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Resurrection is a Hobby

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Bond woke up suddenly. The dream had been so real, so vivid… He swallowed a few times and staggered over to the sink, washing his face off and looking up into the mirror.

Thank God that garbage about mirrors and cameras wasn’t true–wasn’t ALWAYS true, anyway. He had to admit it was… useful… being able to fade from the security cameras sometimes, but if he never showed up at all? Life in the modern world would be impossible.

He scrubbed his face with the washcloth and sighed. The biggest drawback to living this long was losing all your friends, true–of course, with the life he tended to lead, he lost people pretty frequently anyway–but there were also so many more memories.

So many more.

Not all of them pleasant.

He took a quick shower and contemplated breakfast–nothing he really wanted. He considered carefully: Yes, it HAD been too long since I’d fed, probably why the lack of interest in ordinary food and the nightmares. Well, the sure cure for that was an assignment. Bond hated hunting in London: vampires were territorial, and he wasn’t here often enough to try to defend a claim.

He walked into MI6; people scattered out of his way, mostly; a few stared at him in surprise–word must not have gotten around yet.

“Hullo, Eve.” Bond tried to stay back a bit: Eve was one of the most beautiful women he knew, and right now he had far too much of the predator running close to the surface.

“James?” She stared at him. “But you… you quit?”

He frowned. “Didn’t M tell you?! I know we had to play it close, but…”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, James,” she shook her head. “As far as anyone knew, you were gone and not coming back.”

Bond clenched a fist hard and forced his mouth closed. When he could speak without losing control, he simply said, “I will speak to M… now.”

Eve opened and closed her mouth a few times and then just nodded and called into the office, “Sir? Commander Bond is here; I’m sending him in.” She just nodded shakily at the door. He heard her breathe and fall into her chair when he left.

“Mallory.” Bond stood an arm’s length from the desk and frowned at him.

“Commander Bond?” Mallory was frowning and looking confused. “I… don’t understand what you are doing here?”

“What the hell do you mean? This is the day I was scheduled to report in! I’m not even late!”

Mallory stared at him and finally said, “Can you please sit down, Commander Bond? I think there has been some sort of misunderstanding, because I was under the impression you had resigned… understandable, given the injuries you had sustained…” he frowned, “although you seem much better…”

“Of COURSE I’m much better,” Bond gritted out through clenched jaws. “I needed the time off to heal. I got back into London four days ago and reported in as scheduled.”

Mallory waved at him to take a seat and called out, “Ms. Moneypenny? Please fetch Commander Bond’s file?”

“Why are you asking for THAT?” Bond frowned. “It won’t have the…” He stared at the man. “You DO know you have a lot of files that are Eyes Only, right? The ones only M can access? Including my secured file?”

Mallory frowned, “Well, yes, but why wouldn’t I just… are you saying there is current information in them? I had understood that to be an archaic system with no computer access?”

“No outside computer access at all,” Bond nodded, and then went cold as he began to understand, “which is why it’s used for the highest level of security… You never looked, did you?”

“I saw no reason to go through archaic files,” Mallory cleared his throat. “I was briefed that the files existed… but…”

Bond sat back in his chair. “So everyone thinks I ACTUALLY just ran out on them? Ran off with that girl and a bunch of MI6 equipment?” He looked horrified at him. “Do you mean to tell me Q… you didn’t brief tell him… he just handed me that car…?!”

“Since as far as I knew you resigned, and left with Doctor Swann…” Mallory sighed, “Very well, can you inform me of what was actually going on?”

“No, I bloody well WON’T! Not until you read my secured file… None of it will make sense…” Bond stood up. “I have to go try to salvage a working relationship and a friendship. Go read your damn files and do your JOB Mallory.”

Bond stormed out, furious. People didn’t just scatter out of his way: they fled. He pulled himself back together and took several deep breaths to calm himself before walking into Q branch.

Q was facing away, directing some project: standing there in… well, one of the more subdued ensembles, Bond supposed. At least it wasn’t garish, just… he shook his head and walked forward.

Q noticed the usual noises being replaced with the kind of hushed buzzing that indicated a problem. Out of the corner of his eye he saw at least one minion go white, and then the people working on his project one by one went silent and stopped working.

“You would think you lot were seeing a ghost!” Q snapped. He turned expecting to see some visiting politician, perhaps, but he never, ever, expected Bond to be standing there.

“Q,” Bond said in that whiskey-over-peat voice that made his knees go weak even now, “I’ve just been told that you weren’t informed to expect me back today.”

That snapped him out of it. He forced himself to stand still, keep his hands by his side and speak levelly. “I didn’t expect you back at all, actually–not after… what are you doing here?”

Bond sighed, “Well, first of all, I actually managed to bring the car back–more or less intact–but as to the rest? Can we speak in your office?”

Q looked at him. He looked… far better than he had, actually–the rest must have done him well–and he was standing there looking almost apologetic… Q nodded and walked into his office.

As always, he jumped when he turned around and found Bond right behind him. “Can’t you learn to… I don’t know, scuff your feet?”

Bond smirked, “After all the years I spent learning NOT to?”

Q just muttered and started turning on baffles and signal blockers. “There. If anyone can hear us in here…” He stepped away from Bond and crossed his arms over his chest. “Why would I expect you back today… or ever?”

Bond sighed, “I should have checked that… I got used to M… I…” Bond sighed again. “There is a separate Eyes Only set of files that M, and ONLY M or a handful of others, are supposed to have access to–no outside computer contact, mostly paper files…”

“I am aware of it,” Q nodded. “It’s archaic… but we had orders not to digitize those files: security.”

“It’s not archaic… it’s how I sent word back to M when a mission was too hot to let anyone else hear it–too high a security risk…” He sat down on the rather battered sofa Q kept in his office for naps. “It’s also where the missing information in my files is, of course… well, probably in a lot of people’s files.”

Q frowned. “And this has to do with…” His eyes widened. “You… sent word back to M… that this was a MISSION?!”

“Yes. When you just gave me the keys, I assumed he’d briefed you–or at least told you something.”

Q slowly walked over. “You didn’t quit? You didn’t…”

“Run off with someone who has been hip deep in Spectre since before she was born?” Bond looked at him thoughtfully. “When there was obviously a lot of power games going on, and someone had already tried to damage my memories?”

“Oh…” Q looked him over again: really, he looked quite well. “So… what happened?”

Bond smiled tiredly, “I MAY be able to tell you, but… I need to have rather a lot of words with Mallory first… after he reads my unredacted file.”

“So you’re back then… You…”

“I wouldn’t have treated you that way, Q. If I was actually quitting, I would have at least come in properly to say thank you and wish you luck with the new double oh seven… at least.”

“Oh… You’re staying, though?” Q hated how desperate he sounded.

Bond blinked and looked at him, and then Bond carefully considered the scent: he’d been angry and hurt… mostly hurt… and now hopeful…

Oh… Oh, no… That was a VERY bad idea… “Q…” Bond had the overwhelming urge to throw him on the sofa and let him find out just how disastrous an idea it was, but with an effort he pulled himself together. “First, let me find out what Mallory’s reaction will be… and then…” He hesitated and said cautiously, “Do I get the idea that you might want to get together out of the office?”

Q tried for studied nonchalance and failed, “I had rather thought we were… friends at least… until…”

“At least that, Q.” Bond smiled tiredly. “I don’t actually have many friends. I was furious when I found out you hadn’t known… I may have snarled at a few people.”

“Oh… um…” Q grinned suddenly. “I’ll have to go look at the cameras.”

“Do that,” Bond grinned. “People were throwing themselves against the wall.”

“You do have that effect sometimes.”

“Yes, well… there’s a lot about me you don’t know–far more than you can be thinking–and… to be fair, even being friends with me outside of work would mean having a long chat about some of it.”

Q looked puzzled, “I don’t see how–”

“I know,” Bond nodded. “That’s the problem: it’s nothing you could know about, and it’s not the usual kind of problem–so let me go talk to Mallory and get that dealt with.” Q nodded.

“If…” Bond considered carefully. “Its possible Mallory will… not react well. If that happens, I’ll have to lay low for a while…”

“I’ll give you my non-work email.”

“Errr…”

“Dear God, Bond, you DO have email?”

“No?”

“No wonder you wreck all of my equipment, you…” Q pressed his lips together and looked furious for a moment. “If you don’t even have email how can I get in touch?”

“I was trying to think of that, actually.” Bond shrugged, “You could try coming by my flat? But I might not be there…”

“Here…” Q scribbled an address. “It’s a club I go to once in a while. If anything goes wrong, meet me there Friday night.”

A club… Well, likely it was a neutral hunting zone… “Alright. But hopefully I’ll just be back down here tomorrow.”

“It… it is good to see you… and you look a lot better.”

“It’s good to see you too, and I feel a lot better.”

Q let them both out of the office and Bond slowly made his way back up to Mallory.

Chapter Text

Mallory read through the file, and then read through it again… and then threw it down on the desk and glared at Bond. “What sort of ridiculous prank is this?”

Bond just looked at him.

“This is utterly ludicrous!”

Bond sat back casually in the chair and just kept looking at him. Mallory tried to out-stare him and eventually looked away.

“…it’s complete nonsense.”

Bond finally asked, “Are you done complaining? Or…?”

“According to this you were first recruited to MI6 before you could have been BORN, 007!”

“Mmmm… yes?”

Mallory sat back and fixed a level glare at Bond. “Convince me.”

Bond smiled thinly, “Most of the showier things I can do use up a lot of energy–energy I do not casually waste.”

Mallory interjected, “Because you can’t possibly–”

Bond simply continued talking. “There are only a handful of reasonable ways of demonstrating what I am, Mallory, and you wouldn’t like any of them.”

“Then why should I believe you?”

Bond sighed, “Alright… but I want you to write this down first: ‘I asked for it.’ YES, I am quite serious, Mallory: write it down.”

Mallory glared at him, took a paper and wrote “I asked for a demonstration” and looked up. “Will that do?”

“Yes.” Bond sighed and walked over–he was far too tired, and far too hungry, and it had been a miserable day capping off a miserable week: if he tried any of the other methods to demonstrate what he was, he would likely lose control and end up doing this anyway.

He smiled politely with his lips closed, and then he moved suddenly: Mallory started to react–too slow–and found his head pulled back by his hair, baring his throat.

Bond sank his fangs in before Mallory could protest. It had been too long, but Bond managed to pull back soon enough. He carefully placed Mallory’s limp form into the chair–his eyes glazed and body pliant…

Bond licked his lips and wrote a note underneath Mallory’s scribbled admission: “I need more than that right now, and I expect you need to re-read the files. I will report in to work Monday. – J. Bond.”

He carefully checked for traces of blood on his suit and turned to leave.

“That…” Mallory whispered.

Bond turned in surprise. “Mallory? That’s… actually rather impressive,” he admitted. “Most people don’t recover that quickly.”

Mallory was clearly fighting the effect, blinking his eyes rapidly and trying to shake his head with uncooperative muscles. “The… movies…”

“Are interesting fiction,” Bond said flatly. “M wrote out what she understood in the files–I think she was wrong about a few things, but… my one rule was no tests. I didn’t live this long to end up in a lab somewhere.”

“Is… it… always…?”

“No,” Bond sighed. “It can be a rather horrific ordeal–or very, very pleasant,’

Mallory managed to sit up, holding onto the edge of the desk. “Both.” He cleared his throat. “That was… both.”

Bond smiled rather viciously, “Yes, I rather expect it was: I was upset. As I said, I need more than that, and I expect you need time to recover–although truthfully, I am impressed with how rapidly you are recovering–so… I will be back on Monday.” Bond nodded and turned to go.

“Bond?”

“Yes?” Bond asked without turning back.

“You’re quite right: I asked for it,” Mallory said very tensely.

Bond smiled slightly–Mallory continued to surprise him. “You did… but in truth, sir, I’m on a rather short fuse… what with the misunderstanding.” He looked back over his shoulder and nodded.

Mallory just nodded slowly, his knuckles white on the desk.

Bond walked out of his office, back to the car and left.

~

Mallory pushed the button under his desk that locked the door; he was beginning to understand why his predecessor had it installed. He called out to Moneypenny, “Hold all calls except for emergencies, please?”

“Yes, sir… Are you…? James seemed a bit…”

“Double Oh Seven was… understandably upset. Put the paperwork in motion to have him restored to active duty, please.”

“…Yes, sir.”

He shut down communications and shuddered. Mallory didn’t normally drink in the office, but… he looked at the bottle of expensive alcohol that was kept to help lubricate the occasional political meeting…

I was a fool. Mallory thought to himself as he sipped quietly at the scotch. If I’d had any idea what Mansfield was dealing with, I never would have given her so much grief…

He sighed. I never would have believed it.

He looked at the files again, and then got up and walked over to the safe in his office. He pulled out the letter–he hadn’t looked at it since the first time he read it–and read it over again.

               

I am leaving this in my office safe, since it seems likely that things will get worse before they get better. If you are reading this then either I am dead–or incapacitated–or you have broken into my safe in the hopes of finding something useful.

Good luck with that.

Since it is likely that you are trying to take command of this upturned anthill:

Tanner is utterly trustworthy, but lacking in creativity. If you need someone to carry out orders, and make good field evaluations under most circumstances–he’s your man. He is capable of being politic, but will be best in use trying to get your people organized.

It’s possible Tanner is trying to manage this–and thus reading this letter–in which case… as soon as you get the security managed, you need to get one of the more creative thinkers on your side and helping you run things. Bill, you just don’t have what it takes to keep some of these people in line for long–I suggest Q… the new one, yes.

The Quartermaster looks like an under-experienced young man, but should be left strictly alone to manage his department. Give him whatever support he asks for in an emergency and get out of his way. Once the emergency is over, however…

He’s still fairly cocky. He has enough talent that his ego hasn’t gotten him in trouble enough to learn better. He has a lamentable problem of thinking he can do everything himself: you’ll want to watch that.

Eve Moneypenny was a good field agent, and is a much better aide de camp and bodyguard–and she IS a bodyguard. Keep her close by. It’s possible she was removed by whatever took me down, in which case you will want to find someone else to watch your back–because you need to watch your back.

The politics are brutal and as soon as we show any weakness various factions will begin fighting for our resources–yes, even in a crisis. Double your personal security and keep a bodyguard.

Now as to James Bond…

Once you have access to his files it will make sense, but… Bond is a superlative bodyguard–for short periods of time. He is FAR too prone to going off actively hunting trouble to remain a guard for long. I have left him some personal instructions, which will doubtlessly supersede any orders you give.

He’s relentlessly loyal, but… your rank will not suffice. I earned his loyalty and he mine, you will have to do likewise. Until then, tell him what the objectives are and let him manage it.

M

P.S. Any equipment you give Bond will be destroyed. The man cannot be trusted to keep anything in one piece except possibly his clothing–possibly.

 

Mallory laughed to himself: he’d seen the damage Bond left in his wake. Then he shuddered and brought a hand to his neck… He got into his shaving kit and finally found the mirror… nothing. Perhaps the faintest pink area? As if he’d rubbed at it…

He shuddered again. God, that… that was devastating. If drugs were like that… He began to see how people got addicted, but for himself he wanted to run screaming and order Bond taken down at range.

He shuddered again–not enough scotch.

When he could stop shuddering, he reopened the file–Eyes Only: James Bond.

Recruited by Olivia Mansfield back when she was a junior field agent–according to her notes here, he’d assisted on a mission as a civilian and she had argued for recruiting him… She hadn’t been able to find him again to recruit him.

Until she had run into him several years later–by which point she was an experienced agent, with an impressive résumé. She left no notes–not even in the Eyes Only file–as to what happened, but she had come back to MI6 with James Bond in tow.

His intake photo was in the file, in black and white… he looked almost precisely like the man who had just left his office: somewhere between thirty and forty, fit…

And according to this file he’d looked more or less the same for the past thirty-some years.

The files showed him looking older, tired, injured… and then back to thirty or so in peak health… after a vacation… or after going dark on long missions.

Like going off with Doctor Swann…

I’ll need a debrief on what happened, Mallory realized. I have no idea if she’s alive or… God if he did that to her? He rubbed his neck again and bit his lip.

More scotch… He shuddered and swallowed enough to feel the burn take some of the shivers away.

No formal testing, he’d said… no blood tests–Bond had always avoided the medical staff, but it didn’t stand out because most of the Double-Ohs did–no experiments… but Mansfield had kept careful notes.

He was damnably hard to kill. Given time and… blood… he could recover from almost anything. Sunlight weakened him down to near human levels, but at night or… underground…

She outright stated that the bite could be addictive–according to her it was psychological, not physical, but…

According to her own notes, the closest they’d come to ‘testing’ was on herself: he’d bitten her to cause pleasure–apparently she’d documented that with ruthless objectivity… Mallory tried to read it and his nerves started singing–he turned the page.

He had, at her request, bitten her to cause agony–she documented that too: comparing it to torture she’d undergone in the field. Apparently Bond had been shocked she had ever spoken to him again. Mallory read that description over again and mentally apologized for underestimating the woman.

According to Bond, he could occasionally manage to bite in a way that had a numb sensation, but it didn’t work reliably. He’d stated that other vampires…

Other vampires… Mallory shuddered again and poured a second glass of scotch. He took the bottle and moved it away.

After considering, he took the file and locked it in the safe for tomorrow… or maybe the next day.

He went home early to his wife, and tried to forget what it had felt like to have his life in Bond’s hands… and mouth…

Chapter Text

Bond drove to one of the private clubs run by another vampire in London. This one was… well, they were territorial–but in a peculiar way. They ran the club, and considered every patron–and especially every employee–part of their own personal fiefdom, but… if you could pay their tribute you could buy dinner. The problem was they rarely wanted something as simple as cash.

It was better than dealing with the other blood dealers, anyway.

They had live music tonight, and the place was packed for a weeknight. Bond quietly let the staff know he needed to talk to Helene.

He sat at the bar and tried to keep the flirting casual. He was certain she left him out here waiting just to whet his appetite and weaken his bargaining position.

Eventually he was sent back to her office.

“Helene…” he nodded politely. She was an ordinary looking woman, objectively, but of course charisma and power–and wealth–had a way of increasing your attractiveness. She had a more conventionally attractive woman sprawled across the floor at her feet–lost in a feeding haze.

“James, darling… it’s been ages!” Helene’s husky voice already sounded smug.

“Surely not ages,” Bond kept his voice light. “As usual, I come and go from London rather rapidly, and thought I would stop in.”

“Mmm…” She waved and one of her guards picked the woman up off the floor and carried her out.

Bond waited for the door to close. “I need a night’s hunting, of course.”

“Obviously,” she raised an eyebrow, “and what else?”

“I need to know if a club is privately owned or open.”

She smiled, “If you spent more time in London, you would already know.”

“True, but if I spent more time in London I would have my own territory and we would hardly see each other… that would be a pity.”

“Flatterer!” she laughed. “Alright, which one?”

He told her the name of the club Q had mentioned and her eyes widened–never a good sign.

“Back in town so recently and you home in on THAT club?”

“Apparently. Who owns it?”

“He’s new to London… I don’t know what name he uses, but he already carved out a territory… including that club; it used to belong to Cecil.”

Bond couldn’t help but be alarmed: Cecil had been extremely combat capable, if perhaps lacking in finesse. “What’s the new fellow’s stance on… say… meeting someone at the club?”

“I don’t know,” Helene admitted. “The only people I’ve heard about going in were challenging types… so…”

“Wonderful.” Bond rubbed his forehead. “Just wonderful.”

“I have an idea that may suit us both…” Helene smiled rather broadly, “You pay me in cash for tonight–bargain rates–BUT you also tell me any details about our mysterious new vampire who is powerful enough to take out Cecil and everyone else who has tried to challenge him.”

Bond considered. “I may not find out ANYTHING.” Especially since I plan on avoiding any encounter with him.

“It’s a risk,” she shrugged.

“I may be bound under hospitality…” Unlikely, but possible.

“In which case, you can certainly tell me that you met under hospitality," she smirked, “which will be a first… and therefore valuable information anyway.”

“Very well,” Bond nodded. He paid her and went back out into the club.

Blonde first, Bond thought with a smile as he cut his way through the crowd to the giggling schoolteacher who had been flirting with him, brunette later and let’s see if I can find a redhead for dessert…

~

Q wondered exactly what had happened. Bond had left directly after his meeting with Mallory, and Mallory had cancelled all his meetings and holed up in his office… and then left early–for him.

Bond… had been on a mission. He had! He hadn’t… he hadn’t left with her… he even… he wanted to meet?

He said there were complications…

Of course there are: it’s Bond.

Q fretted over what could be so complicated… Q already knew he was a Double Oh, that was complicated right there.

He got next to no sleep that night, and was distracted and agitated the next day at work… Bond wasn’t due back until Monday–R told him. So they were going to meet Friday–Oh God, that’s tomorrow!–at the club…

Which I haven’t been to in… Q cringed, over two years. Maybe I should go tonight and… do some reconnaissance.

He dressed a bit more blandly than he normally would for clubbing–he didn’t want to have to shake any interest off–and headed off early to get a look around nice and early on a Thursday night…

Q stood outside what HAD been a typical club called BeatBox… and was now freshly painted, and apparently called The Firing Line; it was apparently pretty popular, judging from the line to get in at opening.

Shit… well, at least I gave him the address, and clubs changed names often enough… He paid his cover and went in.

Ooooh, this was very different. There was smoke–fog, anyway–and some glass pillars with… shit, is that a Vandergraff generator? And the lights were incredible…

Holy! That was fire? Had to be a special effect…

Q was staring around and had just turned his head to watch the light show over the stage… and walked into someone.

“Oh! Oh, I am so sorry!” Q sputtered. “Thank heavens I didn’t have… my… drink… yet…?” Q looked up into an amused grin under a scruffy beard and tousled hair… Oh, hell…he looked like trouble… good looking trouble.

“Well, we’ll have to fix that!” the man rumbled; his voice was pleasantly deep and had a touch of an accent. “Let’s get you that drink then…” And he slid an arm through Q’s arm and steered him to the nearest bar–apparently there were several more than there had been.

“I really am sorry! It’s just that I haven’t been in in years and… it’s all changed!”

“For the better, I hope?”

“Oh my, yes!” Q flushed. “I told someone to meet me here… tomorrow… and realized I hadn’t been in ages, and…” He blinked in confusion as the man pressed a drink into his hand. “I haven’t used my cover drink yet, you didn’t have to–”

“A pretty boy runs into me–literally–in the club his first time here in years?” the man rumbled a laugh and Q felt that familiar sinking feeling… He was trouble, and he was muscled, and he had a scruffy elegance about him… and HELL he was just my type.

“I’m not a boy…” Q snarked back.

“You’re not a girl…” the man smirked. “Lucky me.”

Ooooooooooh shit shit shit. “I’m… uh… meeting a guy I’ve had a thing for–for ages and … he finally noticed? Tomorrow?”

The man leaned forward. “You snooze, you lose? What took him so long?”

“Well… we… uh…met at work… and…” Q hated how ill at ease he was and tried to pull himself together. “We got off a bit on the wrong foot.” He narrowed his eyes. “Among other things, he wasn’t very flattering about my competence because I was a lot younger than my predecessor,” he muttered. “Rocks were younger than Boothroyd.”

“I have no idea about your… competence.” The man made it sound lewd. “I only know about mine.” He grinned, “Alec, by the way… in case you wanted to know.”

“Err… Alan.” Q gave one of his club pseudonyms–his ID had that on it, anyway.

“So… you are trying to get this fellow to be serious about you even though… he hasn’t been?”

Q muttered, “He said it’s complicated.”

“Isn’t it always?”

Q found himself trying to defend Bond, as much as he could without explaining that they were both spies. “Work kept getting in the way… and then… well, our boss died, and he was close to her…”

The man’s face softened just a bit., “Yes, losing people is always difficult.” Then he smiled, “So… how do you feel about giving the man some incentive? A bit of competition?”

“You have a very odd way of flirting… and I don’t cheat on–”

“You aren’t going out with him yet, so you can’t be cheating… and you certainly haven’t promised me exclusivity.” Alec grinned wickedly, in exactly the kind of “I am trouble with a capital T” style that always got Q in over his head. “Although give me a chance and I might convince you.”

Q couldn’t help but flirt back just a bit, “You certainly are my type… I suspect if you and James were ever in the same room…”

“James? Oooh, there’s an ill-omened name!” Alec laughed. “My brother’s name was James–well… foster brother, you would say. Always racing about up to no good. I should know, I was usually up to no good with him!”

“Why is it ill omened?” Q grinned, “Although it certainly sounds like the style of my James: always racing about up to no good… or good… or something.”

“James was never happy.” He shrugged. “He… just wasn’t.” When Alec smiled, it was a bit tired looking, “I miss him, but… I can’t say I was surprised–he threw himself at death.”

Q blew out a breath, “Damn… that… I guess it’s true what they say about names…”

They both sat there quietly for a little while. Eventually Q asked, “So what’s in this drink? Because it’s tasty but…”

“It’s non-alcoholic. For our signature drinks, we have two versions. When you come in, you can ask for the dry wrist band; then you can order anything and the staff will give you the non-alcoholic version.”

“Really?” Q blinked down at the drink. “That’s brilliant! Lots of folks can’t drink because of… well, work, or medicine, or habits…”

Alec smiled, “So… since I know you haven’t had anything to drink, care to head upstairs and give your James something to try to live up to?”

Q looked at him and smiled slowly. “I’m not that... Honestly, I think I would like to, and I think I would rather not be with someone for any reason other than… them? If you understand?”

He put a hand over his heart and feigned being distraught. “Sob!” Then he smiled, “Yes, actually. I hope you forgive me that I am hoping your James is as insufferable as mine was? I ended up with a lot of people in my bed after he turned their heads and then ran off…”

Q laughed, “I… actually think I would like to get to know you on your own merits, you know? Isn’t that the way it goes, though? Nothing for ages and then two incredibly hot guys asking me out–maybe.”

“Maybe? I am definitely asking you out! You’re not only adorable, you’re intelligent! Too often the pretty boys in here are just…” he waved his hand in a gesture Q didn’t recognize.

“And you are clearly very intelligent, dangerous and…” Oh shit, did I say that out loud?

“Oh HO!” My little moth has a taste for fire?” Alec smirked. “Should have known from you staring at it all.” He waved around the club.

“Ah... well… yes, a bit.” Q found himself blushing. Dear God. “I meant ‘maybe’ because I’m only meeting James to discuss IF we are going to try to go out, or just stay friends.”

Alec leaned forward and spoke quietly in his ear, “If he’s so blind that he can’t already picture you panting and flushed, with your eyes gone dark and the blood racing in your veins… can’t imagine you twisting in his arms and begging for release… can’t hear you crying out his name as you hang between ecstasy and oblivion? He’s not worth your time.”

Before Q could regather his wits, Alex kissed him gently on the cheek and said, “I will be here tomorrow–a little competition brings out the best in a warrior…. or a lover.”

And he was gone–vanished in the crowd…

Q went home in a daze, and his dreams were incredible.

Chapter Text

Bond couldn’t sleep. He was meeting Q Friday night… Oh God, I don’t even know his NAME! Bond resisted the urge to bash his head against the wall. Did he still have cats? How could I have never asked his name? Shit, I can’t go into the office and look…

Bond paced around and pulled out a suit–no, too formal. He pulled out a different outfit–too casual. Of course it was a club that belonged to a territorial bastard that no one knew… and he had no way of contacting Q to get him to change locations…

Oh hell, if that vampire even so much as looked cross-eyed at Q I’m going to go off at him…

And I don’t even know his name.

Shit.

He lay back on his sofa with the Scotch–wonderful stuff, scotch–and stared mournfully at the china bulldog…

~

James had been minding his own business, drinking and chasing girls… well… flirting–he had no interest in leaving his seat or his drink–when a familiar figure walked hurriedly into the bar. He hadn’t seen her since he’d helped her shut down that bunch of brigands–terrorists or something, they called them now. She’d been lovely, and young, and trying so hard…

Now she was stunning, and mature, and terrified but hiding it well. She was trying not to look behind her–looking to lose herself in a crowd…

James raised a glass toward her and called out in the local language, “{About time you showed up…}”

She looked over–her hand twitching toward a weapon–and her eyes widened in shock, then she came over and slid into the seat next to him. “{I’m so sorry, darling…}”

She moved into his arms and kissed him, murmuring quietly, “Can you help? They’re armed and very dangerous…”

He just smiled into her lips–she smelled of fear and of blood but her voice was steady–“Of course.” And then a bit more loudly, “{Let’s go find someplace a bit more private?}”

He’d taken her out, wrapped in his coat and pulled into his arm. They made it past the first group, but just a bit away they’d been spotted.

They were surrounded–ten men armed heavily to the two of them, and her already wounded–and taken prisoner. James had known better than to try his luck with guns aimed right at him, so he’d played along… the girl–woman now, really–was looking stoic.

“I have a few tricks up my sleeve, just… stay alive long enough to let me use them,” he’d whispered quietly to her. Then loudly, “{Who the hell are they! What’s going on?}”

She’d sneered back, “{Just because I let you paw me for cover doesn’t mean you get anything more!}” and shoved him away, looking disgusted–he saw the flash of hope in her eyes. She was an excellent actress.

They shoved her into a van and left two men holding him. He heard the boss give them orders to get rid of him.

As they walked him away into an alley, he tried to ‘reason’ with them, feigning innocence… one of the two looked uncomfortable and said quietly to the other, “{Just make it quick, for God’s sake!}”

The other man pulled a knife and looked a bit too gleeful…

James took them both down hard. “{Do you know where they were taking her?}”

“{No…}” the first man said in a terrified whisper. James did him a kindness and made it quick.

The other man didn’t hold out for long–James had the address and some of the layout before he let the man die.

It took him until morning to get to the place. It was heavily guarded in a way that he couldn’t get past in daylight. The part of him that was careless of his life, such as it was, wanted to run in–blood singing and death calling to him–but she would die then, and in his heart he’d already sworn an oath…

He broke in that night–long after the hour when a human would need IR goggles or lights–quietly removing guards as he went. He found her…

She was still conscious–God alone knew how–and he was wishing desperately he had managed to get to her earlier. He took her down out of the chains as gently as he could and cradled her in his arms. “My brave girl…” he said quietly.

“Stop pitying me,” her voice was hoarse and weak. “The information I had… it’s more important…” She coughed and winced as ribs shifted. “Promise me you’ll take it… take it back to London…”

“Never pity,” he smiled. “But you’ll have to survive to come with me–I have no idea what it is or where to take it.”

She gritted her teeth and tried to stand up.

He held her still. “No… I can heal you… a bit… but… there’s a risk to it.”

She swallowed hard and looked him in the eyes, her own eyes hard and unblinking. “The mission… always… first...”

He shook his head slowly, “Duty over everything? You remind me of myself, when I was young and still believed…” He bit his wrist open and held it to her mouth. She stared at him, at the fangs, at the blood on his wrist… He saw when her eyes widened and she understood… She closed her eyes, then, just for a moment–pale and afraid and determined–and drank…

He held his hand over her mouth, smothering any screams from the bones knitting together and moving–it wasn’t needed: she simply gasped and turned a bit green. When she finished shaking and her breathing steadied, he helped her up.

“A… risk you said?” Her voice was rough but steady.

“You might have turned–become what I am.”

“I’m not?”

“No…”

“Then it can be discussed later…” She took a deep breath. “Thank you… and I mean that… but my life is less important than the pendant I was wearing–it has microdot information–”

“I have no idea what that is, but I don’t think it could have left here yet…”

“Good.” Her eyes narrowed and she pulled herself as tall as she could and very straight. “Then I can still retrieve it and complete my mission–and hopefully pay a few men back for their treatment.”

Duty and vengeance… an old, old song and he knew it well. “I never did get your name…”

She pursed her lips, “Call me Hermia.”

He smiled, “Though she be but little, she is fierce?”

She nodded with a flickering smile.

They left nothing but death behind them.

~

Bond smiled fondly, remembering: he’d held her much the same way at Skyfall as she died.

She’d long ago told him she didn’t want to risk turning… He’d never wanted so much to go against her wishes as he had in that moment.

Only the memory of his own despair had kept him from selfishly trying to keep her…

Chapter Text

“Alan” walked into the club early–Q had almost pulled out a different identity by mistake; the cats got an earful of him calling himself an idiot–and asked for the dry wristband; the lady on door duty smiled and gave him one. She reminded him that it could be dark in the club, and the bartenders could make mistakes; he smiled and thanked her. It was nice that they were cautious: too many places weren’t these days.

It was still early and the club wasn’t anywhere near peak, but it was already busy. Q was off to the side of the club, as close as he could get to the special effects–admiring the flames, and the electric arcs, and mentally mapping out the circuitry and safety switches needed–when a strange woman spun him around.

“Hello there!” She was laughing in his face and Q tried to pull away.

“Excuse me, I believe you have me mistaken for–”

“No, you’re exactly what I was looking for.” She smiled in a predatory fashion and all the alarms in Q’s mind started going off at once.

Q knew that most predatory people counted on the reluctance of their victims to make a scene, so he yelled, “LET GO OF ME!” as loudly as he could while trying to pull away. He was cursing the fact that he only had one defensive weapon and it wasn’t reachable with her holding his arm.

He expected her to laugh it off, to make fun of him for making a scene, but unfortunately she got even more aggressive. “I was going to make it FUN for you…” she snarled, and then she pulled him in–she was scarily strong, probably on PCP…

He was dragged even further into the dark corner near the Van der Graaf generator. She grabbed his hair and yanked his head back. Suddenly there was a sharp flash of pain and then… there was a moment of pleasure and then he wanted more, and more, and some part of his mind was screaming desperately because he didn’t WANT this and he didn’t understand…

He came to muzzily on the floor. His glasses had been knocked aside and everything was a blur. There was an odd pressure on his neck.

“Take her to holding,” a familiar accent said, but he sounded angry. “I’ll get this cleaned up.”

“He’s going to need handling…”

“He’s my problem, deal with her.”

“A-alec…?”

“Hey, there pretty boy… we have a problem.” Alec’s voice was softer and close by his ear. “I need to fix you up…”

Q tried to get up and the pressure on his neck increased–pressure… and wet… “I’m bleeding?”

“Not for long, beautiful.”

Q felt a mouth at his neck and he floated into ecstasy again–it was still wrong, somehow, but he didn’t have the energy to resist and he let himself drift on a pleasant haze….

~

Alec had been alerted when Alan checked in–after all, if Alan’s James wanted to be “just friends” then Alec would have to console the poor boy…

…and if he was on the fence about it, a bit of competition might just make his mind up.

Shara, one of his best bartenders, had seen him wandering off toward the equipment. From anyone else he would wonder but the boy had been fascinated by it before. Alec saw one of his bouncers across the room moving fast in the direction Alan had gone in–he broke into a run.

Minos had pulled the vampire off the boy without letting her close the wound; Alec was furious with him until he realized how very pale Alan was. One of his human’s was already applying pressure but he looked grim.

“Sir? He–”

Minor shook his head–he was holding the bitch while one of the other humans got out the good cuffs–“Dump him with a cut throat?”

“No!” Alec snapped,. “I’ll handle it.”

He took over holding the pressure–luckily, she’d struck low; a bit higher on the neck and he’d be dead by now–and giving instructions, when Alan actually spoke. It wasn’t very clear but it sounded like his name…

He tried to reassure him, but they only had moments and the temporary screen they’d set up wouldn’t hide things for long…

Alec began licking the wound, getting the damn bitch’s saliva out of his system and replacing it with his own. It wasn’t a clean wound, thanks to pulling her off, but Alec got the deepest punctures closed, while the boy trembled in his arms… He carefully picked him up and took him downstairs to his own rooms.

He was holding him carefully, licking the last of the wound closed, when his medic Brandon came in.

“Do you know his blood type?” Brandon asked as he set up a clear bag of fluid for an IV.

“No,” Alec sighed. “I only met him once before; it wasn’t something I asked.”

“It’s a thing now, dating by blood type,” Brandon said as he pulled Alan’s wallet out, “and diet by blood type… you can actually get away with asking.”

“I’m still getting used to the idea that there is a type,” Alec grumbled. “Well?”

“His wallet is all wrong–probably a fake ID, although it’s a good one. No medical card, nothing.”

Alec looked dubiously at Alan lying on the bed–it was unlikely in the extreme that between the loss of blood and the feeding haze that he would be coherent enough to answer soon. “Can you do anything?”

“Depends on if one of the crew is O negative…” Brandon muttered. “In the meantime, I’m going to give him fluids to help.”

Alec was about to say something when he got a text message alert: several more intruders had been spotted in the bar.

“Take care of him,” Alex said as he ran out.

“Wonderful,” Brendon sighed. “I don’t suppose you know your blood type?” he muttered at the man with the unfocused eyes.

“A… positive…” Q managed to say–he’d been trying for a bit but it just seemed so hard to speak.

“You…” Brandon blinked a lot. “Answer me again: what is your blood type?”

“…A positive… and… where…” Q brought his hand up to his face, or tried.

“Good! I have a bag of A positive. Lie still, don’t move, don’t stress, I’ll be right back.”

Alec headed upstairs at speed and took in the situation: five more intruders moving through the crowd like sharks. “Get our people out, and start up the smoke.” Alec turned and headed for the back door.

~

Bond stood in line to get in at the club. It must have changed names since Q had been here. It was apparently quite popular, and Bond was observing: the girl two in front of him had gotten a different colored wristband? When he got to the door he smiled and asked.

“Nonalcoholic,” the woman smiled at him. “Some people are designated drivers, or just don’t drink–although we do warn people that in the dark club the bartenders can misread your wrist band.”

“Oh, wonderful idea…” He gave her his best smile. “As it happens I don’t need it tonight, but it’s good to know.” Any further comment was cut off as the sounds of a fight started to reach him. “What?”

A vampire burst out through the doors, arms over his face. He was covered in something like hives and his fangs showed as he turned to run.

Bond should have let him go, but too many–far too many–years of training kicked in and he hit him low at the knees.

Once Bond took him down he realized the problem: public, and a vampire showing his nature? There was a bouncer moving up…

“Damn wannabe goth druggies!” Bond snarled loudly enough for the nearby crowd to hear. “This is that new gang thing, isn’t it?” Now to get him away from the bouncer… Damn, I might have to let him go?!

“Good cover,” the bouncer said quietly as he leaned down. “I assume you aren’t with them?”

“No… you…. know…?” Bond kept the vampire pressed face down into the concrete.

“I have silver cuffs on me,” the man said very quietly. “Don’t make me use them on you?”

Bond couldn’t help but grin, “You’d never get them on me, mate. You might want this fellow, but he’s covered in spots.” Come to that, he had started bleeding in a few places.

“Silver nitrate in the smoke machine–works a treat.” The bouncer sounded amused.

Bond chilled… that was… that would hurt, at the very least. The bouncer got the cuffs on the man who screamed–Bond rather reflexively slammed his head into the pavement. “Oh… uh… sorry?”

The bouncer helped Bond haul him up. “You rugby players…” the bouncer said with an amused grin, “all the same.”

There were security people moving the crowd back, and a few polite announcements about “trouble with the smoke machine, people will be let back in momentarily…”

The bouncer helped Bond haul the fellow, directing him to a side door–Bond hesitated and the man said, “It’s safe… positive air pressure and we keep the fog out of this room until it clears.”

Kids these days… damn. When they hauled the vampire in, there were two other bouncers–human–and a vampire NOT in handcuffs, cuffing a vampire to a chair…

The vampire in the club clothes looked up and snarled, Bond raised his hand–the one not hauling in the troublemaker.

“Not him,” the bouncer with Bond said quickly. “He took this one down.”

“Could still be with him,” the dark skinned vampire growled. He nodded to the other humans who helped haul the captive vampire to another metal chair.

“I was waiting my turn in line,” Bond said holding out his wrist. “I’d just gotten my wrist band when this fellow came flying out–took him down by reflex…” Bond paused. “You aren’t the mystery owner.”

“No. Who are you and why were you coming into our club?”

Bond held both hands up politely in front of himself, “A human invited… I travel, I’m not in London often enough to have a territory. A human friend asked to meet me here–well, I think it changed hands, he used the old name.”

One of the bouncers asked thoughtfully, “He doesn’t know?”

“God, no… I was… I might have told him if things went on a bit–I’m shocked to find this many of you know anything…”

The vampire chuckled, his teeth VERY white against his darker skin, “Well… I’m afraid you’ll have to meet him on another day–my sire will be in a piss-poor mood.”

“Understood,” Bond sighed. “If someone is looking for me, can you pass word that–”

“Oh, we’re closing the bar for the night.” He nodded, “One of these hoodlums started a fire–I think that’s the story–so you’re covered. The humans will all be sent home with free drink chits. Since you’re not a trouble maker I could introduce you around I suppose, once the smoke clears. I’m called Minos, incidentally.”

“James.”

Minos actually stepped back with a stunned look. “Oh no, no no no, no way do I introduce you to my sire today.”

The bouncer that helped Bond haul the vampire in just groaned, “Oh God, no way! He’ll spend the whole night over a bottle and then he’ll sulk for a week…”

“What?”

The man shrugged and rolled his eyes, “He lost someone called James. On a good day, he just gets maudlin–on a bad day? Like with people interrupting his business and attacking the patrons?”

“Ah… Yes, well…” Bond felt the pull of the scotch himself and said quietly, “I’ve lost far too many people, myself. I understand.”

Minos clapped him on the shoulder, “You seem a decent sort, not like most of the locals. I’m sure he’d love to meet you when this settles out a bit.”

“As I said, I travel… but I should be in town for a while…” One of the bouncers got a card out and handed it to him. “That’s the office phone. The regular managers are on there, and yes they all know–so do most of the bouncers.”

A woman in a club t-shirt added, “And a few of the bartenders.” She was standing well away from Bond, or even Minos. “The boss voluntarily hires a lot of folks who have had bad run-ins with the vamps.”

“Voluntarily?” Bond raised an eyebrow.

One of the bouncers sighed, “I used to be a hunter.”

Bond almost choked: vampire hunters were killed immediately–too many disasters with vampires keeping them as playthings. “That’s… um… odd,” he said carefully and glanced at Minos.

“Yeah, I know no one else does that,” Minos shrugged. “Fight him on it.”

Bond just looked at Minos and then at the former hunter. “As long as you aren’t causing a problem, I don’t see any reason to mention you to anyone…”

Minos nodded, “Come back…” he glanced at the two vampires, now gagged and cuffed to the chairs, “maybe during the week?”

“I would be pleased to meet your sire, and do assure him I have no intent to cause trouble–I was strictly here to meet someone.”

As he was leaving the bouncer who had helped drag in the vampire he caught handed him a card. “You seem a reasonable sort…”

Bond smiled at the card, which advertised a grocery delivery service. “Any kind of groceries, eh?”

“To some folks,” the man laughed. “I’m David.”

“Police are here!” one of the staffers said. “Took them long enough!”

Bond shrugged, “Most of the police have locals pulling the strings–at least enough to delay a response. It gives us time to get the problem evidence cleaned up.”

Minos blinked, “Is that why…? I thought it was hostility…”

“More likely they just don’t want a vampire in lockup again–last time that happened was a mess.”

“Oh. Huh… Well, let me show you out quietly… and… thanks for the help.”

Bond slipped back out the side door, and while the staff kept the police busy out front he left. Well, at least Q wouldn’t think he stood him up, not with that mess.

Chapter Text

Brandon hooked up the bag of blood–‘Alan’ or whoever he was had passed out again. It took a while before anyone else came back down.

“Hey… Oh! He made it?” Shara asked.

“It’s a bit touchy still, but his odds look better.” Brandon looked her over, “What happened?”

“Pack of the bastards; we had to use the silver smoke.”

“Shit! Where’s the boss?”

“Dunno… but he went out the back, last anyone saw.”

“Great… just great.” Brandon sighed, “Well, nothing we poor muggles can do about it…”

“True. Can I get you anything?”

“In an ideal world I’d get another bag of A positive, and I’ll need another bag of Ringers no matter what.”

“I’ll see what I can rustle up.”

~

Alec had tracked the only pack member to make it out the back of the club. He’d attacked a random human on the street to get himself back on his feet and then headed off. Alec called in an anonymous tip–assault–and kept following him. He eventually ended up across London at a restaurant–he’d gone in the back: Alec settled down to wait.

Once he was certain they weren’t moving anytime soon, he called back to his people. Minos answered quickly–a good sign.

“About time you called in… sir.”

“How did it go?”

“Captured two more of the pack–one because a local vamp helped us.”

“What?”

“Local-ish. Said he traveled a lot and didn’t keep a territory even though this was home base–hadn’t known about the place changing hands, from what he said. He… seemed alright. Polite anyway.”

“Huh… Well, keep an eye out in case he decides to cause trouble, but… if he’s reasonable I’ll want to meet him.”

“I suggested he come back during the week. We blamed a fire on the ‘gang’ that was causing trouble.”

“Good call.” He paused, because honestly he didn’t want to hear bad news.

Minos, as usual, wasn’t fooled at all. “The kid looks like he’ll pull through, although Brandon says it’s touchy.”

“…good.”

“You have no idea how he’s going to take finding out about this all…”

“I’m betting on a good outcome.” I’m hoping for one anyway. “Anyway, I tracked one of the bastards back to a restaurant. I need a few of my things.”

Minos snorted, “You can’t burn it down from supplies on site? You’re slipping.”

“Don’t sass me, pup,” Alec laughed; Minos hadn’t changed one bit when he turned… not like some. He gave him a list of the things to send along and waited.

A few of the boys showed up not long after–including his hunter, Eric, naturally–and they moved into the place. There were two human guards on the first floor, but up on the second? Well apparently the vampires weren’t expecting an attack–stupid of them–because even the uninjured ones were asleep.

The bastard who’d been at his club was sleeping in the hall–looked like his boss hadn’t liked his report from the extra damage: he never had a chance to wake up before Eric beheaded him. Alec kicked the door in and got one of them before he got off the bed–after that it was a fight…

Not much of one, though. Just the pack boss and two other vampires, as well as some poor human woman that looked half drained.

Alec glanced at Eric, “Your call,” as he nodded at the human.

“Can we try?”

“Might as well, I have someone the pack attacked at my club who might make it, too. Alright, get her out and call Brendon.”

Eric got one of the other boys and they took her away. Alec and the rest dragged the humans’ and vampires’ remains down into the kitchen. Alec took pride in his work–he was pretty sure that by the time they got the fire out no one would be able to figure out much of anything.

“Hey boss?” Simon waved toward the walk-in. “Before you push the button on this… can we take some of the food? Be a pity if it went to waste…”

Alec laughed, “Better leave SOME so they don’t get suspicious, but sure–watch your prints, the walk-in will survive the fire better than some places.”

His humans whooped and high fived and looted the best cuts of beef and a few fish… while Alec, deciding that it wasn’t a bad idea, went to study their alcohols…

Which is how he found a young girl cowering behind the bar.

“Hey… Hey, I’m not going to hurt you… It’s okay…” Alec tried to make his voice gentle. “But there’s going to be a fire, sweetheart, you can’t stay here.”

“I have to stay or my mama will be hurt,” she whispered.

“Your mama?” He thought about the woman in the bed with the pack boss. “Did she have blonde hair?”

The girl nodded, “Mister Harold was angry… she’s upstairs with him.”

“No, we rescued her,” Alec was suddenly damn glad they’d tried and hoped the woman would pull through. “Come on, I’ll take you to her.” He picked her up and grabbed her teddy bear and coloring book.

The rest of his men got very quiet when they saw her. “Call back to Eric,” Alec said as he shielded the girl from seeing the bodies, “that was her mama we pulled out.”

“Died too damn fast…” Sean growled.

“Yeah,” Alec nodded. “But look at it this way: at this rate, we’ll end up owning London. Come on…” He put the girl in the car and sent them on their way before he turned on the burners in the kitchen. The pack boss was healing rapidly, but it wouldn’t be fast enough.

“Vampire flambé… might be the new house special.” Alec laughed and kicked the guy once for good measure and slipped out the door.

He could hear the explosion even several blocks away. By the time he got back to The Firing Line, the fire raging at what had been a highly rated restaurant was top of the news.

Chapter Text

Q woke up feeling like he’d worked an all-nighter on no food and too much caffeine, and then passed out before he ate anything–again.

“R? Is everyone back?” he tried to ask before he realized that while this was not his bed, it most definitely wasn’t the sofa in Q branch.

“Well, everyone is back, you beautiful thing, but I don’t think you were asking about my people…” a pleasant voice–familiar–with an accent that he couldn’t place….

Suddenly his memory snapped into place: I’d been at the club, early, to meet James… and… He opened his eyes dubiously. “Did anyone find my glasses?”

“Shara did,” Alec said and carefully put them on his face. “You shouldn’t move, you still have an IV, although I’m told you can get it out once you can hold down liquids.”

Q focused on Alec–yes: still the rough edges and easy smile over muscles and lethality that always got me in trouble–“James… was going to meet me…”

“We had to close the club for the night, gang members started a fire,” Alec patted him gently on the shoulder, “so your James wouldn’t have been able to come in.”

“He… he’s used to…” How the hell do I explain a double O and paranoia… Wait… “Wait, what HAPPENED?”

“I told you…”

“Bloody hell.” Q tried to sit up and Alec rather effortlessly held him down. “I have better than you lie to me on a daily basis! What ACTUALLY happened?”

Damn, all that and brains too. Alec smiled, “Let’s trade: who are you really?”

“What makes you think–”

“My people say your ID is questionable, but very, very good… and my medic pointed out you don’t have a health card: when he got into the health care system there is no record of you…”

“Oh… bloody…” Q grumbled, “Forgot to make an NHS record for that one.”

“So?” Alec laughed, “I could use someone as good as you are at false identification, but given that we very illegally treated you I would like to know–”

“Why was I bleeding? How was I treated? Why do you have a medic who can give under the table blood transfusions?” Q fired the questions off rapidly.

“I see he’s awake…” Brandon said as he came in. “If I can sit you up and you can drink a glass of something without puking, I can take the IV out…”

“I’ve been in worse shape after a long shift,” Q grumbled.

“Medical or computers?” Brandon asked with a laugh as he handed him a protein shake.

“Computers, and this is cheating–I throw this up on a good day.” Q sniffed, “Do you have any that isn’t artificial strawberry?”

Brandon smirked at Alec, “Boss… you do pick the feisty ones…”

“Are any other’s worth the time?” Alec smiled and then asked, “Did the woman make it?”

“So far.” Brandon sighed, “But it’s… I don’t think she was in as good a condition as this fellow before.”

“I can hear you.” Q said as primly as he could. “And I’m serious: James will be… a problem… if I don’t show up or check in on time…” Q suddenly started struggling again–once again Alec held him down casually. “My CATS! How long has it been!?”

“Not long! Easy!” Alec waved Brandon off to get a different drink. “Lie still! It hasn’t been that long…”

Eventually they brought him a protein drink he approved of: he drank it, kept it down, got the IV out… and promptly passed out.

After watching him for a few minutes, Alec asked quietly, “You drugged him?”

“No, he just wore himself out.” Brandon looked up at him, “We need more blood. The woman is unfortunately both type O and RH negative…”

“And that’s bad, right?” Alec sighed.

“It means she needs O negative blood: it’s the only kind she can take. Luckily for her both of the O negatives I could hit up for blood donation were in good health and available, but…”

“And he needs more?” Alec asked nodding back at “Alan”.

“In an ideal world, I would give him at least another pint, but if you can keep him resting….”

“I’ll see if I can sort it out. I take it our usual contacts for bagged blood can’t help?”

“O negative is rare and in high demand.” Brandon sighed, “I went over this with you before…”

“And how much do you know about explosives?” Alec sniffed.

“Boys… boys…” Q spoke up tiredly from the bed, “you’re both pretty….” Alec and Brandon both turned in surprise, “and I know more about medical and explosives than both of you, I bet…”

“Then you know you need to rest,” Alec said firmly, putting a hand on his shoulder to keep him down.

“Fuck that shite. Explain who this ‘woman’ is.”

Alec paused and then asked, “The… person who attacked you, do you remember?”

“Some laughing woman wearing too much make up… too strong… PCP?” Q muttered as he tried to remember. The world kept spinning.

Alec nodded, “She had friends. After I got you down to be treated, her friends attacked people. We took care of it, but I followed one of them back to their boss… and… he and some of his friends had a prisoner–a woman–and she was very badly hurt.” Alec sighed, “They had her little girl as a hostage.” He looked at Brandon, “How is the girl?”

“Traumatized but alright,” Brandon nodded.

“I can get… O Negative blood… probably.” Q tried to get up and sighed, “Assuming I can walk under my own power and get back to the office....” Hmm… not very likely.

Alec stared at him, “You can…?”

“Thought you said you were computer not medical?”

“I’m MI6…” Q said with a tired sigh. “We keep O Negative on hand for emergencies.”

Alec stared at him. “You… are in MI6? But…”

“I practically AM MI6,” Q muttered. “Get me up and moving and I’ll get you a few bags of O negative; if I can call my assistant, I might not need to get up...”

“Your assistant… from MI6… can have bags of blood delivered?” Alec felt like he’d lost control of this at some point. He looked at Brandon who looked equally bewildered.

“You have vampires working at MI6?” Brandon finally asked. It was a good question as far as Alec was concerned.

Q laughed weakly, “I’m sure if vampires existed someone would have tried to recruit one…” he smiled, “maybe in medical, people always… complain… that… uh… why are you two looking at me like that?”

“I was beginning to think you knew,” Alec admitted quietly.

“Vampires…” Q closed his eyes and tried to remember. “She was a vampire… and she… bit me?”

“Yes,” Alec spoke gently and stroked a hand down his cheek to his neck, “very badly–she was aiming to kill. It …it was an attack on my club, I’m afraid, not… you didn’t do anything.”

Q’s eyes hardened as he forced himself to stop thinking like a civilian. “There are vampires. They drink blood. One of them attacked me. There was a group of them. You rescued a prisoner?”

Alec found himself blinking at the flat staccato recitation, but Brandon answered first, “Yes–to pretty much all of the above.”

Even faster now, Q’s crisp voice snapped out, “I was attacked badly, but there isn’t a wound–healing the wound must happen somehow. I’m A positive, you had a bag of that on hand; she’s O Negative; you need more of both. They had her child hostage–the child isn’t hurt?”

Alec managed to answer this time, “No, the child wasn’t hurt–she doesn’t know about vampires, just that the bad men hurt her mama.” He paused, impressed with how fast “Alan” was putting this together. “And yes, we can heal wounds… it’s complicated.”

Q lay still, trying to keep his brain in gear; eventually he said, “I told my colleague, who also works at MI6, to meet me here–we would otherwise see each other on Monday. If I do not show up or contact people correctly by Monday, you will have a full MI6 anti-kidnapping task force on your heads.” He winced, “Assuming nothing goes wrong before then and they panic when they can’t reach me.”

Brandon flinched. Alec looked at him and back at the boy on the bed who was MUCH more than just a pretty thing. “I take it that’s bad.”

Q lay there with his eyes shut. “It’s loud, and messy, and in a best case scenario… well, it won’t be one if you are still holding me.”

“I’m not holding you, Alan. I had no intention of this.”

“I need my phone, and it has to be mine–there’s an embedded security chip.”

Alec considered and walked away, coming back with his phone. “I… Alan, please listen…” He waited until the boy’s eyes focused on him. “There are vampires all around the world and one of the ways that we have survived is by NOT letting ourselves come to the attention of human governments–not again. There were disasters in history and our policy has been secrecy.”

Q smiled wryly, “Then you better give me my phone.”

Alec reluctantly handed it over.

Q pressed his thumb to the screen and hit the sequence to call R: she picked up quickly.

“Morticia’s Morgue, you stab ‘em we slab em,” she sang out.

“Venue, Monday, 7, count,”Q said tiredly.

“Shit, what’s the problem?”

“I was at a club when a gang fight broke out. I was injured, but more importantly another woman was knifed.”

“You need an extraction?” R was puzzled: the codes said he didn’t–yet.

“I need you to break the rules,” Q sighed.

“Ooookay,” her puzzled voice drifted across the line. “Whose credit rating do you want taken down?”

“I need you to get the back-up bag of my blood, and at least three O negative, and whatever else you think useful and courier it here.”

“I am SO calling in an extraction!” R said firmly.

“Don’t. It’s really complicated and… Double Oh Seven was supposed to meet me here, but the place got shut down. I’m trying to avoid… well, Double Oh Seven being Double Oh Seven at them.”

“Oy…” She took a deep breath, “Q, if this doesn’t work out I will have you scrubbing the junior agents’ toilets with your own electric toothbrush.”

“Bless you.”

“Courier to the front?”

Q looked up tiredly: from the way Alec had his head cocked he probably heard her. “Front door or back?”

“Back, if possible,” Alec spoke quietly–he was frankly shocked.

“You heard the man.”

“He sounds like trouble.”

“He is–looks like it, too.”

“And you were meeting…”

“I know,” Q shut that down. “Believe me, I know. It’s… complicated.”

“I’m getting the popcorn ready,” she snorted. “Your delivery will be there in twenty five minutes. You show up for work or we call a full extraction down on your ass, and I get every single detail or I talk to Eve.”

Q winced. “No need to threaten, R–I’m unable to get away right now.”

“Do not pass go,” R said waiting for the answering code.

“Triple word score,” he answered tiredly and hung up. He collapsed back on the bed. “Your delivery will be here in twenty five or less–the courier could be anyone. If I do not call off the countdown by walking in there Monday Morning? This place burns to the ground with me in it.”

“Jesus!” the medic–Brandon–swore, staring at Q. “Isn’t that a bit… uh… extreme?”

“The classified information in my head could cripple England,” Q said tiredly.

Alec smiled sadly, and a bit wistfully, “…for England, then.”

Q didn’t stir, his breathing had settled into sleep again.

“Boss?” Brandon looked at him questioningly.

“My James–hell, maybe HIS James too, if he works for the government–it was always duty and country with him.” Alec hung his head and gently picked up “Alan’s” hand. “I knew I shouldn’t have come back to England.”

Brandon didn’t quite know what to say to that, but he nodded at the man on the bed, “Well… you were right, he took it well.”

Alec smiled faintly, “Yes, yes he did. Get the blood and… make sure they both pull through.”

Brandon nodded, “Yes, sir.”

Alec left his room and went to find a corner to drink, and remember.

Chapter Text

Alec went off to the office–well, it was HIS office, which meant it was a place to go think, as opposed to the manager’s office which was where most of the real business was done.

He got down the vodka. Bless the invention of distilled liquor: beer and wine never did get a vampire drunk. He stared at the bottles of cheap vodka: it would take at least two to make him unsteady–maybe three.

With a threat at your door? he could almost hear James’ voice. Anyone would think you were safe behind the walls–fool. And James would snort at him.

“No, we are not yet safe, are we my James?” Alec sighed and put the bottle of vodka back. He picked up the bottle of expensive scotch he’d purchased instead–it had reminded him of James.

He poured a glass, “To brothers in arms…” and sipped at it slowly, while letting his memories take him where they would…

~

James was shouting at him, “Go to the ship! I see her, they’re taking her into the warehouse on the wharf!”

“What?” Alec laughed, “And leave you to all the fun, James?” He swung himself over the wall back the way they came.

James grabbed his arm, “This isn’t your fight, Alec: we set it to burn hot, don’t risk yourself!”

“Not my fight?” Alec teased, “Is this for England, James?”

James shook his head, “Not for England, not this time: for me. Be safe.”

“Where’s the fun in that? Go rescue someone!” And he’d pulled himself free of James’ arm and dropped. He’d tumbled badly and suddenly he was in the middle of them. It was glorious…

…right up until something set off the black powder charges too soon. If the support hadn’t fallen the way it had, he would have been buried under flaming debris; as it was, he’d been able to kick a piece of the wall out and crawl out, burning…

He’d drained someone–to this day, he didn’t remember who–and made it to the hillside… to see the wharf collapse, and the warehouse–in flames–pitch into the bay…

He’d tried to believe James had made it out, but he’d found one witness and no one… no one had made it off the wharf.

He’d drained three more of the bastards and gone to ground in the hills to heal.

James had died as he’d wanted to… throwing himself into the impossible, the un-survivable, for duty… to save someone…

Duty. Alec took another sip.

~

They had been in a tavern–one of their own kind–and James had a girl in his lap–as he always did, in any tavern, anywhere–and Alec was laughing about whether they were sharing or not…

She’d been a lovely thing, skin like nutmeg and the biggest brown eyes you ever saw. The tavern owner pointed out her virginity and the extra fee and they’d both laughed. James always thought a virgin just meant they didn’t know what to do yet, for all that Alec thought it was worthwhile teaching them… but neither of them considered it an extra value.

James said they tasted off, too–“not spicy enough”–although Alec knew he was just teasing. Some of their kind thought the taste was different; Alec had never noticed.

And then there was a shout and a sound of a fight and one of the tavern keeper’s men came out dragging a hissing, spitting viper of a woman. “She bit the customer!” he snarled at the tavern keeper.

The woman had looked up with a livid hand print on her face, snarling hatred and cursing them all… and Alec looked at James, and James grinned… and he slid the girl off his lap…

They’d bought her outright, and the tavern keeper had offered them the basement to deal with her as they pleased. They took her out of the city and into the wilds and between the two of them they had her tamed… enough, anyway…

She’d stabbed James that first night, when she got hold of one of Alec’s knives, probably trying for a quick death: Alec could have told her that wouldn’t work. By the time they left her–was it a year?–later, Alec had taught her to use a knife properly, and James had taught her some manners. They left her as a freewoman with a human noble they’d done a favor for. She’d be well suited as a ladies’ maid and well housed and fed, but Alec knew no human man–and few enough vampires–would ever satisfy her, not after the two of them.

Alec grinned. He still remembered her and the way she’d moaned and begged for more even without the bite: no one had bothered with her pleasure before.

He took another sip of the scotch. They’d had to leave her behind because they were heading off to deal with their thrice-cursed sibling and his mess…

Duty, damn it: their broodmate, their obligation.

~

Alec stood up and looked out the window. London wasn’t even recognizable when he’d come back this time–maybe that’s why he could stand it. All the cities had changed with electricity and cars. There were no more choking fogs in London–no more times a man could be hale and hearty and found dead without a mark on him and get no more than a shrug and a “Well, the fog, you know…”

Alec still had no idea how these children were so careless in this era of cameras, and still not caught. The fighting used to be through proxies and careful to stay out of sight, but these children? To send a pack to hunt in HIS club? Hadn’t he made it clear?

Should he take his message more forcefully to the others? He didn’t want to start a fight where there had been none.

What would his James have done, eh?

Probably found out that the senior vampire was a woman and charmed her out of her territory, her herd, and her horses–or cars. Alec snorted. “Well, I’m charming enough when I bother, but…” he raised his glass, “what was it we always said, James? ‘The best way to end a fight is to be the only one left.’”

Alec growled, “I’ll burn London to the ground before I cede an inch.”

He stood at the window and sipped the scotch and remembered London burning.

~

It was Monday, September third, and London was burning.

Alec thought it was beautiful, but James was pacing about, growling. They were on the upper balcony of their sire’s home in London. After the betrayal, he was keeping the whole brood close: it chafed on everyone, but James more than any of them. He’d kept them together for three years now, and one of them was dead already and Alec didn’t think it would be much longer before the entire pack was at each other’s throats.

“Settle down, James!”

“Settle down? Look at it!” he waved at the fires in London, visible even from their home: the River Fleet forming a bulwark it could never cross–if it even got that far.

“I AM looking at it,” Alec sighed. “Look, it’s been too long, let’s go hunting, eh?”

“What, roasted?”

Alec snorted, “All the people fleeing London? There must be someone to eat.”

“It’s hardly sporting, Alec.”

“True, but neither was hunting during the plague last year.”

“WE can’t catch it! We were doing them a kindness hunting those that carried the plague and were traveling with it!” James had gotten all worked up again. “What good do we do by hunting these?”

“Do you ever STOP being a knight?” Alec laughed. “Is it always about doing good?”

James stopped his pacing and sagged. “I don’t even know what good is anymore,” James said quietly.

“Oh, here we go again…” Alec sighed and put a hand on him. “James, you torment yourself.”

James put his head down, “I cannot be other than what I am–no matter what our sire has made me.”

Alec took a breath and glanced about carefully, “He… perhaps he should not have taken you.” James looked up, startled to hear him speak anything against their sire. “But I am glad to have you–I cannot imagine my world without you.”

James looked at him and placed a hand over Alec’s heart. “You are the only good to come out of this, I think–I would have missed knowing you.”

Alec smiled and lifted James chin and kissed him: James kissed him back. “Time was you would have cursed at me over that.”

“Time was I worried about my soul for it.” James snorted, “I think my soul has other worries.”

Alec shook his head, “Well? If you are determined to be a Knight of the Order of Idiotic Virtue,” James laughed, “then… fine. Let’s!”

“Let’s?” James tilted his head and questioned.

“So? We brave the flames and help the humans fight the fire; mayhap we find a few miscreants that need to be removed as well.”

James blinked at him, “It’s FIRE, Alec.”

Alec looked at it and back, “Yes? I like fires…”

James snorted, “That fire can kill you.”

Alec laughed, “Do you think so? I don’t. I tell you now, James, fire will never take me.”

“Fire is a fickle mistress, Alec, especially for what we are.”

“Bah, like either of us like boring mistresses.” He grinned, “Come on…”

So they had been working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Tower Garrison, setting charges and creating a firebreak, when they found out that the fire had jumped the River Fleet–and burned their Sire’s home to the ground.

“Fire freed us both…” Alec said later, whispering as they stood as close as they could to the smoking ruin. Even the ground was hot enough to catch dry tinder to flame.

James’ hand found his. “Are we free of him, then… finally?”

“I think so.”

They had stayed in London during the rebuilding, both of them quietly terrified their sire would return and punish them if they left without his leave.

But he was gone, truly gone… and Alec and James had only grown stronger over the years without him. He’d kept his brood weak–tried to keep them from growing strong enough to challenge him. Alex thought that was the problem–he had created what he feared: revolt, and hatred. The closer he kept us, the more we hated him, and the closer he kept us…

For a time, James had seemed happier…

~

“Duty, Alec!” James snarled at him. They’d been arguing–and fucking, but arguing more. “Duty and honor is everything!”

Alec rolled his eyes, “And England.”

“And England! Yes… I swore an OATH!”

“You died, James, I think that nullifies your oath,” Alec shook his head, “and was it even the same country? How many kings? How many conquests?”

“Until I have no more blood to shed, Alec.” James glared at him. “What would I be? WHO would I be if I did not follow my duty?”

Alec paused at that. “You would not be you, my James. Very well, we will go.”

“What?” James, having lost his opponent, was left somewhat at a loss.

“But there is no ship leaving port in this weather, so come to bed.”

“You…”

“YES, I mean it!” Alec snorted. “I’ve never shirked my duties, have I?”

“You shirk HAVING duties!”

“Aye, but when I have them?”

“No,” James agreed, “you keep your word and honor.”

~

Alec blinked and looked at the scotch.

“You’re right, James. We are under siege, and I have a guest in my own home–hell, in my bed–that I promised to look after: why the hell am I up here drinking?”

Alec headed down to his bedroom, and the pretty intelligent boy–whose name wasn’t Alan–that was warming it.

Chapter Text

Bond was worried, which made him angry: he didn’t like being worried; worried meant that his long-tuned instincts were telling him something was wrong, terribly wrong.

Q wouldn’t have been in the club, it had barely opened… right? And even if he was, well, they just evacuated…

He didn’t want to trespass on the other vampire’s territory so soon, but… he had to find out if Q had been hurt. He bought a burner phone at one of the kiosks and called David–the fellow from the club who could deliver blood.

“Hello.”

“David? It’s James… we met when the club had that smoke issue?”

There was a pause and then an “OH! Oh yes, um… I can’t deliver today, we had some–”

“That’s not why I’m calling,” Bond sighed.

“Oh?”

“Remember I was meeting a friend–not one of my kind, one of yours?”

“Yeeesss?”

“I have no way to contact him until Monday when he goes into work, and I just… I wanted to be sure he wasn’t there when–”

“Is his name Alan?” David sounded rather alarmed.

“I honestly have no idea what name he was using,” Bond answered with a sinking feeling. At least he used the present tense.

“Hold on.”

There was a long pause and the sound of someone moving around, possibly stairs, and then, “This is Brandon… uh... who?” Bond heard David’s voice saying “–might be Alan.”

Bond was breathing deeply to try to stay calm. “I am getting… upset. Can someone explain this NOW?”

The phone fumbled and dropped and then, “Sorry, this is Brandon–I’m the company medic. We HAVE a patient: someone who was attacked by that gang?”

“Go on…” Bond was growling.

“He’ll be okay, especially now that we got the extra blood… but… uh… I doubt he’s your fellow–he was meeting a human here, named James…”

“My name is James, I work with him–he doesn’t know.” Bond was getting into his car. “I will be there in half an hour.” He flipped the phone to speaker.

“Uh, the boss doesn’t–”

“I don’t give a good God damn. Do you know anything about him–Alan, I mean? I am coming to retrieve him NOW.”

“Oh holy shit, you’re MI6?!”

That got James to pause. “Yes. How do you know that?”

“He… Oh hell, I’ll meet you at the BACK door, okay?” James heard the man saying “Wake Minos up NOW!” before he hung up.

Bond had managed to calm himself down a bit by the time he got there, but he was definitely in mission mindset: Q had been attacked.

There was a tired and cranky looking Minos, two of the staff he had seen, David, and a man he hadn’t seen, waiting for him when he arrived. Most of them looked impressed at the car.

Minos looked at him with a somewhat dubious expression but then stated formally, “On behalf of my sire, I offer you the formal hospitality of our holdings.”

Formal. I can deal with that. Bond nodded, “So long as you have done no harm, yourselves, to one of my charges? I accept.”

“Great, it’s a rules lawyer,” muttered one of the men–oh… the former hunter? Minos waved him forward and he grumbled unhappily and bared his neck.

James considered. “I am far too agitated to accept without possibly damaging him,” he said, looking at Minos and then taking the man’s hand and licking carefully on his wrist. “I shall be pleased to accept in full on a future date.”

The hunter was staring at him in shock, but Minos smiled tiredly, “Damn–manners. Who’d have thought?”

Bond shrugged, “I do try. My friend?”

“Come in,” Minos nodded. “That’s Eric, this is Brandon,” he waved at the man Bond hadn’t seen before.

“You’re the medic? How badly was he hurt?”

“He was drained badly, but thankfully even with a bad wound the saliva closed it.” They started moving into the club, forming something of a phalanx around him.

“I will never get used to humans knowing this much,” Bond rubbed his eyes.

The hunter–Eric– said very slowly, “You seem… alright. Most of the vamps out there aren’t.”

“I am sadly well aware of that fact,” Bond nodded curtly. “Where is he?”

“In my sire’s room.” Minos saw Bond stiffen and held up a hand, “My sire closed the wound and authorized his treatment. Given that he only met my sire recently? Most wouldn’t have wasted the blood on him.” He waved toward a flight of stairs heading down.

Bond had to stop and steady himself–he knew it was true and it wasn’t reasonable to beat the vampire’s head in for implying Q was expendable.

“He is… I would be very upset if anything happened to him–I’m upset that anything DID happen to him.”

“Yes, well, my sire seems unaccountably fond of him.” Minos shook his head. “You must share a type.”

Bond sighed, “I certainly never thought of him as my ‘type’ but then I rather think he’s unique, not a type at all.”

Q’s voice, weaker than usual but just as dry, “Please tell me you didn’t damage anyone getting in?”

Q looked up with a bit of shock as a veritable parade escorted Bond in. No one seemed damaged, just… confused.

“Q…” Bond looked visibly relieved and moved over to the bed. “Are you alright?” He glanced back at the escort, “THESE people didn’t hurt you?”

“No, Bond,” Q smiled. “Brandon is the medic who treated me and the other injured, and everyone has been very helpful if… um… odd.”

Brandon was looking back and forth. “Alan? THIS is the James you were meeting?”

“Yes?”

Eric–the hunter–waved at Bond, “How… how long have you two worked together?”

Q frowned and looked at Bond, “Well… I mean, we didn’t see each other at first–I was working in a different department.”

Bond sighed and sat down on the chair next to the bed. “I drove over in the car.” He tried to smile at Q–it was a bit forced.

Q smiled, “So you haven’t destroyed it again, yet: that’s progress.”

Bond looked over at the rest of them, “Q here rebuilt that beauty.”

That got a bit of admiration and chatter until Minos sighed, “My sire is currently off being… maudlin, mostly, which leaves me to deal with this. I am going to hurt him when he comes back.”

“You and what army, Pup?” Alec’s laughing voice from behind them.

Bond frowned. Something… something familiar?

“Sire? I had thought you would be–”

“I had a vision of my James scolding me about duty,” Alec said stepping into the room, “and came down to see to… my… guest…” Alec trailed off staring at James. If James was clean shaven and wearing modern clothes.

Bond stood up slowly as the man spoke. No… No, it couldn’t possibly be… He was dead, burned to death an age ago. “Alexandros?” he whispered. “Alec?”.

Q frowned in confusion and started to say something, and then the two men ran into each other’s arms and clung together, speaking some language that he didn’t know.

“{You were dead…},” James was whispering, holding Alec and trying to understand. “{You were dead… I saw the collapse and the fire… You were dead…}”

“{You… you lived?}” Alec finally pushed the man back enough to look into those eyes: tired, and as blue as he remembered. “{You… you’ve haunted me…}”

Bond brought his hands up to frame Alec’s face, “{I almost didn’t go on… your death… I went on out of duty only…}”

Alec’s face suddenly creased in a smile, despite the tears, “Of course you went on out of duty James! Would you be you if you didn’t?”

And James suddenly laughed, and couldn’t stop laughing… and Alec laughed and they were hugging each other and laughing and crying…

“Holy shit… this is YOUR James?” David finally managed to say something.

“Apparently,” Eric answered.

Minos was standing open-mouthed–had been the entire time–unable to come up with a single thing to say.

Q was yet again confused–and he hated being confused–and these two apparently had the information, so… “Double Oh Seven, Status!” he barked in his best Quartermaster voice, although it took a bit out of him to do it.

Bond jerked as though he’d been shocked and turned in Alec’s arms. “Q? Oh my God…” He looked back at Alec. “You… this is YOUR club?”

Q picked up his phone and waved it at them, “Bond, I get a good explanation–a GOOD one–right now or I swear to God you will be sent out in the field with a water pistol!”

Alec moved them both back to his bedside: Bond sat on the bed and took Q’s hand; Alec sat on the chair and put his hand over Bond’s.

“Alan…” Alec’s voice shook, but he was smiling. “THIS is my James. It’s no wonder you said he sounded like yours…”

Before Q could say anything Minos managed to regather his wits. “All of you lot, OUT–except Brandon.” He looked pointedly at Alec, “I don’t know where water pistols come into it, but I expect an explanation too!” and he walked out, herding the other men ahead of him.

“Uh… do… you want me to stay?” Brandon said hesitantly. Dear God… this was him, really him? He looked normal enough…

Bond took a deep breath, “How is Q?” he glanced at Alec and then at Q, “Alan, is it?”

“It’s what my ID said when I arrived,” Q raised an eyebrow at him.

“Ah,” Bond nodded. He hadn’t let go of Q’s hand.

Brandon cleared his throat, “Well, luckily he woke up enough to tell me his blood type, and we had a bag of it on hand… and then he somehow got MI6 to deliver bags of his blood and O negative for the other patient–”

“What?” Bond was asking but Q spoke up.

“How is she?”

“She’ll pull through, although honestly I would prefer it if she were at a real hospital.”

Alec explained, “She was being held by the vampires responsible for the attack–her child was a hostage.”

Bond frowned: he’d always been protective of children. “Is the child alright?”

“Traumatized, of course, but alright.”

“They were hurt… there? By that pack? Not here?”

“I would NEVER!” Alec said, startled, his eyes going wide and his hand flexing on Bond’s–and incidentally on Q’s.

“Ow!” Both men jerked their hands back as Q yelped.

Bond looked at his hand worriedly. “Are you hurt?”

“No… just… don’t do that again?”

Bond nodded and turned back to Alec, leaving his hand wrapped over Q’s. “I can probably get them transferred to an MI6 hospital until we find out how much she knows.”

Q rolled his eyes, “Do all Double Ohs have problems filing a report? I want an explanation!”

“Ah…” Bond frowned and looked around and then back at Q, “How much… do you know?”

“Alec says he’s a vampire,” Q said drily.

Bond winced, “Well, that’s to the point…”

“I’m withholding judgement in entirety until I see some proof, but it fits the available facts.” Q narrowed his eyes. Alec put his hand back over Bond’s and Q’s.

“Alec… and I are broodmates–brothers,” Bond said quietly. “That’s the complication I wanted to talk to you about before we could possibly have any relationship outside of work.”

Alec suddenly laughed, “Your coworker? The one who said it was complicated and hadn’t returned your affections?” He snickered, “James…”

“I WORK with him! Technically he’s my superior officer!”

Alec laughed more.

Brandon sighed, “Anyway, he got two pints of blood and a lot of fluids into him, and he needs to rest.”

Q waved Brandon off, “This will take a while…” They were staring into each other’s eyes like… like they had thought the other one was dead… right.

“I’ll send down food.” Brandon sighed again and went upstairs, where he was promptly delayed by every single staffer who knew anything demanding details.

Q looked at Bond thoughtfully and said in his clipped professional voice, “Vampires are real. You are a vampire. You have been since before coming to MI6. You’re the James that Alec thought died?”

“I thought Alec was dead…”

“The rest of it?”

Bond looked steadily at Q, “Yes.”

“Does M know?” Q glanced at Alec. “The head of MI6,” he explained.

“My M knew, M recruited me–brave woman that she was…” Bond sighed and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe the dust from his eyes and then continued. “Mallory, the new M? He hadn’t read the–”

“Secured files…” Q whispered. Oh.

Bond smiled, “…which had all of Olivia Mansfield’s reports about me, what I could do… and my notice that I was going to investigate more about Doctor Swann, and I needed to recover.” Bond looked over at Alec and back to Q, “Mallory took it far better than I expected, but… I bit him as a demonstration.”

Alec stared at him, “You BIT the head of MI6 and left him alive?”

Bond bristled, “In my defense, he very literally asked for it–I made him put it in writing.”

Q stared at him, “If it feels anything like it did when that creature bit me…”

Bond flinched, “It…”

“Well, I suppose it could be alright if it was consensual,” Q said after a pause.

Bond blinked startled blue eyes at him and Alec laughed. “It can be wonderful if it’s consensual,” he leaned forward to Q, “and I look forward to showing you when you’ve recovered.”

“ALEC!” Bond snarled. “He’s been attacked! You can’t expect him to… to want anything to do with that anytime soon!”

“Why not? You know I’m wonderful,” Alec snorted.

“He is hardly one of your pretty boys… Oh God, he is, isn’t he?” Bond sagged.

Alec grinned, “Well he wasn’t one of my boys YET. He seemed rather hung up on YOU, but he wasn’t sure you were interested. I did offer to help make you jealous–you know, as an incentive…”

Memories of a dozen times Alec had done just that raced through his mind and Bond smacked him in the shoulder. “Fuck off!”

Alec looked at him and grabbed him in another hug, “God! I missed you…”

After watching them clinging together for a bit, Q cleared his throat. “As far as I ever knew, Bond was straight… and just took advantage of my… interest.” He sighed, “Then he ran off–I didn’t know it was a mission. He just got back this week.”

Bond picked up Q’s hand again carefully, “I prefer women; Alec prefers… well, not boys–not children–but… younger men? Younger-looking men,” Bond amended hurriedly at Q’s snort. “Like you, actually.”

“But they are usually such empty-headed creatures,” Alec sighed and then grinned. “I like intelligence; we both do,” he looked at Bond, “do?”

“Still do,” Bond nodded. “Got me in more trouble than you can imagine.”

“You haven’t changed THAT much, I can imagine it just fine!” he said wrapping his hand over Bond’s again.

Q cleared his throat, “So… you’ve always, since I’ve known you, been a vampire.” He considered the implications... “You obviously don’t kill everyone you sleep with,” he glared at Bond’s muffled laugh, “by being a vampire.”

“In fairness,” Bond said to Alec, “I’m an agent, and most of the women Q knows about my sleeping with were missions.”

“Is that anything like the Countess?” Alec said with an eyebrow raised. “The one with the falcons she’d trained to–“

Bond groaned, “Don’t remind me, I’ve done my best to forget that one…”

“CAN the old stories over Scotch wait just a minute?”

“Sorry…” Bond said but his eyes crinkled.

“You are not–you never are. The only time I believe you were ever sorry was when you turned up and apologized that I hadn’t been told it was a mission.” Q glared at him, “Were you going to tell me? About this vampire business?”

Bond nodded very solemnly, “Yes. I did tell you it was complicated, remember? And that I would need to tell you some things–even to just be friends outside of work.”

Brandon came in with a tray of food for Q and looked at Bond, “I didn’t know what you wanted to eat… or if… uh... sir?”

Q snorted, “He’s not a sir–he’s a menace!”

Alec grinned, “He knows you!”

Bond smiled and rubbed at Q’s hand, “I trust Q with my life.”

That wiped the smile right off of Alec’s face and he gasped faintly. Q looked confused at his reaction and Alec opened and closed his mouth a few times before he could explain, “Alan… there are perhaps five people I have ever heard him say that about, and I have known him for… centuries, at least.”

“M was another, but she died before you could have met her. I think perhaps its best you never met her–I drove her half-mad myself.”

Brandon had set the tray up, careful not to disturb the linked hands.

“Shoo...” Q nodded. “Someone can call you if needed.”

“Right.” Brandon shook his head at the entire scene and left.

“Only half?” Alec grinned.

Bond smiled at him sadly, “My other half was gone.”

They ended up with their foreheads pressed together, murmuring in that strange language, with their hands wrapped around each other’s–and Q’s.

“Good thing I can eat left handed,” Q sighed. Getting a full report out of any Double Oh was never easy, but this was clearly going to be a challenge.

Chapter Text

They were still sitting together when Q finished his meal. Eating left-handed with his right hand busy was in fact a skill he had perfected while working on electronics and the computer–but his right hand wasn’t usually being held by James Bond… and Alec.

It was, to say the least, surreal.

They kept putting their free hands up to each other and touching the other one like they were afraid they would vanish, and they switched languages–sometimes in mid-sentence–when they were talking.

Oh, they’d gone through a couple of languages Q knew well, but in almost every case it was archaic, and in any event getting a fragment of a personal anecdote was rather incomprehensible in English, much less in some variety of French.

“Since I have finished my… lunch? Whatever… could you KINDLY consider giving me a briefing?” Q aimed for a frosty tone but ended up just sounding tired.

They both startled and turned to look at him. “Oh… yes…” Bond looked a bit abashed.

“Vampires?” Q sighed, “Seriously?”

They both nodded. Alec glanced at Bond and back at Q, “It’s… not like the stories, usually.”

“I’ve seen Bond in daylight,” Q stated and then at the blank look from Alec, “James? James Bond.”

“Bond?” Alec sounded the name out. “That’s an odd one.”

Bond shrugged, “Oath, Bond. They needed a name for the files.”

“Oh!” Alec grinned, “I’m surprised you didn’t end up called Duty, then.”

Bond grinned, “It sounds rude in English.”

“Everything sounds rude in English,” Alec snorted. “Isn’t that what English was made for? Insulting people and picking up girls?”

Bond laughed, “Yes.”

Q interrupted, “Wait. Are you not English? I’m very confused.”

“I’m English… more or less.” Bond sighed, “Alec is… German, sort of.” He rubbed small circles into Q’s hand. “The languages have changed… the borders have changed… you could just as easily call Alec Swedish or Russian, and call me Scots, or French.”

Alec shrugged, “And James was a noble–his line traces to a number of places–I think they call a lot of them France now.”

Q stared at them both, “Just how old ARE you?”

Bond met Q’s eyes steadily, “I was turned in the year of our Lord Thirteen thirty-eight.”

“Thirteen…” Q stared at him. “Did you say Thirteen thirty eight?”

“Yes.”

Q tried not to believe it. He did. But suddenly so much made sense–his assumption that women were… that only women–or men for that matter– in power were important. His assumptions that of COURSE he had the right to kill someone… His confusion when he was in trouble over the destruction of the embassy… diplomatic immunity was a creation of a later age. Q opened his eyes. “That… makes a bizarre sort of sense.”

Alec was more impressed by the minute. “Does it?”

“You two… are brothers?”

Bond answered, “Of a sort. We were both turned by the same sire.”

“Alec is older,” Q said, looking between the two of them, “isn’t he?”

Alec smiled, “I am. I’m the older sibling, but James has always been the more responsible one.”

“How old are you?”

Alec shrugged, “I’m not sure? My mother was of the Valeti, and she was taken in conquest by a Frank. I was born in the reign of Charlemagne, and it was during the reign of Louis or just after that our sire found me, so…” Alec shrugged. “Somewhere between eight forty and eight fifty I would think?” He looked apologetic, “All that mattered then was that I could wield a sword well–I didn’t trouble myself with much else.”

Bond took Alec’s other hand, the three of them forming an odd linked circle. “We were products of our age, then. I tried to do what I understood to be right, but it was… it was a different time.”

Alec laughed, “James was always duty and honor and England. Me? I was always fire and blood–and it never used to matter whose.” He looked fondly at Bond, “You caused me no end of trouble, you and your ‘just cause’ idiocy.”

Bond almost whispered, “The Order of Idiotic Virtue. I never thought of myself as virtuous, not… not once I changed–I don’t think I ever was, really.”

Alec let go of James’ hand and cuffed him against the side of his head, “Don’t start with me again now that I finally have you back, James. You serve amongst the humans and they didn’t even KNOW! They LIKE you–Alan certainly does! You serve England and your crown and go about probably making a bloody pain of yourself just as you always did.”

Q muttered, “And never returns any of his equipment.”

Bond winced. Alec stared at Q and then started snickering, which led to chuckling, which led to a VERY heavy Alec collapsed across Q laughing and gasping for air. Bond finally hauled him up onto the bed and laid him next to Q.

“Yes, yes, very funny,” Bond grumbled.

“Our sire made him dig in the middens until he found his sword,” Alec wheezed.

Bond gritted his teeth, “Oh? And do you want me to mention the time you set the ship on fire–with us on it?!”

Alec reached up and pulled Bond down onto him. “I missed you so much.” And he kissed him.

Q found himself in the rather peculiar position of watching two of the sexiest, most dangerous, most interesting men he had ever met, creating a fantasy right in front of him he hadn’t known he’d HAD.

Alec had wrapped his arms around Bond and pulled him in, and was kissing him, biting at his jaw, murmuring words that had to translate as “I love you” in some language. Bond had one hand dug into Alec’s hair and was gasping when their lips weren’t pressed together murmuring words like “Alec” and “fire”, while his other hand, having released Q’s, roamed down Alec’s side.

“You… are wearing far too many clothes,” Alec growled in a register that went straight to Q’s cock… and if he didn’t stop this soon…

“Could you either wait until I’m well enough to join in, or take this elsewhere?” Q finally managed to get out. “Because what blood I HAVE is rushing out of my head…”

Bond jerked back, “Oh, God. Q… Q, I’m sorry… I haven’t seen him in–”

“Yes, that’s the other question.” Q tried to force some blood back into his brain. “When IS the last time you two saw each other?”

“Eighteen Fifty Seven,” they both said.

“Ah… yes. Well…” Q was trying desperately to will his erection away–it wasn’t working. “I think it’s drastically unfair to do that in front of me. Really…” Q whimpered, “Especially in light of what Alec said when I first met him.”

Bond lifted Q carefully and resettled him on the bed–as if I weighed nothing, God! “Do I even want to know what Alec said?”

Q winced, “The curse of an eidetic memory.” He sighed and repeated it, “If he’s so blind that he can’t already picture you panting and flushed, with your eyes gone dark and the blood racing in your veins… can’t imagine you twisting in his arms and begging for release… can’t hear you crying out his name as you hang between ecstasy and oblivion? He’s not worth your time.”

Alec grinned, hearing his own words on the boy’s lips. Bond on the other hand was closing his eyes and looking pained. “MUST you, Alec?”

“A beautiful young man, intelligent, sober, and interested in fire and explosions comes into my club and tells me his unworthy coworker ‘might’ be interested in him?” Alec laughed, “What do you expect me to do?”

“I’m very glad you didn’t take advantage of him,” Bond grumbled. “I can’t bash your head in over it.”

“If you two are QUITE done teasing me?”

Alec protested, “It’s my bed!” He then got a glitteringly predatory look. “I bet we could find a few ways of keeping you entertained…”

Bond grabbed Alec’s wrist. “Q needs rest, and… if he’s getting involved with either of us he needs to understand what he’s getting into.”

Q sighed, “From the sound of it? A very sexy disaster.”