Radio All Channels
“This is another call for survivors of the virus. Please head to the nearest international airport to receive shelter, sustenance and assistance in relocation. A vaccine is underway now and you will receive a dose if you are housed at one of our facilities. If you know of any surviving pods without radio access, please notify them of these instructions. An international network had been established to provide resources to all--”
Nine Months Later
Juggling several satellites had once been child’s play for him, but these days Q felt more like one of those switchboard operators from the 40’s as he tried to coordinate correspondence across the world. It was unbelievable how many countries they’d made contact with at this point, all of them having some number of resources that the rest of the surviving human population needed. All together, they were just about managing to act like civil neighbors to one another, like a millennia of wars, politics, and borders had never even happened.
Although, it seemed like losing seventy-nine percent of the world’s population could have that effect.
It was staggering to think about what was lost in the last year. How quickly everything fell apart because of something scant nanometers in size. Even with the most optimistic projections, they all showed it would be at least a few decades before any sort of normalcy was found again.
Every day around the world they were still finding small, or sometimes even large cells of survivors. All drawn in by the promise of hope that Q had been broadcasting over the radio channel frequencies for months now.
Upon their return to London, they learned all about the military and government entities that had managed to not fall apart, a long list of cities from Boston to Shanghai that had already made contact and were begging for aid. It took some clever coordination and leadership on M’s part, and a lot of communications work by Q, but they had managed to come up with a world wide plan to organize and unite themselves in order to save whatever was left.
It was quickly determined that large airports were the most secure and well known locations that could support the influx of survivors, and would allow for supplies to be delivered easily by using the runways and all the dormant planes sitting there. They became the way stations around the world to process, count, and document whoever was left before sending the people off to bases, or other established communities in their home country.
It hardly took more than a day for Q to create a registry so that anyone could check for family or friends that may have registered somewhere else. Reuniting families across borders became one of Q’s favorite things to coordinate, knowing personally how it felt to learn a loved one survived the impossible. And yes, it also served to find anyone with a needed occupation or skill, but Q preferred it for its original purpose. Bringing families back together.
Once airports had been secured and stocked by the locals, samples of James’ blood had been shipped out to Boston where a large community of doctors and scientists had survived and were ready and capable of isolating the antibodies. Within a few weeks, several more cases of bite survivors were reported and their blood added to the studies.
Creating a vaccine in such large doses took a lot more planning, but shuffling around registered survivors with relevant skills was all it took in the end to have enough people to man the manufacturing plants. It was not pretty, and the FDA would have probably had a rabid cow if they were alive to see it, but some semblance of a working vaccine was well on its way to being completed.
It wouldn’t be long now before they could inoculate people. Q could scarcely believe it was really happening after all they had been through.
There had been plenty of work for Q in the meantime. Despite his protests at being needed to bring society back to order, he felt pulled in eighty directions at once as soon as they were led into the dusty tunnels of MI6’s bunkers. He never seemed to run out of things to do, calculations to perform, satellites to shift...And even though he was exhausted almost every minute he wasn’t sleeping, it felt good to be doing something constructive.
It also helped to have James by his side for all of it.
Well, almost always by his side anyway.
Q sighed, glancing up at the wall where the clock showed it would probably be getting dark soon. From the ache he felt in his neck, it was getting close to when he would need to call it quits for the day. Staying up late was almost unheard of now, everyone rising and falling with the sun. Dark was still the most dangerous time to venture out, despite the Infected population dwindling now that humans had adapted to this new way of life and knew all the tricks for killing the monsters. It only made sense that everyone shut down for the night as soon as the sun hid behind the horizon.
Which is why Q was getting rather annoyed that James and Alec had not returned with the others yet.
Pi mewled pitifully from the floor, winding around Q’s legs and looking up at his daddy with wide unblinking eyes. Q sighed, reaching down to haul up his still massively large cat, only grown fatter thanks to all the rats in the tunnels, and began to stroke his fur.
“Oh, calm down you great beast. You’ll get fed when we all go to bed, you know how it works. Besides, what if your father brings home a special treat and you’ve already had your supper?” he cooed, his gentle tones seeming to summon Cookie over from wherever she had been napping that day. Probably on the generator again. She did love a warm bed.
He heard R snicker from the other side of the room, but Q ignored her. Nobody could judge him for talking to his cats when he knew damned well they had been spoiled worse by the remaining staff here while he was away. He was still trying to break Pi of the habit of sleeping on his unfinished blueprints.
“He’ll be back soon enough, he’s just doing another hunt with the other agents. You want to eat more than fish sometime this month, right?” he said, hoping that they did manage to find anything new to add to their bland rations. Unlike most other survivor cells, it was damned difficult to grow a large garden on the roofs, seeing as they usually got shite for sunlight here. Mostly they lived off of dried meats flown in from other places, and some veg when available. Fruit was a luxury they didn’t get often, but they managed to keep some nutritional balance off of the fishing boats work.
But most importantly, Q had a healthy stock of tea thanks to James and sometimes even Alec. It seemed to be the one thing they never struggled to find in London during their scavenging hunts.
A few voices echoed from down one of the tunnels, and Q immediately recognized the most important one in the bunch. He let himself relax a bit, knowing that James had come back again. They had to send people out at least twice a week for hunts, and James always went with them, as he was the only one who had the natural immunity tried and proven in their cell. Q of course worried something terrible would happen, but he knew James wanted to do his part to help too.
Finally, he saw his lover strut into the Q-Branch cavern, his head swiveling back and forth until it fell on Q. A shiver went down his spine, that blue gaze still sending butterflies swirling in his gut when he looked at Q like that. Like nothing else mattered.
Q quickly gave him a searching glance, frowning when he noticed James’ belt.
“Your holster is empty,” he stated blandly.
James stopped and placed a hand over his chest with a wounded look, “But my heart is full,” he replied before grinning and pulling his pack off his shoulders to start unloading his finds.
Q rolled his eyes, “Guns didn’t grow on trees before the apocalypse, James, and they certainly don’t now,” he scolded.
“And I will gladly get it back for you the moment Russell Square clears out. I doubt the Infected will bother moving it before then,” he said, smirking as he handed over a small wooden box to Q, “For you, Olive.”
It was filled with dozens of colorful cellophane wrapped candies, and Q felt his mouth water at the sight of them, “Thank you! We’ll have to hide these ones better, or else Alec will eat them all again.”
“He won’t touch them until we can have a dentist flow in to check that cavity of his,” James assured him, taking one and unwrapping it before popping it in Q’s mouth.
Flavor exploded on his tongue, anything sweet being almost overwhelming after all the repetitive foods they had to live with. Q made a mental promise to savor each and every candy. In his lap, Pi tried to paw at whatever was in his daddy’s hands, but was distracted by James scratching at that spot just under Pi’s chin that made him melt.
Cookie was weaving in and out of their father’s legs, purring loudly enough to be heard across the room.
“We also found some more bandages and medical supplies at a vet clinic down there. A few books to add to the MI6 library, and a new pair of shoes as requested by Tanner after his last pair kicked it. Literally,” James added, moving in behind Q and wrapping his arms around the slender middle, no longer concave and emaciated now that they were eating regular meals again and not running for their lives daily. “Alec found a package of gummy bears, and I warned him they would be more like hard candies by now and to not try biting them. I do hope he listened.”
“And where is Alec now?”
James smirked, “Taking his little treats to whoever he’s trying to woo into bed tonight.”
Q snorted, “Of course.”
“Speaking of wooing people into bed,” James said, his voice rumbling in his chest, “What say we make our way there too so we can properly enjoy our respective treats.”
Q raised a brow, “You found something for yourself on the run?”
“Nope, I found a treat right here,” he said smugly as he began to nibble along the lines of Q’s neck.
“Ugh, fine. Just hold off until we get back to our room. If the others see you trying to eat me they’ll think you’ve gone and relapsed or something,” he said and tugged his lover over to the Quartermaster’s office. The cats perked up and trotted over to join them, knowing that it was time to go home for the night.
Just like James had predicted, Q’s old office had been transformed into their shared nest as soon as they arrived. The desk and computers were long gone, leaving behind the couch, a small table and two chairs in the corner, a handmade cat tree, and a mattress piled high with blankets and pillows. The shelves that once held prototypes, models, and a stapler now held the small amount of personal belongings that the two of them claimed. Like books that they read on lazy nights, or the tea kettle that Q had made energy efficient enough to not draw almost nothing from the generators. In places of honor, were the hammock that had made it all the way from Rome to London on their backs, the crossbow and pink bolts, and the set of broken glasses that had long since been replaced. Just to remind them both of how far they had come.
It was small and cramped, but it was theirs.
Q didn’t realize he was still standing in the doorway, staring in on the little corner he happily called home, until he felt James ghost up behind him and lay his large hands over his shoulders.
“Alright, Olive?” he asked softly.
Q sucked in a breath and nodded, “Just thinking about how I feel impossibly happy for someone who is still in the arse end of an apocalypse.”
“We take joy where we can find it, love,” he whispered, placing a lingering kiss onto Q’s cheek.
Q looked over his shoulder at the man he defied death for him so many times, “You mean pick out the noodles?”
The laugh from James warmed him more than any fire could.