Quinn Bond looked up from the photographs and the MI6 ID to his husband, his face pale and calm as he set the photos and ID onto the table.
“What did I do wrong?” he asked quietly, resigned to what he was sure was his death for some unknown truth beyond his clearance he must have encountered without knowing, “Why has M sent you to watch me?”
“Cut the crap, Quinn,” James Bond snarled, “There is no reason to play around. If you’re not going to tell the truth then there is no point to my being here. I want you out.”
Quinn felt his heart sink, “James…” he started only to be cut off.
“OUT!” James roared, flinging his mobile at the younger man.
Quinn knew better than to test the patience of a field agent at the end of his rope. He ducked the flying mobile, wincing as it shattered against the wall, and fled, pausing only to grab his overnight bag and laptop.
Back in the flat, James covered his face with his hands, trying to block out the image of his husband, eyes wide with hurt and exhaustion. Furious that he felt guilty for driving the younger spy out of their shared flat, he swept the photos off the table with a snarl and threw the nearest thing he could lay his hands on, an empty mug, at the photos on the mantle. The frames clattered to the ground as the mug shattered against the wall. James stalked to the liquor cabinet and pulled out another bottle of scotch. Foregoing the glass, he pulled straight from the bottle. Within several hours, he was roaring drunk. Seven hours after driving his husband out of the flat, he was dead to the world in an alcohol-induced stupor.
His shattered mobile would never receive the priority call from MI6, and thus, when James emerged from the haze in the morning, regretful and thinking more clearly despite the hangover, he would be unable to reach the younger agent. When he fails to reach his husband on the phone he lifts off one of his neighbors on the lifts, he smashes that also and leaves the roof. Brokenhearted and angry that his husband apparently distrusted him so much that he’d severed all ties because of an ill-timed confrontation and a fury fueled by post-mission adrenaline, James would seek solace in the bottom of a bottle once more.
Quinn retreats to the MI6 issued flat that he hadn’t used since he married James. He slammed the door shut and leaned back against it. He’s not sure when he dropped his bag onto the floor next and slid to the floor and buried his face against his knees, but he doesn’t much care. He stays that way with his back pressed against the door wondering when everything had changed and if everything he’d known—thought he’s known—about James Bond was a lie.
He doesn’t know how long he was in that position mourning his relationship, which must surely end in divorce once James crawls out of the bottle in a few days time, but it is the shrill tones of his phone ringing that pulls him back to reality. He fumbles through his pockets and pulls out the phone and is startled to see M’s number on the screen.
“003,” he says in greeting, glad that his voice is only slightly hoarse. He tries not to think what M might think he’s been doing before receiving her call, not that she’d be surprised if the call had come as he goes down on his husband. But that’s not the case anymore, is it?
“003,” M said, crisply, “A computer containing sensitive information about undercover agents embedded in terrorist cells around the world has gone missing.” Quinn stiffens, all thought of James gone. “Agent Ronson is tracking it. You will rendezvous with him in Istanbul. A car is on its way to take you to Heathrow immediately.”
“Understood,” Quinn says as he hauls himself to his feet and ends the call. He grabs his bag and dashes into the bedroom and haphazardly dumps the soiled clothing into the hamper and stuffs in a fresh suit. A quick shower and a fresh suit later, he was downstairs, bag slung over his shoulder, waiting for the car that would take him to the airport.
When he is shot off the top of a train three days later, his last thought before he plunges into the river below is of heartbroken blue eyes set in a beloved face.
Three days later
James is dragged kicking and screaming out of his alcohol induced slumber by an insistent hammering on his door. He groaned, head pounding as the effects of the hangover made itself known. Then the door of the flat was kicked in by, of all people, Alec and M stalks into the flat with an expression of disapproval. Alec’s face is a mix of blank and grieving, and it makes James wonder what had happened.
“You worthless man,” M said, her voice cold and furious. “I should have known you would be here drinking when England needed you most. Get up, Bond. We need you to track down a man in Istanbul and retrieve a hard drive.”
“Send Quinn,” James growled, “Since apparently you trust him enough to have him spying on me.”
“I already have,” M snapped.
“Then why do you need me?”
“Because six hours ago, he was shot off the top of a train just outside Istanbul.”
And suddenly the raw grief on Alec’s face makes sense. James feels his heart drop into his stomach and his blood turn to ice. “What?”
M’s features do not soften in the slightest. “We need you to finish what 003 started. Get up, Bond, and go bathe. England needs you. Now more than ever.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” James can barely force the words out. All he can think of is Quinn. Oh, god, Quinn.