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They whisper about it often and Q doesn't pay much attention only that he does. When 007 goes into the field there's always damage control and Q is very much used to that by now—man can't even return his weapons intact—but it doesn't stop him from wondering. He's been Bond's quartermaster for almost a year now, and in that time he's seen Bond through four missions, one of which almost got Bond killed, yet he never knows too much of what Bond does.

He kills, obviously. Q isn't an idiot. He may be young but even he knows the perils of being in the field, the politics, the fear of never coming home. Of course, Bond seems not to fear anything at all. When he comes back, his wounds are already becoming scars, and he simply smiles at Q and apologizes for whatever piece of expensive technology he's damaged this time.

It makes Q wonder a bloody lot.

Especially when on their fifth mission together, Bond goes off the map. Despite his best efforts, Q can't track him, and neither can anyone else for that matter. One minute, he was in Thailand, the next, he was MIA. This isn't any cause for alarm, really, Bond does this a lot. More than he should, actually. Still, Q feels very young when he tells M.

"We've lost Bond."

"What do you mean, 'lost'?" M looks up at him over his files. "He isn't a bloody dog."

"I lost his signal in Thailand yesterday and I haven't been able to get it back," Q says.

M doesn't seem concerned, but he wouldn't. He isn't the one who gets agents screaming into his ear to do this and that. He's never heard the sound of one dying, the shallow, horridly ragged breathing that makes Q's guts twist. M tells Q to go home, Bond will turn up, he always does. So, Q goes home.

Two days later, Bond still hasn't checked in, and Q isn't worried, but he drinks more tea than usual and nearly forwards an email to someone he shouldn't. He sits at his computer unable to do anything about their missing agent. He sits and he wonders what Bond is doing right now. Dead, perhaps, that's always a very real possibility. Another is torture. Or perhaps, Bond is so close to accomplishing his goal that he can't be bothered to let anyone know, which sounds very much like him indeed.

Moneypenny tells him all sorts of stories.

"You know he let a Komodo Dragon eat that gun you gave him," she says, smiling with her mouth closed.

"A Komodo—" Q pauses. "You're having me on."

"I'm really not," Moneypenny says, and Q isn't surprised in the least.

Two days turns into two weeks. There's still no sign of Bond.

That Friday, M calls Q into his office.

"We got word of an explosion in Bangkok," he says, "so either Bond is dead or he finished the job none too subtly. Has he checked in with you?"

"No," Q says.

"Right, well, keep on the lookout."

"Sir," Q says.

He goes home and sits in bed and thinks about all the explosions in the world Bond has probably been responsible for. At least thirty percent, he thinks.

Sometime later, he wakes up because a man is grabbing him by the shoulders. Q tries to sit up, but the hand pushes him back down, and then another covers his mouth. Without his glasses on, he can't see for shit, but he can smell gunpowder on the hand over his mouth, he can smell—

007.

The hand leaves his mouth and Q scrambles for his glasses, slides them on to get a better look. It is Bond. In the flesh. In his flat. Q glances at the clock. It's nearly four in the morning. He can smell blood.

"MI6 is twelve kilometers west of here," he says.

And Bond says, "Do you have antiseptic?"

In the bathroom, Bond sits on his toilet while Q looks for his first aid kit. There's a rather deep cut on his shoulder that someone stitched up with what looks like dental floss, which leaves Q rather concerned.

"You'd be much better off in the hands of a professional," he says. "My first aid skills are subpar."

Bond looks up at him and his eyes are hazy but he says nothing, which is enough to let Q know he isn't going to a professional. Q pulls out the dental floss first and the wound oozes. There's pus and blood and the faint smell of mint, all of which makes Q want to gag. The cut isn't as deep as he thought, but it is wide and painful looking. Bond does nothing as Q cleans it, his breathing barely changes. Even when Q makes the first new stitch, Bond only sighs like he's waiting for a boring commercial on television to finish.

Q's hands shake, badly, mostly for fear of fucking it up. Bond says nothing about this, just sits patiently while Q gets his bearings and finishes sewing his skin back together. He finishes it off with a bandage over the wound.

"That should hold nicely." He waits for Bond to reply, and he doesn't, so Q keeps speaking. "M will want to talk with you, in the morning, I should think. Meanwhile, I—"

Bond stands up in the middle of him speaking and leaves the bathroom. It takes Q a moment to realize he should follow. He finds Bond in his kitchen, rummaging through his cupboard. James Bond, two months in Thailand and two weeks missing. James Bond, gun powder blood and stiff lipped. James Bond, shirtless in Q's kitchen.

He pulls half a bottle full of Merlot from Q's cupboard.

"Is this really all you have?"

"Well I'm afraid my distillery is out of service at the moment," Q says, miffed and also a little embarrassed.  

Bond's eyebrows rise. He takes the cork out and drinks straight from the bottle. He sits at the kitchen table as if Q is to join him, only Q is afraid if he sits down, something will explode. Maybe his head. He stands and watches Bond slowly drain the rest of his very expensive wine. He wants to ask what's happened, and at the same time, he doesn't want to know at all.

When the wine is empty, Bond gets more talkative.

"Don't tell anyone I'm back," he says.

Q blinks. "I'm obligated—"

"Whose quartermaster are you?" Bond looks up at him. "Don't tell anyone I'm back."

"But…" Q trails off. "Why are you back?"

Bond's eyes flicker. "I finished the job."

And that's it. He doesn't want to talk about it, and Q certainly isn't going to ask him to, as that would be absurd. All it seems that Bond wants from him now is somewhere to rest up a bit.

"I have a pull-out sofa," Q hears himself saying. "I'd like to go back to bed now, if that's all right."

The silence tells him it is. He starts from the kitchen, turning around to see Bond's white knuckled hold on the empty bottle.

"Please recycle that," Q says, and then goes back to bed.

---

He wakes up before Bond, which is surprising to him, because Q has always imagined Bond as one of those up at the crack of dawn types, strapping his trainers on to work out or some other such nonsense. Q shuffles into the kitchen to put the kettle on and sees Bond asleep on his couch still. He didn't even bother to pull it into a bed, it seems, and he sleeps still as a corpse, arms folded like sleeping is a waste of his time. Q pours himself a cup of tea, feeds his cat, and pads back to his room.

Some hours later, Bond is leaning into the doorway of his room, frowning at him. Q is coding on the computer.

"Are those gingham pajamas?" Bond says.

"It's Saturday," Q says, as if this is reason enough. "And they were a gift from my mum."

Bond has yet to put on a shirt, and sitting down, the only thing Q can really do is stare at his nipples and a network of scar tissue just above his right peck. And above that, the black threads from Q's stitching. His fingers feel stiff and cold against his keyboard.

"Are you going to tell me why you broke into my flat, or just continue to insult my state of dress?"

"I needed to be stitched, and I trust you," Bond says, simple as that.

Q looks down and adjusts his glasses.

"Well that says something about our working relationship, I suppose. But there's still the matter of why you don't want anyone else to know you're here."

"I hate reporting in on Saturdays," says Bond, and smiles. "I'll report to M on Monday, in the meantime, I'd rather appreciate you not giving away my whereabouts."

Q can't tell if Bond is being serious or not. It's seems like such a ridiculous reason, yet so Bond, and Q finds himself believing it. And Bond trusts him. Q can't deny the small swell of pride he felt at hearing him say that. 007 is the mostly valuable agent MI6 has, and he trusts Q above anyone else. He lifts his fingers from the keyboard and cracks his knuckles.

"Fine," Q says. "The kettle's still on, if you'd like tea. Or I have coffee…somewhere."

And he goes back to coding. Nearly a minute passes before Bond says, "Thanks, Q."

Then he leaves Q to it. Five minutes later, when Q goes back into the kitchen, any trace of Bond is gone.

---

Thing is, Bond actually does check in with M that Monday. Q figures this out when Tanner comes in holding a file thick enough to be a book. He looks rather put out.

"Can you intercept any outgoing calls from the embassy in Bangkok?" he says.

Q gives him a look that says please, and does.

"Bond is back," Tanner says.

Q turns back around and nods, innocent.

"A relief," he says, not ceasing in his typing. "Any injuries?"

"A stab wound to the right shoulder." Tanner slaps the file down onto the desk. "Someone did a right shit job of patching him up."

Better than dental floss, Q wants to say, but doesn't. And second of all, he was ill prepared.

"M now has a direct link to the embassy on his laptop," Q says. "Anything else?"

"Bond needs a new gun." Tanner pats Q's shoulder. "Says the one you gave him got lost in the fire."

Q sighs through his nose. "Of course it did."

---

The next time Q sees Bond, it's a rainy night and he's bringing home groceries, drenched in freezing rain. He steps inside and sees the shadow against the wall, so Q promptly drops his bags and reaches for the gun strapped to his side. Once he realizes it's Bond, his adrenaline gives way to annoyance.

"Christ," he says. "I almost shot you."

Bond looks amused by that. "Are you even old enough to carry one of those?"

"I'll have you know the age jokes were never funny."

Q puts his gun away and starts picking his groceries up from the floor. An apple rolled from one of the bags to Bond's feet. He picks it up and bites into it loudly. Q shoots him a look but says nothing. He walks to kitchen, knowing Bond is following right behind him. There's a bottle of scotch on the table that Q definitely didn't buy. Apparently, Bond's come prepared this time. Q sets his bags on the counter and turns around.

"I thought you were supposed to be in Spain," he says.

"I finished the job," Bond says.

Q is still suspicious.

"You're not injured, are you?" He gives Bond a once over. "Is there a bone out of place? Blood? You should know Tanner thinks my stitch job was shit, so if you're looking for first aid, you may want to go somewhere else."

"I'm not injured," Bond says.

And then he sits at the table and abandons the apple to pour himself a drink. For a moment, Q just watches him, sitting there as if he's Q's flatmate or something. Then he continues to put away his groceries.

He's never heard of agents doing this, least of all Bond. He's been talked to about Bond, sure: the man is unstable and leaves a trail of dead bodies wherever he goes. Best, M had told him, not to get too close. Q recognizes he's not done a great job of that so far, but in his defense, he's never explicitly invited Bond inside. He pulls the cat food out and Bond hums behind him.

"You have a cat?"

"No, I'm just rather fond of the food," Q says, and is this really the conversation they're going to have?

"What's his name?" Bond asks, because apparently, it is.

"I don't want to tell you."

"Is it something to do with computers?"

"No, it—" Q whips around and tries to look menacing, which is difficult, given he's probably half Bond's weight and still soaking wet. "Why on earth are you here?"

"I live in London," Bond says.

Q shuts his cupboards. Bond is such an evasive bastard, it's rage inducing.

"I meant here, in my flat, which you've broken into. Again."

Bond makes a silent ah with his lips, finishing off his drink.

"I wanted to unwind a bit," he says.

Q blinks. "Here?"

"I didn't mean to alarm you," Bond says, suddenly apologetic. And then he smiles, brilliantly, and Q forgets to be annoyed.

He isn't sure he understands Bond's motivations one bit, but also doesn't have the energy to try and question him about them. Bond likes to keep his secrets, and Q can respect that.

"You could call, next time," he says. "Rather than give me a heart attack."

"I'll try to remember that."

They both know he won't, but Q appreciates hearing it. Anger gone, he starts to realize how incredibly cold he is. His jumper is soaked through, and the cool air from his flat isn't helping. Q shivers. He needs to change, but he suddenly feels awkward doing so with Bond there. Should he announce it? Q stands there a good minute trying to decide if he should or not. In the end, he just walks to his bathroom and starts pulling off his wet clothes, checking behind him to see if Bond is going to follow. He isn't, and for whatever reason, Q doesn't know if he's relieved or disappointed.

Q takes a hot shower and comes out with a towel around his waist, wiping the fog from his glasses. Bond is on his couch, scratching his cat behind the ears.

"What's his name?" Bond asks again.

"Stravinsky."

"You're a fan of classical music, then?" Bond looks genuinely surprised.

"I don't listen to One Direction, if that's what you thought."

At that, Bond looks absolutely perplexed, which makes Q smile. He's one of the smartest, but even simple pop culture references can slip past James Bond. The thought of it makes him seem so much more human, less two-dimensional, more three.

"You should consider yourself lucky," Q says, nodding to Stravinsky. "He normally doesn't take too kindly to strangers."

"I'm actually rather charming."

Bond gives Stravinsky a good scratch under his chin and looks up. Q suddenly remembers he's in a towel and feels rather naked. He also doesn't feel like he should have to respond to that statement, so he doesn't. He turns on his heel and gets dressed.

The next morning, Bond is still there, though this time he's up before Q.

"Morning," he says, doing crunches on Q's table, on his table.

"I eat there," Q says, which is a lie. He usually eats in front of his computer, but still. He could. "And you're not wearing a shirt."

"I'll wipe it down," Bond says.

That's not the point, Q thinks, but he doesn't say anything else. He makes toast and goes back to his room.

His life is actually fairly uneventful. Despite working in espionage, Q doesn't consider himself all that interesting. He enjoys the company of his cat more than people. His idea of a good night is a bag of crisps and a nice hack into some encrypted data. He's only dated four people in his life, one of which doesn't even count because he was still in primary school. Q has been told that he's too smart for his own good, also too gangly, and one lover told him he desperately needs a haircut. The point is, Q's life isn't exciting.

James Bond seems to find him fascinating.

When he isn't working out on various surfaces of Q's flat, he's standing over Q's shoulder and watching him work. At first, Q finds it a bit disconcerting, but Bond doesn't say anything, he just watches and occasionally cleans his gun. That night he even offers to pay for take away. Q finds it all very confusing.

He stays the entire weekend. In that time, Q learns a few things about him:

  1. Bond works out almost constantly
  2. He really does love scotch
  3. He eats pickles from the jar
  4. He isn't nearly as insensitive as Q first thought

Sunday night, Bond says, "Thank you, Q." and then he's gone.

Monday morning, word goes around that Bond's returned, and once again, Q pretends to have not known.

---

Nothing changes, except that it does. It's nothing tangible, really, nothing that Q can put a finger on, but things seem different. For one, Bond wanders down to Q branch more than he used to, though he still gives no care to the weapons and gadgets Q gives him. That is really the extent of it, only Q feels things are different between them. Maybe more comfortable. He really doesn't know.

---

The next time, Q is expecting him.

He's home on a weeknight eating instant noodles and designing a new interface when he hears something peculiar outside his bedroom window. When Q pulls the curtain aside, Bond is standing on his fire escape, innocent as you please, trying to pick his lock.

"You could use the door," Q says. "There is this thing called knocking."

"I wasn't sure you were home." Bond slides in smooth through the window and shuts it against the chill outside. "But I'm glad you're here."

Q is flattered for a whole four seconds before he sees that Bond's arm is hanging out of its socket. He cringes without meaning to. Bond sits on his bed and shrugs off his coat.

"I don't think we should make this a habit," Q says, and Bond laughs painfully.

"Set it in place, would you?" His arm hangs limp. "Just grab the shoulder."

"I really don't think—"

"Q," Bond says. "Please."

He kneels in front of Bond and grabs his shoulder with one hand, holds Bond's forearm with the other.

"Like this?"

"That's it." Bond breathes out. "Now just push it back in place."

Q hesitates, and Bond says, "Don't be afraid."

"I'm not," Q snaps, though he is, just a bit—what would M say if he permanently damaged his most valuable agent?

Q breathes in deep and shoves Bond's shoulder back into the socket. The motion makes a thick cracking noise, then a click. Bond grunts, but other than that, shows no real signs of discomfort. Q holds onto his shoulder still.

"Is that…is that all right?"

"Quite," Bond says.

And Q doesn't let go. He feels the skin and muscle there and doesn't let go. He doesn't even think to, just stares at Bond's shoulder and wonders, how do you do it? It isn't until Bond's hand touches his own that he realizes it, and then he tries to rip his hand away, but Bond holds him there.

"All right?"

"Of course I'm all right," Q says. "I'm not the one who dislocated their shoulder."

He finally slips away and stands up, pulling his jumper back down from where it had risen up.

"So, you finished the job, then?"

"Yes." Bond remains seated on his bed, rolling his sleeve down and adjusting his cuffs. "I bloody hate Russia in the winter."

Q nods, though he's never been to Russia, so he wouldn't know. This, whatever it is, is becoming a thing between them, and Q finds himself comfortable enough with it to not ask questions. He knows Bond is staying, he doesn't need to ask.

"The couch is still made up," he says. "I'm sure Stravinsky will be happy to see you."

Bond is stretching and rotating his newly fixed arm, but he smiles to let Q know he's heard him. When he stands up, he cups the back of Q's neck briefly.

"Thanks, Q," he says.

Q goes into MI6 the next morning with Bond still snoozing on his couch. He considers leaving a note, but decides that's an insane course of action, obviously Bond will know where he's gone, so he just leaves.

What's funny is that M goes on and on about Bond being the most bloody unreliable man he's ever had the displeasure of working with and Q has to hide his smile behind his mug. Bond reports back to M the next morning.

---

It goes on like that for months. After a job, no matter how long, Bond shows up at Q's flat and, for lack of a better term, hangs out. Sometimes he comes for a few hours, other times he stays for days. It's become such a habit that Q actually has another key made, and leaves it for James on the table one morning to avoid having an actual conversation about it. Q never asks him why, or how the job went, or what the fresh hell is going on exactly. The last part he's curious about, but he's gotten so comfortable with it that he just doesn't mind.

He comes home one night and his entire flat smells like Italian. This, to Q, is more alarming than Bond sneaking in with a dental floss stitch job. He walks carefully into his kitchen and sees Bond sitting at his table with what looks like baked ziti and garlic bread. Q also recognizes a bottle of Merlot, unopened, the same type Bond so rudely drank the first time he came over.

"Um," Q says.

Bond is already eating, but there's a plate set aside, obviously for Q.

"I hope you like Italian," he says. "Much better than that instant noodle shit you're always eating."

"I don't always—"

"Sit," Bond says, and Q does.

He picks up his fork and pokes at the ziti. When he looks up, Bond is staring at him, waiting for him to take a bite. Q does so slowly, half afraid this is some kind of trick. If it is, it's a delicious trick. Q hums his approval around his fork, eyes flickering to the wine bottle.

"You'd do much better with scotch," Bond says.

Q pops the cork and pours them both a glass of wine.

And then they eat dinner. Together. It seems so strangely intimate that Q is half expecting a candle in the center of the table. There isn't one, luckily, because that would be really insane, more insane than this all is. Q can't even remember the last time he ate at this table, let alone with someone else.

Dinner is quiet but not awkward, and after they've finished Bond gets up without clearing his plate. He collapses onto the coach and Stravinsky goes straight to him, curling onto his lap and making Q oddly jealous.

"Terrible fucking job," Bond says, almost too quiet to hear.

Q says nothing for a moment. He's so used to Bond not talking about his work that he isn't sure what to say at first.

"Yeah?" he says, finally.

Bond hums an affirmative.

"It was a sex trafficking operation. We knew that, of course." He pauses for a long time. Q just waits. "The youngest girl was eight years old."

He says nothing else, but his eyes go cloudy, distracted, and Q knows that he's remembering it, every detail of it. He doesn't know what to say. In fact, he's quite sure that nothing he could say would make Bond feel any better, so he says absolutely nothing about it. Even if Bond rescued her, which Q is sure he did, it doesn't stop the fact that it happened, Q knows that very well.

"Do you want to see what's on the telly?" he says instead.

They watch a rerun of Luther and Q stares at the television without actually watching it. He feels stupid for not realizing it earlier, though Bond pretty much outright told him—he comes to Q's flat to forget a while. It makes sense, sort of, except for the fact that Q is Q and Bond is well…Bond. Q hasn't been able to offer him much.

"Why here?" he asks, not looking away from the television. "I mean, I don't mind, but why do you come here?"

The silence that follows feels too long, and Q is afraid he's said something he shouldn't. Then Bond says, "You don't ask questions."

"I…" Q thinks for a moment. "I suppose it never occurred to me to do so."

He looks over at Bond and sees that Bond is smiling at him as if he's said something so incredibly profound, Bond almost can't believe it. Q has to make himself look away. He feels so suddenly disarmed that it's nearly frightening, and his whole face goes hot. He tries so hard to stop the thought from coming into his head, but it's abruptly his only thought—he's attracted to Bond. Perhaps absurdly so, but Q isn't quite sure of the extent to which he is attracted to him, only that he is. It's slightly insane and also very dangerous. Q's palms are sweating, and Bond has said nothing else, for all Q knows, he's still staring at him with that ridiculous smile on his face. Q is desperate to change the subject.

"Did a Komodo Dragon really eat that gun?" he says.

"What?"

"In China, last year." He knows Bond is looking at him but he absolutely refuses to look away from the TV. "Moneypenny said—"

And then Bond is laughing hysterically, which only makes Q blush harder. Obviously, he's been lied to. Damn Moneypenny. He should put a virus on her laptop. He forgets that he isn't looking at Bond and looks at him. Apparently, when Bond laughs, the lines on his face multiply, especially around the eyes, and his lips curl up to expose his gums. He looks stupidly attractive doing it.

"I almost forgot about that," he says.

It takes another minute for Bond to stop laughing. He wipes at the corner of his eye with one finger and sighs.

"I didn't stick around to see it, but he probably did." Bond holds both hands out, creating an imaginary width in the space between them. "They're fucking huge."

"I've never seen one up close," Q says. At least Moneypenny hadn't lied to him.

"You don't want to," Bond says.

He lets out a last little chuckle, mouth still turned upright into a smile. Q is absolutely positive this is the only time he's ever heard James Bond laugh, and it will probably stay that way. He presses his lips together and waits for a good time to excuse himself to his room. Then Doctor Who comes on, and Bond says,

"Ah. I used to watch this as a boy."

"I think everyone in Britain did," Q says, though he's still picturing Bond as a young boy in front of an old television set, humming along to the theme music.

"Do you even know who the first doctor was?"

"William Hartnell."

"Lucky guess," Bond says.

Q peers at him through his glasses. "I never guess."

He tells himself he'll go back to his room after the episode ends, but then another comes on, and Q forgets to do anything but sit there.

---

He wakes with his cheek pressed against something warm and hard. Q blinks himself more awake, disorientated for a moment because he's not in his bed. It occurs to him quickly that he must have fallen asleep on the couch, and then it occurs to him even quicker that he's leaning against Bond. The idea of moving is terrifying. Q would much rather prefer the couch swallow him right now so he never has to deal with this ever.

The problem is Q really, really has to pee. He doesn't move for another minute, just silently hates himself. Then he jolts upright, quick, smooth. Bond doesn't move and Q doesn't want to risk looking at him, so he just very slowly stands from the couch, taking care not to move the cushions too much. Once he's up enough, Q bolts on tiptoes to the bathroom.

He comes out a minute later and sees Bond fiddling with his kettle.

"Tea?" he says, fresh as a fucking daisy.

He's been awake for a while, Q realizes, which means he only sat on the couch to let Q sleep more which means he was awake and possibly watching Q sleep, but definitely knew that Q was sleeping on him. His ears go red.

"I'm late," he says.

Then he makes the strategic decision to forgo the tea and just get dressed to go into MI6. Q leaves in a rush, looking at Bond only to avoid suspicion, and resorts to buying a cup of tea on his way in.

When did it happen, that's what Q wants to know. Maybe the attraction had been there all along; maybe he was just now realizing it. He decides not to think about it. He has a job to do, and he isn't an idiot, he knows better than to get mixed up with someone like Bond.

---

He doesn't see Bond for nearly two weeks. M sends him to Sudan for "political business", which sounds extremely dodgy to Q, but like hell if he's going to say that. At any rate, Q thinks time apart is only going to do them good. Spending too much time with Bond is clearly bad for his health, and Q is also pretty sure his cat is starting to like 007 better than him.

When he's not going in to work, Q keeps to his regular schedule; working on tech, hacking, and guiding Tanner through the new mail system. He also masturbates. A lot. In bed, the shower, sometimes sitting on the couch in what he considers to be a bizarre form of revenge. Q tells himself that his attraction to Bond is nothing more than a buildup of sexual tension that he's been unable to release, hence the excessive need to masturbate.

He's wrong.

Q doesn't realize that until Saturday night when he hears the sound of his door being unlocked. His stomach jumps to his throat, face already going warm just from the knowledge of who it is. Q focuses intently on his computer screen but still listens to the sound of Bond as he shuts the door, the soft tap of his shoes against the hardwood. Stravinsky stands from his spot on Q's bed, tail curling and happy. Q hates that cat.

His door is pushed open, and Bond walks in wearing a smart black trench coat and a black eye. In fact, it's practically swollen shut.

"Dear God," Q says, just as Bond asks for ice.

He holds an ice pack over Bond's swollen eye, both of them standing in the kitchen. Stravinsky purrs and moves at their feet. This close, Q realizes that he's only about an inch shorter than Bond, which is strange, because Bond has always seemed so much taller to him.

"I take it the job went sour," he says.

"Actually it went very well." Bond smiles faintly. "Bit of trouble at the border, though."

Q switches hands so they don't get numb, listening to ice crunch under his palm. Bond stays very still, but he watches Q with his good eye, almost like he's examining him.

"We switched to new mail system," Q says, for absolutely no reason at all other than to fill the silence. "Tanner couldn't figure it out."

Bond chuckles. Q lets him take over with the ice pack, searching the fridge for something that isn't leftovers. He doesn't have any luck—there's just day old curry and a half empty jar of pickles. Something crinkles from behind him, and Q turns to see Bond has produced a brown paper bag from somewhere in his coat.

"Tea," he says.

Q just stares at him. "Pardon?"

"Cinnamon tea." Bond holds the bag out for him. "Apparently it's the traditional drink in Sudan. I know how fond you are of a good brew."

Q takes it dumbly, suddenly unable to get his mouth to work. Bond brought him tea. He practically brought Q back a souvenir, like he's apologizing for being away. And this ends up being the tipping point. Q drops the bag on the table and goes to his room. If he were five years younger, he'd collapse face first onto his bed and scream. Instead, he bites his fist.  

Bond, because he's a fucking idiot, follows him.

"You don't like cinnamon," he says.

"You're a right piece of work," Q tells him. "What do you think you're doing, anyway?"

Bond stares at him with the ice pack still over his eye. He looks ridiculous, and somehow still attractive, which only serves to make Q angrier.

"You've invaded my life, you know. Hanging around, drinking my wine, doing crunches on my table." He's amazed that through all this, he doesn't yell, though his voice may take on a slightly hysterical tone. "I don't know what you think is going on here, but it stops right now. Also stop bringing my cat wet food, he can only have dry."

He takes a deep breath, holds it, counts to ten, and then exhales loudly. Bond finally moves the ice pack from his eye.

"I didn't know that," he says, "about the food. Also, I like coming here."

It sounds so simple when he says it. I like coming here. Oddly enough, that thought hadn't really occurred to Q. A lot of things haven't occurred to him up until this moment, like why Bond actually brought him tea or why he watches Q rather fondly. He looks down at his feet, embarrassed at everything and nothing at the same time.

"If you'd like me to leave…" Bond says, which makes Q realize that he doesn't want that at all.

"Don't be stupid," he says. "But you should probably kiss me."

Bond crosses the room in three steps and does exactly that. He grabs hold of Q's face with both hands, one of which is extremely cold from the ice, but Q manages to ignore that in favor of Bond's tongue, which is doing really lovely things in his mouth. He very quickly finds himself being manhandled onto the bed, trying to get Bond's coat off without opening his eyes.

He can feel Bond's cock against his own, obviously hard, and it sends little shocks up and down his spine.

"Christ," Bond says. "Christ, I've wanted to do this to you for ages."

"Oh?"

"Mm." Bond pulls off Q's jumper and shirt, attaching his mouth to his newly exposed collarbone. "Ever since I saw you in those ridiculous gingham pajamas."

"They were a gift," Q says, and then makes a less intelligible sound when Bond starts sucking on his nipple.

Bond kisses down his sternum, licks his way past Q's bellybutton and tongues just above the hem of his trousers, maddeningly slow. Q squirms.

"Bond, just—"

"Call me James."

Then he pulls down Q's trousers.

Bond himself gets naked in an impressive amount of time, crawling up the bed over Q's body and hedging him in with his ludicrously thick arms and kissing him soundly. Q palms his ass and pulls Bond flush against him, their cocks touching again, this time bare.

"Shit," Q says, realizing that he's already embarrassingly close to coming. "Shit. Fuck."

"The mouth on you young people," says Bond.

He pulls away and encourages Q to roll onto his stomach, so Q does. Bond drapes himself over Q's back, sliding his cock between his ass cheeks and rubbing. Q makes a really undignified noise.

"I'm going to fuck you until you can't get another word out of that mouth of yours," Bond says, voice rough in Q's ear.

Q fists the sheets and pushes back against the pressure. It feels fucking amazing; it's been an age since anyone touched him properly, and Bond is just as rough as Q needs him to be. They rut like that for a bit, Bond whispering the most filthy and admittedly cheesy things in his ear, but that doesn't stop Q from finding it extremely hot. Then, without warning, Bond pulls away and presses the tip of his finger into Q's hole. It's so unexpected that Q comes, the pressure proving too much. He muffles his moan into the pillow, clenching around Bond's finger.

Above him, he can hear Bond jerking off, and a minute or so later, he comes all over his back.

If Q hadn't just had such a fantastic orgasm, he'd be livid.

"That wasn't the least bit hygienic," he says, and Bond licks up his spine.

That night, Bond doesn't sleep on the couch.

---

The next morning when Bond checks in, he's also immediately told he's going to check out.

"One of our operatives is in a bind in North Korea," M says. "Get him out, and do it quick. Q has everything you'll need."

Bond's eye is still swollen, and he only just got in, but none of that matters when you're a double-oh. M leaves Bond in the lab, and Q hands him a black case. Their fingers brush, and the secretiveness of it all has Q feeling a bit giddy.

"Sniper rifle, but the sight has a heat signature built in, so you'll be able to see your target through the wall."

"Brilliant," Bond says.

There's no hesitation, which Q likes. They're both adults, they know what the other does for a living. But as Bond is leaving the lab, Q says, "Have a safe trip, Mr. Bond."

At the formality, Bond turns sharply, already grinning. He nods, slow, subtle, and then he's gone.

---

Nearly a week later, Q wakes up to rain against his window. From the looks of things, it's probably early morning, but Q can't be sure. He reaches for his glasses on the nightstand and slides them on. A hand strokes his back, and Q nearly shrieks.

James Bond is in his bed.

"Shit," Q says, hand clutching his chest. "How long have you been here?"

He lies back down, mimicking Bond's position on the bed.

"About four hours. I didn't want to wake you."

"Funny, you never seemed to mind before." Q kisses him. "You smell like an off-license."

"It was a long flight," Bond says. "But now I'm here and I plan on doing very wicked things to you."

That wakes Q up very quickly. He kisses Bond again, lazy at first until their bodies start touching, and then he's pulling his pajama bottoms down and pulling Bond on top of him.

"There's lubricant in the drawer," Q says, and Bond goes for it.

It's been opened, of course, and Bond notices that, rubbing his finger over the excess that's congealed to the cap.

"Did you miss me that much?" he says, and Q snorts.

"I have a harem of lovers, actually."

"Cheeky little shit."

But something about that makes Bond more in the mood. He kisses Q, harder now, slipping a hand between his legs and rubbing lightly at his inner thighs. Q shivers at the touch, at the feel of Bond's calloused fingers against his skin. He shuts his eyes, and it's only when Bond has two fingers inside of him that Q opens them again, panting roughly.

He tries to say something, but the only thing that comes out is fuck and yes, and sometimes colorful combinations of the two. Bond won't look anywhere but his eyes while he fingers him, merciless and blue, like an arctic summer. He's killed people with those same hands. Q's back arches. He's getting close.

"I may come if you don't get inside me soon."  

"You'll come when I tell you," Bond says, but he slips his fingers out anyway.

There's a bit of fumbling before they find a condom, but soon enough Bond slips one on, and then he lifts Q's legs, bending him slightly in-half. He fucks into Q with his mouth open, tongue pressed against his teeth.

"Fuck," he says. "I thought about doing this the whole flight home."

"Oh God," says Q.

He's heard extensive and various rumors of Bond's sexual prowess, all of which he'd written off until this moment. James Bond has an extremely fluid way of moving his hips, and it makes Q go a bit cross-eyed. He grips helplessly at Bond's shoulders, legs wrapped loosely around his back. It's a bit mortifying to find himself at a loss for words, but it feels so overwhelmingly good that Q just really doesn't care. What he does do, is squeeze down every so often, so that Bond falters in his thrusts and lets out a delightfully high whine.

At one point, Bond hits his prostate so perfectly that Q just sobs for it, twisting his hips down and throwing his head back. Bond sees his exposed neck and goes for it, biting the skin there until it nearly hurts.

Most of what Q says after that is just James and please. Bond also won't touch his cock, and it's driving Q mad.

"I want to see you come just like this, without me touching you," Bond says.

Q writhes. The pressure of being filled is enough, certainly, but he feels like Bond is delaying his orgasm on purpose, switching the angle just when Q thinks he's about to come.

He doesn't know why he does it, but he does. Mid-thrust, Q reaches up and grabs Bond around his neck, squeezing perhaps a bit too hard. The effect of it is brilliant: Bond comes, and he comes hard. He pushes himself as far as he can into Q's body, arms shaking, and Q watches him through it. Bond slows down after that, his thrusts becoming shallower until his cock softens, but by the time he pulls out, Q feels like his hole is gaping.

And then, right when Q is about to touch himself, Bond slips three fingers back inside of him. It's not the same pressure, but it does the trick. Q comes and Bond kisses him to swallow his moan.

---

They eat toast in bed together, Bond with his hand settled comfortably on Q's thigh. The rain is still going on, but every now and then the sun tries to break through the clouds.

"Oh," Q says. "How did the heat tracker on the sniper work?"

"Brilliantly." Bond smiles. "Just as you said."

"I don't suppose you brought it back with you."

"Not a chance," he says.

Q reaches over and wipes some crumbs from his lips.

"Bloody irresponsible."

Bond hums but doesn't disagree. He leans back against the wall, pulling Q with him so they're slumped comfortably together. He rests his chin on top of Q's head, and there's a stupid moment where Q doesn't ever want to have to move from this spot again. He does, though, because life goes on, mind-blowing orgasms or not.

Q grabs a fresh pair of trousers from his closet and sets them on the bed. Bond is still incredibly naked, legs splayed, empty plate between them. Q wants to crawl back into the bed and kiss him senseless. Instead, he goes for a shower, and when he comes out, Bond is cooking eggs on his stove.

"I should charge you rent," Q says.

"I believe I just paid you back in full."

"You're a very expensive prostitute, 007." Q peers over his shoulder at the eggs; they're scrambled, his favorite way. "I do hope some of those are for me."

Bond slaps him away with the spatula. Q gets dressed, and they eat again, at the table this time, with Stravinsky perched in Bond's lap. Why that cat loves the man so much, Q will never understand. After a brief consideration, Bond decides to check back with M today, but they get ready with the unspoken agreement to arrive at MI6 separately.

Before they leave the flat, Bond cups the back of Q's neck like before and kisses him, almost chastely compared to earlier.

"I imagine I'll be sent out again before the month is over," he says.

Q watches him. He knows what Bond is trying to do, and it's almost funny, because obviously Q is more than aware.

"Well when you get back, you know where I live."

Bond's nod says of course, of course.

Q opens the door. "After you, James."

They arrive at MI6 within minutes of each other.