“Did you know Q talks in his sleep? And replies if you prompt him?”
R looks up from her cup of tea. “Um, yes.”
“And that doesn’t worry you?” James asks.
“No, why would it?”
“Because he answers.”
“He replies to you, me and my grandparents, yeah, but only because he recognises your voice. And he won’t talk about anything classified.”
James furrows his brows, his whole face a picture of concern.
“We tested it out soon after I moved in. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to take a promotion if he couldn’t. So I’d go into his room at night with recorded voices to see if he’d respond. Then we tested it with Moneypenny and Tanner after he was made Q. He won’t answer them. And M, well, I think that was the funniest.” She grins.
“Are you going to tell me?”
R cocks her head to the side. “Umm. Somehow I think it’ll be more amusing if you ask him yourself.”
James looks mildly horrified. M knows he and Q are together but once he’d been officially -if privately- made aware it hasn’t been brought up since.
“Or you could ask Q,” she suggests, looking behind her at where he’s talking with the heads of the mechanics, and ballistics divisions of Q branch.
James falls silent, considering, and eventually shakes his head.
“No, I think I’d rather ask M; I need to talk to him anyway.”
“Okay, well, I’ll see you when you get back,” she says. Smiling as he turns and heads out of Q Branch.
This new-non-field-agent version of James is prone to more thinking and less rash decision making than he used to be. But this sometimes works to his detriment.
R is reasonably sure this is one of those times.
“Ah, 007, come in and take a seat,” M greets, once Moneypenny has shown him in.
“Thank you, M.” Being able to keep his title has helped in his transition to R&D, even if it was his choice.
“The rest of the paperwork has all come through. So it’s more than official now.”
“Very good, sir.”
“And we’re once again completely our own entity,” M says, very clearly relieved.
“Yes, I saw the memo this morning.”
M smiles wryly at him. “I keep forgetting you read them now.”
“I could stop?” James offers and M rolls his eyes fondly.
“You know Q wouldn’t let you get away with it.”
“Very true,” James concedes. Then pauses for just long enough before saying. “Speaking of Q, R advises I asked you about Q’s habit of talking in his sleep.”
M’s face goes from red to white and back to red again. He clears his throat and straightens his shirt.
“Ah. Well. I was wondering when that would come up.” He takes a deep breath and meets James’ gaze. “I trust that if this conversation should leave this room that it stays between us, Q and R.”
“So she does know.”
“Yes, R was there.” This seems to deepen M’s embarrassment, and James’ intrigue.
“Please go on, sir.”
“At first I thought he was awake....”
“Ah, there you are Q, I’d like to run a few things by you, if you have time?”
“Hm?” The mumble came from under Q’s workbench so M took it as an agreement.
“It’s just that there are a few... holes missing in some of the agents reports and I wondered if they’d hand-written them to you as punishment again? It did work remarkably well last week.”
“Reports? The weather?”
M blinked, thinking that maybe Q was speaking in some kind of code. They’ve only known each other for a month or so and he’s not used to everyone’s quirks yet.
“Are you able to help me, Q?”
“With asking out my sister? Absolutely not. She can handle herself.”
This had stunned M into silence.
“Perhaps you miss understand me, Q.” Given that he’s sure he doesn’t, in fact, know who Q’s sister is. He’s barely had time to check the basic files since he started.
There was a loud scoff. “I’ve seen the wistful way you look at her. Don’t you think it’s a tad inappropriate?”
“Q... I...I assure you that as lovely as I’m sure your sister is, she’s not-“
There was a loud burst of laughter and he turned to find R in the doorway, eyes streaming and a hand over her mouth.
“M, he’s asleep,” she tells him. “He talks nonsense if people respond to him.”
“Ah, here she is, I’ll let her tell you herself!” Q proclaims.
“Code Fenris, Q,” she says.
There’s a quiet shuffle and intake of air, then movement before a sleep-ruffled Q craws out from underneath the table. R goes to him and hands him a mug of tea. He sips it quietly, resting against the wall next to his desk.
“We haven’t been able to sleep for more than a few hours at a time since this started and with 007 out in the field there isn’t anyone to make sure Q uses a more suitable surface to sleep,” R explains, pointing to he sofa shoved into the corner of Q’s current make-shift office.
M doesn’t quite know what to say.
“So, does Q have a sister?”
R laughs again. “Legally, yes.”
“And I know her?”
R nods and Q looks up at him; a little embarrassed but also amused.
“You didn’t get time to read that particular part of our files I take it?” Q asks.
Then it clicks. R and Q. Shit.
R smiles kindly. “Always just a tiny bit of truth in the lies. Usually nonsensical.”
Q also takes pity on him. “I recited the periodic table to Moneypenny last week, Tanner got the Raven, By Edgar Allen Poe. Usually I just recite code. Nothing important. Never; too well trained for that.” He winks at R and M gets it.
They might not look that alike - although they are roughly the same height - but there’s something about them when their guards are dropped like this. They’re family.
“I’m going to make sure I read up on the reports of all those within my inner circle, aren’t I.”
Q nods. “I’d leave 007’s until last; it’s by far the longest.”
“I’ll start with the two of you,” M says, noticing how pleased R is to be counted amongst them.
“I should head back, but you don’t happen to know where the missing reports are this time?”
“Moneypenny has them. Well, she should by now, Tanner said she’s been in the Double oh office watching them write them this morning. I imagine they’ll be filed away promptly.”
“Right, well, Q, R, I’ll see you later.” And he left as quickly as he could without it looking like he was running away.
He could hear a very puzzled Q asking R what had happened whilst he was asleep and he was glad that there were no cameras in Q Branch.
James laughs almost as much as R did as M explains it to him.
“I’m glad I asked, sir.”
M raised his eyebrows. “I’m sure you are, Bond.”
“Well, sir, I won’t take up any more of your time, I should head back anyway.” He stands and goes to leave. “Should I be worried, sir?”
“About your intentions towards R?” He’s smiling as he asks, mischief sparking in his eyes.
M rolls his eyes. “No, 007, there’s no need for concern. And I believe Q was right; she can handle herself in that regard. No go on.”
Q accepts the fresh mug of earl grey from James and leans into his side.
“Everything okay upstairs?” Q asks, even though M’s office is much more than just ‘upstairs’.
“Yes, fine. You talk to me in your sleep.”
Q chuckles. “Ah, yes, I do. I was wondering when that would come up.”
“R advised I see M to hear how he found out.”
Q places his tea down and turns his whole body into James, who puts his arms around him - the lab door is closed and it’s just the two of them.
“Anything I tell you is the truth.”
“I know. I didn’t tell R, even though she confirmed it, but you didn’t talk about work. Just us.” Q places his hands on James’ back.
“What did I tell you last night?” He nuzzles James’ neck.
“That you love me,” James tells him.
“I tell you that when I’m awake too. I love you, James,” Q says.
“I love you too, Q,” James replies, wanting to tell him over and over again forever.
“If I said something that’s worrying you please tell me, I can’t explain anything if you don’t.”
“Who says you need to explain?” James kisses his temple and holds him a little tighter.
“So it wasn’t anything embarrassing?”
James shakes his head. “No, not at all.” He smiles down at the man in his arms. “Not at all.”
“How do you feel about me?”
“I love you. I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. I want to spend my life with you.”
“So if I was to ask you to marry me, what would your answer be?”
“Yes. Of course I’ll marry you.”
James closed his eyes tight against he tears and curled his body as close to Q’s as he could, his arm around his waist and over his heart whilst he slept.
He needed to buy a ring.