"So shall we watch the new Jo-" Tanner was asking Q, only to be quickly and efficiently shut down by said quartermaster.
"Ah 007, what can I do for you? We'll talk about it later ok Bill?"
Bond watched Tanner walk out before lazily turning to Q.
"I wasn't interrupting anything?"
"Oh nothing important, Bill and I just get together for a movie night sometimes"
"You would hate it!" Q blurted out. "Sorry" he apologised to Bond's raised brow. "It's Shakespeare and opera mostly"
"I did go to Eton, but I suppose you're right; I get enough culture on missions... I'd rather watch a documentary on my downtime" Bond archly replied.
"Jolly good" Q giggled "Keep on being you 007"
Seeing as Bond was often out of the country, and Q was rarely seen out of his branch and Tanner being the chief of staff, was almost permanently run off his feet; it was nothing short of a miracle when they all managed to get together for a night at the pub, as they had tonight.
"There is actually some surplus budget this year" Q announced almost wide eyed.
Bond got the impression that Villiers, who always looked guilty and nervous when he wasn't with M, was taking a mental note on the fact. Possibly so M could claw the spare back.
Tanner laughed "What gadget do you want to wheedle out of Q branch Bond?"
"Don't say an exploding pen please! Something fun but useful- I mean who even carries a pen with them anymore?!" Q asked.
Despite the question being aimed at him, Q and Tanner discussed it exclusively amongst themselves in animated tones.
Bond had the distinct feeling that he was out of the loop on some inside joke so settled for talking to Villiers about his holiday plans and watching Q's many drinks disappear.
He kept an ear open though, unable to switch off his spy training and in truth not wanting to, so he caught something about voice controlled cars and exploding aniseed balls.
"Something to do with an umbrella" Q turned to Bond, gaze ever so slightly unfocused.
"I'd rather get wet, I like my hands free" Bond winked with a smirk.
"I don't think I've even seen you in a jacket. Would it kill you to wear a parka?" Q added.
"We aren't all mods Q, and FYI, I have a wool coat"
"Eww, wet wool" Q dramatically shivered, almost sending his glass flying and making everyone laugh.
"It really is incredible how you can be quite drunk and yet not slurring your words...why if I was a spy I might think you had trained yourself so you can still sound professional, should you get an unexpected phone call from your superiors..." Bond pointed out, half jesting and half awestruck.
"Jealousy is a good look on you Bond" Q preened.
"Well I wish you would teach me" Tanner said, while Villiers looked even more like a nervous intern.
"I don't think it would work for me, M could tell, I just know she would"
There was an awkward silence for a beat or three until Q told everyone in ear shot that he really needed a piss.
When he returned he stared stupidly at the table that now only contained Bond, before asking what he had missed.
"A woman tried to arrange a date with Tanner so he took it as his cue to leave, naturally Villiers followed" Bond dutifully filled him in.
"Good for him, though I imagine he politely turned her down?"
"Of course, bit daft really as she was most likely married herself" Bond scoffed.
Q did his best to give him a disapproving stare, which is harder than it looks in a state of intoxication.
Suddenly Bond was treated to a muted auditory version of hell by some tune to a song he had never heard of, and Q did the fumbling millennial dance of 'where-the-fuck-did-i-put-my-phone?' before relaxing as a) he found it and b) it wasn't his phone that was ringing.
"Bill left his phone, better answer it, seeing as it's his wife"
"Why do you and Tanner have the same ring tone?" Bond asked, more than a little confused.
"Hello Cynthia. Yes it's me, silly sod forgot his phone. Um, he left about five minutes ago so he should be home soon, ask him to swing by mine tomorrow and get his mobile would you? Thanks... what's that? Am I free next weekend for your secret anniversary party? Most likely yes. Bring that horrid double 0 agent that Bill is fond of? I suppose I can yes, I'll try anyway. That's alright, no of course I won't say anything. Night Cynthia"
"The not drunk voice comes in handy for more than just the boss, no wonder Tanner wants you to teach him" Bond said, a hint of admiration in his voice before his expression changed. "Wait, did she really call me horrid?!"
"You and I don't have to worry about that do we Bond? No one to nag us, ask where we are... no one to worry about us, no one waiting for us when we finally make it home... god I'm so alone!" Q wailed. "You know some people think you are like a cat, but more specifically you're like a snow leopard; strongly built but agile, and solitary..." He added shrewdly.
"And I think it's time I got you home"
"I bet you think, that I think, that you think, you shouldn't know where I live"
"I have absolutely no idea what you mean, but I do in fact know where you live, so up you get" Bond said amused. He slung one of Q's arms around his shoulders then hoisted him up with an arm round a ridiculously slim waist.
The taxi ride was silent and uneventful for the most part, except for the moment when Q gave a gasp and clutched Bond's hand. When he gave him an enquiring look he blushed and withdrew with a muttered 'sorry'
Bond manhandled Q into a chair and made tea, smiling at the hardy ferns and asperdaspras- good house plant choices for those who are rarely home to care for more fragile things. Perhaps he should get some himself and turn his stylish but impersonal apartment into a home...the kettle announcing it had completed its task roused him from his musing and he determined to find out what had happened in the cab!
"So do you feel like telling me what happened back there?" No point in beating around the bush he thought, might just as well come right out with it.
Q tried to play innocent and feign ignorance but Bond had had some experience in making people talk!
"I got scared" the younger man reluctantly admitted. "I remembered the Huawei stuff and I thought of how unsafe having a mobile phone is and how long it will take fixing every phone of everyone at 6! I can't do it Bond! I have no idea how Boothroyd got to such an old age, because I'm going to burn out soon, I just know it!"
Bond spoke gently, soothingly "Q, you already took care of that last year"
"I did?" Q asked with a frown "Yes I did didn't I? Well that makes things easier; I'll just need to upgrade and make a program to-"
"Bed Q, you can sort it out in the morning" Bond helped Q up and removed his shoes and jacket with surprisingly few protests from Q himself, who was snoring like a gulf jet as soon as his head touched the pillows.
Bond set up the sofa bed, very pleased at Q's possession of a Dormeo topper; he either didn't get round to using his bed much, or he was a very considerate host.
Bond smiled as he realised it was typical of Q to think of everything.
Before he went to sleep however, he couldn't resist the chance to snoop around...
Sorry this has taken such a long time.
Can still be either pre slash or friendship.
At first when Bond found the Johnny English box set, he was bemused, but as he uncovered an array of comedy spy movies from various countries (even that God awful Grimsby!),he became angry.
He didn't even get to enjoy the topper on the sofa bed, as he was fuming too much to sleep.
Q cracked one eye open and just as quickly shut it. Stifling a groan, he took several deep breaths before swinging his legs over the side of the bed, and making his way through his home with his eyes firmly closed.
"Urgh, my mouth feels like Chewbacca's armpit" Q grimaced.
" You're finally up then?"
"Fuck me! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" Q clutched his chest with a gasp then hissed as the light hit him.
Bond wordlessly handed him a glass of water and painkillers.
"My apologies; I just wasn't expecting-" Q stopped, brain slowly filling him in on the fact that Bond had taken him home.
"-you to have stayed. God, why did you all let me drink so much?!" He moaned, clinging to his glass like a lifeline.
"I thought I might as well, and I'm glad I did; I discovered your little secret"
Under the green tinge Q went pale "I don't know what you are talking about"
"Oh I think you do" Bond replied, holding up the first Austin Powers film. "Is this what you and Tanner really think of me?, Of the 00 agents? You have a good laugh behind our backs do you?"
Q's eyes widened in alarm, and without his glasses he looked strangely younger and older simultaneously.
"It isn't like that, I swear! We would never be so cruel, you have to believe me"
He sank into the nearest chair with a sigh, and resisted the urge to either massage his temples or hide under the table.
"I get that your job is hard, I do, but sometimes when you have an easy mission and you've had your lobster and caviar lunch, and you're sipping your Martinis by the pool, or admiring the view from your balcony; you have to admit it's pretty sweet!
Your cars and your tailored suits and paid for high stakes gambling... well it screams glamorous international espionage doesn't it?, But the reality is that it isn't like that for most of us. For Bill and me, our lives consist of board meetings and reviews and budgets and endless paperwork. It's politics and bureaucrats, and trying to justify every decision we make and every penny we spend, to enable you to do your job, to pen pushers who have no idea what it requires"
By this point he gave in and rubbed circles on his temples, not that it would help. If Bond would just leave, he could crawl back to bed...
"I can't speak for Bill, but I wouldn't take your job over mine, not really, but the spy spoofs are fun! They've just become a way for us to de-stress"
Bond lowered his eyes, embarrassed that his trust issues extended to his closest colleagues, and ashamed; both because he had never really stopped to think about what their working lives were like, and because he could think so badly of them: Bill, who had been his friend for years, and Q, who had been nothing but helpful and trusting since he had met him (perhaps too much so... but that way madness lies)
Much to his own confusion, let alone anyone else's, Bond had slowly started watching some spy comedies, and he had even invited himself to one of Q and Tanner's movie nights when he announced he had found the sequel to OSS 117 in a bargain bin in some obscure shop in France.
Naturally they were Bond's favourites; he considered them to be classy and genuinely funny. Tanner appreciated the OTT American Ness of Austin Powers, and Q loved the bumbling underdog that was Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English.
Bond had even adopted the code phrase of green earth with Q when he wanted to escape a situation.
Bond made his way to Q branch, his last chance to annoy them for awhile until his next mission.
"Ah 007, how kind of you to grace us with your presence"Q smiled at him, properly smiled.
"What are you so happy about?"
Q had the nerve to grin even more. "I was just thinking that you will be free for Tanner's anniversary party, what with the fact that you are grounded until your next mission. That and the STI"
Bond scowled in a most unflattering way "That was months ago, thanks"
"My bad. I finish early today, so we could get a gift together? Obviously I don't mean buy one together, like from the both of us, but we could go shopping together?" Q asked somewhat hopefully under the fluster.
And so Bond found himself being dragged around the high street by a techy hipster.
"They've been married five years, so that's-"
"Wood" Bond supplied with a smirk.
"Worse luck. What is one meant to gift for that?!"
Bond shrugged in an elegant way "Welsh love spoons?"
Q glared daggers at him "Sometimes I really, really hate you"
An hour before the party, Bond was back at Q's acting as his ride. He was wearing dark check trousers and a purple shirt that Bond noticed had a subtle pinstripe.
Bond found himself marvelling at the fact that expensive and designer could be so ugly. Still, it did bring out the green in his eyes...
"Do you have any hair products?" Bond dared to ask.
"Bathroom cabinet" Q told him.
An instant later and Q was staring open mouthed in the mirror.
"How did you do that?! It never looks like that when I do it..."
"Pure talent. So what should I call you? I assume they have some friends outside of 6? I can't address you as Q"
He gave him a cool, appraising look before sighing. "Will Turner, and I've heard all the pirate jokes so you can save your breath"
Cynthia, you look wonderful!" Q greeted her with a kiss on the cheek.
She smiled at him then turned to Bond. "I guess this is the legendary James Bond?"
Bond inclined his head politely "Allow me to introduce, well, myself" he inwardly cringed at such a bad line, but damn it, it was hard to be smooth with a woman who wouldn't hold out her hand to be kissed!
Q and Tanner chortled and coughed over his accidental Austin Powers impression.
"I'm so glad you chaps could make it" Bill beamed, clapping Bond on the back.
"Wouldn't miss it" Bond replied.
"Ooh, looks like the mother in law's clocked you Bond! I'll just be by the buffet table with Will"
"Give me a sign if you need rescuing" Q just had time to say before Tanner hurriedly steered him away.
Bond scoffed. As if he needed saving from an old lady! If anything it was an opportunity to change Cynthia's opinion of him...
As it turned out mummy Matilda was rather handsey, whether that was her personality flaw or a few too many, Bond wasn't sure, but he looked eagerly round for Q.
He found him standing by the fruit and cheese with a weary expression that was at odds with the happy social gathering. For a fleeting moment Bond felt that he looked as though he needed rescuing too.
He tried to get his quartermasters attention by the power of his stare, but when that failed he was forced to speak in high volume about the beauty of 'gods green earth'
"Adam's certainly rather beautiful!" Matilda cackled, helping herself to a handful of Bond's rear.
Bizarrely Q seemed to find Bond rather easy, and he was soon steering him towards the buffet table and pushing a plate in his hands.
"Being good looking is such a curse, eh Bond? You'll be sad when it's gone, trust me. I haven't been touched up since uni" Q informed him casually, as he knocked back a glass of red.
"Steady; you know you can't handle your drink Will" Bond warned .
Q coughed and spluttered in surprise, looking as embarrassed as Bond felt, to be using his name rather than his designation.
That would definitely need more time before it comfortably tripped off his tongue.
"I think it's present time" 007 muttered as Q wiped wine off his chin.
Being wood there was a lot of photo frames, ornaments for both inside and out, a nice bamboo picnic hamper, and of course, an intricate
"Welsh love spoon! From JB?" Cynthia read the tag, the uncertainty clear in her voice, until Tanner whispered in her ear and her eyes sought Bond's.
"Thank you so much. It's so sweet and thoughtful, who knew?" She laughed while Bill cringed.
"Last one. It's a big one" he laughed "And I think I know what it is too, but don't they come in pairs usually?"
Yes, there was no disguising an oar, unless one wrapped it in a box.
"You steer me in the right direction. Oh, Will, that's just marvelous" Tanner's voice was suffused with warmth as he ran his fingers over the engraving.
"Not bad for a single man eh?" Q smiled.
"Although I did think, what good is an oar without a boat?" He continued.
"You didn't?!" Tanner breathed.
"Er, no. A fortnights cruise in the Carribbean. You have lots of leave Bill, you should take it"
Cynthia squealed "He'll take it! Oh Will, this is the best gift I've ever had!"
That got disgruntled mutterings and dark glares, until Tanner declared that it was time for cake.
"I think you should get out of here, your show-off gift hasn't made you very popular" Bond tilted his head to share with the younger man.
Q frowned. "Alright so it was probably a bit over the top, but if you hadn't got that bloody perfect love spoon, I wouldn't have had to!" Q defended.
"To compete with me?" Bond pffted.
"What?, No! Not exactly. Your gift is the most beautiful, romantic, heartfelt... and I didn't have a clue what to get! I was worried the oar was a bit lame, so... the cruise was a spur of the moment decision. On reflection the oar would have been enough"
Bond snorted. "I don't think Cynthia would agree. That's the problem with drunk internet shopping"
"Bugger off Bond"
Bond laughed "Let's get out of here"
"What, the both of us? Together?"
"We've done our bit haven't we? I thought perhaps we could go back to mine and play chess?"
It was Q's turn to laugh. "I didn't realise you enjoyed being beaten"
Bond unlocked the door then toed off his shoes, leaving them in the hallway.
"You need better security, that alarm system is outdated" Q told him, following suite with his footwear. "I'm sorry it hasn't been done yet, I'll do it myself tomorrow"
"Bit beneath your pay grade, it's not your job"
"It's my job to keep you safe, at home and abroad" Q answered firmly.
While Bond struggled to think of a reply, Q swept his gaze around the place.
"This is impressive"
"Yes, it is, but you are also thinking that it is cold and impersonal"
Q blinked, taken aback "Well...it could use a painting and an air plant" he dead panned.
"Just as long as it isn't The Fighting Temeraire. Whiskey?"
"Whiskey and wine? Asking for trouble"
"Just one then" Bond smiled.
"I get it you know? You are hardly ever here so why bother" Q threw over his shoulder as he internally criticised the contents of the bookcase.
"You aren't home much either..." Bond pointed out.
"True. Which is why I like to have somewhere homey to come to...yeah, you really should try and make an effort here! Stamp your personality on it a bit.
Do you even-"
"Do I what?" Bond questioned.
Q blushed "Nothing, never mind. I'll set up the game"
Bond directed him to a small dark wood cabinet that held special, but not private things, stuff that he didn't mind other people seeing.
"Unusual set" Q commented.
"It was the old Q's"
"Really? Were the two of you friends?"
"I suppose, in a way, when I wasn't getting on his nerves" Bond smiled at the memories.
"Nice to know it isn't just me you terrorise then"
"No Will, you aren't that special"
"I never thought I was" the young quartermaster said so quietly that Bond wanted to take back what he had said.
"So what's eating you, anyway?" He opted for saying.
"I beg your pardon? What a hideous American expression! Check" Q went from offended to smug.
"You haven't won yet. I saw you looking preoccupied at the party, plus you look like you haven't been sleeping well"
Q considered the board for a mere moment "Check again" He pushed his trendy specs up and shrugged one slender shoulder.
"Got another meeting coming up about juggling the budget and where we can make cut backs"
Bond made a sympathetic noise as he planned his move.
"There are far too many micro- managing cooks spoiling the broth in head office! They want us to trim the fat, but that's where all the flab is! I've already trimmed it down to the bone- in Q branch and the double 0 department, we are at zero body fat! We're all lean muscle and hard gristle!"
Bond tried not to laugh, he really did.
"I'm sorry, but you are funny when you drink"
"Check mate. You've never taken me seriously have you Bond?
"I know it was a bit, well, odd, earlier, but I think we've known each other long enough now to be on first name terms, don't you Will?"
"Yes, I suppose. Although technically mine is classified, and you don't have quite high enough security clearance to know it..." Q teased.
Bond rolled his eyes "I'll consider myself privileged then-"
"Don't you always?" Q cut in "I get the feeling there is an apology of some sort in all this...oh, James, you do waffle when you drink" he added cheekily, with a sweet smile.
"Well yes. I was going to say, I'm sorry if I give you the impression I don't take you seriously.
I admit when I first met you I had my doubts, and then there was the rookie mistake with Silva's laptop... but you have more than proved yourself since then" Bond let that sink in before continuing.
"I have nothing but respect for you, and I trust you to have my back when I'm in the field. But that doesn't mean I can't find you amusing at times. Now then, best of three?"
"You need to work on your apologies. Maybe try writing them down first?
If you like the idea of being beaten three times in a row, then by all means" Q graciously assented.
They played in a comfortable silence, neither one feeling the need to say anything more than 'check', and Bond found himself enjoying the peaceful company, unused to it even as he was.
He kept half an eye on the game, and the other half on his young quartermaster, who it was clear was nodding off. If Bill had been there, he could have been placing bets on how long it would take...
"We should have got cake before we left. Check and mate! Again"
And there it was. The earth shaking, cats that make headlines and break records with their loud purrs, gulf jets, sonic boom, break the sound barrier, wtf snore.
In other words, no one could believe that something so small could make so much noise, Bond certainly wouldn't have had he not witnessed it for himself, and wasn't it odd that he found it more endearing then irritating?
That was a question he did not ask himself as he carried the sleeping beauty to the guest room.