did go with Gale’s reasoning that with it being their honeymoon, no one was going to question that they never left the suite. The room that had been booked for them under their assumed names was not the honeymoon suite of the hotel but one of the long term suites that were more set up like a flat. There was even hotel staff that would go shopping for them if they wanted.

James heard a knock at the door and frowned. There should be no one bothering them, it was near bedtime. Gale looked at the entrance to the bedroom and frowned before he started to strip down to his pants. James watched him grab the robe and tie it so that it was evident that he was mostly naked underneath. He then walked to the mirror, hanging on the closet door and mussed his hair. James grinned, and when Gale turned around, he crooked his finger. The knock came again.

“Just a moment!” James yelled.

“What?” Gale whispered.

“If you are mussing your hair, you need to have the full look of having been snogged.” James sat up straight, and Gale nodded his head before leaning in for a kiss.

Usually, James would go for something slow and subtle, but they needed to sell the whole getting ready for sex thing, so he made sure that in the short minute that they had that he got Gale’s lips partially swollen and slick with saliva.

“Better?” Gale asked, his eyes were a little glazed from lust.

“Much.”

Gale walked toward the door, shutting it mostly before he headed toward the outer door. James used that time to strip naked and get into bed, he stretched along with it and thought about anything that would get him hard. He didn’t care who saw him. There was also a gun under the pillow that he could grab if needed. Gale had stocked the room first thing with various weapons, including a taser in the pocket of his robe.

“Sir, sorry for interrupting but the hotelier wanted me to bring this up to congratulate you both on your wedding,” the person on the other side of the door said.

“Oh, thank you.”

“Again sorry for interrupting. Would you like me to set this inside?”

Gale’s posture didn’t change, so James just waited to see what was going to happen when the man was allowed in.

“Take it into the bedroom please.”

James grabbed the blanket and tossed it over just his crotch. His cock was fully hard, and it was very evident. When the bell boy entered the room, James waved him toward a table that was on the far side of the room, it seemed to be perfect for breakfast as it would get the morning sun.

“Thank you,” James said as the bell boy started to leave.

Gale tipped the man with a little cash from James’s wallet, the only one to have some money in it. It was but a moment later that Gale entered the bedroom again. James covered up better and sat up on the bed. Gale grabbed James’ robe and threw it at him before walking over to look at the tray. James was right behind him as he lifted the lid. Two bottles of champagne were in an ice bucket, and there was a bowl of strawberry and fresh cream as well as caviar and blinis. Gale’s stomach growled.

“Looks like this was a wonderful idea on that man’s part,” James said as he settled in at the table. He popped the lid on the first bottle and poured them both a glass that had more than the standard amount for champagne.

“Very much so. The drive here was great, but we did just eat sandwiches from Pret that we bought for the trip.”

“This is not going to be that filling,” James said. He dug into the caviar and watched Gale settled his up nicely. James had taught him the best way to eat a lot of things as he had not exactly splurged on food that wasn’t simple takeaway when he had been at uni and then even after.

“No, but it will tide me over until we eat breakfast. I’ve already emailed the order to the kitchen and have a delivery time of seven.”

“Why such an ungodly hour?” James asked as he dipped his first strawberry into the cream. The cream was perfectly sweetened to not cover up the taste of the strawberries.

“It’s what time I get up to go on a run. You’ll just have to join me on it to make sure that no one kidnaps me.”

James laughed. He had forgotten that Gale ran in the mornings. Sometimes if the weather was nice, he would run into work. The five-mile run was shorter than what he usually did, but then again he could run home as well.

“I’ll leave around six, so I can shower and then be here to get the food. If you aren’t up with me, I’m going without you. I have more than enough weapons on me that would stop someone from taking me.” Gale gave James a hard look.

While Gale had not fought with James on the whole into protective custody outside of London thing, he had not been happy about it. James knew that Gale understood that it wasn’t something on Gale that they thought he couldn’t protect himself, but it was sometimes easier to remove the player from the game than to try and figure out what was going on. There was also still the issue that the Joint Security Council could be full of Spectre people, and they had no clue who was friendly and who was not. Too many variables made it hard, and Mallory didn’t want to lose Gale with all of the other issues that were going on. This part was a test and James knew that if he pushed to go with him, Gale wouldn’t think less of James just less on what he thought James thought of him.

“I think if you think you can handle it tomorrow at least, you can go on your own. We have a call with Tanner at noon our time so we can see what he has to say before we plan your other mornings.”

“Sounds like a plan. I want to shower.” Gale finished off his half of everything, including filling up his champagne glass another two times.

James sat back and ate his food slower. He didn’t feel the need for a shower at all. His erection wasn’t going away, though that probably had something to do with Gale and him sitting mostly naked in front of him. James groaned and laid his head back on the chair. He really needed to do something about all of that before this mission was over. James grabbed his pills and took them. Medical had sent them little packs of pills in sealed baggies that had all of the information needed on them to satisfy any person who was wanting to get them for drug trafficking but also made it easy for them to carry various pills. Their fake names were on the pouches.

“Shit,” Gale said, and he groaned in pain.

James was up and running into the bathroom. He saw Gale hunched over the sink with his arm out of the sling. It was tucked to his chest, and James saw fresh blood on the bandage. Everything they needed to keep Gale’s wound clean and James’s even though his was mostly just keeping it cleaned up and a little ointment on it until the wound was closed on the outside. Gale had been given a list of things symptoms and what to do if anything on that list occurred.

“You okay?”

“I moved it wrong, and now it’s throbbing.”

“Let me look at it. You might have ripped out what little scab there was, and if that is so, you aren’t taking a shower,” James said.

“I was looking forward to being clean.”

“We can rig up the bathtub, and I can help you keep it dry and wash the parts that you can’t.” James really hoped that Gale said yes just because James liked to do that kind of stuff and he didn’t get to. Caring for a lover was a good show of intimacy. James wondered how far Gale would let him go before demanding that they talk.

“If it will allow me to get clean.” Gale was still in his pants, so he shucked them before heading to the tub. It was a huge thing and would allow James to get around to all parts of Gale.

“Did you take your pills?”

“Before I started to put up my clothes. The painkiller is kicking in right now, and I’m feeling very lethargic. It’s why I was opting for the shower. I might go to sleep in the tub.”

“Then sit back and relax and I’ll do the hard bits. I’ll make sure you don’t drown.”

Gale turned on the water and made it hot as he could stand, which was pretty hot, James had figured out after years of going into the bathroom to piss while Gale was showering if he ran home instead of taking a car or the tube. Usually, they were waiting for the food while Gale showered.

James kept his back turned while Gale was getting into the tub out of privacy concerns more than anything. He kept his arm out of the bathtub and balanced it on the ledge. James grabbed everything that would be needed, including a cloth. The materials were all soft, but James didn’t think they would have anything less, given the price paid for the flat. James found out that Gale had a slush fund that was kept in a bank account and had withdrawn a great deal to cover a lot of their expenses. MI6 would pay back some of them, but given that this could turn into an extended holiday, James could understand them not covering everything. They were both still getting paid as this was leave for Gale that would hopefully save his life. James was being paid his normal as well, he was a guard.

The water was filling the tub nicely, and James set about getting the bandage off of Gale. He had indeed ripped the wound open again after the skin had started to knit back together some. It looked worse than it had just after James had cleaned it up. James couldn’t help himself. He placed a kiss just above the ripped skin. Gale jerked his head to look at James, but James kept his head down so that Gale wouldn’t see the blush that was creeping up James’ face. He didn’t regret what he did, but he really shouldn’t have done it. James let the blood seep down the arm, flowing free as he worked on cleaning up the rest of Gale.

His hair was the easiest, James used the small glass that was in the bathroom for water, wrapped to keep it clean. He made sure nothing splashed up on Gale’s arm. The blood only dripped into the water a little bit, but James could rinse Gale off with the handheld washer that was in the tub afterwards, just to make sure he was clean enough.

James tried not to stare too long at body parts and did allow Gale to wash himself off in his groin and ass area so that there was no issue with impropriety.

“When is she going to stop wrecking my life?” Gale asked. He laid his head back on the edge of the tub.

“I don’t know.” James reached up and moved the hair away from Gale’s eyes before he dried like that would try to flop there all the time. Gale opened his eyes and turned his head to look at James. There was a pain in his eyes and just loneliness. “I wish I could take that pain away.”

Gale’s eyes widened in shock, and after a few seconds of just looking at James, he surged up. James was barely able to grab hold of him, but Gale’s lips landed on target, which was James’ mouth. Gale kept on pushing forward, and James ended up falling over with a wet and naked Gale on top of him. It was a stupidly lousy idea to even entertain this, James thought as his hand wrapped around the back of Gale’s head to keep him where he was. He felt that he should stop because he didn’t want to fuck up the one relationship that he had that was steady and healthy, but his other hand grabbed Gale’s hip to haul him to where their cocks were aligned. James was still just in the robe with nothing on underneath of it.

Sex wasn’t going to help how Gale was feeling as everything was still up in the air about what was going to happen with Vesper. However, that part of James’s brain shut down the moment that Gale pushed up on his arm and then reached down with the other to feel up James’s cock. James wrapped the arm that was holding onto Gale’s hip around his waist and started to get up. Gale’s hold transferred to where he was holding onto James as they stood up, it seemed with his good arm as he didn’t scream out in pain. James didn’t care about Gale being wet or anything else for that matter. He walked into the bedroom and found that Gale had tossed his robe onto the bed. James aimed for that before carefully setting Gale down. The bleeding had stopped on Gale’s arm, so it wasn’t that hard for James to quickly wrap it so that any fresh blood wouldn’t get onto the bed. It wasn’t the best job, but he could do better later.

“How far do you want to go?” James asked when he broke for air after Gale pulled him down for more kisses.

“Make me forget everything.”

James was careful as he pulled Gale up and then moved them both to where they were in the centre of the large bed. James knelt between Gale’s legs and took off the robe he was wearing, tossing it away. Out of habit, James grabbed the handle on the drawer as he leaned over to kiss Gale again. James didn’t think he had ever kissed someone as enthusiastic as Gale. When his hand connected with a box, James reared back. He saw there was a sealed box of condoms as well as a sealed tube of lube already there.

“When the information said they were full service, I didn’t think they meant that,” Gale said. He grabbed the lube and then the condoms, handing the condoms over James for him to open.

James focused on that task and then watched Gale as he slicked up a few fingers. He rolled to where he was balanced carefully on his upper back and smeared that lube over his hole, he didn’t put his fingers inside at all. He wiped his hand on the robe that was still half under them and then took a condom from the box that was in James’ hand. He opened the condom and then slid down the bed a little bit so that he could put in on James. James grabbed the headboard to stop his knees from buckling as soon as Gale’s hand wrapped around his cock and stroked it a few times before rolling the condom down.

“Are you going to leave me anything to do?” James asked as he used his good hand to grip Gale at the back of the neck and pull him up.

“Oh, yes. See I’m afraid I might hurt my arm, so I’m just going to lay here and let you do the hard work, the fucking bit.”

“Cheeky shite,” James said, but he shifted to where he could raise up Gale’s legs and press them into his sides. James found Gale’s hole with each thumb and teased him with a little bit of rubbing.

“James,” Gale moaned as he grabbed at his leg.

James let go of that leg and used his hand to line himself up proper before pushing in. The lube on the condom and on Gale’s hole was more than enough and James slid in easily. Gale was already loose, and it made James think that he had been having sex a lot more than James thought. The thought left though as he slid inside of Gale more. Gale was tight and hot, and it felt so damned good.

“Kiss me,” Gale begged when James bottomed out.

James indulged in the kissing as he rocked in and out of Gale. Gale had probably been hoping for a rough and tumble, wham bam thank you, ma’am, but James couldn’t do that. Not to Gale, never like that, not while he was hurt. Gale held James close with an arm around James’ shoulders and gripped him there. Their mouths only parted when they wanted them to, and it was so damned good.

Sex with someone you loved was so much better than sex with anyone else, James thought as he felt himself getting nearer that peak. Gale wasn’t as passive as he said he was going to be. He rocked his hips when he could, and he grabbed at James on occasion with his hand. James wasn’t even sure where he ended, and Gale began as they rocked together. James wanted this every day for the rest of his life, the little noises that Gale made in the back of his throat as James’ cock rubbed across his prostate. He wanted the smell of Gale fresh form the bath and smelling like sex and sweat and James. James buried his face his Gale’s neck as he picked up the pace on his rocking.

“James,” Gale gasped before his entire body tightened up and he shuddered.

James felt the warmth spreading from Gale’s release between their bodies. James shifted a little to where he could get his arm under Gale’s lower back and changed the angle of his thrusts. James propped his upper body up on his other arm and looked down at Gale. Gale’s eyes were blown wide, and every time that James thrust into him, he released a little panting sound. James could find himself getting addicted to sex with Gale, and he didn’t think he wanted to stop.

An orgasm was so close, but it was staying just a bit away from him. Gale wasn’t seeming like he was going to stop James even though he had to be sensitive.

“Come on James,” Gale said, and he grabbed James by the back of the neck and pulled him down but not for a kiss, no he pulled James down to where he could speak right into James’ ear. “Fill me. Come in me. I want it so bad, I’m already hard again.”

James came with a shout burying his face into Gale’s neck. He felt his mouth moving, he knew the words he mouthed, but at least there was no sound, it had been robbed from him. By the time that James could move again, Gale was snoring slightly. James sat up and looked at him. He looked so peaceful while asleep.

With his cock softening, James had already slipped out of Gale, and thankfully, the condom was still on him. James cleaned himself up first and then Gale, getting a better bandage around Gale’s wound. Gale slept through it all, and usually, James would be worried, but Gale was worn out.

Between the trip, still catching up on sleep from not getting it while James was hunting Oberhauser, then the medications that he was one. It was a giant combo that left a dead to the world boffin in the bed.

James wasn’t sure what he was going to do in the cold light of the morning after having sex with his best friend at a time when he really shouldn’t have, not before the words he had mouthed but not said were not entirely said between them. He would face that in the cold light of morning.

Part 4

James woke up slowly and assessed everything that was around him. There was another body in the bed with him, but he wasn’t worried about that it seemed. He wasn’t worried about much at all. James was on his back, and the body with him was curled into him, head resting on his chest and then a leg was thrown over James’ in a show of possession. The arm was thrown over his chest and curled around his rib cage. James didn’t think that he had ever slept with someone who slept like this. James could smell the scent of sex still on the air. He looked over at the time and saw that it was just after five local time and his body felt like it had been through the ringer.

“James,” Gale said in his sleep. He curled in tighter on James for a few seconds and then relaxed.

James rubbed his hand up and down Gale’s back and pressed a kiss to his forehead, the only part his lips could reach that wasn’t covered in hair. James wondered how long he would get to savour this before Gale woke up and wanted to talk about what had happened. Not just the sex but the waking up crying in the middle of the night that had put them into this position. Gale hadn’t wanted to talk about it, he had just wanted to be held. James had done that, holding him tight while Gale cried himself back to sleep.

There was a chirp from a phone and James looked over to see that Gale had plugged them both in it seemed. James barely remembered Gale getting up for a drink after they had sex but before the crying bit. It was strange as James was usually more aware, but then he did spend all of his free time with Gale whether he was with him in Q-Branch and entertaining himself, or he was at Gale’s flat. James’ flat still looked like a lot Spartan because he didn’t care to do anything with his flat. He slept there, and that was about it. Though there were a few drunken nights where he used alcohol to make his life a little bearable. James clenched his hand into Gale’s skin because as he laid there thinking about his drinking habits, they had vastly changed from before he had met Gale. The drinking just to make life livable between missions was gone, and now James drank socially, except for the few times that Gale had gone out to find someone to have sex with when he needed that connection. Those nights James got drunk and usually blacked out. He had also slowly stopped sleeping with most of the married women that he had listed in his little black book. James hadn’t noticed that at all. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it either.

Hindsight really was 20/20 it seemed, James thought as he laid there and thought about every stupid thing he had done over the last several years was in direct response to something that Gale had done. James tried to figure out exactly when he had fallen in love with the younger man, and there was no specific point that he could find. He knew that he had cared for Gale in his own way from the moment that he had met him. It was strange to try and look back at points to figure out if it was the one.

James concluded that there was no defining moment in his life that had been the one that he had fallen in love with Gale, but it was small little things that slowly tipped him over. Like how he laughed his ass off when he beat seven Double-Ohs at poker. James had taken the ribbing that he had allowed Gale to win with much aplomb, but he had been quite pleased with Gale, only to find out the little shite was counting cards. That had been a shock. James knew that Gale was smart, but it was then and then later when he was bumped up to Quartermaster that he had been truly shown how smart he really was. James had been astounded hearing him conduct his techs like a symphony as they worked on hacking a facility that had held 005 and 009 hostage. James had seen what Q meant by his whole more damage before his cup of Earl Grey than James could do in a year. James had also found out that while MI6 didn’t go for the whole exploding pen thing anymore, they still worked on a lot of contraptions and the bombs were much better. Like the tie that Alec used, that was a bomb. He just had to drop it into a bucket of vinegar. James still wanted to know how that worked, but the tech he had asked had stuttered through a lot of technobabble. James was good with computers, but the chemistry side of things was something that had never interested James in school, much less after.

Gale moved, and James looked at the time again. It was five thirty-two and Gale would want to be up soon so he could go on his run. James was itching to follow him on that run, but he knew that Gale wouldn’t like it. James wondered if Gale had a tracker of some kind on him so that James could follow him that way. Gale might be more okay with that.

“You are thinking too much,” Gale muttered as he rubbed his cheek on James’s chest. The hand that was wrapped around James’ ribs moved, and it rubbed up and down James’ hairless chest. Gale was hairless, but his was actually through natural means whereas James had treatment to remove it as soon as it had been something that MI6 offered its staffing. It helped with a lot of things as far as not leaving a lot of trace evidence. The female Double-Ohs had treatment for armpits and legs so that they didn’t have to go through shaving during missions and such, especially if they were playing the honeypot. Then there was 009 who was like an animal, and he was kept as he was for the few that would like someone like that.

“Sorry,” James said as he turned his head to where he was brushing his lips over Gale’s hair.

“I think I want to skip my run this morning,” Gale said. He lifted himself up on the arm and slipped over to where he was straddling James’ waist. His cock was hard, and James’ was slowly getting there as Gale started to rock on him. “I want a different kind of exercise.”

“Really?” James asked. He grabbed ahold of Gale’s waist and held him still. The phone chirped again, but James ignored it. So did Gale. Yes, there were only a few people who had that number and would get a hold of them, but it wasn’t that important, or Tanner or Moneypenny would have called.

“I wanna ride you.” Gale reached over and grabbed the lube from where James had settled it after finding it in the bed. There were more condoms, but James didn’t see Gale grab one of those. Gale scooted back to where he could grab James’s cock and smear lube on it.

“Gale,” James said as he watched him start to move to where he could slide down on him.

“Your last mission before this whole thing had you clean and you stated that you used a condom with both Sciarra’s wife and with Swann.”

James sat up and grabbed Gale to kiss him. James dug around for the robe and used it to clean his cock off before he grabbed a condom and pressed it into Gale’s hand. “I don’t want to risk you.”

“Okay but you are getting tested as soon as possible because I don’t want this between us forever.”

James stared into Gale’s eyes. There was such trust, and James wasn’t sure if he was deluding himself into seeing the love there as well or not, but he would take it for now. If Gale needed to feel alive, James could do that. If Gale just needed to feel anything at all, James could do that as well. James kissed him again, feeling Gale pushing a lot of everything into that kiss. Sure fingers rolled the condom down on him before Gale spread more lube. James groaned when those fingers left him.

Gale was beautiful as he slowly sunk down on James, no prep just like the night before but James knew that he wasn’t sore. The sun was starting to come up, and it was bathing Gale in its light. It was quite beautiful, James thought. Because he was focused on how Gale looked, he was shocked when he felt Gale settle the whole way down on him. James grabbed Gale’s hips, and he settled his hands on James’ chest. James felt the pressure as Gale started to move, he was holding himself up on James’ chest alone, one hand pressing more and his injured arm just balancing him there to make sure he didn’t topple either direction. James groaned, as Gale found a hard and heavy rhythm. This was too good, and James knew that he wasn’t going to last long at all. James tried to focus on anything but how good it felt, but he was having trouble with that.

After a few minutes, Gale’s look change from full of pleasure to some pain, so James gripped his hips tighter, stopping him. He sat up again, wrapping one of his arms around Gale’s lower back to hold him close before he scooted back to where he was leaning against the headboard but still mostly upright. He could hold onto Gale while giving him the support he needed not to hurt his arm again. It wasn’t long after that moment that Gale came groaning into James’ mouth and grinding down on his cock, making James follow him right into orgasm.

Gale slumped down into him, and James felt more than just sweat dripping on him. Gale was crying again.

“I’m so scared, James.”

“About what?” James asked.

Gale didn’t answer though, he shook his head back and forth like he was fighting it. James tangled his fingers into Gale’s hair and started to rub his back with the other. Gale slumped down, even more, giving James all of his weight.

“Tell me,” James pleaded.

“I’m scared to love you, and I’m scared that you might be used against me. I’m scared of what’s going to happen with her and how it’s all going to play out. I’m scared that we are never going to get to have this again.”

“What sex? I’ll give you sex whenever you want it,” James said, going for the least emotional of everything even though he wanted to latch onto the love bit. Gale didn’t say he was in love with James just that he was scared to love him. The sex kind of made James think it was romantic love, but then he knew that people who were emotional reacted in not typical ways and it was hard to predict what they would or wouldn’t do. “Tanner, R, and Moneypenny are trying to find Vesper to make sure that she’s not used against you.”

“And?” Gale asked. He was starting to tense, so James pressed a kiss to his temple, where his lips were resting.

“And what?” James used his hold on Gale’s hair to pull him back to where he could let go of Gale’s back to cup the sides of his face. Gale’s eyes were red-rimmed. James used his thumbs to brush at the tears that were gathered in his lashes. Gale’s eyes closed on their own, and his face softened. He wasn’t as scared anymore. Hell, he looked like he was content. “I love you, Gale Lynd. I’ve been in love with you for a while it seems. Though it took standing on a bridge with a gun in my hand to figure that out. I was a little clueless before that.”

“You clueless, never,” Gale said in a mocking tone. Gale wrapped his good arm around James and held him tight, pressing their foreheads together. “I didn’t want to fall in love with you.”

“I know.”

“But I did, and I don’t want to take it back.”

“You don’t have to.” James rubbed his head back and forth a little making their noses rub together. Gale laughed, and there was a spark of joy in those eyes.

“I want to shower.” Gale sounded like a kid who was being denied what he wanted.

“Let’s go and look at your arm. We can decide if a shower is in order or not.”

It was an hour later that they slipped out of the bathroom, both of them dressed for the day and their stomachs rumbling. James saw that his phone was still blinking. He walked over and grabbed it. They had showered, but James had kept Gale mostly out of the water so that nothing went over his arm and when it had to, he controlled with the detachable head that was on the wall. Gale had touched him a lot while they showered, nothing arousing, just like James was his touchstone.

“Shite,” James said. He had a picture of a hand on his phone, and it was very evidently removed from the body given how it looked. The next image was a note and then a few lines of text from Tanner.

“What?” Gale asked. He picked up his phone and checked it. James knew there was nothing on it as he had not seen it blinking.

“MI6 received a hand by a courier but the pickup and drop off was scheduled by an online transaction and R is tracing that. DNA will take another few hours, but blood type is a match for yours. There is also a scar on the palm.”

“In the shape of a four-leaf clover,” Gale said when James paused.

“Yes. Vesper?”

“Yes.” Gale dropped onto the bed and sighed before falling back. He reached out his hand for the phone and James handed it over.

“The note says that every day, one more part of her body will come in the mail until you give yourself up for the damage you did to Spectre.”

“She’s already dead,” Gale said.

“What?” James asked.

Gale sat up on the bed, and he fiddled with the phone before he walked over to the computer bag in the corner. He booted up the laptop inside and then plugged in a device of some kind before he settled the phone down. James walked up behind him to see that Gale was grabbing something from the storage on the phone. The image of Vesper’s hand came up on the screen, and it showed the part where the hand was removed from the body. James saw that it didn’t look normal.

“The blood wasn’t flowing when this was removed, and there is evidence on what skin I can see that there is preservation means in effect on the body, ice or cold storage. More than what was in the box to keep the hand from starting to smell. So they either killed her after getting her out of prison, or she died while being taken from prison.”

“How sure are you?” James asked.

Before Gale could answer, James’s phone was ringing. James pressed the speakerphone button.

“You are on speaker, Tanner.”

“Good. Q-Branch has confirmed what R suspected in that the hand was removed from the body post-mortem.”

“I suspected.”

“Gale is that…” Tanner trailed off.

“Yes, that’s the scar that she cut into her palm when she was trying to show up a neighbourhood girl who got a tattoo when we were teens.”

“I’ll update Mallory. I don’t know what to do about any of this.”

“She always wanted to be cremated. When this is over have that happen and then spread her ashes somewhere. I’m sure that she has a Will with the family lawyer. You can contact him when this is over. I don’t know if they think we are that stupid or they want us to know that she’s already dead.”

“There is nothing to be gained by them for that. They want you and you wouldn’t give yourself up for a dead body.”

“I wouldn’t give myself up for her if she was alive. They don’t understand family at all or how it looks when I would gladly set her on fire myself.”

James had thought for a while that Gale would one day forgive Vesper, but that was never going to happen.

“Yes, well look at Oberhauser, he killed his father instead of sharing him with Bond,” Mallory said.

“Sir,” Gale said. He sat up straight in the chair and seemed to want to start working on something more.

“Sorry, Tanner had you on speaker in my office, and I just came in again.”

“It’s damned early there.”

“I’ve not left, and I caught a four-hour nap in medical. At least their beds are nice.”

“Q-Branch has better ones in the tunnels,” Gale said.

“And you are just now telling me this?” Mallory asked.

“Well, Sir, everyone knows that. It’s not my fault if you haven’t figured out where Tanner disappears to when he’s taking a nap.” Gale looked at the phone with a grin on his face.

“Well, we are keeping you two wherever the hell you are. Check-in like normal, and we will call or text with anything.” The phone disconnected before James or Gale could say a single thing.

“So breakfast and then wandering the city?” James asked.

“That sounds just lovely,” Gale answered. He tipped his head back to look at James. There was a sappy look on his face. He had already processed that his sister was dead. His twin, the other half of himself was gone and would never be able to atone for her sins.

“What’s going to happen with Vesper’s trust fund that your parents left?” James asked.

“I’ll find somewhere to donate it to. A cause that it will do the most good for. It’s not a lot, and I spent more on her during the year than she got from it, but it helped.”

James hummed and reached out to safely shut down the laptop. Gale slapped his hands away and did it himself. James laughed, and when Gale shut the lid, he pulled the younger man up out of the chair and turned him around. “Ready to go act like we are lovesick and can’t get enough of each other?”

“Act? I thought we were lovesick and can’t get enough of each other.” Gale was grinning as he said the words.

James laughed and pulled Gale in to kiss him. He didn’t think that he would ever tire of being allowed to do that and it didn’t seem that Gale would either.

Part 5

James followed along just a half step behind Gale as they made their way around Winterthur to look at everything that was on offer. Gale hadn’t wanted to leave the hotel room for the first three days, and while there was a good bit of sex as well as talking happening between them during that time, it was not all sex.

It all seemed too easy to James, and he felt like something big was going to happen. Moving from friendship to lovers should be harder, James thought. There should be something more that made it seem like they were doing something worthwhile. It was too easy, and James didn’t like things that were easy. He didn’t like things that he didn’t have to work for. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nothing in his life had ever been easy. His first mission as a Double-Oh had nearly seen him out of the agency for the rest of his life because he knew what needed to be done to finish the mission. There was not a lot that James wouldn’t do to finish the mission, yet feeling like there was nothing he could do to actually finish the mission meant that James felt like he was a lame duck.

“James, it’s so pretty here,” Gale said.

James had kept his name, but Gale was going under the name of Quinn. Gale had answered to it okay before now, and James was glad of that. He was used to responding to Q at work where it was better to have it, just like with M. James called him M when he was talking to most people and to his face but to people like Tanner and Gale he was Mallory.

“It is very pretty here.” James reached out and snagged Gale’s hand to pull him back, and they ducked into a stoop that would put them out of the flow of traffic so that James could kiss him. Gale’s hands tangled in James’ shirt, and he submitted to the kiss that James wanted from him. There were no looks at them, James saw out of the corner of his eye that no one even looked at him twice. There were no call outs, no jeers, and no catcalls. There was nothing at all about two men kissing in a stoop and James kind of loved it.

There were not a lot of issues with that back home either but mainly because everyone in their apartment building knew that James worked for the government and given the muscles they saw on him when he ran in the mornings before heading into work, they knew he wasn’t a pushover. Even Gale had deceptive muscles. He looked scrawny, but when push came to shove, he could protect himself.

“How are you feeling?” James asked.

“Good,” Gale answered. He buried his face into James’s neck and just clung to him. It felt good to James. This was the whole point of everything to James to be able to have someone to hold and love. To have someone to come home to. He had been coming back to Gale for a long time without knowing it. Yet, it hadn’t been enough. James needed more even after he thought that he wouldn’t. After Vesper, James thought that he didn’t need love, but here he was with Gale, and he knew that he did. He knew that he needed more than just a best friend to come home to. He needed someone that he was with that would allow him to really want to come back.

“Really?”

“As good as I can be given everything. James, I’m the last Lynd now. My father didn’t have any cousins or siblings. Before her and me, there was only ever a single child for each generation. I was happy with that. I was happy that I wasn’t alone and then I was alone, and I didn’t know how to handle that. I pushed myself into the job. Vesper wasn’t going to have a kid to continue the line, but I don’t want kids at all. The thought of a child makes me unhappy. I don’t want to continue the line, so it’s going to die with me. I know that it’s going to have ended with me for years, but now it’s different. There is no chance of her even donating eggs to anyone to help them have a child that would have our DNA. The Lynd line dies with me, and I know that I should care, but I don’t. So yes I am doing as well as I can be given everything and that I’m not part of the team that is finding out who has been hired to kill me and how I’m stuck in the ass-end of nowhere really. I’m glad we came, but I hate why we came. You gave in to me because we were here, but I’m glad that you did. I don’t think that we’d have done it if we were home.”

“It’s the only way I know to comfort someone. You needed it, and I gave it, and I hated it at first, but you stayed. You didn’t leave like all of the other one-night stands you’ve had. You stayed, and you wanted more.” James cupped the back of Gale’s head and gently lifted it up to where they were looking each other in the eyes. “It’s not going to be easy when we get home.”

“No, it’s not, but it’s going to be worth it. I’ve shown that I can sacrifice you for a mission, I try my hardest to make sure that you and all other agents will make it home but what you do is more important than anything else.” Gale seemed like he was struggling to say the worlds.

“I know, and I know that you will always put the mission first, no matter if it’s going to end in my death. You’ll mourn me, probably more than other agents you lose, but you will go on. You will stay a good man despite it. You are the best of me, you’ve kept me human when I could have become something that was very much not human. After Vesper, I could have become a machine that was only there for the next kill, the next mission. I don’t want to become that person, and you’ve kept me from it. I never loved someone like I love you. I hate that it took this for me to realise that you were always there.”

“I wasn’t ready, James.” Gale reached up and cupped the sides of James’ face. There was such emotion in his eyes and James wasn’t sure what that emotion was. It was bouncing around from one to another, and it was bizarre. “I still thought that loving anyone was going to be the death of loyalty. I mean, look at what she did.”

“Vesper, Gale, Vesper. Say her name.”

“No.”

“Just once, say it, and I’ll never ask again.”

“I will say it. Just not today. I will say it when I say goodbye to her.”

“Okay,” James said. He could agree to that. He could agree that doing it one time, for the first time in a long time should come when she was laid to rest. James knew it would be a closed casket or just a simple cremation. He knew what Gale had told MI6 to do with her, but James figured that it could wait until Gale could do it himself. James was glad that he had told Tanner to hold off on funeral things. Tanner though had texted back that Mallory had already had a hold on that. The hand was being kept in cold storage in MI6, and when it was time, it was going to be taken care of.

The sound of a gun going off had James pushing Gale behind him. There were three men in front of them with guns in their hands. One of those guns was pointed at him. The civilians were all screaming and running, and a few were just stuck in place with two guns pointed near them.

“Mister Bond, Mister Lynd, you will come with us, or we will start to shoot up all of the civilians around.”

“Who are you?” James asked.

“That is not for you to know.”

“I never go on a date with someone that I don’t know.”

“We have Miss Vesper Lynd in our custody, and if you don’t come with us right now, we are going to kill her, kill everyone around us and then Mister Bond.”

“She’s already dead. You guys might think that you are smart, but you are not. Go ahead and kill everyone around because, in the end, you are going to have to kill me to even get my body where you want it. So you have two options, let everyone else go and then I’ll go with you.”

“Mister Bond is coming with us.”

“Again, you will have to kill me. So let’s go.”

“Gale,” James said.

“You’ll find me. You’ll find me, and you’ll kill them all, and I’ll help you. Come and find me but have MI6 help. Have R help you.”

“He’ll have to be knocked out.” One of the kidnappers was standing there with a syringe in hand.

Gale held his hand out, and the kidnapper tossed it over. It was labelled and still sealed. It was just anesthesia that would knock James out for a few hours given the dose in the syringe. James had it before so it might not work as well, he had actually been given it a few times. It would be enough for them to get out with Gale, though. They wanted Gale alive, and that meant that he wouldn’t be harmed for at least a little while. They would want to make sure that he was able to do what they wanted him to do.

“Gale, don’t do anything stupid.”

“I won’t. I just got you. I won’t do anything stupid that would cause me to get killed before you can recuse me like a damsel in distress.” Gale turned James around to face him and cupped the side of his face to kiss him. “I have the Smart Blood in me as well. You can track me. You can find me that way. You will be able to get into my files. All of my passwords revolve around you.”

“Do it,” James said. He felt the prick of the syringe into his arm and then slowly, he started to slip down. Gale helped him, and the last thing that James saw was Gale looking down at him. Then there was nothing but darkness.


“Bond!” a voice yelled, and James shot up. He grabbed the first thing he touched and knew it was a tie. He used that to pull the person in close and get his hand around their throat. “HOLD!”

The next thing that James was aware of was that guns were being cocked. They had that catch that told him that they were Gale’s design. The trigger catching just a little as the palm print encoding allowed the gun to be ready to be fired. All of the MI6 security had shared weapons. All security palm prints worked on all firearms. It was a safety feature just in case one fell someone else could grab the gun if they were out of ammo. James let go of the person that he had the hold on, and he looked around. He had been looking at the threats before that and not the whole picture.

Tanner had been the one that he had a hold of.

“Sorry, Tanner.”

“No that’s on me for getting that close. I mean our file states you come up swinging. R had me bring the laptop from work so that you could do something with it.”

James looked around at where they were. They were in the suite that James and Gale been staying in. Tanner was there but that it was beside security.

“Moneypenny stayed with M. They are tracking things on that end. We have recovered Vesper Lynd’s body. They had just cut off her other hand and were getting ready to send it. We have it in storage like you wanted. She’ll get a funeral. It will be small so that those who know her can say their goodbyes. Winterthur is locked down, and it was locked down within ten minutes of Gale sending the distress signal.”

“Distress signal?” James’s brain wasn’t entirely up to par.

“Your cuff link on your dress shirt is one of a new design. R told me. Distress signal he pressed it when he helped your body slid down to the ground. They are not escaping.”

“How did they find us?”

“Sheer dumb luck. We had forces surrounding the city to be able to block it, but none arrived more than an hour before you were knocked out and Gale was taken. The three assets that took Gale have been here for two weeks. When the signal went out, we tracked it and then knew that it was dumb luck. These three are heavy hitters for Spectre. They are trying to build up enough people to go after MI6. We were about to move to take him when the distress beacon went out. So we locked down the city. We have their faces, they are not going anywhere.”

“I need to get to his laptop. Have them get it booted up.” James sat up on the bed and sighed as the world spun a little. It was an effect from the anaesthesia he was given. He didn’t want to give himself time to get better. He grabbed Tanner’s arm when it was offered and let himself be pulled up and then escorted over to where the laptop was. James saw the password screen. There was no hint, but Gale had told him that he had everything he needed.

James typed in Skyfall, but the computer beeped at him, and he saw that he had one more entry to get it right. James looked at the background picture. It was a night sky, and there were trees visible. It was a few seconds for James to see the two constellations in the sky. Or one constellation that had two sections. Gemini. James typed in Vesper in Leet, and the computer unlocked.

There was an application on the desktop that was called Fun in the Sun. James laughed because he had always called the little vacations he gave himself after emotionally draining missions his fun in the sun vacations. James clicked the app, and then he typed in Turkey for that one in Leet again. The tracker that popped up showed that Gale wasn’t that far away.

“What weapons do you have?” James asked.

“Gale had a full array packed, and we took the fastest flight out. You had been taken to the A&E and were on a gurney. We brought you here.”

James started it get a real time feed of the area so he could figure out what kind of place Gale was being held in.

“Bond,” Mallory said from the laptop that was set up on the other side of the table. Tanner turned it around, and there was Mallory. “You have the green light to do whatever you need to get our Quartermaster back. The strike team is ready, and there is a SWAT team from Interpol who is ready to go in with you.”

“Good. Good. I have Q’s location. From the satellite view, Q’s being held in a warehouse. It looks like they holed up in the northwest area and there is a lot of power being drawn.”

“On my end,” R started over the feed from Mallory, but it didn’t seem she was in the room with him. “It looks like they are trying to use him to get Nine Eyes up. They want to run and control it according to the chatter. He’s at least partially cooperating with them but I can’t see what he’s doing because I have no clue what the network is.”

“Tanner, see if you can find the line and help R get into that system.”

“What if we cut the power?” James asked.

“They might think that he did it,” Mallory cautioned.

“No it’s a closed network, I can tell that. He’s connected with one thing and one thing only a server in Tunisia.” R sounded in control, and James trusted that Gale trusted her.

“Oberhauser had a backup,” Mallory said.

“I would say yes, and Q’s report does state that he had to take a second server offline elsewhere, but he had been unable to trace where it was. I would assume that it’s the one. They have direct access and are trying to get him to put it back. Cutting power will not stop them, though. It seems they were setting up something there but given the connection I can read, they weren’t trying to get this set up there.”

“Bond go and get our Quartermaster back and remind Spectre why they tried to take out the Double-Oh unit.”

“Yes, Sir. Tanner get me a kit.” James stood on his own two feet, and it seemed that he was fine after sitting up for the time that he had been. Tanner hovered until James started to walk away. It was a good thing because James did not want to face plant.

“It will take you around twenty minutes to get across town. Local police are waiting for the word to be able to open up the city.”

“Go ahead and have them do it. We have a lock on Q, and that means we can track him. I want someone on that computer at all times.” Mallory’s tone left no chance at someone not doing it.

James looked at Tanner to see the man torn.

“M, Sir, it’s Jacobi here. Q’s been having techs give me the working knowledge on the security system for MI6 so I could become an officer that ran that end of things to free up his techs. I should be able to help track this and maybe do a few other things if Tanner or Bond need.” It was one of the security men, and James saw that he was the only one that hadn’t raised a gun on him.

“Good. You all have orders. Tanner relate to me, everything that I need to know. I’ll keep comms open on my end but won’t respond unless asked.”

“Let’s go.” James grabbed the kit that Tanner was handing over. While he was being driven where he needed to go, he could get ready. He wasn’t going to lose Gale, not after finally getting him the way that he had him. James refused to lose him to Spectre.

Part 6

James wondered how the three who had taken Gale thought that they would be able to run Spectre because they were idiots.

“Bond,” Jacobi said over the comm. “There are still just the four life signs in the building, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have more hidden in rooms that can’t be scanned for life signs.”

James didn’t answer him at all, but Jacobi had been told that he would be going radio silent on his end just to make sure. The door that had been picked for James’ entry was a far distance from where Gale was being held. That distance was nothing to James. It was better as just in case James had to break into the place the sound wouldn’t carry. The door was cracked open already though when James got there, and he only had to push it open a little more so he could slip inside. James wasn’t sure what he expected about the place, but he was used to more sophisticated enemies and traps.

Taking his time, James felt every single second in his heart even if he didn’t let affect his brain at all. He had to keep a calm head to make sure that he actually got Gale out of this. The room that the trio was holding Gale in was huge, it was, in fact, the largest room in the building, which meant that it would be hard for James to sneak up on them. James found a place to settle when he made it down the hallway into the room so he could watch them as they spewed hate at Gale while he was doing whatever it was that they wanted him to do.

“How long does this take?”

“You do understand that it’s easier to tear something down than to build it up. I might have taken me what seemed like the work of minutes to take down Nine Eyes, I wasn’t that careful at it. I ripped it to shreds so that it would be hard to create again, so it’s going to take as long as is needed to get it going again.” Gale sounded like he was done with their words. It would not be long at all before he pissed them off and they would hit him, and then James would have to do something about that. Gale turned to grab a bottle of water that was on the table he was working on. James saw a bruise on his chin that spoke of rough treatment from the hands of his kidnappers.

James was going to kill all three of them. He didn’t care how Gale had got injured. Gale had promised that he would not do anything stupid and that meant they had been rough with him for no reason. James hated that. He hated seeing the bruise on him. He didn’t want to see Gale injured like that ever again. The bruises he got while training were one thing, none of them ever looked like this, and they were never on his face. This was something horrible and horrific, James shook his head to clear the blood lust from it. It wouldn’t do him or Gale any good.

“We could have hired a whore to do this quicker,” the man furthest back from Gale said.

“Then go out and find one that can hack into what you need hacking into. You do understand that Oberhauser’s protections were damned good right? The only issue is that he used some of my own codings to get into it. That means that I have access because I know it. I’m nearly in. Another ten minutes or so.”

“Yes, well your lover ain’t going to find you so no matter of stalling will help you now.”

“Really? You think my lover isn’t going to find me? Do you really think that MI6 is stupid enough to not have trackers on me? You idiots didn’t even scan me for anything before bringing me here. You didn’t even try and stop me from seeing your faces or where you took me. That means one thing, you aren’t planning on letting me go. So either I’ll be your captive for the rest of my life, or you plan on killing me.”

“Quit talking and more typing.”

“My ability to type is not hampered by my talking. I’m smart enough to do three things at once, unlike you idiots that can’t even watch a perimeter.”

The three idiots turned around to start looking at all of the areas where they had not been looking before. James nearly stepped out and started to shoot them, but he stopped when he watched Gale typing in the last of a code. It was always interesting to see it as he made little flourishes. The computer started to smoke, and Gale stood up and raced around the table to get to safety. The computer exploded, and the three of them turned around. James put one in the middle one’s head before they could figure out where Gale was and then into the second before the third one turned to see who had killed his two friends.

James let the man get a good look at him before shooting him.

“Targets down, asset alive.”

“Status of asset?” Mallory asked.

“Pissed off.”

Gale held out his hand on the other side of the smoking and burning computer. James walked over to where he was, steadfastly ignoring the want to pat him down to make sure that he wasn’t more injured. He didn’t have the ability to return them to life to kill the three idiots again. James plucked the comm he had nicked from Tanner’s pocket and dropped it into Gale’s hand.

“M,” Gale said when the comm was in place.

“Yes?” Mallory asked.

“Somewhere in Tunisia, you will find a location that’s now burning. I overclocked their computers just like I did this one here and I hope that it’s the last of the Spectre secure information areas. By now, it should be a roaring fire.”

“I’ll set our eyes to look for it. Glad you are fine, Quartermaster.”

“Not really, I need medical attention. One of the assholes kicked me for no reason when I was on the bottom of the van they put me into. He got my stomach really good, and it hurts a great deal and then when I curled into myself, he got my chin. I don’t know if he bruised something or I’m internally bleeding.”

“You are telling me you didn’t excite them into getting pissed at you?” Mallory asked. There was a fondness in his tone as everyone at MI6 knew that Gale’s mouth ran away with him more than it didn’t.

“I was good. I told 007 I wouldn’t do anything stupid and I meant it. I was answering his questions, but he didn’t like the truth, so he tried to kick me until he felt better. One of the other stopped him before it got too bad, but enough damage was done.” Gale slumped a little and James grabbed him and turned him to where James could help support him.

“007, get him to the local. I’ll have one of ours arrive there as quick as possible. Quartermaster, the body has been retrieved and is awaiting your next orders.”

“Cremate, and I’ll deal when I get home.”

“007, you are not to leave his side for anything. He gets a scan you are with the tech in the safe room. He takes a piss in the loo, you are with him.”

“You got it, Sir.”

“Check-in hourly,” Mallory said before his end of the comms were cut.

James plucked his out of his ear and then did the same to Gale’s before dropping them into a pocket. Gale slumped over into James nearly all the way, his body sagging with the loss of adrenaline.

“Let’s go, Quartermaster,” James said. He turned to see that the strike team had made it through the whole building along with SWAT and were waiting for him. Along with a gurney from the medic that had been a moment behind them in arrival time. There was no medic by it though.

“Medic is outside. We did not allow them in. Tanner is running a background check on him.”

“Good. Can you sit?” James asked Gale.

“I’d rather lay but sitting gets me there quicker.”

James wasn’t sure that made full sense to him, but he helped Gale over to the gurney and then helped him lay down. His face was full of pain. James knew a few basic checks, and he raised Gale’s shirt. There was a lot of bruising on his abdomen, and none of it looked good.


Gale was asleep on the hospital bed in the secure area of the best hospital close to Winterthur that MI6 had an ally at. There was a small tear in a blood vessel from the attack on him, but they had been able to take care of it with minimal incision. Gale had been asleep since the surgery. James had been inside of the room, scrubbed in like a doctor as the hospital took Mallory’s words to heart that there wasn’t a place that Gale went that James didn’t follow.

A nurse came in for the last check of the night.

“You can lock the door behind me, Agent Bond. We won’t be checking in for a few hours, and you can get some rest. If he wakes up, you were given the checks to do on him, but the full check can wait until morning unless he fails one of those.”

“Thank you.”

“You are very welcome. He got here just in time, it was a good thing.”

James followed the nurse to the door and locked it before shutting off the light as well. There was a small light that was on the wall but aimed up, so it cast a very faint light on the bed to make sure it didn’t hurt patients eyes, but nurses could check on their patients in the night.

The bed that Gale was in was very big for how small he was. There was a second bed, but James wasn’t going to use it. He got up on the bed on his side and laid down along the length of Gale’s body on the side where there were no wires sticking out of him. James laid his hand over Gale’s chest, his palm over his heart. James just about had his eyes closed when he felt a hand rest over the top of his. James opened his eyes wide. Gale’s eyes were still shut, but he was grinning.

“You little shit, how long have you been awake?”

“Just before the nurse came. I didn’t want to be poked and prodded by them so it can wait until morning.

“You are still doing the tests they want me to do. I don’t-can’t run the risk of you not being fully yourself.”

“Fine,” Gale said like he had a million more important things to be doing.

Gale was a sarcastic asshole the entire time that James was asking him questions and even after when James was just trying to figure out exactly how he was.

“You were good, up until you passed out in the ambulance,” James said.

“Sorry, I don’t have the stoic Double-Oh resolve that allows you to not pass out at all.” Gale’s tone was nowhere near as bitey as it sounded.

“I love you,” James said.

“I love you, too. At least it’s not a deathbed confession. When can I get out of here?”

“Alec’s on his way with that medical equipped SUV that you outfitted for deployment into areas that are urban and something more unnoticed is needed. That nurse, you are friends with is coming.”

“Robin’s a good egg,” Gale said. He yawned like he hadn’t just woke up from sleep.

“He’s okay, I guess.”

“Robin is just a friend, James. He’s straight and is like the straightest straight man I have ever seen. He’s never even looked at a male Double-Oh when they’ve been naked in the showers. He would probably be freaked out when a male hit on him, though he does the same with females. He’s not a bigot he just has no care to engage in any relationship with a male.”

“I wasn’t jealous,” James said.

“Oh, no, you very much were, and you were when he was in my office with me.”

“How is your arm? They cleaned it and wrapped it but just to be safe in the surgery room.”

“Feels fine.” Gale yawned, it made his jaw crack some.

“Sleep, Gale. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

“Don’t want to.” Gale tugged on the arm that James had thrown over Gale’s chest He was trying to get James to press on him more. James made sure not to hurt Gale any with more weight around where his abdomen was. Still, he knew a leg over Gale’s and then just rested there.

“I need sleep, and if you don’t sleep, how can I?” James asked.

“I don’t want to miss anytime with you.”

“You won’t. I’ll be sleeping as well.”

“Fine.” Gale closed his eyes, and it seemed like, in seconds, he was asleep.

James waited to make sure that Gale’s breathing evened out into sleep and then he allowed himself to sleep as well.

XxXxXxX

MI6 was full of jokes about Double-Ohs being the worst patients, just leaving when they wanted without getting the knowledge they needed to care for themselves. It was more that the Double-Ohs had done all of it enough that they knew what to do and if they didn’t another did. James had never checked himself out, but he had talked the doctors into letting him out early so that he could go somewhere that he could control who had access to him. It was the crux of the issue with Double-Ohs, even in medical there was not a lot of security. Not enough for Double-Ohs.

James had decided that day two of being Gale’s guard after they got him home, that the Double-Ohs had nothing on him. He was unruly and a pain in James’s ass.

Leaving Gale in his flat, James went to his own. He sighed and took a drink of scotch straight from his bottle that he kept in his bedroom. It hadn’t been opened in a while, but it still burned as it went down and it was what James needed. He turned on the tablet that had access to the security in Gale’s flat to watch him while he was taking a short break. Gale was being a downright asshole.

Gale was still on the couch where James had threatened to tie him to when he had tried to get up and get the remote because James hadn’t been quick enough to get it for him. Because of the extensive bruising from the kicks he had taken, Gale was supposed to take it easy and not really get up more than he had to. Did the shite listen? No.

James frowned as he watched Gale move. He rolled onto his side, his uninjured arm pressed down into the couch. The blanket on the back of the couch was grabbed and dragged over his body, there was a wince of pain from the movement, whether arm or side, James wasn’t sure. James touched the button that turned up the mic feed for that camera after he tapped it to where it was the only camera on the feed.

Gale sniffled once, and then James heard the first sob. James felt like a right shite at that moment. He knew exactly what was wrong with Gale and why he was acting like he was. Gale had too much happen to him in a short period of time, the whole Spectre thing and James acting like an ass to try and keep Gale’s job unquestioned even though Mallory knew that they were closer than he would like. Then Vesper being broken out of prison and Gale having to go into hiding because someone wanted to kill or kidnap him. Receiving her hand that had been cut off of her body and finding that she was dead. No matter how much Gale hated her for what she had done, James knew that Gale would always have that piece inside of him that loved her. She had been the other half of him. Then the actual abduction, getting kicked and breaking a blood vessel in his body and needing surgery and then being stuck at the flat and his work things taken from him so he would rest.

James took another drink of his scotch before he capped it and shut down the tablet. He needed to get to Gale as quickly as possible. He found what he had come up for and then left his flat, not even caring if he locked the door. He let himself into Gale’s flat as quiet as possible so that Gale wouldn’t stop crying just because of James being in the room.

Gale didn’t hear him, given the scream that he let off when James touched his arm. Gale tried to roll over, but that hurt him, and James stopped him before it got to be too bad.

“Sorry,” James said as he settled on the edge of the couch. Gale’s eyes were red-rimmed, and his nose snotty. He had gone from nothing to a full-on cry it seemed. James grabbed a tissue from the coffee table and wiped at his nose some before he handed over another so Gale could blow it. “You don’t have to hide this from me. Or make me so mad at you that I storm off so you can cry in private. If you wanted to be left alone to do this, you could have asked.”

“Didn’t run you off to cry, at least not consciously. I…” Gale sighed and rubbed his face on the pillow that was in front of him. “I want to go to bed. I want you wrapped around me again.”

“Sure.” James looked at the time. There was more than enough time for Gale to get a nap in and then James could get dinner sorted. They were eating take-out more than anything because James didn’t want Gale to feel like he needed to keep James company while he cooked.

“And sushi for dinner,” Gale said around a yawn.

“Whatever you want.” James let Gale roll himself over to his other side before moving to allow Gale to get up. James was good at steadying him while he stood up but pulling on Gale hurt something either his stomach or his arm no matter which way James did it. So they had found a good way to get Gale around without hurting more than he had to.

Gale was shaky and pale when James helped him lever himself down into a bed. James looked at the time and saw it was nearly close enough for another dose of the pain medication. James grabbed it to have ready. He would wake Gale up to take it as he had been the past two days. Gale rolled onto his side and waited for James to get in behind him. James tucked himself in behind him, grabbing the sheet and drawing it up over both of them.

“She’s gone, and I’m still here,” Gale said.

“I know.” James kissed the back of Gale’s head as he felt his lover’s body start to shake. It was hitting him hard, it seemed. James wasn’t shocked that it was hitting him at all, Gale had been going from one thing to another since James had been in Mexico.

“Moneypenny asked about the cat joke I said to you.”

“Two cats and a mortgage was it?”

“I want two cats.”

“Okay, as soon as you are able, we can go to the shelter and find you two cats,” James said.

Gale’s talk of wanting a cat or two had risen by a lot over the past few months. James wasn’t that fond of the beasts, but if Gale wanted one, he would get one.

“Clara in accounting has two kittens she’s trying to find a home for. Call her, have her bring them over.”

“Sure.” James wondered if Gale was going to remember this when he woke up. He kind of hoped not as he didn’t want to care for the cats and Gale, but with Gale’s mind, James was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to forget.

Part 7

James watched as Gale got around slowly inside of Q-Branch. He was not returned to duty yet, but he was moving a lot better, and there was a lot less risk of him injuring himself, so James had figured that a tour around Q-Branch for Gale to see his techs was a good idea. The techs were happy to see Gale, and it was giving Gale something to do. Entertaining Gale had proven to be something that James was not good at, at least not at first. Gale’s mind didn’t like to stop, and while James would have preferred to keep a laptop out of his hands, it just didn’t work. So R had come over and removed Gale’s ability to get into MI6 from his work laptop and had made sure he understood that bypassing it would alert her and she would send someone to take it and break it. The look of betrayal on Gale’s face and the way that he had clutched his computer to him made James know that he wasn’t going to do it.

Gale did work on coding and various other things that he could do without a connection to MI6, and within the first hour of letting him do it until he couldn’t, Gale was calmer. James still put limits, and he learned what Gale looked like when he was in pain but hadn’t noticed it yet. Gale didn’t fight him on stopping as usual James would cuddle with him and rub at his head or legs if James sat down at the end of the couch, and lull Gale into a nap.

“How is he doing?” Mallory asked, sneaking up on James, showing that he was too comfortable watching Gale.

“Mentally, about as good as can be expected. He had his meeting with Psych, it did not go well.”

“None of his meetings with Psych go well. He fails them on purpose because he’s a little shite. The only time that he has ever done well with those kinds of things was when he wanted to get into university early, according to your M. After that he showed his true colours when they didn’t have as much of a chance of screwing him. Psych knows that he is messing with them and as long as they don’t feel that he’s a danger, he’s fine. Do you feel he’s a danger?”

James knew why Mallory was asking him that. While neither Gale nor James had actually spoken about the relationship with Mallory, there were notes in the file from the hospital that it had been evident that Gale had consensual anal sex before being taken. It wasn’t rough, and so no rape kit had been done. The hospital had been thorough, and James liked it, but it was leaving things hanging as Gale was barely ready to talk to James about what the relationship was going to be, much less Mallory.

“Not to anything but his own recovery by being bored. I understand now why some people don’t want kids.”

“Kids can be a blessing and a curse. Tanner has filed the paperwork needed to make sure that your asses are covered in case someone wants to be an arse about the relationship. While you are not under him, it’s best to cover with his family’s history with SIS and everything. Tanner even forged your signatures and I couldn’t even tell that they weren’t yours.”

“That’s because Bill is great at that. He could have made a lot of money doing that kind of work in the real world, and no one would have caught him,” Gale said from across the room, telling James and Mallory that their conversation was carrying across to him. Gale was, however, smiling as he said so he wasn’t that upset. “James, I’m hungry.”

“Then let’s go and get lunch. I think I heard Tanner telling me that he made reservations at your favourite place.”

“Which favourite? I have one for each type of food that I like.”

“I think it was sushi,” James said.

Gale started over to James with barely a wave goodbye to his techs. It was slow and steady, Gale’s gait, but he had been making a lot of progress. His physical wounds were healing, but the mental ones were going to take a lot longer. James would be there for those long after Gale was back at work. Mallory hadn’t asked him to come back yet, and James knew that he wouldn’t until James approached him for a mission.

While Gale had found them a lot of information before blowing the computers in Tunisia, there was still the chance that not every single member of Spectre had been found yet. It was a worldwide intelligence agency effort to pull in those inside of their shores. MI6 was sharing everything that they were finding so that it could be taken down, along with detailed reports on the crimes committed on foreign soil for them all.

Even Japan and Russia were showing that they understood what had almost happened and were helping to find their own national citizens that were trying to undermine the authority of every single nation.

“Bond,” Mallory said as James turned to follow behind Gale.

“Yes, Sir?” James asked.

“You did well. I am pleased with your efforts on this mission.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

James waited for a beat, but when Mallory just turned to look at the techs that were watched Gale leaving, James turned to follow his lover. The doors on the lift opened up, and James saw that Tanner was waiting on them.

“Bill,” Gale said.

“Hello, Gale. I was just coming to get you, so we don’t lose our reservation for delicious sushi.”

“I’m starved, and it’s nearly time for more pills, which I can’t take unless I eat.” Gale leaned in close to Tanner after getting on the lift. “And someone doesn’t allow me to take them until I’ve got a little bit of something on my stomach.” Gale’s voice was at a stage whisper, but it made James laugh a little.

“I’m a mother hen, as I have been told time and again by Gale.”

“Well, he has to be good at something besides killing and blowing things up,” Tanner said.

That comment made Gale laugh, but still, James glared at the other man.

“Then after that, I have a present for you that will be waiting at your flat. R is working on it right now, and she’ll let herself in and then out.”

James wondered what kind of present Tanner would have got for Gale. He wouldn’t be shocked by nearly any of it, but it was entertaining to try and figure it out.

Tanner took his own car to where they were going to eat, and James drove the Land Rover that Gale had pulled out of the pool at work because the smaller cars were harder for him to get in and out of with having to bend in half. The Land Rover was much easier for him to use and with appointments to make sure he was healing fine and just needing to get out of the flat, Gale was a lot more active than he had been before.

James had been to the restaurant once before but not with Gale. He had come alone as he hadn’t been able to stand to be in his flat, alone, for one more minute. It hadn’t been as fun of a night as what he thought it would be because he had been alone. This was going to be better though, James thought.

The meal went by too quick for James with Tanner and Gale’s chattering back and forth, keeping him entertained. When it was over, and they were going their separate ways, James found that Gale’s eyes were brighter than average. He had enjoyed the day, and it seemed that it was good for him. James would have to see about having another lunch out with R or someone from Q-Branch that Gale like the day after tomorrow. Gale would probably be more tired the next day, so James didn’t want to push him.

“Is that R’s car?” James asked as he pulled into the parking area for their flats. In Gale’s guest spot, there was a car that James had never seen before.

“Yes.” Gale unbuckled but waited for James to come around to help him out. It wasn’t the usual way that they did things, but James knew then that Gale was more tired than James thought he would be.

“Let’s go see this present,” James said. He held out his arm and let Gale use it to lever himself up out of the seat of the Land Rover, and before James could move back, Gale was getting in close. He yawned a little and put most of his weight on James. James pressed a kiss to his head and then started to move them both toward the lift door that would take them up.

James heard noises in the flat long before getting close enough to it. He heard what sounded like claws on the hardwood floor and then a screech from a kitten.

“OH!” Gale let go of James, and in a burst of energy that would probably have him aching later, he shot forward to the flat door. The door opened easily under his hand, and James sped up just to make sure that Gale didn’t drop. Inside, the flat looked much the same, but there were a few new things inside of it. Including two kittens. Both of them stopped and just looked at Gale and James.

James shut the flat door so that they didn’t dart outside.

“We went ahead and grabbed you the kittens. The whole branch and a few other people from across MI6 pitched in and got everything you’ll need for at least a little while. They have vet appointments next week to get checked over and to get their first yearly check-up done. Their names are Woozy and Pipt. Both male Norwegian Forest cats. Bond I brought a few books on kittens, read up, so you don’t kill them. I have to go. There is a minor emergency on a mission. Nothing I can’t handle, but Double-Ohs are assholes and aren’t listening to anyone else.”

“Tell every single Double-Oh that until I get back if they don’t treat you like they treat me, you will tell me and they will be sorely upset with what they get as far as accommodations on their missions for a year.”

James snorted because he had been at the bad end of that just before Silva had happened. He had been in the worst possible hotels and the worst flight, not only the class he flew in but Gale always found a way to have him seated next to a child. Every damned time. It wasn’t worth the fun of riling up Gale to have that happen.

“I will gladly tell them that. I’ll see how they shape up. Text you soon!” R was gone, leaving them with two kittens.

“I can get someone to come and take care of them,” Gale said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well they make messes, they sick up, and then there are the cat boxes. As long as I have the no bending shit on me, I can’t do them. You don’t have to.”

James knew that Gale had remembered the cat conversation, but he hadn’t brought it up. James had seen him on the laptop looking at toys and a cat tree for them to play on and sleep on if they wanted. James hadn’t wanted to bring it up but not because he didn’t want Gale to have them but because Gale was too injured. If a kitten jumped on him at the moment, it wasn’t going to be good. Yet, James could see why Gale wanted the companionship as he settled onto the couch, and the two kittens rushed over to greet the new person that they had been left with.

Gale was smiling, despite the pain that James could read in his eyes.

“Mom got Vesper and I kittens when we were three. Ozma and Mombi were their names. When our parents died, they were nearly taken to a shelter, but a family friend took them in. When I was an adult and got my own place, I took them back. They had missed me. I visited as much as I could, but it wasn’t the same. They were waiting for me. They didn’t get too attached to anyone in the new family. They were the only two left out of a litter. It was the mother’s first and the rest died just after birth, I fell in love. Ozma was mine and Mombi was Vesper’s.”

It took until James noticed that Gale had said Vesper a second time for him to even realise he had said it the first time.

“They died of old age within moments of each other. Before everything you know. Vesper had cared a little. Helped me get them cremated. We took the ashes to a little hiking place, and that’s where I want to spread Vesper’s. Mother and father used to take us both there a lot. It was when we were younger and wanted to get out of the city. I didn’t like it, but Vesper was happy there.”

“When you are better, we can take the ashes there, and you can say your final goodbye.” James knew that the ashes were still at MI6. He had asked about them once, and Gale had told him that he was not ready to say goodbye. James hadn’t pushed it, and he wasn’t going to push it. Gale would be ready when he was ready. There was no healthy way to push Gale into being ready faster at all.

“Okay.”

James left Gale to get to know the cats. He found the books on kittens in the kitchen. James smiled when he found one of the books was for making treats and even food for cats and kittens that were healthy for them. James flipped through that and saw that with a little modification, meals that were made at home could be given to the cats as long as he pulled the food out at a specific time and didn’t add certain spices. He was sure that the kittens would enjoy that as a treat for one meal a week.

There was a weird sensation that brought James out of his thoughts about the kittens. He looked down to see that one of them was crawling up his trousers. He snagged the little thing and pulled him up to his chest. The kitten was already purring and trying to butt its head up to where it was rubbing it on James’s chin. The thing was adorable.

“Pipt?” Gale called out even though James knew that cats were smart, but there was no way that it had learned its name already.

The kitten in James’ arms though did jump out of his hold. He made a mad dash for the living room after landing in a splat. James followed behind to make sure that it wasn’t hurt in time to see it scaling the back of the couch to get to Gale.

“Oh, I didn’t expect that to work. I was just going to call the name and then when I found him on my own, see that he knew it was his.”

“They are bizarre names,” James said.

“Yes, I had wanted more cats as a child. I wanted to males, and these were the names I was going to call them.”

“Well, he knows it. Are these the cats from Clara?”

“Yes,” Gale said.

“Then I would say that she has been calling them that from the beginning and knew you would take them. She’s the sneaky sort. Has to be to get the drop on us Double-Ohs and get us to submit forms the correct way.” James was kind of glad of that really that Clara had made sure that they were going to go to Gale. It seemed like something had happened that had stopped him from getting the ones that he had wanted when he was younger, so James was glad that Gale was getting them now.

“What was he doing?”

“He was climbing my trousers.” James reached out and petted Pipt there in Gale’s hands. He saw that Woozy was asleep on the couch already, worn-out no doubt from learning his new environment, as well as just the whole getting taken away from the only home he had known to go to a strange place. He had to admit that they were both cute. They were the standard colouration that James knew of for Norwegian Forest cats but in varying degrees. Pipt had a deal more white on him than the blackish tabby colour that Woozy had more of. It was like instead of being split in half each picked a colour and wanted more of it and so his brother got less. It was quite striking, and James was glad that they weren’t perfect matches.

“Sorry,” Gale said.

“You don’t need to be sorry. Kittens will do what they want, but you will have to start to keep the closet door shut, so they don’t shred your clothes or mine.”

“Your clothes are in my closet?” Gale asked. He turned to look at the bedroom like it was going to show him the closet.

“Yes…” James trailed off because he had no idea if Gale’s tone was good or bad. James really thought that he would be better at reading him after them being friends as long as they had been. It should have been easier to read him. James took a deep breath as Gale just turned to look at him. Gale was staring at him, and his face told James everything. They were both being fucking idiots. He was reading too much into everything while Gale was just going along like he did with nearly everything. “I’ve had clothes in there for a while now. For those nights I stayed over after we would stay up too late yelling at the TV. I have more now as I’ve been living with you since we got back.”

“I don’t even remember you bringing them up.”

“You were out of it after getting you back here. You were asleep, snoring if I recall.”

“Yes, snoring, that thing that everyone says I do but can’t prove it.” Gale was smiling as he said the words.

James walked over to him and straddled his body, disrupting Woozy’s nap a little, but the kitten just moved over. Gale quickly dumped Pipt onto the couch to allow him to get out from between them. “Well, I will gladly record you snoring if you need proof.”

Gale huffed, but his eyes were shining as he did. James leaned in and kissed him. He didn’t let it get to be too much because it wasn’t like Gale was up for anything, even just James jerking him off. The abdomen clenched too much when Gale orgasmed, James knew it would hurt no matter what. Sex would have to wait, which James figured was a good thing. They had a good solid friendship, but their relationship needed a bit more than sex.

“Is this going too fast? I mean neither of us have had a good start with any relationship. I swore them off until recently. You-” Gale closed his lips tight.

James leaned in and kissed his forehead.

“I have had a single start of a relationship that ended up with her betraying everything. I know, Gale. I know. Neither of us are particularly exposed to anything that could be a good relationship. So that just means that we need to pay a little more attention to each other. Just-” James wasn’t sure how to word what he wanted to say. “I’ve been second guessing things all day. You’ve been doing it as well. Neither of us needs that in our lives, but it’s what’s going to happen. You’ve got some time before they allow you to go back to work, we can work on us.”

“If we don’t kill each other.”

“Yes, that.” James laughed at the grin. He felt something and looked down to see that Pipt didn’t like not being the centre of their attention. James laughed and picked him up.

“And you don’t mind the kittens?”

“I know you had brought it up, and I wasn’t sure, but you need something, someone, even if it is cats while I am away on missions. And I wouldn’t mind the company when I am home from a mission, and you are working.”

“You make it sound like you are going to be staying here.”

“I planned on being here as much as possible. I already am Gale. There is a reason my flat looks like I still just moved in. I like your place much better. I thought it was the location, but after living here for six months, I knew that it wasn’t. I mean I like my flat cause it’s close to you and that’s about it. I’m glad I moved here because at least I had somewhere to go.”

“That wasn’t drinking? It was in your file when I became Quartermaster that you had an addiction to alcohol and random sex, yet there was something over the years that had stopped you from doing both with a lot of frequency. There was a notation that M had not looked into what it was for fear of you sliding back down. Then it was Mallory, and he was just glad you were reined in some.”

“It was you.”

“Me?” Gale looked at James with such wonder in his eyes at that statement from James.

“You were losing it, you had lost everything, and I just stopped being that. I mean the sex was slower, by a lot but still I was cutting down on all of that. It was very slow, really as I hadn’t noticed it until recently that I had even been doing either. I don’t know what to say about it.”

“How about we just say I love you?” Gale asked.

“I think I can do that.” James leaned in and pressed a kiss to Gale’s lips, sealing the words with a kiss. “I love you.”

“And I love you, Bond. James Bond.”

“You little fucking shite,” James said as he laughed.

“But I’m your little fucking shite.” Gale leaned up a bit to brush his lips over James’. It felt too damned good to James. Like he was coming home, and James hadn’t even noticed that he was there already.

“You very much are, and I don’t want anyone else.”

“Well, you might not want anyone else, but you will be ‘having’ other people.” Gale waggled his eyebrows at James, and James knew exactly what he was talking about.

James shook his head back and forth. He wasn’t sure that he was going to survive this relationship with Gale, but he was sure going to give it everything that he had. He owed that to himself and to Gale. He just wondered if finally, Vesper was going to be at rest with Gale being happy. James wasn’t sure that she would be given the way that Gale talked about her, but James knew that in some way, she loved him. Even if she didn’t always show it.

There was no way that they had been twins and she didn’t love him, in her own way. She might not have been able to show it in a way that was understandable by Gale, but she couldn’t just dislike him that much. He was the other half of her, and that meant something even to someone like her.

James wasn’t going to let Gale ever not think that he was loved. James would make sure that until the day that he drew his last breath, Gale would never wonder if James really did love him. He loved him more than anything else in the world, but he would also never taint that love by not doing right by the world.

The End

I write fanfiction for fun. It’s a hobby and a stress relief. I refuse to stress over my writing. What you see is what you get. Errors, plot holes, and all. Thank you for reading my story!

I can be found on MeWe here, join me there and we can discuss my fics and whatnot.

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