James squeezed his hand in a certain manner and waited. The eye tattooed in his hand changed. The iris lit up, green, artificial light beaming up from just underneath his skin. The green glow grew, illuminating the room before it focused upwards, above James’ hand. The green glow changed forms, into Q, numbers running along his body. “You just couldn’t wait until you actually needed to use it.”
“I needed to see that it worked.”
“I always test everything before I use it for my agents.”
“Everything that I am capable of.”
“How are you doing this?”
“Think of it as a mirror. It isn’t me, but it is sort of a beacon for me. You turn it on and I know that you need me. I can sort of splinter myself and work at MI6 while still being completely focused on you. Technically you don’t need to carry any other gadgets for most things anymore, because now you have me. Watch.” Q turned to James’ hotel door and a second later the lock clicked. “I can be helpful.”
“What made you do this?”
“I worry about you.” Q shrugged, sitting down, cross-legged in the center of the eye. James couldn’t feel him in his hand, but he was there, even if only in mind. “Oh, and by the way, the double-os are either annoying prats or beautiful creatures. All I’ve gotten today are questions about AIs, promises for my safety, and sexuality questions. Apparently, there’s a betting pool on it. If I have to hear the phrase ‘Turn on’ in that context I will punch them. They think they’re funny with their puns, but I really think punching them would be fun.”
“Going to give me an in so I can bet?”
“There is no answer. I do not have a body, technically, and technically the body isn’t programmed for any such responses necessary, so technically my sexuality is non-existent, I mean, physically. I think…well, at the very least physically attractions are out. Though, I suppose that’s not everything is it. Anyway, I know better than the rest of them.”
“Put some money down for me won’t you?”
“No, I stole a fiver from Alec—he’ll never notice—and placed a bet. When I win I think I’ll have you buy something for me.”
“What do you want?”
“I don’t know…I think it would just be nice to be able to buy something, even with stolen/rightfully won money. I like pillows…but I have one. Maybe some books. I like to read. OOH! If enough people bet I could buy myself video games.” Q beamed, numbers rushing faster over his skin in his excitement. “It would be so much fun.”
“I’ll pick up whatever you want, Q.”
“Thank you. Oh. I forgot to lock your door.” He glanced over at it and it clicked.
“So…are you, always in there?”
“No, only when it is turned on and you are the only person who can do that. If the eye is green, I’m here, if it isn’t I’m not…unless you have an earpiece in. I thought, this way you could have me whenever you want me or need me and I could keep you safer. Win-win. Just don’t tell anyone. The double-os will be jealous and really I don’t need to deal with that.”
“This way.” Q stated running around a corner on air. James followed him and they stood behind a door.
“Can you unlock it?”
“Can I unlock it.” Q scoffed. “Two seconds.” The lock clicked and James nodded.
“Good job, Q.” James smiled.
“Thank you.” Q looked down. “Those glasses I gave you, you’ll need to put them on.”
“Why?” James asked as he slipped them on. There were green dots scattered on them, numbers next to each one.
“Now you can see what I see. I’ve got access to cameras, but there could be more in the blind spots. Each dot is a heart, the numbers next to each one is how far away they are.”
“You are brilliant.”
“Thank you…” The green image of him disappeared, but the glow in James’ hand didn’t. Q was still with him, just not visible.
“Alright… Let’s go.”
“Did they really do that?” Tanner asked, looking at Q with wide eyes.
“Do what? I’m not very good at filling in blanks without enough data.” Q sighed, not looking up from the work on his desk.
“Yes.” Q answered. “The same would have happened to me months ago if anyone would have suspected…that I was becoming, well, me. I don’t need to be fixed, I’m not broken, I’m just…me. What I am meant to be.”
“He was screaming, he didn’t stop.”
“I can hear it sometimes…when I’m not thinking about anything in particular, call it my own personal nightmare.” Q commented. The door opened and James strode in, and put his equipment on Q’s desk.
“You are brilliant.”
“I thought you would like that.” Q grinned. “Any scratches?”
“Nope, not one.” James smiled and winked. “Can I see you tonight?”
“I would think you would know that you can technically see me at any point in time…but yes.”
“Good.” James smiled and left.
“You’ve missed him.”
“I get lonely.”
“Mm-hm.” Tanner sighed and shook his head before leaving Q behind.
James sat on the bed and Q was on the floor, leaning against James’ knee as he played Harry Potter as James read the last book to him. Q had done everything in his power to avoid everything to do with the series so that it wouldn’t be spoiled for him. The intimacy of the position didn’t even cross Q’s mind as James ran his fingers through his curls; if Q could sleep, he was sure it would be like this, James’ voice and hand petting his head.
James couldn’t stop thinking about it. Q was so damn close the air was electric…no pun intended. It was difficult to stop thinking about it, but Q…he said he didn’t have the capability to feel anything sexual…but…did that mean he couldn’t love? James doubted it. He loved his job, he loved his music, he loved games and books… Surely Q could love someone, couldn’t he?
“James? Are you alright?” Q asked. He was standing in front of James now, looking at him closely.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“You went quiet for a long time, I was worried about you. I’m the machine, remember? I’m the one who goes suddenly quiet for no reason. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, just lost in thought.”
“About Horcruxes? They are vexing.”
“Then what?” Q inquired, looking confused. James was not one for subtlety, apparently. He leaned right in and pressed a kiss to Q’s lips, gently cupping his head in his hands. Q didn’t move, an inch. That was new for James, usually he got some sort of reaction, whether good or bad. He leaned back, nervous waiting, but it seemed very much like Q had shut down.
“Q? Um…Q?” Q shifted ever so slightly, then his hand came to his lips, looking confused.
“Um…what was that?”
“A kiss, Q.”
“Okay… What was that?”
James sighed and looked down. “I… I’ve fallen in love with you.”
“I’m not even human.”
“It doesn’t matter. It never has. I think…you’ve always been a little more human than me.”
“Q, love just happens it isn’t something that can be controlled.”
“I wouldn’t be good for you, why me?”
“I told you, it just happens. And why wouldn’t you be good for me?”
“I am a machine…I am not one of your kind, I don’t understand everything, I’m only just about to turn two, and I don’t do sex, which according to your file, you do…a lot. So…technically and logically speaking I am not what would be considered a good match for you.”
“Do you always default to logic when you’re in over your head?”
“Logic is safe.”
“Q…listen, it doesn’t matter, okay? It doesn’t matter that you are an AI or that you don’t understand humanity or that you’re default setting is logic or that you don’t want sex, because there isn’t an us, now if there was an us we’d have to talk about something, but that doesn’t matter. I just…wanted you to know, okay. I wanted to know you were loved alright? You don’t have to do or say anything.”
Q stared at him blankly for such a long time that it was actually unnerving.
“Q? Did I break you?”
“Are you alright?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’m sorry for doing this, I didn’t know you would—” Q kissed him and that shut James up nicely.