Author’s Notes: Hi everyone! Welcome to another 00Q fic! This one is inspired by the 007 Fest 2019’s MI6 Cafe prompt exchange: “Q is in a relationship but cheats on his partner with Bond.” So, yes. There will be some squicky stuff along the way with this one, but I do hope I will be able to stay true to Bond's and Q's characters and how they may face such a situation.
Thanks so much to Venstar for her great help with scenarios for this fic! I enjoyed our Slack discussion very much!
Bond had always prided himself at being an expert on human nature, but this thing with his Quartermaster quite eluded him.
Indeed, he’d not expected it to happen at all, and so when it did, it had taken him completely unawares. Before he knew it, he was in the full throes of it.
He’d fallen in love with Q.
When did it start? Mutual respect had always been there between them. The affection had come later, gradually accumulating over months of assignments and witty banter, yet Bond had only become aware of that first rush of intense emotion heralding something else during the recent stint in Croatia when Q had given him that exploding Montblanc fountain pen.
“I thought Q branch is no longer into this sort of thing,” he’d said, amused, at their briefing.
Q had merely given him a small smirk. “Generally, no,” he’d agreed. “Only this time, it’s the one thing they’ll possibly allow you to carry on your person into their meeting, and I’m not letting ego and humbug get in the way of recalling obsolete ideas when we’ve still got a use for them. Besides, the arms dealers will be on the lookout for more sophisticated weapons and will never expect it.”
Bond had looked down at the superbly crafted black and gold pen and said, as a parting tease, “Don’t expect to see this back in one piece.”
Q’s smirk had widened into a full smile. “You’re already forgiven on that account, 007,” he’d said dryly, his eyes dancing with mirth. “And good luck.”
His mission had gone smoothly, brilliantly, and everything had been as Q had predicted. The pen had worked like a charm, ridding the world of a bunch of top-grade, well-connected terrorists in a grand way impossible to accomplish with mere bullets.
He’d returned to London exultant and exclaimed to Q, “you’re a sodding genius!”
Q had flushed and merely said, pleased, “of course I am. Don’t tell me it took you this long to figure that out, 007?”
And through their laughter, Bond had gazed at that sweetly smiling face and felt for the first time in a long while that strange contraction of the heart. It had startled him enough that he’d stopped laughing abruptly for a moment or so.
Oh, fuck, he’d thought.
From then on, nothing had been the same. He’d not been able to get rid of Q from his thoughts ever since.
He would drop by Q branch when he had the time, shrugging off the stares and murmurs as his visits became more frequent without any clear reason other than to see Q and engage him in conversation.
“007, is everything alright?” Q had finally asked, and Bond thought it would be wise to curb his visits. Maybe just a bit. He could still call him though, and send him a barrage of text and email messages.
He’d stopped short of asking him out, thinking he’d best go slow when it came to his pursuit of Q. It wouldn’t do to startle the man, who could be quite fidgety and suspicious, and he was also still in the process of getting a grip on himself and this newfound feeling that went just a step beyond normal affection. He was looking forward to finding out all about his quartermaster, his likes and dislikes, and he knew it wouldn’t be easy, gleaning any sort of private information on this particular man. Also, given the sophisticated security system installed by the man himself, the last thing he wanted was Q finding out that he’d been snooping in his files. He could start with Moneypenny, of course, but not in a way that would arouse her suspicions. It would be no easy task, given that she was so astute.
Anyway, these things took time, and they had plenty of that, thought Bond confidently. There was no reason to hurry. They were not going anywhere.
They had all the time in the world.
That, Bond realized later, was his first mistake.
A month later came Q’s birthday. With the proper security clearance, that info had been easy enough to lift from Six’s database.
Bond was planning on giving him something that would serve as a wink and a smile toward the well-sacrificed Montblanc pen, and also for that one time when Q had shown up at an important meeting with Six and Whitehall officials bearing a plastic ballpoint pen with a Donald Duck clip. That had certainly drawn stares and a few raised brows down the line of distinguished government ministers and hobnobs. M had rolled his eyes briefly and looked away, embarrassed.
Bond had been the only one in the room to break into a wide smile, wondering not for the first time how these Millenials were capable of anything these days.
For his part, Q had carried on as though nothing extraordinary had happened, serenely jotting down notes with that absurd pen and presenting his report which these stuffy top dogs could not afford to dismiss.
Thus, with his gift tucked snugly into the pocket of his coat, Bond now made his way over to Moneypenny.
“Don’t you think it would be a good idea to surprise Q and take him out for a drink on his birthday?” he asked as he caught up with her.
Moneypenny turned to him and smiled. “Why, that’s a lovely idea. As it happens, we are indeed going out for drinks later,” she said. “It might be a bit of a damper showing up, though, if you’re not invited.”
“Well,” said Bond after a brief hesitation. One would have thought that he’d be invited to an event like this. Perhaps he’d missed the text message. “I suppose you can take me along with you. Let Q know in advance, of course, that I’m coming.”
“Why?” asked Moneypenny, her eyes narrowing as she contemplated Bond. “You didn’t come last year, nor the one before.”
“I didn’t even know about them,” protested Bond.
“Or maybe he purposefully left you out,” said Moneypenny with a mischievous smile. “Have you ever thought of that?”
Bond was genuinely taken aback. “Why would he do that?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said Moneypenny. “It’s not like you and Q are especially close, are you?”
“I do consider myself his friend,” said Bond shortly.
“Do you? Well. Maybe it has to do with you landing him in a spot of trouble on more than one occasion over lost equipment?” replied Moneypenny brightly.
“Come on,” said Bond. “He fully understood that those losses came in the line of duty.”
“Perhaps you really ought to just tell him that you’re coming, yeah?” said Moneypenny with the first hint of unease. “Why go through me?”
“Maybe I will. Why, what’s so particular about showing up for a couple of drinks with some friends on someone’s birthday?” prodded Bond, beginning to sense something. “Who else is going to be there, anyway?”
“Well,” said Moneypenny as she made a show of thinking hard. “For starters, there’s Q’s boyfriend.”
For a moment, time seemed to stand still.
Then, Bond blinked. “Boyfriend?”
“What do you mean, boyfriend?”
“Oh, sorry for the crass terminology, Mr. Bond,” said Moneypenny, still hell-bent on teasing him. “Perhaps ‘romantic male partner’ would be more along your alley?”
“I mean exactly that,” said Moneypenny, looking bewildered as she stared at him. “Honestly, what’s the matter with you? Q’s been seeing someone for over a year. It’s not exactly a secret, mind you. And if I’m not mistaken, Daniel is going to pop the question on him this evening. Dan asked me for advice on the ring, after all.”
It was a well-known fact that Bond was not easily fazed. It would take something truly, devilishly ingenious to blindside him, and apparently, this was one of those occasions.
“Wait,” said Bond, as though a pile of bricks had just landed on his head without warning, stunning him and making nonsense of Moneypenny’s words so that he was compelled to digest everything Moneypenny had just said, right from the beginning. “This is Q we’re talking about. He…Q has a boyfriend?”
“Oh.” Moneypenny’s eyes widened as she gazed at Bond. One look at his stricken face and her expression dissolved into belated realization and horrified dismay. And pity. “Oh, Bond, no.”
Additional Notes: I used to have a professor who did carry a pen with a Donald Duck clip visible from his breast pocket and nobody dared to raise a peep despite the many stares. The pen here will gain its significance in the next chapter. Poor Bond…
Here's the teaser for the next chapter. Writing it now and it's soooo PAINFUL!!