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Mornings

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He’d been working too long, Q thought with a yawn hidden under his hand. His days of staying up all night in front of his screens were numbered now that he was in his thirties, early thirties, but thirties all the same. Though if Q was honest with himself, his tiredness might be a combination of being in Q-Branch for more than twenty-four hours, working to find the subtle threads of threats to Queen and Country throughout Silva's encrypted data, and the wait for his occasional lover James Bond to come home.

Q-branch was lighted as if it was day instead of the quiet dark of early morning. A few of his nightshift techs were finishing up waiting for their daytime colleagues to arrive to relieve them. Q wished it was darker rather than the blinding white of the lights reflecting on the plaster arches surrounding him. At this point, it would've been better on his exhausted eyes to have a bit of dim to ease them and the reflections of the data rolling across the screens in front of him.

Silva had been a savvy hacker for all his mental crazy and Q had been working for the last few months to decrypt the former operative’s data. He was making strides, but it was a work in progress and frustrating to the extreme on top of all the other things he needed to focus on as Quartermaster for MI6.

An MI6 still in disarray from the destruction of Vauxhall Cross.

James was the last Double-O still in the field and Q decided that once the man was back, checked in, and on his way to make his report to M that it would be a good time for Q to take a break and go home for at least a day. He really would like a quiet morning at home once in a while, preferably with a bit of sex on the agenda, but tea and his cats would suffice as well.

With his typing less vigorous than usual, Q started a bit at the ping of a notification in the corner of his screens.

James Bond, agent 007 was in the building. Well, the bunker, Q thought with a slight smile.

It was about time, the man was the most obstinate, independent, and annoying agent in the Double-O division. At least Q thought so, based on his interactions with the other eight agents in the program. And he was too attractive to boot. The thought skittered across Q’s mind as he saw James’s reflection come into focus in the monitor in front of him.

“Good morning, 007.”

“Q…” James rumbled.

The smirk in the reflection made Q want to roll his eyes. He didn’t, it wasn’t dignified for the Quartermaster to do so, but it was difficult to resist the impulse. Having James Bond as an agent and as a lover seemed to exasperate Q more often than not.

Why that was, Q didn’t know.

Q closed his screens, the program he'd designed to decrypt Silva's data would keep working regardless of whether he was watching it or not. For now, he'd get 007 checked in and then get home to commune with this cats and bed for a while. All day, if he could possibly not get interrupted by work or James.

“Back in one piece, I see,” he said, adjusting his spectacles and turning away from the current bane of his existence. “Do you actually have equipment to return?”

James’ electric blue eye on him sent a shiver running through his belly. The butterfly feeling was a regular occurrence since he’d taken the man into his bed just over a month ago.

“Indeed I do, Q.” James ran those blue eyes over Q’s form, assessing.

“Come along then,” Q replied. Q’s own assessment of James’ condition post-mission had assured him the agent was unharmed for a change. He didn’t have any bruises or cuts on his hands from fighting, which was expected since the job had been a quiet and distant assassination rather than close up wet work. For a change, things had gone to plan to take down the target, a Silva agent in Ukraine.

James was pristine in his bespoke black suit and tie, looking fresh and rested. Not 007’s usual state post-mission. He was carrying a large long case in one hand and it made Q hopeful it wasn’t actually empty.

James followed silent on his heels through Q-Branch into the darkened tunnels that connected Churchill’s World War Two bunkers throughout subterranean London. It was a dark damp, chilled place that had Q wearing thick woolen jumpers over his normal shirt and tie. He’d started wearing more traditional suits a few weeks into the job, but had gone back to his normal cardigans and now heavy jumpers to deal with the cold of the place. He was always chilled in the underground, but the extra wool did help to some degree.

He removed his spectacles and his eye was scanned and security card swiped to open the thick metal door of the weapons room. It was his domain alone and only those invited were allowed in. The Double-O’s knew this was the place they were equipped and also the place where Q’s genius in weapons development often bore fruit.

This area was dimmer than the main hall of Q-Branch, the arched red brick was unpainted or plastered so the reflection of light from above less jarring, and Q appreciated it immensely with how achy his eyes were from lack of sleep.

Q moved briskly to the back of the room and round his workbench to pull out a metal tray to place on the table. He logged into the computer on the bench, pulling up the inventory database. Most of the time 007 brought back his earwig, at most, so Q didn’t hold out much hope that the rest of the equipment he’d given to the agent would be turned in.

“Come along, 007, I don’t have all day,” Q said, watching James peruse the weapons in varying states of assembly, as he leisurely walked the length of the space. All Q received for his impatience was that little quirk of James’ lips in response. It again made Q want to roll his eyes, but he refrained not wanting to satisfy James’ subtle teasing.

He was happy to be teased at home, outside of work, but not here at MI6. Q sometimes thought James saw him as precious, a delicate man that needed protecting from everything around him.

Q could take care of himself. He just couldn’t seem to convince his lover of that. He knew James had coordinated the Double-O’s to keep an eye on him when James was out of the country and on mission. Q was aware they kept tabs on him in their spare time, taking turns, scheduling surveillance, following him.

It was annoying, but whenever Q tried to discuss it with him, the topic was inevitably pushed aside. Or he was distracted by the sex.

Which he should not be thinking about right at this moment.

Q shook himself and raised a brow.

“You look tired, Q.”

Q sighed. “It’s been a long day, 007. What do you have for me?”

“You should go home.”

“And I will, as soon as you stop wasting my time.” Q couldn’t help the irritation. He didn’t need James to point out his current state of exhaustion. He was well aware of it and if he wasn’t so damn tired, perhaps James’ concern would’ve been satisfying to hear rather than his being bothered by it.

“I can give you a lift home.” It was a statement rather than a question.

“James—“

“Just a lift, nothing else implied, Q.”

"I am perfectly capable of getting myself home… on my own. You need to give me back your equipment and take yourself up to M's office and report. I don't need mollycoddling, 007!" Q wanted to wince at the shrillness of his tone at the end of his tirade but refrained. He was irritated that he was irritated at James. The man meant well, he knew.

James raised a hand that wasn’t holding the case up in supplication. Q hoped that was the end of the discussion. James Bond was tenacious when he got an idea in his head. One even so innocuous as making sure Q got home.

“Now, please hand in your equipment. At least what you still have in one piece.”

“You’ll be surprised to know, I have all my equipment this morning and nothing is damaged.”

“Well, miracles must be real then. Let’s see it.” And Q took a deep breath to release some of his tension.

James placed the large black case on the table and opened it with a flourish and a raised brow. The custom sniper rifle looked actually intact. Q lifted the weapon to study thoroughly before logging the condition into his program.

“Well, done you. I know that wasn’t all I gave you though.”

James set about emptying his pockets with his earwig, phone, and then took off his watch, which had Q’s signal jamming software installed. Everything was precisely as it should be, the condition just as it had been when assigned. He could hardly believe it. James Bond had the worst track record for equipment return of all the Double-O’s.

It really was a miracle. Particularly when James’ palm encoded Walther PPK was placed in his hands. Still in pristine condition, no less.

James Bond was completely satisfied and Q had to admit the look of him, almost preening, was engaging.

"Thank you, 007. This will go down in the record books," Q couldn't help but quip. The subtle flirting between them had been going on since they first met and no matter how many times Q told himself to stop that it wasn't professional, he couldn't seem to help it. Q would have thought it was all caused by the unresolved sexual tension, but that would be a lie since there was no unresolved sexual tension between them, at least at the moment.

"The job was easier than usual so I wouldn't get used to it," James replied, his signature quirk of a smile showcasing his enjoyment of their banter.

“Oh, I won’t 007.” He was distracted by his equipment inventory and started a bit when a large swath of heat pressed against his side.

"James… you know we don't do this here," Q whispered. He knew from the angle of the security cameras that James only looked like he was leaning over Q's shoulder to gaze at the screen and that the large hand that smoothed down his hip was invisible.

“Let me take you home. I’ll just drop you off and head back here to meet with M. Or we can get a car and driver for you.”

Q, as subtle as he could, squeezed James fingers before removing them. “I’m fine to take the tube. I’ve been doing that for years and just because I’ve become an executive doesn’t mean I can’t continue to take my preferred mode of transport home. It’s faster and honestly, less stressful than dealing with traffic, even if I’m not the one driving.”

“I don’t like it, it’s not secure,” James whispered in his ear.

Q shut down his computer, closing it with a snap, and turned. As satisfying as it was to have James Bond grace his bed occasionally, the continued possessiveness—though Q didn’t think that was the right word for James’ hovering—was starting to drive him mad.

“You need to see M, and I’m going home… on my own.”

James studied him and something in his eyes shifted before he gave Q a nod.

"I'll have downtime the next few days. Will I see you later?"

Q relaxed at James’ acceptance of his preference. “I plan on sleeping most the day. Come by later on tonight for dinner.”

“I’ll bring dinner, then,” James murmured.

The anticipation of getting some sleep was almost overridden with the thought of James’ golden form between his thighs. His cheeks became hot the longer he stared into James’ blue blue eyes.

It was going to be a good day.

****

It was not going to be a good day or a particularly good morning for that matter.

The thought flew out of Q’s head as the man that had his arm in a vice-like grip pressed the barrel of a pistol against his side, hard. No one in the tube’s carriage had notice Q blanch at the pain of the grip or from the hiss in his ear to stay quiet or the people around them were going to be collateral damage.

He should’ve taken James up on his offer of a ride.

It was the tail end of the morning rush hour and the carriage was full of commuters. There hadn’t been any seats left, so Q had been standing with a hand on a support rail when the unexpected feel of a gun pressed against him. He couldn’t see his kidnapper’s face—and Q had no doubt that kidnapping was the purpose of accosting him—just an impression of a rather large fellow pressed close against his back.

"We're getting off at the next stop," the man hissed in his ear.

Q was unarmed except for his messenger bag with his keys inside. Not that having a weapon on his person would actually help in his current situation, especially not with the amount of Londoners surrounding them.

Q’s mind was going a mile a minute as the train’s momentum slowed with a rush that sent everyone swaying seated or standing. He received a subtle nudge with the metal bruising his side and moved slowly toward the doors behind the crowd waiting for them to open.

It was the St. James stop, his usual stop to transfer to the Victoria line to get home.

If he could get out of the man's grip, he could probably lose him in the crowd. Q didn't relish the thought of a chase through the tube station, James Bond style, but he would do it as best he could. His muscles tensed as they crossed the carriage threshold preparing to pull away once the corridor opened and branched off to the other parts of the station.

The number of people was both a good thing, bumping into them shoulder to shoulder and a bad thing for possible harm and maneuverability.

The man came alongside him more fully, urging Q with his pinching grip to increase the pace. His peripheral vision was not good since his spectacles didn't go that far, but around the frames and through the blur Q studied the villain beside him. Dark hair, white with a large frame along the lines of 007's physique. That was the most he could see as he kept his eyes in front looking for an escape route.

Roving over the crowd close to him, his eyes browsed over a face that had slightly turned toward him and then did a double take. Agent 003, Meredith Cross was closing in on his right, using the crowd to get closer without seeming to be obvious about it. Her long red hair was swept over a shoulder, draping along the right side of her gray coat leaving her left side unhindered where Q just knew she was armed with a PPK in her shoulder holster.

Either she was in on this kidnapping or she was taking her turn in Bond’s ‘watch the Quartermaster and keep him safe program’. Q hoped it was the latter and was pretty sure it was the latter.

She was close with just a businessman between them when 007 casually came alongside and slightly to the front of the kidnapper on Q's left.

Thank Christ, he might actually get out of this and get home today.

Q tensed, his stride stilted slightly giving the man beside him a bit of resistance.

“Come on n—“

A distraction allowing James to whirl in front of them and with one smooth movement pushed the man’s gun hand and arm away wrenching Q from his grasp. Q was practically pulled off his feet to the right by 003’s sudden grip on his wrist.

She twirled him away from the quiet brawl going on behind him as James fought to disarm Q’s assailant. A shrieking scream was heard behind them and Q could only think, as 003 silently urged him to start running that the gun had been exposed.

The chaos chose that moment to swarm them and Q struggled to keep up and retain the handhold he had on his agent following her bright red hair through the tiled rounded tunnels toward the exit.

****

He was never going to get home at this rate.

Q was grateful, but his fatigue with the added benefit of an adrenaline crash overrode the notion as 003 escorted him past Eve Moneypenny working vigorously at her desk into M’s inner sanctum.

Q always hated the ostentatious surroundings of M's office with the leather furniture, dark wood desk and paneling, and the padded reinforced door. He found the whole space quite depressing with its lack of color beyond varying shades of brown.

M himself was frowning fiercely, as he waved for Q to sit in one of the two chairs opposite the mammoth desk that dominated the room, listening to whatever he was hearing from the phone in his ear.

Q struggled to get his bag over his head, almost falling over, though 003 gave him a not so subtle push upright so he could sit down without landing on the floor. God he was so tired, he just wanted to get home and get some much-needed sleep… and to see his cats. He didn't hold out much hope of that happening until M had had his say.

The phone clicked in the receiver. M’s silent staring caused a tightness to slice through Q’s chest. He refrained from fidgeting, though he did wish he had something in his hands to help keep them still. His willpower to not fiddle with a seam on his trousers was getting close to non-existent at this point.

“007 will be up in a moment,” M said, his sour countenance unchanged. “003 please have a seat. The man who attempted to take you, Q, is in custody and in interrogation. 007 did an admiral job in keeping anyone from getting hurt, though the incident will be on the news soon, I’m sure. Communications is currently drafting a press release to deflect the real reasons behind the altercation.”

Q refrained from saying anything in return. He had no idea at this point what to say to the head of MI6.

The lines on M’s face seemed more pronounced in the late morning light from the windows. Gareth Mallory was an intimidating man, though the angles and plans of his face had started to soften with age and the gray speckled throughout his receding hairline.

003 elegantly took the seat behind him, crossing her lovely legs and highlighting the designer heels on her feet. How she could run so fast in them, Q didn’t know but the sprint out of the station had shown she was as surefooted as a gazelle in those three-inch wicked looking shoes. He’d barely refrained from falling his way up the steps out onto the street in the end before being unceremoniously shoved into the waiting car at the kerb.

She was about Bond’s age in her early forties with a delicate bone structure to her face and form that belied her deadly ability to take down targets twice her size in hand to hand combat. She and Bond were his favorite Double-O’s, though all of them were special in their own individual ways. Q didn’t play favorites with his agents, but the soft spot he had for 003 and 007 was a secret he’d never reveal.

Of course, sleeping with James Bond was probably detrimental to keeping that classified.

Moneypenny's voice came over the comm on M’s desk. “Sir, 007 has arrived.”

She didn’t wait for a response before the door’s hydraulic locks disengaged to open. Q couldn’t see him with his back to the door, but from M’s raised brow Q was sure James’ assured swagger was evident as usual.

“How long with it take to get an ID on the man in custody?” M asked. Q wasn’t sure if M was asking him, 007, or 003 since the question seemed to be put out into the air in general rather than directed at any one of them.

“If his prints are in the system, or in Interpol’s databases, just a few hours or less,” Q replied.

“The question is… how did he know who Q was?” James asked, making his presence felt by providing a suddenly looming heat alongside Q’s chair.

“Yes,” Cross said, her voice soft and sweet belying the strength of her character. “If we hadn’t been there, the Quartermaster would’ve been taken and we’d have little to go on besides some CCTV footage.”

“It is a grave concern,” M replied, sitting back in his chair as he let out a contemplative hum. “Threat assessment?”

"I would advise, Q be taken into protective custody immediately." James placed a hand on the back of Q's chair, though it seemed to him, James would've put a hand on his shoulder if such a familiar gesture wouldn't have caused a raised eyebrow with their boss.

“I have to agree with 007,” Cross stated. “The Quartermaster’s protection is paramount, and a safe house, only known to the three of us, is the best option.”

"It will cause us some difficulty, to have Q unavailable to help assess the threat," M mused. "I'd rather not advertise to Q-Branch what happened this morning and coming up with a plausible explanation for his absence will take some thinking. Additionally, we'll have to inform R and Tanner about the threat so they can work together to identify where the danger is coming from. Our resources are limited in this situation."

"The fewer people know the better." The chair back creaked a bit under the pressure of James' fingers. "Someone in the SIS has leaked information about Q and his role. It could be someone in Q-Branch for all we know at this point and until we figure it out, the best option is to go off the grid with him."

Off the grid?

Perhaps, it was his exhaustion, or he was out of sorts from almost being kidnapped for nefarious purposes that Q didn’t quite feel present in the moment. Of course, having the three discuss him and his circumstances as if he wasn’t even in the room was annoying enough for him to sort himself out and take some initiative.

It would be him and his people electronically hunting down their foes identity, and no one else.

Q huffed. "Sir, I would like to point out, I am sitting right here at your disposal, at this moment." At least it wasn't a squawk, though he was irked enough his tone got a bit high at the end. "The three of you can discuss my situation all you like. I'm going to go home, get some much-needed sleep, and start fresh tomorrow morning in Q-Branch. My staff and I can handle ferreting out who's responsible for the event today. I don't need or want to be ‘taken off the grid.'"

Q felt the air quotes were justified and he needed to get his point across. He would not allow his Double-O’s, one being his lover or not, to determine his fate.

Chapter Text

The morning was still dark with just a hint of the glow of the dawn through the bedroom curtains. London's overcast sky seemed to hinder the dawn's progress and Q felt the ominous gloom in his chest as if the weak light would die before too long, leaving only darkness to navigate his life.

Perhaps the feeling was from continued lack of sleep. He'd slept, but not well or deeply with two agents underfoot. One of which was unable to grace his bed as he'd planned the day before. Q's little turn of the century flat was too small for more than two people. Having an extra agent, prowling about his flat, neither one of which gracing his bed was just too much for him to truly relax and get some much-needed rest.

They'd made him keep his bedroom door open all night, as well. Watching over him like a couple of very attractive gargoyles. And Q, as Quartermaster for MI6, was not used to being in dishabille with anyone other than James. Having Meredith Cross, agent 003 patrolling the flat was uncomfortable and discombobulating, to say the least.

At least he'd thwarted M, Bond, and Cross's idea to be taken to a safe house, without wifi or fiberoptic connections no less. Granted, his experience with his first kidnapping attempt had him somewhat perturbed most of the day and night wondering who would have identified him as the asset he was. His identity was a highly guarded secret, even most of his colleagues including James didn't know his real name.

He was Q and had embraced that identity when he'd been promoted after the destruction of Vauxhall Cross. Even working as a Q-Branch minion, all tech analysts had code names and were known only by those codes names. His had been Zed with a fake identity of Andrew Zadow. Q was still Andrew Zadow and knew he'd have to change to a new identity as soon as he got to work.

The solid wood door of his bedroom quietly clicked open — he'd at least been allowed to close the door to get dressed — as he left it and his two cats lounging on the bed. There were coffee and tea and two Double-O's waiting for him in his kitchen.

How they both looked so awake and put together Q didn't know. He knew they'd probably taken shifts watching over him while the other slept on his sofa. They both couldn't have gotten much sleep, but Double-O's and their tendencies to be always ‘on' was not unusual to Q at this point. Unsettling, most of the time, but not unusual. Granted he did see 007 ‘off' on a regular basis usually after sex, but it didn't occur as often as Q would like.

"Morning, Q," James murmured.

"Good morning, Quartermaster," Cross added, her formality with him was standard. She was the most formal of all the Double-O's with any of the executives at MI6. Q liked that about her.

"Yes, yes… good morning to both of you. Where's my tea?" He demanded of James, then realized how he'd sounded. Keeping the fact they were shagging under wraps with 003 in his personal space was going to be difficult. He needed to remember to be more formal with James.

James, suited up and seated, slid a steaming cup of tea across the small table of his eat-in-kitchen. Cross was elegant in a blue-gray pants suit holding up the kitchen counter with a coffee in hand. Her hair was done up in a complicated braid-style bun at the nape of her neck. They'd both showered earlier, which had awakened Q, the water sounds insisting he get out of bed for his own morning ablutions.

Q sat at the table and inhaled the fragrant brew. At least with having James stay over, the man knew how to make a good cup of tea. And as Cross put a pastry in front of him, Q though briefly that have two agents underfoot wasn't such a bad thing.

That is until James opened his mouth to speak.

"Q, I really don't think it's safe for you to go into work."

His words were a bit muffled due to the croissant in his mouth, Q raised a brow. "What?"

Both his agents were staring at him and the crumbs of the tasty treat almost went down the wrong pipe. Coughing, Q got some added words out, "What do you mean? I'll be fine."

"There's obviously someone in MI6 or the Services that wants to get you out of the way for your identity to have been revealed." James sat back with those electric blue eyes on him. "They might try to take you again or worst attempt to kill you."

"Well… there's a limited number of executives that have that information 007." Q sipped his tea, thinking. It wasn't that he wasn't alarmed at the attempt yesterday, he was but he was also not one to hide away in fear of the known or unknown. He'd never been afraid of anything or anyone whether they were bullies at school growing up, deadly agents under his supervision, or death in general.

His mother had often called him, her "little fearless".

"Who's in the know, Q?" James asked.

"Well, you two, obviously for a start since you're both here in my home. M, Tanner, and Moneypenny, Joint Intelligence Committee members, as well as the nine members of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. So quite a few people, who have all been vetted."

"Someone fell through the cracks then," Cross stated, one of her beautiful red eyebrows arched at him as if her look indicating he was a bit thick was going to intimidate him into coughing up the unknown rouge.

"That seems like a lot, Q, rather than ‘a limited number'." Q didn't appreciate James' air quotes over the table. "How much longer do you think it will take to complete the decryption of Silva's data?"

James' abrupt change in topic made Q clunk his tea down on the table, spilling some of his much-needed caffeine across the tabletop.

"It's slow progress, but I'm getting close. Why?"

"I think that is probably the reason you've been targeted. Whoever the mole is, knows you're getting close to revealing their identity and their relationship to Silva."

Q was sure, he'd have figured that out on his own quickly enough if he wasn't distracted by the kidnapping, lack of sleep, and two agents in his personal space.

"Obviously, 007." Q sniffed. "The only way to find out who it is at this point is to finish the decryption, which only can be done in Q-Branch or GCHQ."

"Then we'd best get to it, Quartermaster," Cross said, decisively. She straightened, set her cup in Q's sink and marched out of the kitchen. Q could hear her starting to arm herself in the living room. The check of her pistol's magazine was sharp in the silence.

"Q, you need to be careful. It could be anyone, and could be more than one person," James said, quietly.

"I'm taking the threat seriously, James. Why would you think I'm not?"

"I know you are, but you're new in the game and I don't think you realize how dangerous for you this situation could become. I don't want to see you hurt."

The concern on James' face was stark. James Bond wasn't one to be concerned about others unless they were a threat to Queen and Country, at least that had been Q's impression since meeting him. Now though, with the morning light gilding James' closely shorn blond head, Q wondered at that concern. It seemed to be not for Queen and Country, or Q as the Quartermaster, but Q as a person. As a lover. It was a bit jarring to see the softness in James's eyes roving over him where he sat at the other end of the table.

Q cleared his throat, a bit uncomfortable with the heat he could feel prickling in his cheeks.

"I am worried, but I know you'll do your best to keep me safe. That's all I can do until the threat is eliminated. And eliminate it we will, together."

James nodded. "We will."

Q heard the ‘we' in that statement, though it seemed more like James was making a promise to himself rather than to Q. He didn't know why that impression made him feel safe.

****

James made Q wait to exit his building until 003 brought the car around on the narrow one-way street. A nondescript black four-door vehicle that Q thought screamed government. Of course, the government tags were obvious to anyone in the know.

Cross exited the car and rounded the bonnet to open the back passenger door, waiting. There was a morning fog with the addition of drizzling rain and Q could hardly see her against the car, only her bright hair glinting in the feeble London light stood out amongst the gray of the street and the black of the vehicle. Q adjusted his messenger bag over his shoulder following James out onto his covered stoop. James halted at the edge of the before he stepped down for a second, grabbing the front of Q's lavender jumper to pull him in near.

"Stay close, Q."

James waited a moment longer partially turned toward him. Q admired his lovely prominent ear for a bit before realizing James was waiting for an acknowledgment of his instruction. "Fine."

James nodded and with Q so close, he was almost touching 007's back, they stepped down and out into the open.

Something red hot zinged close to Q's ear and before he knew it, James was pulling him harshly down and forward covering him with his body toward the car, shouting, "Get down! Get down!" While 003 ducked down against the front passenger side door.

The concrete sidewalk was spitting shards at him as he was dragged to the point he felt his trousers rip across his knees. His heart pounding, James's hard hands around his shoulders, and the stinging scrape against the skin of his knees made him scuttle quickly with eyes only on the open door of the bulletproof car.

James unceremoniously threw Q into the back seat of the car hunkering in the doorway.

The late firing of his brain that someone was shooting at them, to kill him not kidnap him, occurred as Q scrambled further onto the backseat. His spectacles were so askew from the manhandling and he could hardly see. The thumping of the shots were hitting the top and sides of the car. Luckily, it was bulletproof, but Q knew if they hit the windows enough times they would eventually shatter.

Adjusting his spectacles, Q pulled his bag from around his shoulders to get at his laptop. James had his Walther out and he could just see the top of Cross' redhead through the passenger side window. His historic brick-lined street was very narrow, the buildings close on each side and across the street, following an old medieval road. It had only allowed the sniper a short opportunity to complete his assignment with little room for error. Q was extremely glad the bastard wasn't as good a shot as the Double-O's or he'd be dead already.

"I think it's coming from the building across the street," James shouted over the noise of the hits against the metal and glass shielding them. "Cross, you need to get Q out of here!"

"Agreed, 007!"

"I'm going to go to the other side and see if I can corner him. Get in and get Q to Six!"

James was getting ready to slam the car door shut to dive into danger and Q was not having it.

"Wait!" He stuck his foot against James' chest to keep him in place.

"Q! What are you doing? You need to get out of here." James grabbed Q's ankle to push him off.

"You can't go in blind. I can get satellite up and guide you," Q said, frantically searching through his bag and pulling his leg against James' tight grip. "Thank, christ I keep these on me."

He pulled out two earwigs and two body cameras, shoving them at James noticing blood on his sleeve. "Put these on, and I'll guide you. Are you hurt?"

"Q, no you need to get out… it's just a graze."

"Yes, 007, don't argue with me! I'm safe enough for now in the car. As soon as the windows start to go, 003 can drive me out of here."

James' hand tightened briefly on Q's ankle before letting go and taking the equipment. He tossed a pair over the car door to Cross who caught them deftly. If the situation wasn't so dire, Q would have hollered at James for abusing his tech. Q booted up his computer and got a connection going while his agents, keeping their heads down, put on the equipment. Q shoved his own earwig and mic on testing the connection. He had both cameras and communications going and the satellite link opened.

"Q, at least get on the floor," Cross said, as she opened the front door slightly to squeeze herself into the front seat, shimming on her belly before rolling up behind the wheel, though she kept her body low and to the center over the gearshift where she could keep an eye on him, Q was sure.

Q flinched at the staccato of shots hitting the back passenger side window above his head, but the pane held under the assault. The noise had Q scrambling onto his back on the floor. He was lucky he was so thin, he fit perfectly with the computer on his lap and slightly bent knees. He was comfortable enough in the position to see everything even his disheveled form in 007's camera.

Zooming in the satellite feed, Q search the rooftops of the buildings of his usually quiet neighborhood. The gunman wasn't on the building straight across, but actually two buildings down. A sniper with a powerful weapon and large scope. He was dressed all in black with a black woolen hat, so Q couldn't see any identifying features. The man's face was obscured by his use of the rifle's sight.

"James he's in the second building across to the right." he waved in the direction James needed to go. "It's definitely a sniper. He's probably armed with more than that, be careful, 007."

"Will do, Q. Keep your head down and follow 003's directions." James gave Q's foot by the door a quick pat before surging away and slamming the door shut. He was still against the car and Q had a quick glimpse of the damage done to the front stoop of his building. It was going to cause a lot of questions with his neighbors. He might even have to move, damnit.

Another bullet hit the back window and James was off like a shot, so quick he was across the street and out of the line of fire in seconds.

"He's two buildings down number 346," Q said, watching the dizzying jarring of the camera feed as James ran down the rain-slicked sidewalk. There were some pedestrians and look loos out and about, but James with a gun in hand sent them scattering with their umbrellas into the numerous doorways lining the street.

"Number 346?"

"Confirmed, on top of the building. I don't think he saw you leave the car. He hasn't moved." Q flinched as more bullets rained down. "He's still shooting at us, the bloody bugger."

"Q, you need to let Cross get you out."

"No, not until you're done, 007."

"Damnit Q!"

The building entrance was locked but the doors had big full body glass planes. Q watched as James kicked one shattering the aged glass in to step through. The few tenants in the foyer were wide-eyed and mashed against the walls as James moved further into the building.

"Where's the stairs?" James barked at a bespectacled accountant type man who pointed in stunned silence. "Thank you."

Q almost snorted at James polite and refined tone, as if breaking into a building with a gun and muddy stone dust on his damp shoulders was nothing to be concerned about.

Q could just hear police sirens closing in and was not surprised they'd been called. Worried, the Met response could distract his agents or get them killed with friendly fire, Q poked Cross in the shoulder between the front seats.

"Call Six and get them to let the police know we have agents on the ground." Q handed his unlocked phone to 003. It was a direct line to M and Q-Branch who would coordinate with the Met.

The sniper abruptly got up and started taking apart his gun.

"James, he's packing up, you'd best get up there now!" Q said, ignoring Cross's murmuring with HQ on the phone.

The building was six floors and James was just making it passed the fifth. Now that the shooting had stopped, Q sat up on the seat to better see his feeds. Pressing his ear, he said, "James?"

"I'm here Q, at the entrance to the roof now." James was breathing deep in Q's ear from the climb no doubt, but he didn't sound winded.

"I know, he's moving toward you. Stay in the stairwell for a moment, he'll have a clear shot at you if you go out there."

"Steady, Q," James whispered. He settled himself to the side of the door.

"He's got a gun in hand and is five meters, four meters, three meters, two meters, and one. Hand on the door." Q switch his view from the satellite to Bond's camera. The door opened inward quickly, the assassin in too much of a hurry to assess for a threat. The idiot.

James grabbed the gun hand and pulled the assassin through the doorway before hurtling him and his gun case down the stairs with both hands. Q's equipment was so good he heard the stuttering crunch of the man's body bouncing on the concrete. James moved swiftly down to the next level punching the stunned killer in the face and knocking him out.

"Well, that was easy enough, wasn't in, 007?"

"Q…" James grumbled as he disarmed the assassin. He pulled the beanie off and Q got a shot of his face, which he forwarded to R for facial recognition.

The Met's tactical officers were on the street coming to the car from the front and back hugging the buildings. Cross got out with her credentials and directed them to the building, noting there was an MI6 agent already on the ground with the subject.

"Met officers coming to you, James. Please try not to shoot them," Q said, ignoring James' commentary in his ear about cheeky Quartermasters who couldn't take orders to save their soul.

He felt like he could breathe again, but kept James' camera on just to be sure nothing went awry with the handover. The Met would take the man in and MI6 agents would coordinate interrogation. So that was two would-be villains in custody now and Q hoped they'd finally start getting to the bottom of the puzzle of who was coordinating these attacks. He dearly hoped it wasn't more than one man or woman behind the plot.

If it was, he was never going to be able to sleep properly anytime soon, preferably with James, if they didn't solve the mystery.

****

Well, he never did make it into Q-Branch.

Heavy rain had started quickly after the altercation and continued throughout the morning with the Met cordoning off the street. Q had been damp and as irritated as one of his cats in the bath, under a large umbrella with his two Double-O's briefing Tanner in person and M on the phone.

Well, more like arguing rather than briefing had ensued between all five of them.

He'd lost the argument and was now sitting beside James in a car taking him to a safe house with no technology at all. Even his computer was removed from the death grip he had on it and headed back to Six under Tanner's arm. Q wasn't worried, no one could crack the encryption he had on it, not even his techs but the loss of its solid weight in his messenger bag was felt keenly.

He'd not been offline since before University when his mother used to insist he play outside or remove himself from in front of his screens for family dinners. His palms itched without his tech. He didn't even have his mobile, which had also been absconded by James and then handed to Tanner. He'd lost the tug of war with his tech under James' broad hands and most of his dignity in the end.

"Q, you'll be fine for a little while without," James said matter of factly. His hands were sure on the wheel driving the car quick but steady despite the downpour. "You can go twenty-four hours without the internet, there's no need to pout."

"I'm not pouting! You might be used to ‘going off the grid' 007." His hands flailing about with the air quotes. He needed to get his point across to the stubborn man next to him. "But I am not. Twenty-four hours is a lifetime to be away. I have work to do!"

"Work can wait, your staff will be fine under R and I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of this situation."

"It would go faster if I was working on it," Q couldn't help but grumble. He aborted crossing his arms, which would just solidify James' supposition that he was in fact, pouting. He didn't like feeling out of sorts since it was such a rare occurrence. Even the pleasure of James' company was diminished without at least his mobile. He wasn't comfortable being cut off. He was a millennial after all.

"Look, you're in danger, you need to stay safe. Don't you understand that?" James glowered at him for a second. "If nothing shakes loose by tomorrow, I'll get you back to Q-Branch, I promise."

"What the hell am I going to do in a safe house without my computer or my mobile? Twiddle my thumbs? Do pushups? Play tiddlywinks?"

James rolled his eyes. "I have cards, we can play strip poker."

"Well, you'd have an advantage seeing as I've never played. I'd be the only one naked, 007."

"That will not be a problem for me, Q." The lascivious wink almost made Q smile, his fit of pique momentarily forgotten. Though, he didn't want to encourage the flirt next to him. They were working, not having a holiday.

"Out of all the people in the know, do you have any idea who might be behind all this?" James asked, the segue serious and probably trying to take Q's mind off his missing tech. Q appreciated the attempt to distract him from not having his tech or his cats, which he'd been able to coordinate daily care with his elderly and discrete neighbor, Mrs. Tingle. She'd been curious as to the situation, but with his agents and the Met's officers all around him, she hadn't pried except to tell him to keep himself safe.

Mulling for a moment, Q thought about those closest to him and the others on the periphery of the MI6. "I really don't know, they've all been vetted but then again," Q mused, "Silva was a premier hacker, as good as me, which I hate to admit. I'd be able to hide anyone's bad acts from even MI6 vetting if I had a mind to."

"What about the rumor that there'll be a merger with GCHQ and MI5? Do you know if that's serious talk?"

"Well, it is being bandied about quite extensively, according to M," Q replied. "I don't like the idea at all, and neither does M. It makes the various branches too close, to intertwined. GCHQ already works between both, as it is."

"Hmm… have you met C?"

"Who?"

"Oh, Max Denbigh, the new chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee"

"His code name isn't C, James." Q shook his head, James and nicknames, it was one of the many quirks he'd learned about his lover in the last few months. "But, yes I have. I don't like him one bit, he seems squirrelly to me, though nothing in his background suggests anything nefarious. Though… he would be an obvious choice for a villain with his connections to the Prime Minister. I'll have to dig more into his background."

"Well that will have to wait, Q. And we shouldn't limit ourselves. What about M?"

"I suppose being a spy makes you extremely suspicious, 007. M's background is all that it should be. I'm sure of it, Tanner's too."

"I trust Tanner and Moneypenny, but M, I'm not sure about." He knew James was a distrustful person and perhaps he should take that opinion with more than a grain of salt.

"Do you trust me?"

"Of course, I wouldn't be sleeping with you otherwise, Q."

Q could feel the heat in his cheeks. He'd hoped over time, his physical reactions to the man would have wained. It irritated the hell out of him when he became a blushing, burbling mess in James' presence at work. It was embarrassing. Q was fine being a wreck after a night with 007 in his bed. The fact was he often was too aware of the man at work and stuck in his craw a bit. It was distracting and Q had a hard enough time not letting his staff on to the fact he was sleeping with one of his agents. And agent James Bond, 007 no less, the most well-known agent to grace his targets beds if it would reveal any information to help with a mission.

Q cleared his throat. "If you feel that strongly, I'll look into him further when I get access to a computer again. Fuck! I hate being offline!"

"It's only temporary, Q. You'll live."

"Easy for you to say, 007. It doesn't take a whole lot to keep you entertained."

The smirk at the corner of James' mouth almost put Q over the edge. If James thought there was going to be a dalliance at the safe house, he was woefully mistaken. There was going to be no bedroom shenanigans at whatever hole-in-the-wall in Whitechapel James was taking him to. God knew, where the hell he'd end up. It could be a bloody bed and breakfast for all he knew or a rat-infested backroom in some sleazy club.

He'd known working in the spy service wasn't going to be easy and had anticipated some occasional excitement but the last two days were completely ridiculous on the level with the whole Skyfall mess.

Fucking, Silva. Q wished James could kill the nutter all over again.

Chapter Text

Shocked awake, Q grabbed at the broad hand that was pressing hard over his mouth.

“Shhhh, Q. It’s just me,” James whispered, “you need to be quiet, someone’s coming up the stairs.”

It was dark but with the street lamps glowing through the dirty windows, Q could just make out James’ shadowed form above him. His heart was pitter-pattering a thundering beat in his chest, though the familiar looming of his lover helped him take in a whistling breath through his nose. He nodded to let James know he was awake.

James rubbed his thumb softly against Q’s bottom lip as he took his hand away.

Q was up scrambling for his spectacles on the bedside table bringing James’ clenched jawline into focus. The light just shadowing half of his handsome face.

The bedside clock read four in the morning.

“What is it?” Q kept his voice low. James held up a hand to quiet him, and then he heard it. The intermittent squeaking of those damnable rickety fire exit stairs James had made him ascend five floors up to the safe house. Well, more like a safe room at the top of the turn of the century commercial building.

“We need to go, get your shoes on.”

“Where the hell are we going to go to?” Q hissed, rolling out of bed with his hands scrambling on the floor to find his oxfords. It took a moment since one of his shoes was halfway under the bed, though how it got so far under there, Q couldn’t guess.

The room at the top of the old storefront building had only one way out and down via the fire exit. There was a second door, but that only led to a flat-topped roof surrounded by the steep pitch of the other building’s slated-roofs and chimneys surround it.

“There’s only one way to go, Q,” James’ gun was up and he was standing to the side of the windowed door looking down the side of the building. “And there’s two of them.”

“Shite! How are we going to get passed them?”

“We’re not.” Q had barley finished tightening his shoelaces when James turned with urgent hands to pull him up from the bed. A slice of disquiet tightened in Q’s chest with James handing over a second Walther PPK from the gun holder in the back of his waistband.

Q was herded to the second exit in the room.

He was a bit horrified and doubted he’d be able to do much with the gun. Q was a decent shot but he’d never actually pointed one at another living being, human or animal. He was extremely good at making weapons but didn’t really like them all that much, except for the creativity of designing unique pieces for his agents to use.

“The roof! We’ll be trapped,” Q whispered, as he was shoved quietly out the door. It seemed like suicide to be in the open with nowhere to go. Though, the flat open space would perhaps give James greater maneuverability to defend. Q had no doubt if James had been alone, he would’ve made his move to attack directly from above while the men were trapped on the stairs.

“No, we’re not going to be trapped. You’re going to lead the way out of here over the rooftops as quick as you can.”

“What! James,” Q hissed as he was manhandled along in front of his agent.

“Don’t think about how high we are, just move!”

The shoving against his shoulders and the sound of their stalkers kicking the other door in with a crashing cartography of glass and wood got Q moving. The roof they were on was flat but the next buildings were sloped with just a one-foot stone ridge in the center. If he lost his balance, he’d go sliding down the slate shingles and over the side. Five stories down was a long way to tumble, Q thought clambering up to the roof peak and away from the violent showing behind them. Q tried really hard to just focus on the balance beam of stone under his unsteady feet.

He heard another crash and knew the bad guys were now on the roof they’d just left.

He could feel James close behind him, shielding Q with his large body. He urged himself to go faster, picking up his pace to an awkward shuffling of quick steps, his arms pinwheeling away from his sides, trying not to drop the gun. He was not a graceful sure-footed person in the normal scheme of things, but he didn’t want James to get hurt protecting him.

A shot rang out, just as James shoved him forward into a crouching run before returning fire behind him. The percussive noise of the weapons rung in his ears.

“Shite!” Q was not used to this level of terror.

The moonlight and the street lamps made them sitting ducks.

His breaths were getting ragged as he straightened back up to start a halting run. He couldn’t keep his balance hunched over and knew he was providing a bigger target with his arms wobbling on either side of him for balance. It was either a larger target with a chance of being killed or a sure thing by falling off the roof to the concrete street below.

He wanted to look behind him because he couldn’t feel the heat of James’ body and hands anymore but kept going forward. He didn’t trust his balance if he tried to turn to look.

Watching where his feet were landing caused him to run headlong into a large chimney with a hard smack. Gasping for air and swearing under his breath he grasped around as much of the brick as he could, almost losing his grip on the gun. Q steadied himself enough hugging the support to his chest and to turn to look behind him.

He boggled seeing James was coming up on him fast at a full rage-fueled run.

“Q move! Get on the other side, now!”

James’ shouting and the figure in black so close on his tail had Q scrabbling and scraping around the brick. His shoes were sliding on the tilted roof and he only had one hand that was at all useful to keep himself from falling. He should’ve shoved the bloody gun back at James the moment he’d handed it to him.

Q was almost to the other side when he felt his grip on the top edge of the chimney slip.

“James!” He started to slide and he almost let go of the gun struggling to find something, anything to hold on to. His scream was cut-off with the bruising vice that circled his wrist stopping his fall.

James had him.

Panting in panic Q looked up and saw the glint of a gun over James’ shoulder sited at his exposed back. He didn’t even think to bring the gun up, ignoring James’ widening eyes, barely sighting his target. The kickback was jarring in his joints all the way up to his shoulder, but he kept his grip on the weapon tight almost squeezing the trigger a second time. It was unnecessary, his first shot hit its mark and the man went down, sliding down and over the edge of the building with a yell.

“Thanks, Q,” James gasped, giving his head a shake.

“What about the other one?” He shoved his gun at James who took it while Q grasped his muscled arm with both hands for purchase, very ready to stop dangling precariously.

James pulled him up and into his arms.

“Dead, I got the first one when he came out the door.”

“Oh, thank god!” And Q just breathed him in, his heart pounding under his ribs. The familiar musk and warmth of the man in his embrace, unharmed, made him weak at the knees.

“We’re not safe yet. Come on, I’ve got you,” James murmured pulling Q in closer. “We can’t go back. There might be more of them. We need to keep moving until we find a safe place to go down.”

“Okay… okay, though I really would rather just stay here for a little while. Can’t we call M for an extraction?”

“No, it’ll give our position away. Someone knows everything we know. They know where we are and somehow they’re tracking us.” James leaned back with Q still sheltered by his arms, pressing his forehead against Q’s. “I’m taking you away and only you and I will know anything about it.”

Q pulled back, reluctant to give up just wallowing in James soothing heat. “So… you’re kidnapping me?”

“I’m done being on the defense.”

James pulled away farther, though he kept his hands on Q’s shoulders to steady him on their precarious perch.

Q opened his mouth, but a kidnapping and an assassination attempt on his life within in the last two days, made him pause his automatic protest to James’ highhandedness. It was obvious to him now that perhaps this situation wasn’t something he could deal with on his own or hidden in Q-Branch until he ferreted out the threat.

James was right, someone knew everything about him, or at least knew his movements and cover identity.

As much as he hated to rely on anyone other than himself most of the time, in this situation he did need an ally he trusted. And he did trust James, as both a lover and an agent. He just knew James would never betray him. He knew James would keep him safe for as long as needed and into the future. How he just knew was a mystery, but Q trusted his gut, his intuition.

James was his ally and he needed him. And was patiently waiting for Q to get his thoughts together as the morning wind whipped over the rooftops surrounding them.

Q needed to identify the threat and there was only one place besides Q-Branch he could do so safely.

“Agreed, we need to get on the offense.” Q cleared his throat. “Care to take a trip to Cheltenham, 007?”

James’ quirked an eyebrow. “What have you got in mind, Q?”

“I think it’s time to make our presence know at GCHQ, 007. Or you know, not known. Want to help me break into the most secure facility in the United Kingdom?”

****

Q supposed being culpable in his own kidnapping and encouraging James to commit treason by breaking into GCHQ was giving him a bit of a villain vibe.

Though perhaps he was becoming more of an anti-hero, Q mused.

He picked up his pace following James under the looming gloom of the buildings in the Battersea warehouse district. The briny and fish soaked scent of the Thames was heavy in the morning mists. The streets were dead quiet and with the fog, difficult to see more than a few yards ahead. He really wanted to take the horrid ball cap he wore off, but even here among the warehouses, there were CCTV cameras following them as they moved quickly along the streets.

Q understood the necessity but he absolutely hated wearing any sort of headgear, always had and always would. Of course, James looked handsome in his own cap pulled low to keep facial recognition from pinging at MI6. Q had no doubt that the Service was up in arms after the shooting at the safe house had been reported. The high pitched shrieking of the Met’s vehicles barreling down the road five stories below had no doubt woken the whole neighborhood.

Q’s legs were aching from his harrowing run across the maze of rooftops. Even with utilizing the tube once they’d found a way down hadn’t given his body much of a rest. It had helped him come down from the adrenaline high, which only made the aches and pains from the attacks more evident. Any more excitement and he was going to be laid up for days with sore muscles. He wasn’t built to having fight or flight reflexes.

He wasn’t an agent. He was a bespectacled proud boffin, not made for running for his life or running for any reason really in the daily scheme of things.

“Here we are,” James said, stopping in front of a set of turn of the century wooden windowless garage doors. It only took him a moment to disengage the lock that looked rusted from disuse. Q studied the lock and realized it was made to look old. It was actually a nice piece of tech with a fingerprint scanner hidden behind the old combination styled mechanism. His eyes narrowed as he wondered where the hell, James had picked that up from.

It wasn’t from Q-Branch.

“Blending in so no one attempts to break in, 007?”

James gave him a cheeky wink. “Who would want to break in to steal rubbish, Q?”

The urge to roll his eyes was strong, but Q refrained with just a pompous raised brow in response to James’ impudence.

The old door groaned as he pulled it open to wave Q into the dark interior. It was good camouflage Q would give him that. James pulled the door shut and disarmed an alarm beeping with a keypad on the inside of the second door. With a final note, florescent lights overhead buzzed on with a short flicker had Q blinking away the dark spots affecting his vision.

A large blue vintage two-door Land Rover took up the majority of the center of the space. The vehicle was prepared for off-road travel with metal racks on the roof and custom metal bumpers that could do serious damage in the event of an accident. The rest of the space had metal storage cabinets along the walls, as well as some loose boxes stacked here and there.

“I was expecting an uncomfortable sports car of some sort,” Q murmured running a hand along the bonnet of the beast.

“It’s not flashy, but she can get up to speed in less than ten seconds.”

“Hmmm, I’m impressed. Have you done the work yourself?” It was a beautiful vehicle for all that it dated from the Seventies. Q loved the older car stock and styles himself. “Now I know what you get up to during your downtime, 007.”

“Yes, Q, my secret is out.” James tugged his arm to move him along down the side of the car. “It’s a good hobby, don’t you think?”

“I think, I’m a bit jealous you’ve been keeping this from me. You could help out in Q-Branch. Some of the older vehicles give my tech’s fits without computers onboard.”

“Well, I was going to eventually clue you in but did hesitate for just that reason.”

Q snorted.

The banter was helping with getting the rest of the adrenaline in his body to dissipate a bit. He still felt the tight surge of anxiety in his chest from this last attempt at his life and wondered how James was able to compartmentalize those feelings. Though perhaps, James and the other Double-O’s didn’t feel scared like normal people.

“I’m going to need tech and clothes if we’re going to figure this nightmare out,” Q said, opening the passenger side door to get in.

“Hold on Q, I think I have us covered on the tech and weapons front, at least.”

“What?” Q turned, one foot up on the high floor of the car. The clank and beep of alarmed doors opened along the walls revealing the contents of the cabinets. Q slowly put his foot back down on the concrete, blinking.

He slowly moved closer with James watching with a somewhat wary expression on his face.

It was a full-on horde of weapons—guns, rifles, ammo, a bloody grenade launcher—hanging and in drawers, lighted by more fluorescents, and… computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, communication devices, and bloody earwigs and mics!

“For bloody fucks sakes! This is where you’ve been keeping your mission equipment!” Q squawked, “the equipment that was ‘destroyed’? The equipment you rarely return! Good god, 007!”

“I thought it might come in handy one day, Q.”

“You… I… What!” Q’s cap landed on the floor with a soft plop with his arm flailing.

James grimaced removing his own hat rubbing at the back of his head.

“You bloody brilliant arsehole!”

Blue eyes widened as Q landed against James to seize his lips cutting off a surprised grunt. Caught off guard James crashed into the cabinet behind him, making a racket of echoing metal in the space. Q didn’t fucking care, all he cared about at that moment was kissing the life out of James Bond.

The most obstinate, sneaky, and just plain too smart for his own good, Double-O in the service.

James’ arms came around Q’s slim shoulders, his large hands trailing warm weights of fire down Q’s back to his buttocks. Q gasped at the firm squeeze of fingers that pulled his hips between James’ thick thighs. The taste of him in Q’s mouth, the hard length of him against Q’s frame was wonderful.

It always was wonderful, still so new between them.

Q stroked his fingers over James’ ears and into the soft short hair behind his head. James tugged Q closer, deepening the kiss, pulling a soft whine out of Q’s mouth with a stroke of his tongue. Heat raced down Q’s torso settling into an insistent but lovely ache in his groin. The adrenaline and excitement of the morning resurfaced.

Q just want to strip and fuck right there in James’ old garage with his pilfered tech all around him. The bonnet of the Land Rover would due for a proper fucking surface, Q was sure.

Q pumped his hips against James’ straining cock, rubbing strongly. The sharp tingle of pressure against his own cock had him scrambling his hands down James’ chest to home in on the belt beneath the blue peacoat James wore.

Q tried to chase James’ mouth as he pulled back.

“There’s no time for this Q,” he rumbled. There was regret in James’ eyes, his arousal evident, but the determination of a Double-O to stay on mission was there as well.

“Fuck!” Q breathed messily against the sweet skin of James’ jawline.

James reluctantly, with one final squeeze to Q’s behind, set him a step away. Q worked to get his head out of his cock and back in the game. It was difficult with James red faced with swollen lips from Q’s kisses.

“Best, pick out what you need, we’ll only stop for some clothing once we’re out of the city.” James tugged his coat sleeves and cracked his neck before turning to start selecting weaponry and ammunition.

Fucking, Silva, Q thought. Unless they could get a quiet moment to themselves, reasonably free of danger, Q wasn’t going to be getting James naked and horizontal any time soon.

It was a complete travesty in Q’s esteemed opinion.

Fucking, Silva and his fucking code.

****

Cocklesford outside Cheltenham was as rustic as Q remembered it to be from previous visits to GCHQ. The narrow roads linked with quintessential English stone cottages with slate or thatched roofs, flower boxes on the windows, and cobbled streets were a tourist’s dreams come true. When James had driven the Land Rover through and passed the little hamlet into a dark forest, Q was quite sure that the camping equipment on the roof was going to get some use.

Q was not one to enjoy camping. He had a daily need for technology and didn’t feel the urge to occasionally unplug to commune with nature. He could enjoy the outdoors well enough, as long as he had some form of technology on his person. Camping was extremely low on his list of enjoyable excursion and with almost being kidnapped and killed, twice, was going a bit too far in his opinion. Before he could get into a sufficient strop about it though, James was pulling onto a long drive with a sign to The Green Dragon Inn. Cobblestones crunched under the wheels as they came to a sedate stop.

The large inn was made of large stones with small casement windows and large wooden doors centered in the main building.

It was late in the day. The drive out of London had been uneventful and it had eased Q’s anxiety from the harrowing morning somewhat. Of course, snogging his Double-O boyfriend, as well as taking a good hour to pack up what tech he needed from James’ horde had also helped bring him down a bit. Their predicament swirling in the back of his mind had helped abate his arousal, unfortunately, and he’d been almost calm by the time they left London proper.

Just James’ presence was assurance that Q was okay. He was safe and he trusted James would keep him that way. Trust was hard to come by in the spy game, but Q had always trusted James from the first moment he’d read the agent’s file during the chaos of his first few days in Q-Branch. Meeting him at the National Gallery hadn’t changed that opinion either. James had been worn on that bench in the gallery, tired but determined and Q had liked his ability to take Q’s cheek, as well as give it right back.

James Bond was hard not to like and that more than anything had had Q in the man’s bed fairly soon into their acquaintance.

The drive had been quiet, and honestly, Q was happy to be silent for a time after everything that had happened. He wasn’t really a chatty fellow by nature and neither was James, so their silences had never been uncomfortable whether on mission or off. The drive allowed Q’s brain to race with plans and solutions.

By the time they’d pulled into the inn, Q knew exactly what they needed to do.