As a composer, Q was used to the songs in his head escaping through his fingers. He liked keyboards of all kinds - computer, piano, anything - but the power of pure expression that he could get from a musical instrument was incomparable. Unfortunately, with creativity came writer's block. Q never published music under his own name ('Holmes' drew too much attention when people read it anywhere, thanks to his memorable brothers), which thankfully meant he had a fantastic agent who knew exactly what to do when her favourite composer couldn't slow his brain down enough to get the music out.
"I've got the perfect thing, Q," Moneypenny declared on the other end of the phone, "How would you like to go to a party?"
"Depends on the type of party," was Q's automatic response. Flopped inconsolably over the arm of his sofa, Q pressed the phone to his ear with one hand while he tapped the fingers of his other hand restlessly against the upholstery - he could all but feel the notes, but his brain was moving too fast, whirring. Something he got like this.
And Moneypenny knew that. "There kind of party where I'm one-hundred percent certain you can find someone to take you out of your head for a little while." Eve's chuckle was positively wicked, and Q found himself perking up with interest. Eve Moneypenny had connections, and while Q wasn't exactly social, he suddenly realized just what kind of party she was offering.
"What do I need to pay to get in?" he asked, already getting up, "And what's the dress code?"
"Don't worry," his manager and friend replied off-handedly, "I've already called them and said you'd come as a waiter. They were shorthanded. You'll look adorable in a little waiter's vest and booty shorts." And with nothing more than an evil giggle, she hung up.
The Hellebore Club was upscale, classy, and 100% supportive of the BDSM community. During the day it served more vanilla clientele, and one could always expect the best drinks there, but when they threw parties after dark, the rules changed and you either accepted their rules or you got the fuck out.
Q had actually been there before, but had been too busy to stay long - which was a pity. As he entered the place now, indeed dressed in the 'waiter's uniform' of a tight, open-backed vest and black pants that showed off more of this thighs than it hid, Q made a mental note to buy Eve those high-class chocolates she liked. She knew him very well, and was clearly working above her pay-grade to meet her pianist's needs.
The gathering tonight was high-class, but with a sultry, sexual edge that already had Q's skin tingling, like he was close to a lightning bolt. Of course, his brain was still buzzing a mile-a-minute, taking in everything and liable to choke itself on input. His distraction nearly caused him to drop the drink-tray he was carrying, and he caught it just as the little champagne flutes began to wobble. It wasn't actually real champagne in it (the Hellebore Club became a sober place when the night-crowd came in, unless you didn't want to play that night), but Q felt frustrated with himself nonetheless for nearly dropping it.
He needed something to get his mind off... everything.
Q's eyes scanned the room, knowing that the Hellebore Club wasn't actually understaffed and that he had permission to shirk his duties if he found a good reason to… and it looked like the perfect reason was sitting sprawled on a leather lounge-chair in the centre of the room.
Black tailored suit-jacket and trousers, midnight blue button-down, and a tie the colour of beaten metal, the man was a picture of class - and Q had a taste for class. He also had a taste for 'dangerous enough to deserve warning labels,' and the blond-haired man had that, too. There was just something in the way his eyes swept the crowd, powerful and content even though he was slouching on the couch and currently alone. Definitely a Dom. The man in the back organizing the event, Bill Tanner, had answered a lot of Q's questions and assured him that there would be a lot of Doms in the crowd, if that's what he was looking for. Q was picky, though - not just any old Dom would be able to get him out of the complex fortress that was his head.
It looked like this man was picky, too, however, as he politely declined everyone who approached him. Sometimes he seemed to hold conversations, always pleasant, but while others in the room were pairing off (letting their bodies do the talking), this man seemed to be saying "no" to every overture.
'Asexual?' Q wondered, for the first time realizing that this might not be a suitable partner for him. Because Q's body was buzzing for sex now, too, and he felt an almost physical pang of disappointment at the thought that this blue-eyed demon of a man could be unavailable in the ways Q needed him to be available.
But as Q wandered closer, he realized what the real reason was - and it made something hungry and wild start purring in his chest
To come to the Hellebore Club as anything but a transient drinker, you had to get yourself a membership - the sign of that membership was a simple bracelet worn around the left wrist. All workers (which tonight included Q) wore one as well. All of them were personalized - but instead of something trite like a name and a heart-shaped charm, dangling from the metal band were preferences. So, even if this blond-haired man hadn't been exuding dominance like heat from a kiln, one had only to get close enough to see the corresponding tag on his bracelet. The bracelets could communicate far more detailed likes and dislikes, however, once you knew the code of the Hellebore Club.
This man's bracelet basically translated to "Don't approach unless you like to play with fire and get burned."
Which was fantastic, Q thought, looking at his own wrist with a little smile. His bracelet basically said, "I'm a pyromaniac." Balancing his tray more easily now that his mind had focused on this one thing, Q put a bit more of a saunter into his step and stopped wandering around the room to instead make a beeline for the man at the centre of the room. Clearly, this was the kind of man who liked to be the centre of attention.
Good, because when Q was in a mood like this, so did he.
Q's 'target' was sitting in the centre of the room, where various types of furniture filled the space, most of them situated to face the broad stage at the far end of the room. Usually, it held various musicians during the day, although now the curtains had been pulled back to reveal a St. Andrew's Cross, currently as empty as the rest of the stage. The night was young. Q couldn't remember if any partners had been scheduled to perform, or if it was the Hellebore's version of 'open mic night' tonight. Right now, all it meant was that there was nothing to distract the blond-haired Dom from seeing Q's approach, blue eyes snapping to him with a raptor-like quickness. 'Dangerous,' Q's buzzing mind supplied the adjective again, as he looked at the man and thought of predators and sniper rifles. When the Dom's eyebrows rose and he shifted his body slightly, broad shoulders flexing beneath his well-cut suit, Q thought of edged weaponry and metal.
"Hello," the man greeted with something clearly approving in his voice. He was looking Q over, but with a subtleness that some of the younger, brasher Doms lacked. Q felt lightly stroked beneath his gaze, rather than groped by the glance. "I don't think I've had the pleasure of seeing you here before."
"I'm not a regular," Q replied on reflex, even as his mind rapidly calculated James' reaction, noting already that the man was holding back. Now that Q was close enough, he could see that the blue-eyed man only looked languid and relaxed on the surface - beneath it was something more controlled, more guarded. "You can call me Q."
"Well then, Q, believe me when I say I'm delighted to meet you - I'm James Bond," the man said with all politeness, but still didn't move. In the Hellebore Club, touching was the norm, so it made a statement when someone didn't. For the first time, Q realized that his own bracelet wasn't perfectly visible beneath the angle of the tray he was holding. "I hope you're having a fun time?"
The Dom, James, was making pleasantries, Q realized - because he didn't think that Q was there for the same kind of games that he was. Q had to bite back a secretive little smile, knowing just how mistaken James was. So Q decided to play a little bit. He felt his mind focus, more of it honing in on the intricate task of playing with a man who's bracelet said he was a Dom and a sadist - but also an exhibitionist. "Oh, I suppose so," Q feigned a sigh, looking around and putting on a pout that he knew for a fact was devastating in its own way, "It's actually not as much fun as I'd been promised."
"Oh?" Just one eyebrow rose this time. There was concern in his voice, although it was still the polite kind; Q was still a random person that James assumed wouldn't be compatible with him. "Has anyone made you uncomfortable?" he further assumed, even if there was an added watchfulness in his gaze. Q thought of cats stepping out onto ice and recognizing that it might be thin.
Q didn't turn off his pout, but he did look back at James out of the corner of his eye. "Actually, people haven't made me uncomfortable enough," he offered.
James' smile warmed up a bit - Q had been upgraded from 'stranger' to 'pleasant acquaintance.' He was aiming for a lot more. Stretching his arms out across the back of the couch in a way that pulled his jacket and shirt across his chest in a beautiful way, James guessed, "I take it you're a sub."
"I can say with surety that there are a great number of Doms in this room that would love to make you deeply uncomfortable." The innuendo was delivered smoothly, but with enough bite to make it obvious - like a kiss with teeth. James' eyes were pale and dangerously playful, even as his body language remained aloof. "Balls deep, if that's what you're after."
Q wanted to give the man kudos for managing to reference sex and yet say it in the same tone that most upscale folks would talk about fine wine. Instead, he turned his attention back to Bond more fully, pushing his glasses up his nose in a manner Eve had told him looked very coy. "I'm not actually interested in any of them." Which was true - Q, in wandering the room, had surveyed quite a few other Doms and their bracelets. He knew with a sort of shameless certainty that none of them was a high enough calibre to handle him.
But James, perhaps, just might be.
It was easy to recognize the slightly pained look on James' face - the look usually worn when someone was being hit on by a friend's little sister or something. A polite, well-meant, but nonetheless uncomfortable look. James was preparing to turn Q away. Q let him, because he wasn't worried - after all, Q had been looking at the other sub's bracelets, too, and he hadn't seen anyone offering what James wanted but him. "Are you sure you're looking for a Dom like me, Q?" he said, low and slightly regretful, like the smoke after a fire.
Q allowed himself a small smile. "Well, I suppose it depends. How are you with a flogger?"
That remnant of smoke reignited into a fire. For the first time, Bond's body tensed as if tempted to move and touch. Q was aware of a few other patrons beginning to monitor the exchange. When Bond replied, it was after a thoughtful pause, and his voice had dropped an octave, "I'm told that I'm passable."
The careful pacing of the words made Q think that the man was being demure; he was more than passable. Q felt a shiver ride down his spine. Still, he played, "I'm not sure that I'd settle for 'passable'."
It looked like James was actively trying to get a look at Q's bracelet now, and while it was rather rude to keep one's preferences hidden in the Hellebore club, Q lowered his tray to keep his secrets just a bit longer. He got a contemplative look in response, one that indicated Bond was catching on to the game. "Fine then," the man admitted, crossing one leg over the other, "I'm more than passable." He tipped his head, and Q rather liked what arrogance did to his voice, "I've had subs coming, untouched, just from what I can do to them with a whip." He tipped his chin pointedly towards Q's hidden hand, adding, "If that's what they're into."
Q let his smile grow a bit wider. He pretended to misinterpret the look, though, following James' eyes instead to the drinks. "Oh, you want one?" he asked, all ignorance and eagerness to please.
Blue eyes narrowed just slightly, but after a pause, James proved that he was more than just a headstrong Dom and followed Q's lead: "You know, I think I might."
The upside to Q's brain being overloaded with thoughts today was that he'd had the forethought to strategize - meaning, he'd given away all of his drinks but one. So when he walked over, tray still on one hand and the single remaining glass transferred to his other hand, he didn't have to worry about dropping anything. He was delighted when James did exactly what he'd hoped he'd do, which was take the glass from Q's with one hand and grip Q's vest with the other, tugging him abruptly forward until he overbalanced.
Fuck, Q had been desperately hoping that there was actual muscle beneath that suit - and now he knew that there definitely was, and it was all he could do not to purr. He could feel Bond's strength like a vibration in the air, thrumming into him even as his tray dropped and he ended up sprawling forward onto the larger man's lap. One knee up on the sofa by Bond's hip and both hands braced automatically on those broad shoulders, Q now got the see the Dom smiling from up-close - a close-lipped grin that was all playfulness on the surface, all hunger and shadows underneath. 'Dangerous,' Q thought again, and found his heart-rate pick up. The drink remained unspilled, and James swirled the non-alcoholic beverage idly. "Well, aren't you demanding?" Q huffed at him, pleased that his voice was only a bit breathy.
James idly soothed his hand up and down the bit of Q's vest that he'd gripped. Q could feel the backs of his knuckles, brushing up and down against the skin of his bare chest beneath. "So call security on me," the man offered with a shrug. The Hellebore Club actually had fantastic security - Q knew one of the bouncers here tonight, actually, Alec Trevelyan. BDSM was all about consent, and if someone wasn't respecting that, they got thrown out on their arse without hesitation.
It seemed like James was offering Q an out, but Q didn't want one. "I think I'll tolerate a bit of demanding," Q allowed with a little, considering hum. He slid one hand up James' chest, feeling powerful when the man's eyes moved to it - after all, that same limb held a very important bracelet, didn't it? "So long as you make it worth my while."
Q knew the moment that James finally set his eyes on the bracelet, and all of its informative little charms - knew it because he felt the low noise the man made, something between a purr and a growl. "You little minx," Bond accused. He looked back up at Q, and after a pause, purposefully transferred his hand from Q's vest, up Q's shoulder, to the side of his neck, to then wrap it around his throat. Q could sense as much as see other patrons shifting, preparing for trouble. James had eyes only for Q, though, something hopeful and ravenous in those blue depths.
But all Q did was smile, shifting so that he could get his other leg up onto the couch and sit more comfortably in James' lap. "So, in answer to your earlier question," Q said, tipping his chin back to give Bond more access to his neck. His entire body thrilled at the feeling of powerful fingers readjusting around the pale column of his throat, such potential for destruction even as the calloused palm and fingertips offered only the gentlest of pressure. "I'm sure I'm looking for exactly a Dom like you."
Q's bracelet was the kind that would draw in Doms from across the room, because it had so many charms - but it also indicated the kinds of preferences that made most Doms quietly tuck tail and leave after they got a closer look. Q, after all, was a demanding mix of submissive, exhibitionist, and masochist. Some Doms might think that they could give him what they wanted, but they'd probably just end up embarrassing themselves - or hurting their partner, and not in a good way. Still, Q had tolerated subpar Doms before.
It had been a damn long time, though, since Q had looked at a Dom and thought, 'You just might have the potential to impress me a bit.'
Q rather thought that James was thinking the same thing as those blue eyes took him in anew. "Exactly a Dom like me, hm?" the man considered, as if he was merely idly interested still - his body language and eyes betrayed him, though, as his fingertips kneaded the back of Q's neck, thumb stroking up under Q's jaw, and his eyes grew progressively more hungry. "You've got a funny way of showing it, playing so demurely."
"Maybe I like to put on a show," Q reminded, giving his braceleted wrist a little shake, pointedly. 'Exhibitionist,' the motion reminded James.
The man made a considering noise deep in his chest and brought the faux-champagne glass to his lips without taking his eyes off Q. "You know, when I last had a sub that acted like you, I punished them dearly for playing me," he noted. When Q opened his mouth to retort something, James delayed the response by pressing the glass now to Q's parted lips. It was the opposite side of the rim from where James' mouth had pressed - but considering the fact that Q was already thinking about kissing the man, or swallowing his cock, sharing a bit of spit now would have hardly given him pause. Q let his eyelids fall to half-mast, and allowed the remainder of the drink to be tipped into his mouth. It was delicately pear-flavoured, and the effervescence was added to the bubbling excitement in Q's body as he swallowed.
Q could feel James subtly taking control of the game. Thus far, Q had been the one pulling the strings, his increased knowledge of the situation allowing him to play Bond like a fish on a line up until now. With Bond thumbing thoughtfully at Q's pulse, however, and Q's quick mouth momentarily stoppered by drink, the Dom was doing what he clearly had practice at: taking the reins. This was usually the point where Q became something of a brat, unsure whether submission was really worth it, but this time... Q tentatively gave in, at least until he could see more of James' skills. Q let both of his arms go lax, hands draped over his thighs in a clear indication that he wasn't going to interrupt whatever Bond wanted to do.
The people around them no doubt relaxed at this point, their eyes trained to see when something was consensual - although Q was willing to bet that a goodly number of them had never seen a true sadist and masochist pair off.
They were in for a treat.
"Punish, you say?" Q dared to ask drolly, once the glass had been removed from his mouth. He chased the flavour across his own lips with his tongue.
Feigning thoughtfulness still, as if Q were a puzzle he was idly pondering, Bond replied with an agreeing hum and then abruptly pulled Q closer by his neck. Q was left a bit unbalanced again, but this time resisted the urge to move his hands to brace himself. Trusting James to hold him steady with just his big fist wrapped around Q's neck, the boffin soon found himself close enough to smell the drink on Bond's breath, and see the fine lines of crows'-feet at the corners of the man's intense eyes. Q was rewarded for his pliant response by a foreign tongue across his lips - James, laying claim to all remaining traces of Q's mouthful of drink. Then, even though they were close (James' hand preventing Q from closing the distance for a proper kiss, however), James said to Q in a pseudo-whispered pitch that carried to those around them, "Is that what you were fishing for all along, darling? Someone to write out their displeasure on your skin?" As he spoke, James' other hand (now free, the empty glass tipped against the back of the couch) slid up the open back of Q's vest, trailing fingernails just hard enough to probably leave red lines - and certainly hard enough to have gooseflesh appearing on Q's bare skin.
Q had to suppress a shiver before fathoming an answer. He was aware that his eyelids fluttered slightly - likewise, though, he felt the minute shift in Bond's hand around his throat, an instinctual tightening that felt delightfully possessive. "Mostly, I was just looking for someone who wouldn't bore me to death and treat me like a China doll," Q retorted, although this time the sass in his voice earned him a much more purposeful flexing of Bond's hand - Q's head was tipped up and back, Bond's thumb and index finger pressing almost painfully up behind the hinge of Q's jaw.
"Am I treating you like a China doll?" James asked, in a tone that some might have mistaken for pleasant. Q just heard the rolling undercurrent of predatory warning... and it was already making him hard in his pants. Bond's other hand was still on Q's back, making it impossible to alleviate the pressure and angle of his neck by leaning bodily away. Fingertips scratched at him again, a bit harder this time, before thoughtfully drumming on his spine.
With his head tilted back at the limit of its extension, Q was hyperaware of his own breathing, as it inhaled and exhaled rushed beneath Bond's unforgiving palm. "No," he admitted. He kept his hands still, an implicit form of consent that anyone in the room had to be able to read.
Despite the visible signs of Q's agreement, James still asked, "And if I threaten to break you in ways you don't want, China doll, will you tell me?"
Despite being a bit irked at the nickname, Q huffed and replied obediently, "I'll say red. If I need a moment to decide whether I love something or hate it, I'll say yellow."
"Good." James' pleasure was a palpable thing, like hot honey on cold skin. It made Q shiver even before James' hand on his back slid away, giving Q a bit more manoeuvrability even as it moved to Q's braceleted wrist - observing it, no doubt. "Because I guarantee, Q, I'm one of the more dangerous Doms you ever been with," he purred lowly.
"The most dangerous, I'm hoping," Q said with a smile, head still tilted back, so that his smile was bast at the ceiling.
Q was starting to understand Bond's aloofness from earlier. Part of it had been the man incorrectly thinking that Q wasn't his type - but a large part of it was an intrinsic part of who Bond was, Q was concluding. Even now, as Q sat on his lap, throat tightly collared by one powerful hand, Q could feel the almost monumental self-control in the man. It was like a vibration in the air, humming from powerful muscles, from every measured breath. And now, as Q began to get an increasing sense of just what kind of Dom Bond was, he was beginning to understand why: James was a monster. He wasn't just some weak idiot that got a power-trip from control those weaker than him - he was legitimately someone who was hardwired to take apart the people around him. But at some point in his life, he'd realized that he'd have to either control that urge or end up in prison or a psych ward. Q realized that he was sitting on the lap of a man who knew himself very well, and who was exquisitely aware of just how dangerous he could be - but purposefully chose not to.
Well... mostly chose not to. He was here, after all, looking for a willing partner to destroy just a little bit.
Q felt his own grin widen, and suddenly felt more free and alive than he'd felt in weeks. On other days when he'd gotten musical writers-block, his thoughts in a hyperactive tangle, he'd tried to use sex to get out of his head, but it rarely worked, because other people rarely pushed him far enough. Q didn't need a little shove to get him out of his head - he needed a metaphorical train to hit him. A warhead.
Fuck, James was that warhead. Q could feel it in the hawk-talon-grip around his throat, in the way James was idly stroking the vulnerable inside of his wrist now with his other hand.
"I think we're going to have fun together," Q opined teasingly, daring to swivel his hand and stroke James' hand back - feeling calluses and hard knuckles.
"You know what, Q? I think I agree," was the husky reply Q got - quickly followed by, "But first, I'm going to punish you for breaking the rules of the Hellebore House and not bloody telling me that you were a masochist from the start." And with that, James was pushing Q off his lap, his grip on Q's wrist keeping him tethered like a cable even as Bond's other hand moved fast enough to control Q's descent to the plush carpet floor. Q was on his knees in a heap before he knew it, one arm twisted up behind his back.