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There’s a popping sound in Bond’s knee when he walks. It’s not strictly audible but he can feel it in his bones with every step, and though he’s successfully disguised the limp, the popping makes his left leg feel awkward and hard to move. He’s still too high-profile at MI-6 to walk in and out without generating an unwanted level of interest and he’ll be damned if a wrenched kneecap keeps him from escaping the next out-of-the-loop desk jockey who’s surprised to see him alive.

The dried blood and powdered concrete on his suit and face aren’t particularly lowering his profile, so he forgoes the elevator and takes the stairs, leg and all, down the endless floors to the armoury, where there’s only the hallway, the multi-tiered security system, and his own irritation at the pain when he walks to deal with.

Q startles a bit when the door hisses open, but he recovers almost immediately. “And how did it go?” He snaps shut a long, thin case that, before it closed, appeared to be full of metal arrowheads. There are several others on the table just like it.

“Badly,” Bond answers. He stumps over to one of the walls, abandoning his pretense of easy mobility, and keys in his code. The wall retreats silently into the ceiling, revealing a grid of grenades. It was too much to hope for, probably, that he would make it in and out of this place without human interaction. His body feels shocky and peaked in the wake of all the adrenaline, and all he wants to do is punch the shit out of the bag in his flat until he’s too tired to sleep poorly.

“But you accomplished your goal?” Q says, pausing in his task. It’s not a question; the mission came back completed, which has surely reached Q’s clearance level by now, though Bond has only been recovered for something like two hours.

One by one, Bond takes the grenades he’s been carrying out of his pockets and places them into their alcoves. When he’s finished, three of the alcoves remain empty. “It still went badly,” he says shortly, and at the touch of a button the wall slides closed again.

“Ah,” Q says. And then, somewhat hopefully: “I don’t suppose you retained the pins.”

Bond turns his head to stare at Q, hand still on the wall. Q’s eyes travel from blood and powder to leg to Bond’s expression. His eyebrows flick up in mild apology, but he doesn’t retract the question.

“No,” Bond says.

“Ah,” Q says again. “Well.” He turns back to his table of cases. Bond stares at him a moment longer, a little interested despite himself in how much self-possession his absurdly young quartermaster appears to have. He’s not easily intimidated. Not that they ever are; the Qs are intensively trained to handle regular association with some very intimidating people. Yet Bond has rarely had a working relationship with the internal agents of MI-6 that didn’t involve some undercurrent of fear.

“Why do the pins matter?” Bond finds himself asking.

Q turns to him with a small smile this time. “We’re building cleaner bombs,” he says. “The pins contain a chemical signature from the moment they are removed, impossible to simulate in a lab. Analysis of the signature shows us how energy was expended in the explosion so we can work on expending less next time. It’s not a division priority, bit of a side project actually.”

Bond holds in what he knows will be a derisive expression. “Next time I’ll remember.”

Q looks around the room briefly, as if surprised to hear such amenability and hoping for witnesses. “Thank you,” he says, and when his clear blue eyes meet Bond’s again, Bond recognises at once the form his interest in Q has taken. Perhaps it’s Q’s unconcern with Bond’s brutal appearance, or perhaps it’s just how he looks, so calm, when Bond is so roiled up. Either way, Bond is beginning to consider the upside of having run into someone down here after all.

Never one to deny an instinct, he pushes off from the wall and takes a few arrhythmic steps towards Q that echo on the slick tiled floor. “You do a lot of side projects, do you?” he asks casually.

“Yes, when I can,” Q says, and to his credit he already knows something has changed - Bond notes the minute squaring of his shoulders, the faint line that appears between his eyebrows. Q is like some mad geneticist’s attempt to make the human being most likely to irritate Bond, with his reedy voice and too-posh accent, his wild hair, his retro glasses, and most teeth-grinding of all, his rumpled suits, but Q is smart as a fucking whip and it took him about two seconds to prove it when they met. He can keep up, and rather unbelievably, that has begun to outweigh all the rest.

Plus, it’s been a while since Bond had smart.

“You’re not on the clock at the moment, are you?” Bond’s gut tells him that it’s true. He indicates the table with neatly ordered cases laying on it. “The archery bit.”

Q shakes his head in confirmation, brows still slightly furrowed. “No, it’s just something of mine that’s about ready for presentation, I should think. Until it’s been approved I don’t log hours for it. Why?” he asks then, studying Bond’s face. One hand goes out to touch his cases, almost unconsciously. “Do you find yourself in need of less cutting-edge weaponry, 007?”

Bond actually smiles at this, a brief press of lips that twists to one side. He’s been advancing on Q, and he stops now just an arm’s length away, close enough to see just how rumpled that suit actually is. “No,” he says, and his voice hits that low, silky register that takes over whenever he’s around something he wants. “But I do find myself in need.”

Several expressions cross Q’s face at once, all minute, barely more than tics. He has an admirable poker face for someone who doesn’t work in the field. “They briefed us about this, you know,” he says.

“Oh?” Bond raises a single eyebrow. He puts out a hand and flattens it down Q’s silk tie, all the way to the point where it disappears into his jacket. The unfortunate wrinkles remain.

It takes Q a moment to find his voice after that. “About agents recently returned from the field,” he says finally. “The adrenaline.” Bond puts two fingers under Q’s lapels - lightweight, but good fabric count - and performs the same trick, sliding his hands all the way down to where the lapels end at the top button. The damage Q has done to his suit will clearly take a cleaners to remedy. This is pure teasing. “The endorphins that come from meeting such high-stakes goals.” Bond’s fingers dip a little lower than the buttons, on the pretense of smoothing out the front of Q’s jacket. Q gives a little intake of breath, but he continues speaking, his wide gaze bouncing from one of Bond’s eyes to the other from behind those ridiculous glasses. “It’s been well-documented that after missions, especially successful ones, returning agents often come home with misplaced - ah -”

Bond has dug his thumbs into the soft places inside Q’s hipbones, and at last he gets a real reaction.

“Energy,” Q finishes in a near-whisper.

“And have they briefed you on what to do?” Bond says, squeezing again to watch the way Q’s mouth falls ever so slightly open. “In situations such as these.”

Q blinks and gives a precise answer despite the way his hips are pushing at Bond’s hands. “They advised us to make what is ultimately a personal choice,” he says. “MI-6 cannot legally ask one agent to consent to liaisons with another for any reason."

“Naturally,” Bond says with rich sarcasm, well aware of MI-6’s respect for what it can legally ask its agents to do. He bends to inspect Q’s collar, breathing hot air along Q’s neck.

“Naturally,” Q agrees, with a shiver. “But they did imply, heavily in fact, that the double-ohs’ unique sociological needs and their great sacrifices for their country might be factors in our decision-making process.”

“How inappropriate of them.” Bond is struck by the amusing thought of what this staff conference must have looked like. His fingers come up to Q’s tie, which is knotted in the half-Windsor of the young, and begin to gently loosen it.

“Quite,” Q says. His poker face really is truly excellent, but Bond can feel under his hands how fast Q’s breath is coming. His own heart has picked up enough to dull out the ache in his leg. This is a much better idea than a face-off with the bag in his flat. This will do very well.

When the tie is loose enough to pull off with one hand, Bond leaves it hanging and puts his hands on Q’s waist once more. “So,” he says. “Have you made your decision?” He cocks his head and waits comfortably.

Q reaches up to grasp the tie himself, and he tugs it off. It falls between them with a slither. “I believe that I have,” Q murmurs, and he leans forward.

He has a wide, warm mouth, and even though Bond must taste like death, Q kisses him unhesitatingly, wrapping a hand around the back of Bond’s neck. They fall easily into the sensual rhythm of give-and-take, a good sign as Bond measures these things. Other talents can be learned, or faked, but rhythm is unteachable.

“Cameras?” Bond mutters against Q’s mouth, undoing the buttons of the mistreated jacket and finally divesting Q of it.

Q shakes his head fractionally. “Not in here,” he says in between kisses. “Not since 005.”

Bond remembers that fiasco. The stolen camera footage, the black market scuffle. The agent in question had been put to death for treason after all was said and done. “Lucky,” he comments as he reaches for Q’s belt. Q huffs a laugh against his cheek.

“In a way,” Q says dryly, and he undoes Bond’s own belt with long, delicate fingers.

They kiss for a while like that, in the earliest stages of undress, the occasional shoe or cufflink hitting the floor. It’s only when Bond shrugs off his own filthy jacket that his leg makes itself known again.

“Right,” Q says at Bond’s tight expression. “Come along.” It is with faint amusement that Bond allows himself to be led to the table, where he sits after Q has stacked and cleared away his precious cases and drawn up a chair for Bond’s leg at a good angle.

“You’re... very efficient,” Bond says when Q comes to him again, standing in between Bond’s thighs.

“You make it sound such a curse,” Q says in his soft, posh voice, with a slightly practised smile. Bond suspects efficiency is something Q has been accused of often.

He takes two handfuls of Q’s absurd hair and kisses him deeply and wetly, knocking his glasses askew on his face. Q makes a sound, but Bond doesn’t give him time to do anything else practised. He hooks his good leg around Q to draw him closer and gives him everything he’s got. The next time they come up for air, Q is breathing hard and his erection is pressing hard into Bond’s. Bond’s shirttails are out and half of Q’s shirt buttons are undone. His glasses are no longer situated in a way that helps his vision.

“I’m going to make a mess of you,” Bond promises him, removing the glasses carefully from his face and folding them up. “I’m going to fucking take you apart, Q, until you’re sobbing for it.” He leans over to place the glasses on the far edge of the table, then muscles back to an upright position. Q’s eyes look smaller without his glasses. Bond puts his thumb into his own mouth, and then runs it along Q’s long, thin lips. “I’m going to ruin this mouth,” Bond says, his voice dropped to a rumbling half-whisper. “And all this pretty white skin.” He drags his hand down Q’s exposed collarbone, and his thumb leaves a faint wet trail. Q’s breath rattles out of him, but he says nothing. Bond undoes the rest of Q’s shirt buttons, one by one. “And when it’s all too much,” Bond whispers, “when you’re begging me to fuck you,” and he gets so close his lips stick to Q’s ear as his hand works its way inside Q’s trousers and pants, “I’m going to turn you inside out.”

Bond punctuates this by wrapping his fingers around Q’s cock and giving it a good tug. “I -” Q says, strained. He licks his wet lips, gasping a little as Bond shifts his grip. “I - I really think you might have to prove it.” He stares at Bond, breathless, eyes bright with challenge.

The sound Bond makes in response can only be described as a growl. He takes his hand out of Q’s pants and though he knows he’ll regret it later, he hops down from the table and lifts Q up bodily by the waist. “Sit,” he says, depositing Q where he was a moment ago.

Q sits, eyebrows lifted at Bond’s feat of able-bodiedness. He looks suddenly vulnerable under the harsh industrial lights of the armoury, perched on the table with no glasses and his shirt falling off him. Bond flares with desire. He never could resist vulnerable. He reaches for Q and they’re kissing again, and Q manages to get Bond’s shirt off and then they’re skin to skin, Q’s fingers scraping his back and arms as they pant. Bond fumbles blindly behind him for the chair and when he finds it he pulls it in close, so he can sit between Q’s legs. When he breaks off to do so and Q realises what Bond intends, his mouth starts to form a question and then just goes slack. Bond doesn’t both to hold in his smirk.

He leans forward and licks at Q’s stomach, which earns him an immediate hiss and a contraction of muscles. He follows it up with lips and teeth, traveling across Q’s pale middle with great biting kisses until Q is mottled red, gasping and flinching at Bond’s touch. When he undoes the buttons on Q’s trousers and lifts out his cock, Q actually moans.

Having long since decided that getting a reaction out of Q is the most rewarding part of this endeavor, Bond teases him endlessly, licking at his slit and under the head, touching his cock with wet, sticky fingers, and mouthing the veined length of him for long minutes before he finally closes his mouth all the way around him.

“Jesus fuck,” Q says above him, and shudders so hard he nearly comes off the table.

Bond steadies him with one hand, humming in immense self-satisfaction. With his other hand he grasps the base of Q’s cock and establishes a rhythm that involves twisting his wrist when Q hits the back of his throat. It’s good, better than Bond remembers it being. He doesn’t do this often, but it’s certainly not because he doesn’t enjoy it. There’s something about how messy it is that appeals to Bond. He likes that it leaves both parties dripping with spit.

“Oh,” Q says. “Oh. Oh.” His voice is high and trembling now, which goes straight to Bond’s erection. He wants badly to suck Q’s cock until he cries. Instead, he pulls his mouth away with a faint wet pop.

“Lie down,” he says, and his voice has been reduced to gravel. Q does so shakily, and Bond tugs first at his trouser legs, then his boxers, until Q is entirely naked. Bond regards the whole picture, Q’s blown-out pupils and wild hair, his cock lolling wetly on his hip, his narrow chest rising and falling. “What a skinny thing you are,” he murmurs, running a finger down the inside of Q’s thigh until he reaches the crease of his ass. His fingertip finds the entrance there and Q sucks in a harsh breath. “What a lovely, skinny thing.”

Q blinks rapidly and, to Bond’s amazement, begins to flush a blotchy pink all over.

“Why, Q, you’re blushing,” Bond tells him, not about to let it go without comment, though it earns him a very dirty look.

Bond kisses the inside of Q’s knee. In his pockets are a few of those sample lube packets people are always giving out, which travel better than the full-size kind and disarm those who go through his pockets for weapons. He holds one up for Q to see, and then rips it open with his teeth. Q’s breathing quickens as Bond squeezes out the lube and when Bond pushes the first finger inside him, he lets out a low, deeply gratifying sound.

The second finger has him shaking on the table, and by the third the dam of Q’s silence appears to have broken and he is, delightfully, cursing at Bond, hips jerking helplessly. Bond’s own cock is throbbing painfully in his trousers, but he takes his time, listening to Q’s ear-blistering commentary, turning his fingers slowly this way and that, crooking them gently every so often to hit Q’s prostate and interrupt the flow of profanity with a moan.

“Bloody fucking hell, you weren’t fucking joking, were you,” Q pants. “Just do it. Fuck me. God, you great bloody meathead, just fucking do it.”

Bond withdraws his fingers all at once. Q gives a great gasp. Bond fumbles the buttons of his trousers open and drags his cock out of his pants, trembling with how long he’s made himself wait. He lines up the head of his cock and with a groan of relief, he slides all the way into Q. The sound Q makes approaches a sob. After a moment to gather himself, Bond begins to thrust, gripping Q’s hips for leverage. Q flings a hand above his head to anchor himself with the table’s edge.

“You’re so good,” Bond mutters. His thighs slap against Q’s ass, and the table starts to squeak. “You’re so sweet around my cock, you’re perfect...”

Looking at Bond with dark, heavy-lidded eyes, Q starts to jerk himself off with his other hand. Bond is transfixed, staring at his expression, his arched body, at the way his cock slides up and down through the circle of his fingers and thumb.

Under such scrutiny the blush returns to Q’s face and chest with a vengeance, but Q doesn’t stop jerking his cock, and he doesn’t stop looking right at Bond.

Bond picks up his pace, sensing that he won’t be able to take much more of this show.

“Yes,” Q breathes, hips rolling in time with Bond’s thrusts. “Give me what you promised. Give me everything.”

Bond zones out a bit then. He pounds into Q so hard the table skids back and forth, and if Q says other things, profane or otherwise, he doesn’t hear them. He only comes back to himself when he feels the muscles inside of Q squeeze, and then Q is coming with a sob, hips twisting in place, pinned on Bond’s cock.

Even then Bond doesn’t let up, doesn’t slow down, fucking into Q’s limp body, and when his own orgasm comes it’s practically torn out of him. He grips Q’s hips to bruising, and when it’s finished he pulls out with an explosive exhalation.

He takes a stumbling step, and like a freight train all his body’s problems slam back into him. He makes it over to the chair before his knee entirely gives way, but it still blares with pain. He sits and catches his breath and berates himself for choosing to stand.

Q sits up on the table. His chest is heaving and spattered with come, and every so often he twitches with aftershocks. He looks round but his glasses have fallen to the floor.

“Sorry,” Bond grunts. Then he waves a hand vaguely in the direction of the glasses. “I would, but...” He indicates his own lame state.

Q gives him a small smile and, moving with some care, he gets down from the table to retrieve them himself. “They’ll survive,” he says after a shaky inspection. He puts them on and casts a critical eye over Bond. “Will you?”

Bond nods. Even so, Q hands him his shirt, belt, and shoes, and Bond is grateful not to have to go hunting for them.

They dress in relative silence, Q pausing once to crouch down and run a hand over the black skidmarks near the table legs. When they have put themselves back together, Bond looks at Q and snorts.

“Yes?” Q asks.

“Your suit really looks exactly as bad as before we started,” Bond says with great amusement.

Q looks down at himself, his sleeves and his trousers. “It’s that bad, is it?” he mutters.

“Worse,” Bond assures him.

Q clears his throat self-consciously. “I should keep a spare around for workplace trysts.”

“Come here,” Bond says, beckoning with one finger. Q does so, a question in his face. Bond reaches up and pulls Q down by his lapels for one last slow, sweet kiss. Despite the roaring in his leg, Bond feels calm, and settled on the inside. Q deserves his thanks for that.

They part with a small sigh from Q. “You’re not what I expected, you know,” he murmurs.

“Oh?” Bond says, though he already knows what Q expected. People who know Bond’s work expect his play to be the same way: violent. “Is the reality better or worse than your expectations?”

Q’s mouth twitches. “I suspect you know the answer to that,” he says, and then he straightens up. “Shall I help you to the door?”

Bond raises his eyebrows, but doesn’t question the invitation to leave. “Thank you,” he says instead, because he’s used up all his masculine posturing during the actual fucking; now he would like someone to help him out of the armoury.

“I suppose I don’t have to ask for your discretion,” Q says at the door.

“No,” Bond says, and it takes a good deal of self-control for him not to employ sarcasm here. “You don’t.”

“Well, then,” Q says, and he gives Bond that little quicksilver smile. He gestures at Bond’s leg. “Get that seen to.”

“Good advice,” Bond says. “Get your suits dry-cleaned.”

“Good advice,” Q says pertly. “Goodbye, Bond.” And he slides the door shut in Bond’s face.

Bond shakes his head ruefully, trying not to admit a certain fondness to himself. He puts one hand on the wall for support and begins the long and halting trek down the hallway to the stairs.