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“Someone’s left a package for you, 007.”

Bond looked up from the AAR he was half-writing. “A package?”

The admin guy looked uneasily back at him. “It’s… I mean… It’s not a box. But it is for you.”

“Flowers? Chocolates? A plane ticket out of here?” Bond closed the laptop, enjoying the man’s obvious squirming. It was doubtless some tasteless gift from another admirer. Bond had plenty of those – omegas and betas who broke the rules of courtship and tried to woo him. They were fun, for occasional nights, but nothing permanent.

The administrative assistant – a beta, married, two children – pulled another face. “Here.” He handed his tablet over, where a CCTV video was playing.

Bond took it, and gave the screen a once-over. The image was that of the front desk – a sight he rarely saw. There were visitors coming and going, and… Bond looked up sharply. “You’ve got to be joking.”

“I’m not joking, 007. It’s addressed to you.”

Bond looked back at the screen. “…what’s the date?”

“The twenty-seventh,” the man frowned. “Why?”

Of course. “Doesn’t matter,” Bond handed the tablet back. “I’ll come and collect… him.”

 

*

 

Mallory didn’t look over when his computer bleeped at him. He finished his conversation with his Dutch counterpart before replacing the receiver and buzzing for a pot of tea before giving the machine his attention.

He was extremely glad, when he did, that he hadn’t had a cup in his hand at the time.

 

Leave Request: James Bond, 007.
Reason Given: Mandatory Heat Leave.
Notes: Will explain when I get back.

 

“Heat leave?” Mallory spun his chair around, and brought up the tracking software onscreen, letting the algorithm search for Bond, who was, apparently, still in the building, pocketing the smartphone he’d sent the leave request from. The agent was following a harassed-looking admin assistant to the lobby, and being pointed at the visitors’ chairs, where…

Mallory sat back, and smoothed down the back of his hair. He sighed, and clicked back onto the leave request, approving it.

 

*

 

“Hello,” Bond said.

The man in the chair jumped, looking up as he nudged his glasses up his nose. His eyes widened slightly, and he pressed his blushed lips together as if shutting himself up.

Bond was just thankful he hadn’t thrown himself onto the floor. “Is that your case?” he nodded at the red suitcase.

The man looked at it, then back at Bond, not even nodding.

“Is it?”

More silence.

“He came with that case,” someone called. “And the… paperwork.”

Bond glanced at the thin file under his arm. He’d read that when he got the chance. “What’s your name?”

The man’s only movement was to tighten the grip on his horrible plaid trousers.

Bond sighed, and looked at the label on the case. It had his own name, and work address, on one side. On the other was a hand-written single letter, scrawled in sharpie.

“Q?” He looked over at the man. “Is that your name? Something beginning with Q? Or is that a… designation? A code-name?”

Unsurprisingly, there was no answer.

“Alright, Q,” Bond decided it would do as a name, for now. “Can you stand?”

He stood, quickly, shooting to his feet like he’d been electrocuted. He was taller than Bond expected, skinny and pale and young. Though, he’d hardly expected much else.

“We’re going back to my flat,” Bond said, suspecting clear instruction and intention would be better than anything else. He picked up the case, feeling the weight of it. Probably full of clothes. “Do you know how long you have?”

Q’s eyes wandered off to one side, as if he was thinking, but no answer came.

Bond glanced around the lobby, then leaned forward and gave Q a sniff.

The man went so rigid Bond thought he might shatter on the spot.

“A couple of hours, at most,” Bond rubbed his nose. “Right. Let’s…” He started to lead the way, but Q stayed stock still on the marble. “Follow me, please?”

Q responded immediately, following James at the heel, to the public lifts, which took them down to the parking bays. The scent of the young man was much more pronounced in the close-confines of the lift, and Bond wondered if that was his presence, or simply because time was passing. He mentally adjusted the time they had left.

“Have they told you much about me?” he asked. “You don’t have to speak, you can shake your head, or something.”

Q didn’t move, or even blink.

“Well, my name is James Bond,” Bond decided to fill the silence. “I work here at Vauxhall Cross. I live in London, and I don’t have family. You… I was aware of you, but after… there was an incident, and I was declared missing, presumed… anyway, a number of legal things changed at that point. I wasn’t sure if this… arrangement still stood. Apparently it does.” He looked Q over, again. Scrawny, rather than skinny. Under-fed. Under thirty, for certain. “How old are you?”

Q’s deep green eyes flicked towards the file James carried. It was the first real attempt at communication he’d made.

James flipped the file and open, and skimmed it. “Assuming this isn’t lies, you’re twenty-one? Born in Kent to alpha-omega parents… Privately educated… is that another word for –” he stopped speaking as he saw Q’s fists clench. He looked back at the file. “And you like cats, apparently.”

The lift finally approached the car park, and James instructed Q to follow him again to the car, before dropping the case into the boot, and letting Q buckle himself into the passenger side. James started the car, locking the doors as an afterthought, and pulled out of the dark carpark, and onto the busy streets of London.

 

*

 

An hour later, and Q was sitting on Bond’s sofa, a cup of tea on the side-table, untouched. He’d taken off his cardigan, and was visibly sweating. He had to keep pushing his glasses up.

And he was looking anywhere but at James.

James was watching the omega from the kitchen, one arm on the breakfast bar as he swigged back half a tumbler of scotch. He didn’t want to be drunk for this, but he wanted something to take the edge off. He’d offered the omega every fluid in the house, and received no response, so settled on tea. Which he was ignoring.

The scent was much, much stronger, now. Q was in the throes of pre-heat, clearly wincing at the cramps, his fingers digging into the leather of the sofa. His curls were becoming steadily wilder as he kept running a hand through them.

But he hadn’t sought the alpha in the room. Not once.

James didn’t think he had to be a psychologist to figure out what was going on.

When he was a child, before he lost his parents, he remembered them registering his details with a ‘respectable’ organisation. They would match alpha James to an omega, if he remained unbonded by his thirty-fifth birthday. It was a fail-safe. And hell, for the omegas in the system. Omegas were rare – most alphas married and had children with betas. Omegas were usually signed into arranged bondings before they could walk – money changed hands and talked, and the class divide was strong. If two betas had a baby omega, it could be their ticket out of poverty.

Q let out a tiny cry as he hunched over.

James drained his glass. He didn’t know, not yet, what sort of history this young man had. If he was bought, sold, procured… But his fear and refusal to talk seemed to indicate he hadn’t had the easiest life. He was frightened, and even though his inner omega must be screaming at him to go to the nearest alpha for comfort, he was clenching the leather so hard it might split.

“Q,” James said, keeping his distance, but feeling slightly light-headed from the scent. It wouldn’t be long before he would have to walk over. “Q, you… you know what’s going happen here?”

Q clenched his eyes shut.

Bond took that as a ‘yes’. “Have… you done this before?”

A huff of breath, that could almost be a scoff. No, of course not, Bond could imagine him saying. He wondered what the omega’s voice sounded like.

“I…” he same from around the bar, into the lounge. Q watched him, his face flushed pink, sweat making his shirt stick to his back, the sweet smell cloying in the back of James’ throat – had he been any other alpha, he’d’ve thrown himself at the man by now, he was sure of it. Luckily, or unluckily, resisting omega pheromones was part of Double-Oh training.

But even James wouldn’t be able to hold off forever.

“I’ll take care of you,” he said. “As much as I can. I won’t… hurt you. I- I know what I’m doing.”

Q glared at him, just for a second, before looking away, shuddering.

Bond was confused for a moment, before a scent smacked him in the face, and he struggled to keep standing. Q had graduated into full heat. There was wetness creeping down his trouser legs.

And still he didn’t stand.

Bond grit his teeth. “I’m going to go into my bedroom. When you’re ready, you can follow.” He gave Q a nod, and marched away quickly, loosening his tie fast, to try and distract himself from the sudden ache in his hardening cock. This was some birthday.

Chapter Text

Bond woke the day after next with a pounding headache, and the sort of post-sleep exhaustion he generally only got when he was in the field, not in his own bed.

He sat up, and the body sleeping beside him murmured, before rolling over and snuggling into the pillow. Dark hair stuck up wilding in all directions.

And Bond felt a rush of protective affection, because he knew - as deep down as he knew fire was hot and kindness was good – that this man beside him was his mate.

The affection was quickly replaced with a quiet sort of resignation.

So, it had happened, then. Finally. James Bond, mated and bonded. For life. And in an arrangement as though it was the 1700s, for goodness’ sake.

Bond let out a quiet sigh, and looked down at the man again. His file hadn’t listed his name. Only ‘Q’, which had to be some sort of registration code. Maybe alphas named their omegas, like pets. Bond shook his head. This young man could stay as Q, until he said otherwise.

If he ever said anything at all.

A muscle twitched in the omega’s bare shoulder, and Bond suspected he was merely feigning sleep, waiting to see what his alpha would do. He was probably frightened. Pregnant, too, most likely. And bonded, against his will.

He’d come into Bond’s room, stripping off robotically, slick running down the insides of his legs as he fought to get his trousers off, having forgotten to take off his shoes. Finally naked, Q had climbed grimly onto the bed, dripping sweat and slick in equal measure as Bond tried to restrain himself from lunging at the omega, though he smelled like the sweetest, most delectable thing on earth.

Neither of them had a choice.

But Bond could give the young man an illusion of it, at least.

Q had straddled Bond’s legs, and looked him in the eye as he took hold of Bond’s cock, positioning himself over it in a sort of silent fury.

Bond grit his teeth so hard they were in danger of cracking as the omega sank sharply down onto his erection.

Only to cry out in pain.

Bond sat up immediately, putting his hands to the omega’s body, holding him still, stopping him from dropping down any further. “Don’t,” he said. “Don’t, you’ll hurt yourself…”

Q shuddered, more slick running out of him, down the thick, throbbing shaft of Bond’s cock, to the swelling knot and his dark blond pubic hair. Q didn’t speak, but he did keep his eyes on Bond’s, as James withdrew, just a little, before pressing up and inside again, feeling the virgin tightness, the fear manifesting in clenched muscles.

Bond stroked down the omega’s back, over the curve of his arse, squeezed the tight muscles bunched in his thighs. “Here,” he gently moved Q’s legs so they were around his waist as he sat in his lap. “You… don’t have to rush.”

Q grimaced at an obvious and well-timed cramp.

“Haste, not speed,” Bond corrected, rolling his hips, and feeling Q’s muscles relax just enough for him to push further inside. “God… you feel…”

Q shut his eyes.

He didn’t want praise, Bond realised.

He didn’t want this at all.

And yet the omega’s body was betraying him, making room for Bond inside, slicking his way, pheromones flooding his brain, and it was already too late for them both as James bottomed-out inside Q, who let out a soft keen of pleasure-pain before letting James lower him onto his back.

And then it was thrusting, and holding, and biting, and fuck, when James knotted the omega and bit down on the curve of his neck, it was like a galaxy was being born inside him.

Until the next time. And the next.

Bond lost count in the small hours of the first morning. Q slept like the dead between rounds, and more than once Bond was woken by Q lowering himself onto his cock, eyes glassy, glasses nowhere to be seen.

It was strange, and terrible, than a day and a night of pleasure could also be a day and a night of tragedy.

Bond eased himself out of bed, and gave Q another look before going into the bathroom, and turning the shower on, grateful for hot water and steam.

 

*

 

Q dived into the bathroom as soon as Bond came out, disappearing in a flurry of pale limbs and white towels. He slammed the door behind him, and Bond was left to dress alone, before stripping the bedclothes. He put Q’s red suitcase on top of the bare mattress, and unzipped it, hoping to find some clue as to the omega’s real name, or his history.

The suitcase contained only clothes – the same style as Q had been wearing when James collected him, all tweeds and checks and old-fashioned, shape-hiding items.

There was also a spare pair of glasses, and a very battered and over-read copy of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

James left the case where it was, and went to sort out some breakfast. He would have to check in with Mallory, too, soon.

 

*

 

James was just putting toast onto the table when Q came out of the bedroom, wearing smart grey trousers that looked like they were part of a school uniform, and a frankly hideous mustard-yellow cardigan over a white shirt and blue tie.

“How’re you feeling?” James asked, concern for his mate’s wellbeing making him ask the question.

Q glanced at him, expression guarded but not hostile, before looking at the table.

“Help yourself,” Bond pulled a chair out for him, but Q ignored it, and chose the one beside it, sitting and surveying the assortment of meats, cheeses and cereals.

“Your file didn’t say you were allergic to anything, so I’ve done a choice,” Bond said, filling the silence. “And…” he pushed an apparently egg-cup towards Q. Inside, a single double-ended pill rolled about. “I know this wasn’t… But I don’t want you to feel like you don’t have any choices. That’s an after-heat pill. If you don’t want to be pregnant.”

Q stared at it.

“I’ll fetch the teapot,” Bond said, leaving Q alone for a moment. When he came back, the pill had vanished, and he assumed Q had swallowed it. “You don’t have to wait for me,” he indicated the table. “You need to eat something. You’re too thin.”

Q’s fingers twitched, as he reached for a boiled egg, and Bond wondered if he was sensitive about his slender frame. Or, if there was something more sinister behind it. Had Q been starved? Lots of alphas liked their omegas to be slim – it added to the innocent, youthful quality so many of them liked. Bond had never been interested in men who looked like little boys. He made a mental note to avoid mentioning Q’s body, but also to feed him properly.

Q cracked the shell off the egg, sliced it in half, dug out the yolk, and chopped the white into slices before eating one of them.

Bond realised he was watching his mate – his mate! – and loaded up his own plate with food.

They spent the breakfast in near-silence. Bond could see Q occasionally checking over the place, looking at the bare walls, the unused furniture, and the plumpness of the carpet that spoke of rarely being walked on. Being left at Vauxhall… Bond had no idea whether Q was intelligent or not, but it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what sort of employment Bond was in. Still… as Q’s alpha, Bond could simply order Q not to tell anyone.

The idea didn’t make him feel great.

“Was the file right?” Bond asked, as Q finally finished the single egg. “Do you like cats?”

Q put his knife and fork down neatly.

“We could look into getting you one.”

Q sat back in his chair.

“I saw your book… do you like reading?” Bond tried to keep his tone light, but it was difficult with the omega staring into space, apparently not hearing a word, though Bond knew he was perfectly capable of listening. “Q. Q?”

Q blinked.

Bond sighed, and dragged a hand over his face. “Jesus Christ…” His curse was interrupted by a buzzing in his back pocket. He fished it out, and answered with a resigned “Hello.”

“Oh, Bond, we did wonder,” Mallory’s voice came through. “We need you to come in. If you’re… not busy.”

Bond was tempted to say he was knot-deep in his new mate, but decided against it. “In? I’m on leave.”

“We know that, and I’d be more than happy to give you the week if this hadn’t come up,” Mallory sighed. “If your omega’s heat is over, we could do with your eyes on this.” He clearly didn’t want to say more over the phone.

James glanced at Q. “I can’t really leave him on his own, sir. He’s… a bit out of it.”

“Still not speaking?”

“No.”

There was a crackle down the phone line. “Fine. Bring him with you. But let’s not make a habit of it. You can get psych to take a look to him, whilst you’re here.”

“Sir.” Bond rang off, and pocketed his phone. “Q, we’re going out,” he said, feeling like he was talking to a child. “Is there anything you want to take? Your book? A notepad and pen?”

No answer.

“Right,” Bond shook his head. “Get your shoes on. Please.”

Chapter Text

“M, this is Q,” Bond introduced his omega to his boss.

Q was looking around the mahogany-clad office as though he was being shown around a house he had no interest in buying.

Mallory offered a hand. “Please to meet you, Q?”

Q looked at the hand for four very long seconds, before shaking it with the limpest of handshakes. Then he went back to looking around himself.

Mallory frowned at Bond. “Is he… I mean…”

“He can hear you,” Bond said, before Mallory put his foot in it. “He just doesn’t speak. He’s probably overwhelmed. Security had to pat him down.” He flexed his fingers at the memory. Though he might not know his omega very well, he was still his, and watching strangers touch him had been difficult. Q had kept eye contact with Bond during the scan and pat-down, which had helped a little, except that he had looked so small and scared.

“Alright…” Mallory glanced between the two of them. “Well, Bond, I need you to take a look at some footage, if you could… ask Q to wait outside?”

“I don’t want to plant him on a seat like a terrier,” Bond said.

Mallory considered. “Can you use a computer, Q?” he asked him.

Q looked at Mallory’s desktop, but didn’t reply.

“I’d take that as a yes, sir,” Bond said. He took Q by the elbow. “Come on, I’ll set you up in Moneypenny’s seat. She won’t mind.”

“Just put YouTube on, or something,” Mallory went to his own desk, and picked up a tablet, flicking through tabs as Bond seated Q behind Eve’s desk.

“If you get stuck, just knock on the glass,” he indicated the bullet-proof glass panel beside the desk, that let Q see through to Mallory’s office. If Mallory chose, it would black-out for privacy, but there’d be no need for that at present. “You think you’ll be ok?”

Q touched the keyboard, gently, as if testing to see if it was real.

“…I shan’t be long,” Bond squeezed his shoulder, and went back through to Mallory. “Sir.”

“Not to worry,” Mallory said. “I’ve heard a few thing like this… like your omega, I mean. If they’ve come from some of the less savoury homes.”

Bond frowned. “I doubt my parents –”

“That was decades ago, 007,” Mallory said. “Places change hands, and so does money. Did his file have much to say?”

“Only that he’s in his mid-twenties and likes cats,” Bond mused, slightly embarrassed as he realised he’d forgotten Q’s precise age already.

Mallory shook his head. “And I suppose congratulations are in order, given the circumstances?”

“Perhaps not yet, sir,” Bond said. “I offered him an after-heat pill.”

“Has he taken it?”

“I don’t know. It wasn’t where I left it, so I assume he’s taken it.”

“You should have watched him,” Mallory chided.

“With all due respect, sir, I can’t watch him twenty-four-seven,” Bond said. “He’s an omega, but he’s a grown man, and if he’s going to be a danger to himself… he’ll have to have a carer, or something.”

Mallory frowned. “You think he has additional needs enough to need that?”

“I don’t know. He can read, and he can follow instructions, but as for being able to fend for himself in the –”

The steel door of Mallory’s office slammed shut, and there was a loud BEEP as the locks fastened securely.

“What in the world –” Mallory started to ask before the lights went out.

“Q?” Bond rushed to the glass.

Q was where he’d left him, sitting at the desk, fingers on the keyboard.

And he was typing, furiously. A window of white and green and black code scrolled down as he typed, his eyes bright behind his glasses, and the tiny trace of a smile of his face.

“It’s Q,” Bond coughed out. “Jesus Christ, Mallory, he’s doing this.”

“How?” Mallory rushed over to see. “This system is completely secure.”

The fire-sprinklers turned on, splattering water in all directions.

Bond sighed. “Sure about that, are you?”

An alarm started – the breach had been detected elsewhere. Bond imagined that lots of very heavy, very trigger-happy men were rushing towards the office. Towards his omega.

“Q!” he banged on the glass. “Q – stop this!”

Q turned, and looked at him, and raised his eyebrows in a look that said oh, please, before the vault-like security door that separated M and Eve’s offices from the corridor slid neatly across, and locked the omega in, safe for now.

“We need to get him off that machine,” Mallory was punching in his exit codes for the door with no success. “He could bring down England by accident.”

“I… don’t think that’s what he’s after, sir…” Bond squinted through the glass.

“What do you mean?”

“He’s… he’s got to my file,” Bond stood up, in shock. Water still rained down from the ceiling.

Q was indeed looking at Bond’s file. The one for Mallory’s eyes only. The one listing Bond’s real name, his age, place of birth, missions and missions and kills and kills and kills and kills… Q sat there, and carefully read them all.

“My god,” Mallory breathed. “He’s looked you up. He could have emailed state secrets to himself, and he’s looking up his mate.”

Bond nodded. “…Wouldn’t you?”

Mallory blinked, then wiped the water from his face. “I suppose I might, yes.”

Bond knocked on the glass again. “Q? Q, it’s ok. Q?”

Q just kept on scrolling.

“Alec’s outside the door,” Mallory said, lifting the tablet, which was somehow still working despite the water damage. “He’s going to kill him, Bond.”

“Not on my watch…” Bond dug out his mobile, and stuck his head inside Mallory’s drinks cabinet as the dial tone purred in his ear.

“Bond!” Alec picked up. “Calling the civilian line, eh? You’re alive, then?”

“Yes, we’re all fine. Have you got visual for Eve’s office?”

“Not a flicker. Little bastard’s blacked out the whole of this floor.”

Bond felt a prickle of annoyance at the insult to his mate, but ignored it. “Do not shoot, Alec. When you get the door open, do not shoot him, do you hear me?”

“Is that an order from you, James, or Mallory?”

“Both,” Bond lied. “Don’t shoot him. He’s not accessing anything other than my file, we can see his monitor.”

“…right. Your file?”

“I guess there’s no secrets between us, now.” Bond shivered, the water seeping through his suit jacket. “Just get that door open, will you?”

“Working on it, James, give the boffins a sec to override whatever your lad’s done to it.” He rang off, and Bond looked around to see Mallory still watching Q.

“What’s he doing, sir?”

“Still on you, Bond. He’s almost at your Naval career.” He looked around. “Alec would have shot him. You did the right thing.”

The sprinklers overhead sputtered, and turned off.

“Not sure if that was your Q, or the boffins outside,” Mallory said. “Ah…

There was a hideous creak of metal on metal, and the security door was shoved back along by about two feet.

It was plenty wide enough for 006 to storm through the gap like a rampaging bull, gun drawn and pointed straight at Q’s head. “Hands in the air, omega.”

Q looked at him lazily, and raised his fingers off the keyboard, keeping his arms firmly down.

Bond almost laughed.

Alec pressed his lips together, clearly reminding himself of the order not to fire, as he reached for the scruff of Q’s collar, and dragged him up, out of the chair.

The effect on Q was instantaneous.

He grabbed Alec’s wrist and twisted in his grip like a salmon, making Alec move to hit him to stop him, miss, and lose his footing as Q slipped out of his cardigan and darted out of his reach, and towards the doors.

“Stop him!” Alec bellowed, as Bond roared, banging on the door to be let out as Q leapt through the gap in the main security door like a deer, evading hands and surprised faces as he skidded around the corner towards the stairs.

“Bugger this,” Bond drew his gun.

Mallory covered his ears as Bond fired into the security pad, making it spark, and the door jump from the jamb enough for a shoulder to finish the job.

He didn’t stop to look at Q’s computer – the boffins would swarm over it in a moment anyway – and instead chased after Alec, who was chasing after Q.

Q had taken the stairs, and had clearly played this game before, as he was way ahead of Alec, swinging off the bannisters for speed around the corners whilst Alec opted for half-jumping, half-running down the steps.

Bond had to make like Alec – they were both too large for Q’s flighty style.

Q crashed through the double-doors at the bottom of the stairs, and took off up the corridor, his shoes squeaking as he went.

But the omega was no match for an alpha on the straight, and Alec was on him quickly, scooping him up and rolling, trapping the omega’s limbs with his own, preventing him from struggling.

By the time Bond caught up, Q had gone very still in Alec’s arms.

“I haven’t done anything to him,” Alec said carefully. “He just… went limp.”

“It’s ok,” Bond knelt down. “Let him go.”

006 released Q, who flopped forward into Bond’s catch, neither resisting nor holding on as Bond held him close, and inhaled gently along his throat, tasting his mate’s scent in the back of his mouth, feeling his own heartbeat steady, and hoping Q’s was doing the same.

“Christ, James, what’ve you mated?” Alec shook his head. “Aside from a hacker.”

“He hacked MI6,” Bond said, repeating the scenting action, and feeling Q’s limbs flinch as he apparently remembered how they worked. “We watched him do it.”

“Well,” Alec said, “he’s not leaving here in a hurry, then.”

Q went tense.

“It’s alright,” Bond said to him, softly. “Nothing bad’s going to happen to you.”

Q shivered, and Bond realised his wet clothes were making Q wet, too.

“Damnit,” he stood, Q in his arms. “Medical, I think.”

Alec nodded. “Come on. Let’s get you both seen to.”

Chapter Text

Q sat on the bed in the medical bay, his sleeve rolled up as a beta doctor took three small tubes of blood.

“Thank you,” the doctor said, taping a cotton ball over the puncture site.

Predictably, Q didn’t react verbally, just put his finger on the cotton wool, applying pressure.

“He hacked MI6,” Alec said, for what felt like the billionth time. He was standing, arms folded, beside the door, watching Q like a hawk.

“Yes…” Bond said, lifting Q’s hand away from the dressing. “He did.”

“And now he’s here, having a medical.”

“Would you rather he was in an interrogation room?” Bond raised his eyebrows. “Alec, he was terrified.”

“He didn’t look terrified when he was tapping away at the keys.”

Bond bit the inside of his mouth, and poured Q a plastic cup of water, handing it to him. Q took it, and sipped, looking up at James with a sort of subdued fear. As though he was waiting for the axe to fall.

“Who taught you to do that, Q?” Bond asked.

Q pursed his lips, clearly thinking. He glanced away, and sipped his water again, and shrugged. It was an answer. He’d communicated.

“You don’t know their name, or…?”

No answer.

“I thought you might say you taught yourself.”

Q glanced up, a small twinkle in his eye, and Bond thought he might be on the right tracks.

There was a knock, and Mallory came in, accompanied by two boffins from the tech branch. “Ah, good.”

“Sir?” Bond frowned, watching Q stiffen and withdraw into himself again.

“Thought we’d run a test, whilst we’re here.” Mallory indicated the table, and the boffins set up a laptop of it, with a device running from it that looked like a radio alarm clock. “See what your omega is really capable of.”

Q looked at the laptop with interest, but Bond felt uneasy. “What is that? That other thing?”

“That’s the test, 007,” one of the boffins said. “It’s a bomb.”

“What?” Alec pushed himself off the wall in a panic.

“Oh, pipe down 006,” the boffin rolled her eyes. “This is just a simulator. But, it runs the same way as a standard long-distance explosive. We want to see if... Q? can disarm it.”

“How difficult is it to do?”

“We don’t take ion anyone who can’t,” she said, “but it should confuse most hackers.”

“Q?” Bond looked at the omega. “Do you want to try it?”

Q didn’t nod, but he got down and went over to the table, taking a seat and starting the laptop up. The box beside him immediately began a countdown, of five minutes.

“Five?” Alec shook his head. “That’s…”

“Standard timing for tech branch,” the boffin folded her arms. “Imagine there are lives at stake, 006, if you need a sense of perspective.”

Q wasn’t typing. He was looking at the box. He reached out, and yanked the cable from it.

The boffin grinned.

The bomb’s countdown changed to three minutes.

“They always try that,” she grinned.

Q gave the box a quick smile, then plugged it back it, and started typing rapidly, his long fingers flying over the keys, the screen turning black, green and red letters and numbers running down and down as he scrolled and typed.

The countdown showed one minute.

Fifty eight seconds.

Fifty six seconds.

The box went blank, and Q sat back, looking up at the boffin for approval.

She smiled. “You could have done that faster.”

He shrugged.

She shook her head. “Well, that’s that. Did you want me to run the other test, M?”

“Not now. Thank you, R…” Mallory dismissed her, and looked down at Q. “Q… did you work with computers before being… before you were brought here?”

Q licked his lips apart as if preparing to speak, but no sound came out.

“We’re not about to punish you for what you did earlier… I think we can all understand the need to know more about your mate. Particularly in the circumstances.”

Q’s fingers twitched.

“So, disregarding the actual damage caused,” Mallory went on, “we could use someone like you here. In a professional capacity.”

Bond’s mouth dropped open.

Alec coughed, as if choking on his own disbelief. “You’re offering him a job?”

“I am,” Mallory kept looking at Q. “If he’s willing to work with us. And that means allowing us to help him, first.”

Q frowned.

“What I mean by that is letting us get to the root of why you’re not communicating verbally, Q,” Mallory said gently. “We can’t have a staff member who doesn’t use language. Even signing would be more than good enough, if you aren’t able to use your voice. We need you to be able to communicate.”

Q’s fingers relaxed a little. He looked back at the empty desk, and folded his hands together neatly.

“I think that’s as good a ‘yes’ as you might get,” Bond said. He couldn’t quite get his head around the idea of Q working at MI6. But, Mallory would be a fool to let him go. The young man had gotten into the system in seconds, and could have happily brought the whole country to a stand-still. Far better to have him on-side.

“006, you’re dismissed,” Mallory said, as he stood. “I think Bond can handle his omega alone, don’t you?”

Alec made a noise that sounds like sir, before giving James a distinct I’ll come running if you need me look, and following Mallory out of the rom.

Bond sighed, as the door clicked shut. He looked back at the omega. “Well, it’s not every day you hack MI6 and get a job offer.”

Q gave a small smile, which died quickly.

“Q, I have to ask… did you take the morning-after pill I gave you? It doesn’t matter if you did or not… and they’ll run it on your blood test, anyway… I’d just rather hear it from you, than a doctor.”

Q pressed his lips together, and then turned to look Bond in the face. He nodded.

“You took it?”

Another nod.

“Alright. Thank you for telling me.” Bond didn’t know whether to feel relieved or upset. His inner alpha was distraught at the loss of the chance to reproduce, but his logical head knew that Q was in no state to be a mother, and a family was almost unthinkable.

Q brushed a speck of invisible dust from the desk.

They sat in a half-uneasy silence, listening to the soft creaks of MI6, Q’s breathing almost inaudible.

A knock came to the door, and Bond went to answer it, smiling down at the meek-looking doctor who was holding a clipboard of results. “Hello, Dr Roberts.”

“Out of my way, 007, you’re blocking the light,” Dr Roberts put a tiny hand on Bond’s stomach and pushed him to one side with as much as force as if she was 6ft tall and 200lbs. “Now… they tell me we’re calling you ‘Q’, is that right?”

Q nodded.

“Non-verbal, but some communication…” she said, apparently to herself. “Now, I’ve got your results here, but what I want to do before I hand them over is conduct a psych evaluation. Do you consent to that?”

Q stared, then gave a single nod.

“Good, because I would have done it anyway,” Dr Roberts smirked.

Bond was taken aback at that, but then realised – the evaluation had begun. She was watching Q’s reaction.

Which was to stay entirely blank.

“Now, can you stand for me?”

Q looked to Bond, first, but didn’t wait for permission before getting to his feet.

“And copy me,” Dr Roberts set the clipboard face-down, and started touching her nose, her head, her shoulders, Q copying her instantly, and easily. “Thank you, and now tell me the twelfth letter of the alphabet?”

Q opened his mouth, then closed it again.

“Alright, Q, no problem…” the doctor smiled, and the strange exercises started again, followed by questions Q didn’t answer. She handed him a Rubik’s cube from her pocket, and Q solved it in the blink of an eye.

Finally, she asked Q to write his name on a piece of paper.

Q sat at the desk, pencil in hand, looking at the paper as if it might jump up and bite him.

“You can just write ‘Q’, if you wish,” she said. “You don’t have to write any other name you might go, or have gone, by.”

Q kept on staring at the paper.

After five minutes, the doctor took the pencil from him, gently. “Thank you, Q. Well done.”

Bond could tell some sort of assessment had been made. Some conclusion had been reached. And it wasn’t good.

Dr Roberts made a note on her chart. “At present, Q, I’d like to make a hesitant diagnosis of you having a fear of permanence, as well as poinephobia – a fear of punishment, for getting something incorrect. You followed all of my instructions to the letter, except when I would have evidence of your actions, either on paper or in my memory. Would you say that’s correct?”

Q stared at her, his dark eyes wide.

“These are things we can work on,” she said. “And your test results show you’re not pregnant, and you don’t have any underlying health concerns at present… The lads are running your DNA, I have to tell you… To try and locate where you came from.”

Q’s eyes had gone blank. He was no longer listening.

Dr Roberts saw, and looked at Bond. “You mated with him? You’re bonded, yes?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Of all the permanent changes to make…” she sighed. “Still, no taking that back, is there.” She patted James on the arm. “You’ll be fine,” she said. “Both of you. We can help him.” She excused herself.

Bond looked back at Q. He was still staring at nothing, into the middle distance. Bond went over, and touched him gently on the back of his neck. “Q?”

Q leaned back into the touch.

Bond stroked over the omega’s shoulders, letting the young man relax against him, until he could be picked up and carried over to the hospital bed, where he fell asleep almost immediately.

Chapter Text

Q woke up as he’d trained himself to do – invisibly.

He maintained his sleeping softness, his deep breathing, his stillness, so as to not wake the person on the bed beside him. He opened one eye a tiny fraction, and assessed.

The room was still dark. But it was that soft, artificial darkness. Caused by a black-out blind. It could be daytime. By Q’s internal clock, it was around six or seven.

He was still on the hospital bed. Though not in a hospital. He was in MI6. He was in the medical bay in MI6. And he was here, because he had hacked into their systems yesterday.

Q would have smiled, if he hadn’t trained himself out of it. It had been so easy. He didn’t really know why he hadn’t tried it in the first place. Probably because he had never been told to do so. They probably knew they’d get caught, if they did. He smiled with his mind, again. It had felt good – doing something just because he wanted to.

The man beside him stirred, and Q almost tensed.

James Bond. Alpha. Spy. With a licence to kill.

Q’s alpha.

A sour taste flooded Q’s thoughts.

It was one thing to know something was going to happen, but quite another to actually experience it. Still, from what he remembered, the bonding itself hadn’t been too awful. He remembered staying silent – he was pleased he could do that – but he also remembered the hot burn of pleasure from being knotted. He remembered Bond washing him down, and he remembered coming – a lot.

He wanted to risk looking at his alpha’s face, but there would be plenty of time to do that when he wasn’t feigning sleep. A lifetime to look, in fact.

Though, if Q’s hacking had led to the truth, people in Bond’s profession tended to have rather short lifespans.

Which meant that Q’s life would be cut short, too. When bonded, omegas would only live as long as their alphas.

He stretched, then, aware of Bond’s heartbeat picking up as he started waking – he didn’t want Bond to see him asleep, if he could help it. Q flinched a moment as Bond’s arm tightened around him, torn between feeling warm affection for the gesture and a trapped panic for the constraint put upon him by the size of the arm slung over him. Bond could snap him like a twig. But hadn’t. Q remembered his hands being gentle, and extremely skilled.

“Are you awake?” Bond’s deep voice rumbled at the back of Q’s head.

Q was going to nod, then realised, again, that his want to communicate was halted, like there was something in the way.

“Well, your eyes are open, so you must be.” Bond stretched, and lifted his arm from around Q, who immediately missed it in an annoying omega reflex.

It was as though some part of his brain was awakened, though he hadn’t given it permission to do so.

“I expect they’ll want you to see a shrink or five,” Bond said, checking his reflection and scowling at it. “You’ll be in good hands. They’ll’ve dealt with more complex situations that yours. And day to day PTSD.”

Q almost asked. He wanted to ask. But if he asked… He looked at those hands, again, those muscles straining within his alpha’s cotton shirt.

The omega was no stranger to pain. Like most omega boys, he was subject to regular and invasive checks to ensure his fertility and his ability to ‘handle’ an alpha. This usually meant a speculum up the arse every three months. He also had blood tests conducted by people who didn’t care if they got the vein on the first try, and more than once had to endure chemical baths to ‘brighten’ his already pale skin.

Q had not grown up at home, with his parents. Born to two betas, who were well aware of the value of their child, he was placed in what was known as an Omega Stable Home. To the unaware, this was a place where omega boys could grow up together in safety, with their needs understood and cared for. In reality, Q’s parents were paid a substantial sum of money ‘as compensation’, and signed an NDA, and left their son, aged two, and never saw him again. Q was raised fairly normally until he was eleven. He went to a school, and he had friends amongst the other boys, and they knew nothing except the campus where they lived.

When they turned eleven, things changed.

Bond washed his face, and checked the time. “I need to report in. And change. Shall I bring you something from home to wear?”

Q looked down at his jumper. It was a bit sweaty, as he’d slept in it, but he’d worn worse.

“I’ll bring you something.” Bond came over, and put a hand at the back of Q’s head.

Q froze, then his eyes went wide as Bond kissed him on the forehead.

“I’ll be back before you know it.”

Q nodded, watching as his alpha used a keycard (black, yellow edging, concealed chip) to get out of the room, and the door locked behind him.

Medical bay or not, this was still a prison.

Locked doors were also familiar. As were keycards.

Q first palmed one when he was thirteen. He was already very good on the computers, by then. They all were. There was little else to do, now they didn’t have school. Some of them crafted, some of them wrote, or learnt to play instruments, but the majority of them utilised the laptops and computers in the building.

Q used his nails (they weren’t allowed blades except for at mealtimes) to split open the card. He fished out the concealed chip from between the plastic layers, and held it up to the light.

That was how the card worked, then. But how to see how the chip worked?

He would need more equipment.

He remembered knocking on the principle’s door.

A few boys had made requests of the man – a very broad and heavy-set alpha – and most of them got what they wanted. If they gave him what he wanted, first.

“Oh,” the man smiled, as Q came in. “It’s young ___, isn’t it?” he used the name Q hadn’t used for years, now. “How can I help you?”

“I was hoping to get hold of some things. For my computer work,” Q said, steeling himself not to flinch as the man stood up out of his chair, towering over the small boy.

“Your computer work?”

“I want to find out how this works,” Q held the chip out.

The principle frowned. “Where did you get that?”

“There was a broken watch,” Q lied. “In the bin. I took it apart.” He knew watches had chips in them, too.

“And you want to see how it works?”

“I could do it is I had something that could read it. A chip reader, and some decoding software. We downloaded a free version of Scratch, but it can only do so much, and it wouldn’t let us do too much with the… with the safety net on the internet,” Q chose his words carefully. The internet was censored in school.

The principle turned his laptop towards Q. “Care to show me? I have the full version of your coding software. Could you make a simple game?”

“I can.” Q tried not to look too excited as he opened the program, and quickly got to grips with the full variety of controls available. He began designing a game, where the person had to put coloured balls into the relevant pots. He’d done it on his own laptop, and particularly enjoyed the fireworks he could make when the game was ‘won’.

“That’s enough,” the principle stopped him after a few minutes. “Yes, ___, you can have your chip-reader. I think it’s important that we nurture this particular skill. You will let me know how this chip works, of course?” He tipped it back into Q’s hand.

“Yes, sir,” Q nodded. He didn’t understand. The man hadn’t tried to touch him. Had complimented his work. He liked him. Q smiled up at him, and got a wink in reply.

He left the office almost skipping, delighted with the possibility of learning more, designing more, coding more.

It was the only time that Q would leave that office with a smile on his face.

Chapter Text

Q stayed in the psych room for another two days. He was watched, and tested, and given tasks to do on various machines and laptops, all of which he completed easily. And without saying a word.

At the end of the second day, they brought in a gun.

Not just any gun – this one looked as though it had been designed to bring down aircraft. It landed on the table with a pleasing metallic thump. Bond had an urge to run a hand over it.

Q just looked at it.

“Do you know anything about guns, Q?” Mallory asked.

Q didn’t reply, of course, but he did reach out and prop the weapon up on its side, for a better look. It was modified, even Bond could see that. But how…

Mallory put his hands behind his back. “Can you disassemble this?”

Q’s eyes flicked to the empty desk. He had no tools. But he didn’t look unsure.

Mallory tapped his watch. “I’m going to time you. Starting… now.”

Q stood up, and walked with purpose over to the techie who’d brought the weapon in. He snatched her glasses off her face, and before she could protest, bent them to breaking, the glass falling from the frames easily before he sat back in the chair, twisting the metal and wire around his fingers to make a crude point at one end, and a bend at the other.

“Those cost a lot of money,” the techie squinted.

Mallory rolled his eyes at her.

Q jammed the broken arm of the spectacles into a join, and twisted. It gave quite easily, as Bond expected it would – you had to be able to take these things apart quickly. Q moved to another joint, a bolt, a clip, using the now beyond-repair glasses as a tool to lift and pry and unscrew…

…before the whole weapon fell to pieces on the desk in a shadow of its former shape.

Mallory stopped his watch. “Traditionally,” he smiled, “you just take off the sight and the magazine. But… effective. We can go ahead and guess you’ve seen this before, then, Q? When was that? Who showed you this sort of gun?”

 

“You’ve got one minute remaining. If you can’t do it, we’ll blow your fucking head off.”

Q turned, and looked at the barrel of the rifle, and then at its owner. “No,” he said. “You won’t.”

Then there was black, and red, and dirty scarlet copper running between white squares.

 

“Q?” Bond touched the omega on the shoulder. His eyes had completely glazed, and his pale skin had gone whiter than ever. “Q? Can you look at me?”

The omega didn’t move. His hands were rigid claws on the table.

Bond looked at Mallory.

The older alpha sighed, and looked at the ceiling. “Too many questions, perhaps.”

The weapon on the table was cleared away, and after that, Q seemed to relax. He sat quietly in the chair, his fingers twitching minutely. Bond left him to it. As much as something inside him cried out for him to go to his mate, he was wise enough to know when a man needed his own space.

The doctors in charge of Q came back an hour or so later.

“The good news is, you can both go home,” the doctor said, checking his notes.

“What’s the bad news?” Bond frowned.

The nurse beside the doctor held up a machine that looked like a clamp with a spike on one end.

“Oh.”

“M’s orders,” the doctor said. “Until further notice.”

“Nice to know he trusts me,” Bond said.

“You’re his mate,” the nurse went over to Q. “And…”

“And you do have a history,” the doctor finished. He wasn’t afraid of James Bond, not when he was the one who had to put him back together again three times a year. “I should think it’ll stop either of you going AWOL.”

“So, I’m grounded?”

“For now. M wants both of you where he can see you. And you’re unlikely to abscond and leave your mate, are you?” The doctor smirked.

Bond watched the nurse show Q the implant device. He half-expected the omega to run around the room like a squirrel to try and escape, but to his surprise, Q pushed up the sleeve of his t-shirt, and showed her a scar on the soft skin close to his underarm.

“What is that?” Bond asked.

“Looks like there’s something…” she touched the skin, and nodded. “There’s something already here. Maybe another implant. Ted, can you get me the scanner?” The doctor went out, quickly. The nurse smiled at Q. “You should have said. Did you forget?”

He blinked back.

The doctor came back with a device the size of a smart-phone, and held it close to Q’s skin. There was a moment of silence, and then a soft bleep.

“Ha,” the doctor showed the nurse. “No such luck.”

Bond came over. “What is it?”

“It’s a tracker, but it’s been deactivated. Probably remotely.”

“Must have been – there’s no evidence of trauma to the skin or muscle…” the medical staff started chatting amongst themselves.

But Bond was looking at Q, who was almost – almost – smiling. “Q,” he said softly, “it wasn’t remotely deactivated, was it?”

Q looked at him.

Then raised a finger, and put it to his lips.

The doctor turned back, and Q went unreadable again. “We’ll just have to use the other arm. Is that ok? It’ll be a little sore, but no need for stitches.”

Q complied, and the tiny implant went under his skin with a click.

“That’s that. You’re both free to go. Bond, M will be in touch.” The two medics saw themselves out.

Bond turned to Q. “Right then. Shall we?”

 

*

 

The flat smelled of them both. Bond had avoided it, aside from gathering clothes for them both, and as a result, the rooms were stale with old heat and uncirculated air. Bond opened the windows, as Q looked around the living room. At least, Bond thanked himself, he had changed the sheets.

Where was Q going to sleep?

There was a spare room, or two.

But the thought of sleeping away from his mate made the agent feel strange. It shouldn’t - they barely knew one another. But still…

“I’m having some groceries delivered,” Bond said as he came back into the lounge. “I’m not a fan of take-out. Is there anything you don’t eat?”

Q ignored him, and picked a book out of the shelves beside the fireplace.

Bond took a deep breath, and tried to hold onto his patience. “Q. Q? I’m speaking to you.”

Q’s hands tightened on the book.

“Q, just… do you want to see the list?” Bond held his phone out.

Q turned, and Bond could see his jaw was so rigid it looked painful. The omega’s mouth opened, then closed again, and for a second he looked close to tears… Then the blank slate returned, and Q might as well have been sleep-walking.

The book in his hands fell to the floor.

Q put a hand to his mouth, though his eyes were still unseeing.

Bond shut his eyes, and cursed himself. “I’m sorry. You…” he picked the book up. “You don’t have to… I keep trying to get you to communicate, and to speak, and I know none of this was what you’d choose, and I’m sorry.”

Would you have chosen me? He thought, as their eyes met. Probably not. An alpha who’s past it, got mental health issues of his own, kills for a living, and is a wanted man in a dozen countries? You wouldn’t have chosen me.

Q reached out, and took hold of the book again. His thin fingers brushed over James’ as he did so.

But my god, I would have chosen you.

Bond resisted the urge to shake his head. That was the bond talking. That chemical weirdness that made him think he was in love. He wasn’t. Not really. He couldn’t be. There hadn’t been enough time.

He let the book slide into Q’s grip, and went over to the sofa. He wasn’t used to this quiet domesticity, that was all. The quiet, and the stranger in the room – his mate – it was all getting to him…

Q watched him sit, and then put the book he’d chosen down on the shelf again.

Bond frowned. “Q?”

Q took a breath, his skinny chest inflating beneath his terrible brown and mustard cardigan. His hands clenched as he breathed in, then relaxed as he exhaled… and walked over.

Bond sat up a fraction.

The omega moved cautiously, like a vet approaching a wounded tiger. His eyes were downcast, though looking through the glass of his lenses like they were a barrier of protection against… something.

Q had read his file. He knew what his mate was capable of. He was, probably, wise to be cautious. Couple that with the fact that Q had obviously gone through… something… Bond let him come closer, silently, barely breathing as the omega reached the sofa, and carefully sat down beside him, his body angled to face his mate. Bond mirrored him, making them face to face, and practically eye to eye, as the height difference between them was tiny.

Bond had been trained to withstand torture, coercion, threats, seduction… but never how to deal with being mated to an omega who was clearly torn between fear and frustration.

Q stared at him for a moment, then put his hand up, his fingers pressing lightly on his own mouth, eyes pleading.

“You… want to speak?” Bond guessed.

Q didn’t reply, but his face said yes. Bond saw a need behind the man’s eyes. To be understood.

“That’s why you did all those stupid tests of Mallory’s,” he said. “You needed them to understand you, even if you couldn’t say who you are.”

Q blinked, as if the thought hadn’t occurred to him. Perhaps it hadn’t. Every living creature has needs. A one of Q’s was to be understood, even if he couldn’t communicate.

But he was getting there.

He let his hand fall from his mouth, his lower lip blushed and rosy from the pressure of his fingers.

Bond remembered kissing that mouth. That mouth gasping in silence as the body was penetrated again. Q’s thin, breakable wrists, his visible ribs, the bumps of his spine, the dips of his collarbones as he brought his shoulders together in a shudder of pleasure.

Bond remembered all of that, even if he couldn’t remember how he had seen it all.

Q inched closer. His hand hadn’t fallen completely, and now it came to rest on Bond’s chest, on his breast-bone, where the thudding of his heart could be felt.

A shocking swell of affection rose in James so swiftly it might have made him step back if he had been on his feet. Instead, he put his own hand over Q’s, and held it as gently as he could, making it clear that Q could escape at any time.

They stayed that way for a good few minutes, James gradually moving his thumb to stroke over the soft white skin on the back of Q’s hand.

Q slowly relaxed, moving to lean against the back of the sofa, his hand still on James’ chest, feeling his breathing, his heartbeat.

It felt like more of a connection that there were simple words for, to the alpha.

He wondered how it felt to the omega. Was their bond a prison? Or an opportunity?

“Did you know you were coming to me?” Bond asked. “Specifically?”

Q looked at him. Then shook his head. A proper answer. Then opened his mouth. Closed it again. Opened again, closed, lips pressed hard together. And another shake of the head.

What was keeping his words trapped inside?

Bond wanted to break them free.

He leaned forward, and kissed the omega on the forehead.

Q jumped slightly, but didn’t move away.

Bond stayed close, inhaling the scent of Q’s hair, the warmth of his unsure, blushing, skin. Took another kiss, on a scalding forehead, his hand still holding Q’s, against his chest.

Q exhaled slowly, his breath catching. His fingers tightened on James’ shirt front.

He raised his chin.

His eyes were questioning.

James stayed still, his face as readable as he could make it. I won’t hurt you.

Q flinched forward, just a touch. Then again, so close James could have kissed him by accident. The pressure between their faces felt like a bomb about to go off. The not-kiss was as intense as lovemaking, without even a touch. James’ skin seemed electrified.

Q kissed him on the corner of his mouth.

A boy’s kiss. Quick, dry, with a sweet little sound.

James could have melted.

Instead, he smiled. “You’re staying, then?”

Q smiled back, properly, his eyes crinkling as he beamed for a moment, then got control over his face again, and softening the expression to just a hint of happiness.

It was more than enough.

For now.

James squeezed his mate’s hand. “Perhaps take-out doesn’t sound so bad, after all.”