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MI6 was usually a hotbed of overly emotional Dæmons. It had to do with the stress of protecting England. There was always something happening so James had learned to ignore every single Dæmon in the building and he did it so well. His own Dæmon was a Komodo Dragon, cemented while he'd been hiding in the priest hole on Skyfall so long before. Neit had been a butterfly before he had gone in and had been for days prior.

So when James slipped into MI6 and found that no excited Dæmons were running around, he was a little shocked. He had slipped in through the tunnels that the Double-O's used to come home without fanfare, especially after horrible missions. The tunnels had been outfitted by Q-Branch only to allow the Double-O's in after the explosion that took out the Vauxhall building. Still, there should have been something. He wasn't sure exactly what was going on, but he intended to figure out. R would know. R knew everything that went on at MI6.

Q-Branch was a ghost town, even for two in the morning. The night shift didn't seem to have changed at all in the three months that James was gone. He looked around to try and find R. She was nowhere in sight. James frowned and saw that Q's office door was open, which was only allowed when he was working. James moved towards the office and found him asleep on the couch. James stopped when he took in the whole of the man in front of him.

Q was covered in bruises from what James could tell as he could only see a single arm and his face and neck. James bristled because one of the injuries on Q's neck was a hand print. Everything was fresh, and James knew that if he went over and touched that neck, the skin would still feel hot from the swelling. James moved further into the office and grabbed the laptop, settling himself down on the floor where he could see both the door and Q.

Two hours later, James was coming out of the mission reports that were logged on the internal MI6 server in the months that he had been gone from MI6. He looked over at the still sleeping young man and pulled his phone from his pocket. He silenced the phone entirely and started to text Alec. The Double-O had known that James was on his way back to London and had made sure that one of the safe houses was ready for him to move into until he was able to secure a flat. James didn't ask him why he never knew that the Quartermaster had been kidnapped and tortured. Alec had been on forced leave for two weeks and given that the Quartermaster was captured and rescued all in the same day, two days before, James knew that it was possible that the other Double-O's hadn't visited Alec yet.

"What are you doing here?" R asked, her voice soft.

"The report states that he won't go home. That he locked himself in his office and only relented when you promised that you wouldn't kick him out." James wasn't going to answer her because he did not answer to her. He answered to M and Q, and neither of them was in a position to answer him now.

"He was taken from his home, that's not in the report because M is keeping it a secret. Bond, answer me, or I will call security." R sounded worried, so James relented on that. She was worried about Q and James could understand that.

"I came to see why MI6 was so sullen, even for the night shift but when I saw him, I knew why. Where is his Dæmon?" James realised in that instant that he hadn't seen Xerces at all. Xerxes was the Dæmon's name, but everyone called him X and had before Q had become the Quartermaster.

"X is in hiding. Q yelled at him when he wouldn't stop whining. No one has found him, but then he could be anywhere in the tunnels. He has gotten adept at hiding in the tunnels." R's tone changed to sound like she was at her wit's end.

James looked at Neit and found that he was already moving away from him. R sighed, and James figured she realised that Bond wasn't leaving and wasn't going to tell her why he was there. Not fully.

"Why hasn't he been forced home?"

"Because even M doesn't have the heart to make him go someplace he is scared of. He is trying to find a Double-O that Q will stand long enough to actually go to their place. I think that maybe a retired Double-O is better than no one." R was looking at James like he solved all of her problems if all of her problems were Q related, James was willing to be the answer to them.

"I'm not retired." Now that his mission was done, everyone could know what he had really been up to when he left with Madeleine Swann. There would be hurt feelings but James only cared about one person's feelings and watching Q for a while until all of SPECTRE was mopped up would go a long way into James proving that he was not heartless and careless when it came to Q's feelings to him.

"What?" R asked.

"I left with Doctor Swann because there were a few things that didn't match up and M wanted more information."

"Why are you telling me this?" R looked very upset that James was telling him things that he shouldn't be.

"Because in a few hours, M will be sending you a hard drive with a lot of information that will be used to take down the rest of SPECTRE. M was afraid of a mole inside of MI6 still. However, I killed her two hours ago. Q was actually the one to find the trail leading to her, but M wanted to keep her in place until I was able to get the root of the issue taken care of. The interim head of SPECTRE is dead and so are many of the underlings. MI6 will just have a few of the lowest level people to take out."

"We thought that SPECTRE was imploding. We were finding dead bodies left and right but never who killed them. Q is going to be pissed." R looked at her boss like she was looking at a sick child and there was nothing that could be done to make them feel better. James figured that Q was making those feelings come out in a lot of people.

"Yes, well at this point in time I'll be thankful for any emotion from Q. What do they have him on?"

"He's unconscious at the moment. Eve drugged his tea, and we didn't know it. I've barred her from Q-Branch for the foreseeable future." R would probably do more than that, but only once Q was safely away from everything.

"Are there any other Double-Os available?" James didn't want anyone else's help getting Q to the car that would take them away from MI6. Alec would be able to help him once he got where he was going, but he didn't want to draw attention by having Alec come in and help him. R knew of the safe houses, but then most of the MI6 understood that Double-O's needed bolt holes.

"Why?"

"I was going to crash at one of Alec, and I's safe houses. I was going to see if one of the other Double-Os would help me get Q there before he wakes up. No one is going to get into the safehouse. He'll be safe, and I'll make sure that he is cared for. M has me on stand down until SPECTRE is mopped up and babysitting is at least better than nothing." James wasn't going to go into the revelation that he had while pretending with Doctor Swann. He wasn't going to go into the fact that when he had killed her two months before in Prague, he had felt nothing, but he woke up every single night for a week with nightmares after of having to watch Q die. He had only heard about the men who had tried to take Q after Blofeld had been in custody and James had started to sell the fact that he was leaving with Swann. "I also will need a vehicle of some kind that will do well on transporting Q to and from doctor's visits as the Aston Martin is not equipped for him in the state he is in."

It was the only car that James had at the moment as part of the cover for him leaving with Madeline had him selling all of his stuff like his car and his flat. Alec had put it all in a safe house for him to go into later, but a car would be hard to have sit for who knew how long.

"You still have it?"

"In one piece no less. I'm sure that Q will be thrilled." James looked at Q. The man was still asleep on the couch, and he was too still.

"009 is on premises for a mission that he's leaving for in three hours. I can delay it if needed. He will help you get Q settled in. Stacy will go to medical and get everything that Q will need for a few days."

"There was no medical report attached." James had wondered about that while reading. If M was worried about another mole inside of MI6, James could understand why M wanted Q out of the building.

R huffed and moved over to the couch. She pulled the blanket away from Q's body was covered with clothes, but from years of this kind of work, James saw the extent of the damage done to him. His entire right arm was in a cast, and the fingers of that hand were in splints.

"They left a hand intact so that he could hack for them. He was taken because of his past as hacker for hire. He never hacked governments, and after he was done having who he was paid to hack, a leak would happen and the people who hired him, if malicious was taken down. He was brought into MI6 at the age of twelve. An orphan and raised to be what he is. He didn't break and was able to actually still hack who they wanted him to hack, but it did it so that MI5 was tipped off and then a rescue was sent. The group that took him is dead. The three Double-O's that went after him made sure no one was left alive. Q's arm is broken in three places, and his fingers have a break each as well as dislocation. His legs were left alone, but he has a fracture on the arch of his left foot from being stomped on. His entire body is a mass of bruises, and his kidney function is being watched."

"He goaded them."

"Yes, and his reasoning was all logical and it allowed him to piss them off enough they didn't watch him close when he finally gave in and started to hack. When the Double-O's started to kill, Q killed the man inside the room with him and took his gun. He shot at 002 when he entered the room. Well placed to were it missed him but damaged his gun."

James had seen Q's range scores, the true ones. All of the Double-O's knew the truth as far as that went. It was easy to understand why Q masked what was on the record, that was accessible by many, and it was better to be underestimated. It had saved Q's life just days before

"PTSD?"

"He hasn't talked to Psych yet. He refuses to. Eve has tried to get him to talk and even Tanner but he's a clam. You though, you get under his skin and get him to talk when no one else can. Anything that helps him, I'll gladly do."

"Get 009, and we will get him out of here before anyone sees. How long should he be out?"

"Eve gave him a good dose so at least another four hours."

The sound of a yip made James turn his head, and he saw Neit carrying X in his mouth. The Fennec fox was trying his hardest to escape from the lizard's hold, but it wasn't working. Neit dropped X down on the floor of the office and guarded the door. X looked at James's Dæmon with a frown on his face. James had always marvelled at Q's peculiarity. Dæmons were almost always the opposite sex from their human, but for both James and Q, the Dæmons were the same sex, male. Neit barely talked so many didn't realise it at all, but X was a talker where Q wasn't as much of one, so it was easy to tell with him. X turned away from Neit and jumped up onto his human.

"Come on Xerxes, play nice," R said, but X just stared at her before curling upon Q's stomach.

"Don't worry, and I'm used to him. The last mission that I lost a piece of tech on that Q begged me to bring back, X met me at the door to MI6 and glared at me as I moved through all of the places I had to go. Medical actually let him up onto the gurney with me, and he just sat and stared. You go and get 009 while I find M and secure a car. You said you'd send Stacy to get what he needs?"

"Yes."

"Good. Let's meet back here in an hour. I want to be ready to leave by then."

"You know that M isn't going to let you go without knowing where you are taking the Quartermaster right?"

"I have more than one safehouse, R. I will sacrifice one. I might actually make it my residence for this stay in England."


Q felt that he wasn't on his couch in Q-Branch anymore. He also knew that he wasn't in medical. There were no sounds around him that helped him figure out where he was. The smell was the standard smell of a residence. He thought for a second that he was at home. That, someone, had taken him home until he realised the scent of the sheets that he was on wasn't his own. He knew the smell, but he couldn't place it with his drug-addled brain. Instead, he tried to roll over and then remembered why he was drug-addled. He felt the throbbing of his arm and foot. Xerxes whimpered at his side and Q reached out with his good hand, but instead of soft fur, Q touched scales. His eyes shot open, and he saw Neit lying there beside him. Q jerked his arm back so quickly that it hurt the rest of his body.

"Good morning," Bond said from the doorway.

Q looked over at him, realising his glasses were still on his face. He took in the casual clothes on the former agent and wondered if he was dreaming, or dead. Q closed his eyes and tried to will himself awake. Instead of that, Q felt Neit shift on the bed and Xerxes shifted, and Q could finally feel him between his legs.

"Q?" Bond questioned, and Q knew that he wasn't asleep and he was in too much pain to be dead. Q opened his eyes again and found that Bond was right there. Leaning at the bedside, his hand reached out like he was trying to figure out where to touch him not to make him hurt. The smell of the sheets came back to him. It was the same scent that all of Bond's clothing had. It had to come from his dry cleaners. Q tried to sit up but he couldn't on his own. Instead, Bond's hand slipped to his neck, the only part of him that wasn't aching and supported him as Q slid backwards to sit up. Pillows were stacked behind him until he was lying against what he felt was a cloud. Neit moved up the bed, pressed into his side still but not hurting him.

"What happened?"

"I came back to London and found you knocked out on your couch in Q-Branch. R and I talked. You are in one of Alec, and I's safe houses. Only M knows exactly where you are, other than Alec. 009 helped me get you in the car and then Alec helped get you out here. He's in one a block over. You are safe here."

"Where are my cats?" Q remembered that they had been taken to Q-Branch after the flat had been cleared that he had been taken from. Medical had allowed Eve to bring the cats to see him because he was too worried about them to calm down enough to where they could see do anything to him.

"They are in my bathroom for now. Letting them calm down from the ride. R was wrong. You were supposed to be out for at least another two hours. R told me how to acclimate them. In a little bit, I'll let them out to wander around in here with you." Bond looked to helpful, and he wasn't acting like his usual abrasive self.

Q's brain was fuzzy from the drug that Moneypenny had used to knock him out. He knew how he got to where he was, but he wasn't sure why he was at Bond's safe house. He wasn't sure why Bond was even back. Bond gently picked up Q's broken arm and laid it on a stack of pillows that Q hadn't even realised were being piled beside him. Neit's tongue slipped in and out of his mouth for a few minutes before he turned to Bond and hissed.

"I want to get some food in you before I give you the pain pills."

"Where's a gun?" Q knew that he could fire it if needed, even drug-addled, he might not be able to shoot a gun out of someone's hand, but he could injure enough to save his life.

"Under your pillow on your left side, It's your gun from your safe in the office."

"How did you get in there?"

"Q, I've known your passwords since a week after I came back after M's funeral. I don't use them unless I have to." Bond leaned forward and cupped the side of Q's face. Q just stared at him, thinking that he was in so much pain he was hallucinating. He turned his head away from Bond, but the man's hand went with him. Q could feel a tear leaking out of his eye, but he didn't want to draw attention to it. He felt Bond's thumb wipe the tear away, anyway and it just made more want to come out. Bond said nothing. "I have toast and tea ready for you."

"Not hungry." Q still didn't look at Bond.

"I know you aren't, but you need something on your tum before you stick the pain pills and the antibiotics on it." Bond sounded like he was talking to a child and it raised Q's hackles. He wanted to shove the man away, but right then he felt safer than he had since he had been taken and that was a good feeling.

Q knew that Bond was stubborn enough to keep the pills from him, so he nodded. Bond stood up and left the bedroom. Neit stayed where he was, but Xerxes jumped off the bed and followed Bond. Q kept his hands to himself. He had already touched the lizard once without meaning to. It had to have been what had drawn Bond into the room. He was shocked that Bond didn't say a single thing about it. Bond was usually a lot more concerned about people touching his Dæmon. Neit's tail swung around a lot, and to Bond, it was other people's job to not let it touch them than the Dæmon's to keep the tail to himself. Xerces was a lot different. He had bit many people over the years who tried to touch his tail.

Bond came back a few minutes later with a plate of lightly buttered toast and a carafe of something. There were two mugs on the tray that had nothing in them. There were eight pieces of toast on the plate. Bond set the tray over Q's lap. He picked up the carafe and out poured Earl Grey tea, the smell made Q's stomach actually growled. Q picked up the first cup of tea and took a sip. When he lowered the mug and found Bond holding a square of toast out. Q watched as the toast was moved closer when Q didn't make a move to take a bite.

"You are not feeding me."

"You can't use your other hand to feed yourself, at least not right now and I know that you don't want to put the mug down so it's that or you have to set down the mug and take a drink and then swap. You'll get me out of your hair quicker if you just let me help you. We both know that I'll get tea all over you if I try and help you drink."

Q sighed but opened his mouth. He took a bite of the toast when he felt it brush his lips. Q didn't look at Bond as Bond fed him. Every other bite of toast, Q would sip the tea. The first mug of tea was gone in no time, and as soon as Q set the cup down, Bond was filing it and topping off his own. Q focused on that. Bond kept his mug in his hand and took small sips of tea between bites from the same toast that he was feeding Q. Q watched Bond more with the next two pieces of toast.

Before Q knew it, all eight pieces of toast were done with Bond only eating about two of them. Q felt full and sated. He closed his eyes a little and leaned back. Looking at Bond through his eyelashes.

"Why are you here?" Q asked.

Bond didn't answer at first. First, he picked up a huge medicine dispenser. It was broke down into seven days and four different sections through those days. Bond opened the area for morning and pulled out five pills of various colours.

"Stacy went to medical and got these herself. She read over the results of the tests and doled out what you needed for three weeks from unopened bottles. No one is trusting anyone. R and Stacy have Q-Branch on lockdown. That code you implemented to record every single damned keystroke inside of MI6. No one but me and M knows about that."

"Why do you know it? Why am I here?"

"R said that you and the rest of Q-Branch thought that SPECTRE was imploding. Each cell trying to win the right to control the rest and wiping each other out. It was me. I went with Swann because there were a few things that didn't fit."

"And?"

"She's dead. Two months ago in Prague when she allowed two men into the suite that we were sharing. I had just had sex with her, and when I was post-coital and supposedly asleep, she got up and went to get wine. When she came back into the bedroom with the glass, there were two men behind her with knives. I shot both of them before they could even think of attacking me. She screamed and dropped her wine glass and tried to act like she had been forced to let them in. I killed her and used a contact of mine to make it look like she had been killed after they broke into the suite. I moved on and worked on the next cell of SPECTRE with the information that was found in the room the two men were staying in."

"You never quit."

"No, I didn't. M and I talked in the aftermath of that night, and we agreed that I needed it to look like I had left. There was a reason that those men went after you on the ski lift, Walmond." Bond looked up at Q after pouring the last of the tea between their mugs. He lifted up Q's mug and wrapped Q's unresisting fingers around it. "They went after her to silence her, and they went after you to control me."

"Don't," Q whispered.

"I brought the Aston Martin back. It's parked in my spot inside of MI6. I saw the look of devastation on your face when I left with it. I pushed it aside, and I did my job, Q. Because that's what needed to be done."

Q swallowed and looked away from Bond. He didn't need this. He had his limit on shit in his life at the moment. It seemed that Bond understood that because he lifted the tray but left Q's mug in his hand. Bond got up with no more words spoken. He left the room but didn't shut the door. Q debated trying to get up to shut it when he saw the shadow in the door again. Bond stepped back into the room and opened the bathroom door. The sound of his two cats coming running had Xerxes scrambling to settle on Neit's back. Ozma and Mombi jumped up onto the bed, being gentle as they sniffed at what they could reach of Q's body. He felt gentle, but rough feeling licks over the tips of his fingers of his damaged hand.

"Come here, Mombi," Q said, looking away from Xerxes and Neit. Q didn't like how close the two Dæmons were. Xerxes had never cared for anyone, especially the Dæmons of the men and women that Q had sex with. Xerxes was known for never going around his lovers or their Dæmons at all. Including hiding in the spare bedroom of Q's flat when anyone was there.

"Such a pretty girl."

Ozma walked to the end of the bed and meowed at Bond. Bond shut the bedroom door and stepped forward to pet her. Q had found females at the rescue house that he went to when he wanted cats. He and Xerxes were both males, and he felt that a female influence, even female cats were better than an all-male household.

Q realised that Bond wasn't dressed like he usually was. He was in a pair of jeans that looked very worn. Q figured that if touched them, they would be soft. He was also wearing a black cardigan that looked like it was more expensive than Q's entire outfit when he wasn't in pyjamas. Q couldn't tell what he was wearing underneath of that.

"M will want you to talk to psych."

"No, he won't," Q said. Q knew precisely what M would be happy with and it was a Q who could work, and it would be weeks before that happened. By the time that medical cleaned Q to come back, he would have worked through what was wrong with him from being kidnapped from home.

Bond settled down on the edge of the bed, and Ozma crawled into his lap.

"Why not?"

"I failed my entrance psych exam on purpose. Three times. Psych wants nothing to do with me."

"Failed the entrance exams and yet here you are?" Bond asked.

"M wanted me, and so she brought in an outside counsel of sorts. I wasn't able to fail it that time."

"Someone smarter than you?" Bond asked with a smirk on his lips.

"Not so much that as trained to deal with people of my intelligence. However, it did what I wanted. Psych doesn't come around me anymore. They send memos to Tanner when something comes up with one of my people. M has been looking for a member of psych that will be able to handle the people that I am hiring and me."

"So you were being obstinate just to get a better doctor in psych?"

"The people that I hire are delicate in mental bits and the way that psych has been trained to deal with Double-O's and not the boffins that are in my department now. Boothroyd was good by he pulled from the military, and it's a different mindset than what the people I have in my office are."

"And you needed someone different."

"The people who oversee MI6 don't care about anything other than budgets and how we look to the public. To them, we had enough people to work in psych, so it wasn't until I started to have issues that they even consented to M bringing in someone else. The powers that be wanted me in place and wanted to keep me where I was so they made sure that it happened and I got someone in psych who can deal with my staff."

"You do know that most of your staff are sociopaths right?" Bond asked.

"High functioning ones. I got rid of the ones that like to watch the world burn for no reason."

"And the ones with reasons?"

"I promote. Why do you think R is where she is? She was able to keep a Double-O who had a psychotic break from escaping the tunnels."

"She is the one who killed the other 009?" Bond sounded and looked shocked.

Q yawned, the movement making his whole face hurt. Bond made a clicking noise, and Neit moved from where he was still pressed against Q's side and slid down the bed Xerces still on his back. Q closed his eyes and felt himself start to drift. Before he could open his mouth to ask Bond to help him move, he felt a hand on the back of his neck again. It was the reverse movement of what they had done before. Q looked up at Bond with bleary eyes.

Bond pulled the blankets up over Q with Ozma settling on the pillow beside Q's head and Mombi cuddling in at Q's side, opposite Neit and Xerxes.

"What did she do?"

"She talked him into staying in the room with her. R likes sex. She really likes orgasms, and people before have told her that she has an addiction to sex but really what she needs is that time after orgasm when her mind isn't racing at all. It's the only time that her mind is quiet. So she talked him into sex. He fucked her over the table and then when he was slumped over her, still balls deep inside of her after orgasm, she gave him a drug that she had been carrying on herself to give to 003 for that mission before 009 had the psychotic break. She injected him, and he died before anyone could get to them after she called me."

"I knew that I loved her for a reason. I'm sure that even your little pet person in psych had a time with that."

"Eh, 002 and 5 took her out for drinks after and made her explain it all. Before that 009 was the best fuck of all of the Double-O's that have allowed themselves to sleep around with MI6 staff."

"And those who don't?"

"You. We all hear what you do to the men and women that you seduce for Queen and Country." Q smiled at Bond, reaching his good hand up to touch Bond's face. Bond snagged that hand just as it brushed his cheek.

"Sleep, Q and I'll be here when you wake up."

Q tried to stay awake to ask Bond to stay right where he was or to get into bed with him, but there was no room, not with Neit taking up almost half of the bed on his own and then the cats. Xerxes seemed to be happy to stay right on Neit and Q hated it because he wanted to be able to do that, but instead, he had to be normal. He had to be proper.

Opening his mouth to say something, Q exhaled, and he felt that air bounce back at him. He opened his eyes to see Bond right there. Bond's hand cupped the side of Q's face, gentle and easy, not pushing on a bruise at all. His thumb brushed against Q's cheek.

"I'll be right here for you, Walmond."

Q lost the ability to stay awake with the drugs that were in his system. He knew that sleep was what he needed but not like this. He didn't want it like this, not with Bond right there and touching him.


Bond heard Q snoring, and he looked at the tablet that was set up in the middle of the kitchen. He could see that M was still waiting for him, but when Q had stopped snoring, Bond had got worried. Checking on Q was quick, but James had stayed to look at him.

"Sorry, Sir. The drugs that medical gave him makes him very sleepy very quickly. Within a half of an hour of taking them, he's out like a light, and he stopped snoring."

"I'm shocked that he's taking them. When he fell and broke his arm, it took forever for Eve to even get him to medical and he refused anything more than paracetamol."

"Yes well, I think that he knows that he's going to be in too much pain to not take them. Neit is with him and hasn't left the bed, I've never seen my Dæmon that still unless I'm injured."

"R and Stacy have been going over the logs, and it seems that someone is hijacking consoles to try and find where Q has gone, so there is another mole inside of MI6. This tablet is secure and only works with that one there. Q made these after the whole C debacle. Nine Eyes was created once, and it could be again."

"Nothing in the files states how you knew where Q was."

"After Nine Eyes, Q decided that trying another form of Smart Blood was a good idea. It was still in the early stages, but Q had injected himself with it. The thing is that it works once. Q was smart as hell with it. Me turning it on meant that he would need to be dosed with it again and with is injuries I wasn't having it done until he was healed. There is no way to trace him now. Even these tablets can't be traced." M looked really upset. He sighed and picked up a tumbler that looked rather fuller than it usually was when he drank in the office. "The PM is pissed because before we were able to keep it down to Denbigh being the only bad apple but now there is a witch hunt going on, and I'm going to be leading it. MI6 has not had authority like this within England's borders since the war. I don't want to have to worry that you are going to go off half-cocked, 007."

"I'm here until Q is better. He was taken because of me. I found out while I was in Prague that he was almost snatched before and he did not report that to you."

"What?"

"When he came after me just before SPECTRE tried to snag Swann. Two thugs tried to take him. He hid from them and got away, but it was a near miss. They had him as a priority one target, but Q never leaves London. Hell, he rarely leaves here. They mounted an all-out assault on Q's flat and they did get him, but they didn't keep him. I'll keep him safe."

"You had better. I'll keep MI6 functioning while he is gone and R will keep Q-Branch on track. I'll check in at this time daily. Do be careful about the food."

"Alec is getting it all. He's keeping a close eye from a distance and even went to the other side of London to get the damned tea that Q prefers. Stacy made sure that I understood that Q is addicted to caffeine and if he's awake for long at all without it he's going to get a headache. With all of his other injuries, I agreed that a headache was not needed. I know that he prefers his tea hot, but I have a pitcher of the cheaper Earl Grey in the fridge so that he can drink some to take his medicine while I get some hot tea of a temperature that he can drink."

"I do not envy you this, Bond. Especially after everything you've gone through in the months since you chose not to kill Blofeld."

James didn't say anything, and after a moment of silence, M was gone from the screen. James shut the tablet off, not wanting a shock of M watching what he was doing. Q was snoring again thankfully, so James settled in with a book that Alec had grabbed for him with the first food delivery. Instead of the couch facing the front door like it usually did in the flat, James had turned it to where if he sat on one end he could look at the front door and the other where he could look at the bedroom that Q was in.

Neit wasn't going to leave Q's side, and James knew it. The stupid Komodo dragon had been the one weakness in all of this. He refused to get friendly with Madeleine and hated anyone else, but as soon as James had laid Q down on the bed, Neit had found his way up to cuddle with him. Neit never listened to James even when doing what James said meant that everything would be easier in the end. Neit was sometimes the best and the worst of James.

It was hours before Q shifted on the bed and James was up light a shot off the couch to get to the young man. Q moaned and not in pain but in fear. James sat down, so he was facing Q and reached up to thread his fingers through Q's hair. He had seen R do it once before when Q had stayed for three days to work on a mission that had gone tits up before 005 had even landed in Paraguay. Q settled down comfortably and seemed to fall fully asleep again, but as soon as James lifted his hand, Q's eyes started to move under his eyelids.

James walked as fast as he dared to grab his book before walking back just as fast to the bedroom. He sat down on the bed with his back to the headboard and his legs stretched out in front of him. Q started to move, and James tried to stop him, James knew that moving hurt but Q wouldn't be stopped until he was on his stomach with his arm thrown over James's legs. There was no way that it felt good but Q's face evened out, and while the snoring stopped, his breathing was the deep breathing of sleep. James marvelled at that ability to lay like that even though it has to hurt.

Opening up his book, James started to read, letting his fingers walk through Q's hair and James hoped that it helped to keep Q asleep because he needed sleep. He needed to let his body relax and start to heal. It would be hard to keep Q asleep for long stretches but if James had to go to the bookstore and buy every single book that sounded like it would be interesting and settle in bed like he was to make sure that Q got the sleep he would. James had done all of this, the missions and the killing to make sure that Q was safe after he was targeted, but it seemed that he had still failed him. James would make up for that. However, Q would let him.


Q tried to figure out why he felt like a giant bruise before he opened his eyes. There was a subtle sound of the turning of a book page, and then he felt a hand in his hair again. The hand didn't stop moving, massaging his head. Q loved that even if it didn't make his body feel that much better.

The memory of what happened came back slowly, and Q knew where he was and who he was with, and the hand in his hair made no sense to Q. Why the hell was James Bond cuddling in bed with Q while reading a book. The warmth under Q's cheek told him that he was laying with his head on Bond's leg and that made even less sense than anything else.

Another page turned and then the hand, when it came back, landed on Q's upper back, rubbing slightly there. It felt too damned good, and Q let out a moan at the feel of it. The hand stilled for barely a second before it moved again. It swept up Q's neck and settled at the base of his skull and squeezed there.

"How are you feeling?"

"Like I lost against a car and confused. Very confused."

"Hmmm." Bond's voice sounded amused, and Q wanted to push himself up to slap the man, but he knew that it was impossible. He settled for just laying there with the warmth all around him. He tried to move some, but his body protested. Q could list off his injuries, and he knew that he needed to be very careful about everything that he did just in case he hurt himself worse. He had not wanted to stay in Medical and really Medical didn't want him there because he was paranoid on the best of days and last time that he had been in there he had made it so that no one could get into his room without him letting them in. It made their lives horrible while he was in their care.

This time Q would have been worse, and his minions would have done anything to make him feel happy, for him to feel safe. There probably would have been several Double-O's in on it as well. Hell, he was sure that at least several Double-O's were looking for him. Q had no clue who knew about this safe house and who was looking for him.

"Where are the rest of the Double-Os?" Q asked.

"I am unsure, but I know that many are out hunting down leads on the people who took you to make sure that none are left inside of London. Alec is close by if I need him, but no one knows about this place. M's leaving us alone for now and is content to leave you in my care."

"Your care...you say that like it's a good thing."

"I will be a good nursemaid. I have your list of medicine as well what you are allowed to do and not to do. I was briefed on everything to do with your care, Q."

"Why am I so warm?"

"Neit is pressed into your body and X is on top of your back."

Bond started to run his fingers through Q's hair again. Q wanted to protest but Neit's warmth was too much, and he felt sleep pulling him under.

The next time that Q woke it as to the smell of food. On a TV tray beside the bed, Q could make out the shape of a cup, and he reached for it. Instead of on his stomach, Q was on his side. The cup held Earl Grey tea and Q took a sip before even testing the temp, the mug was really warm, but the tea inside was the perfect drinking temperature.

"Good thing that I made sure it wasn't too warm," Bond said.

Q finished draining the entire mug before he looked up at Bond. Bond had two mugs in his hand. Q held out his hand for one of them.

"Nope. Not until you eat. Your glasses are on the nightstand."

Q found his glasses and put them on before glaring at Bond.

"Bond, give me the tea," Q demanded. Bond just grinned at him. Q frowned and waved his hand. He wasn't above pouting at the man to get his tea. Bond just stood there before taking a sip of one of the mugs. "That's unfair. You have a drink, and I don't."

"You have a drink, it's called orange juice, and it goes lovely with breakfast." Bond set the second mug on the dresser that was by the door before he set down his cup of coffee, black, on the nightstand. He moved the tray with food away from the bed and sat down. "I'll help you up."

Q frowned at James before sticking his lip out in a pout. He really wanted more damned tea. Q pushed himself up to where he was leaning on his good arm and stuck his lip out more. Bond reached out with his hand and snagged Q's chin. Q didn't know what the look in the man's eye was as he stared at Q's face. Bond's thumb brushed over Q's pouty lip before he stood up. Bond said nothing as he helped Q to sit up and settle in a pile of pillows. Q watched Neit move around on the bed and then drape himself over Q's legs like a heavy blanket. Q forced himself to look away from him.

"Most people would have asked a million questions on the way that Neit is acting," Bond said as he settled the tray of food over Q's lap. There was a lot of food on it. More than Q would eat. Q swallowed as he realised that there were two sets of silverware. Bond planned on eating with him. Q reached out for a fork to snag a tomato, but Bond's hand got there first.

"I believe it's torture to put food in front of a person and then deny them the ability to eat."

"You worry about your juice."

"You are no feeding me."

"Q your hand is shaking."

Q looked at his hand and saw that it was. He drew it back and buried it in his lap. Bond started to cut up the tomatoes on the tray and even broke the bacon in half pieces. Q did as Bond said and focused on his juice, it was hard to even lift that without spilling it. As food settled into Q's stomach, he realised that his hand was shaking less and less. Bond handed over a piece of toast that had an egg on it. Q took it and started to munch on that while Bond focused on eating his eggs. Q always ate his eggs and toast like he was.

When there was nothing but the runny centre left, Q popped it all into his mouth. He moaned as the runny yolk burst over his tongue. Q liked food, but he loved breakfast most of all. It was the only meal that he cooked for himself daily. Toast, tea, eggs, and bacon or sausage was what he usually made. The second piece of egg ladened toast appeared in front of him. Q took it without question, but as he took a bite, he remembered that he had never eaten breakfast like this ni MI6. If he worked all night it was a breakfast burrito from the café down the road and Eve usually made a run for whoever was working.

Q looked up at Bond to see him staring at Q. Q looked down at Neit and then back at Bond. There were a lot of questions in Q's mind at that moment.

"You've been stalking me."

"Stalking is such a harsh term. I saw you out one Sunday morning. I had been unable to sleep, so I had started to just walk around the city. You arrived at a little diner around seven. I was across the street reading the morning paper when I watched you sit down. I came back the next Sunday at the same time, and there you were. You order the same thing every time and eat it in the same order. The only thing I am doing different is withholding the second cup of tea until you have finished your juice."

"Why?"

Bond gave Q a look that said that Q as acting a little stupid. Q took a breath, but it was knocked out of him when he felt something over his bond with X. Q looked around for his Dæmon and found him sitting in Bond's lap, curled up like he was sleep, but his eyes were open. Bond was petting him. Q had felt others touching Xerces before, and it always felt so wrong, like someone was dancing on his grave or had stuck his hand in a light socket. This felt nothing like that. It felt good. It felt too good, Q swallowed and looked at Neit. Bond was always going on about how his Dæmon never listened to him and did what he wanted. Everyone in MI6 called it payback. However, at the moment Q wondered how much of that was true. He wondered how much of it was Neit acting out Bond's deepest wants. Like the time that Neit had bit one of the staffers in M's office. Turned out he was a traitor.

Q set his toast and egg down before leaning down to brush at Neit's tail. Q watched Bond out of the corner of his eyes. Bond's eyes closed in pleasure, and his face became softer. Q leaned back up and started to eat again. Bond said nothing and do nothing more than hand Q another piece of toast this time with a lot of butter on it. When Q had finished that off, Bond handed over the tea and a collection of pills. Q used the last of the juice to take the pills before he drank the tea.

Bond cleared away the breakfast tray and left the room with no words spoken. Q felt like his skin was too tight for his body as he sat there and looked at Neit. Xerces had followed Bond into the living room area of the flat they were in. Q wanted to get up and follow him but was afraid of hurting himself. He didn't feel steady, and his foot throbbed. The majority of the issues with his body were in the upper half, but his brain was scrambled with the pills that he was on and Bond's own actions.

Q couldn't help the pain that flared in his mind remembering Bond leaving with Swann. Bond taking the car and nothing. Q had been seriously heartbroken when Bond had gone without looking back. Now Bond was there and telling Q that he had been almost kidnapped months ago to control Bond and this last time was by someone who wanted to use Q to lure Bond in, but Q had got himself out. Q had never let himself think it was because they knew something that he didn't.

The thought that never crossed Q's mind that Bond could ever have feelings of any kind for him. Bond flirted with him, but Bond flirted with R and even Eve and on very memorable time Tanner. Tanner had not known what to do. Q wondered how he had never realised it. Q knew that he was classified as beautiful where Bond was handsome. Q had never tried to find a romantic partner, settling for a quick tumble when he wanted something other than his hand and his dildo.

Bond came back into the room with another cup of tea in his hand and he handed it over to Q. Bond sat down on the edge of the bed again. Q kept his eyes on him as he took a sip. He only took his eyes off of him to look at the clock on the wall to see that it was just after ten. A little late for breakfast but Q didn't care. He knew that once his pills started to take effect, he would be asleep. He felt safe doing it with just Bond around. He had always felt safe in Bond's hands. Even when Bond was covered in blood or half beat to hell. He trusted Bond to save him every single time.

Q was startled out of his thoughts with a hand on his face. Bond cupped the side of it for a few seconds and then brushed the hair back from his forehead to place a kiss there. Q gasped as more were placed down the side of his face. Bond did not kiss Q's lips. Bond pulled back to look at Q.

"I'm happy of this chance to take care of you, Walmond. I want you to know that, and I want you to be honest with me in all of this. Do you want me this way?"

"Yes," Q said before he could help himself.

Bond brushed his lips over Q's in such a careful fashion that Q thought his heart was going to break.

"Good."

Bond helped Q lay back down on the bed as he started to yawn. Q watched as Bond changed out of the street clothes that he was wearing and into a pair of pyjama pants before he slipped into the bed with Q, covering them both up. Bond helped Q roll onto his side again before tucking himself there in front of him.

"Bond," Q started.

"Call me James."

"James, I don't...I don't know how to..."

"Shush," James said. He pressed a kiss to Q's forehead.

"Sleep. We can talk when you are more awake. I'm here, and I'll be here for as long as you want me."

"Forever," Q whispered as he let sleep claim him, safe in James's arms.

The End