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"Close the door," is spoken calmly, collectedly from the man seated almost primly behind the large wooden desk on the left side of the room.

It's a large room, the walls a soft and warm cream and the floors dark hardwood, matching the furniture. It's all imported, all European style, gorgeously carved with bookshelves lining the far walls, full of books and confidential folders. There are large windows lining the opposite wall, looking out over the stunning landscape of Northern Seoul, the traffic strewn streets and the sky scrapers of the city stretching beyond.

At the desk to the left sits a man, his hair perfectly trimmed and styled back from his face as he sits and watches Junmyeon, mouth in a thin line that is neither a smile nor a frown.

"You asked to see me," Junmyeon says, stepping forward and settling his hands to rest behind him, clasped together and waiting for instruction, heels together and back straight.

"Yes," Kyungsoo says, a small smile finally pulling at his mouth, formal and entirely controlled. It's not because he's amused, or happy, but because duty requires it. "It's about your next assignment."

"And you couldn't just have Seulgi give it to me?" Junmyeon asks. His curiosity had already been tipped when Juhyun had told him Kyungsoo wanted to see him specifically. In person.

Kyungsoo, the leader of the National Intelligence Service, rarely sees them in person. While his and Junmyeon's time working together goes far back, farther than Kyungsoo's time as the Senior under Secretary and Junmyeon's distribution into solo deployment for missions, it's a rare thing that Junmyeon is ever called to Kyungsoo's office.

The last time that had happened, it was when Junmyeon was told his brother had been targeted in an effort to pull Junmyeon out of hiding and had been killed.

It hadn't been a nice meeting. Needless to say, Junmyeon is slightly apprehensive standing before Kyungsoo's finitely assembled person.

"Not this one," Kyungsoo says. Placing his fingers spread like spiders on his desktop, Kyungsoo pushes himself up from his desk with a soft exhale. "This one is a bit tricky."

"Tricky," Junmyeon repeats, wetting his lips as he tries not to squint. "Are we talking agents from the North trying to bomb the subways again or are is this Hong Kong level?"

"Neither," Kyungsoo says, standing fully now, his dark eyes fixed on Junmyeon. "I'm sending you to the UK."

"Who am I going after?"

"You're not going there to find someone," Kyungsoo continues. Looking at him closer, Junmyeon can see he looks a bit irritated, the lines of his jaw tight and his eyes dark with lack of sleep. "I've been asked by the British Secret Service to aid them in a, well, they describe it as a 'situation', which I mean to interpret as they messed up."

"Again," Junmyeon adds, remembering the last time MI6 contacted them and pulled five of their best agents. Only one of them came back, Henry, and the other three remaining stayed to deal with issues in England. "Kyungsoo, I barely can have a proper conversation with Wendy."

"You'll be fine," Kyungsoo tells him. "They'll need you to do assignments with some of theirs, so try not to argue with them over semantics this time. I imagine they'll have you working with one of the multi-linguals, so English fluency won't be a primary issue unless M is stupid enough to pair you with Bond again."

"I'll do my best to play nice," Junmyeon almost teases despite Kyungsoo's slight frown.

"You'll do your job," Kyungsoo tells him, and then turns away, dismissing him without the warmth Junmyeon and he once had. "Minseok will take you to Incheon. You're things have already been packed and the information will be briefed to you on the flight."

"Understood," Junmyeon says, nodding once and breathing out to clear his mind. Bowing sharply, Junmyeon steps back to leave.

"Although Junmyeon," Kyungsoo adds, making him pause for a last look. Kyungsoo's mouth twitches. "I suggest brushing up a bit on your English on the flight over. Good impressions and all. We wouldn't want Namjoon showing you up again."

"Of course not," Junmyeon says, offering a smile of his own and feeling a small bit of warmth as Kyungsoo's expression softens, if only just a little.

*

Namjoon meets him at the airport with a woman named Anna who looks clean cut and appropriately friendly. Just like the first time Junmyeon met Namjoon, the other man is wearing sunglasses, his now dyed gray hair slicked back on his head, long on top with sides shaved, and wearing a crisp suit. He looks almost too cool for Junmyeon's taste, the imposed aloof attitude stale on the air as he greets Junmyeon with a sideways grin and his hands in his pockets.

"You're shorter than I remembered," Namjoon tells him and Junmyeon smiles dryly, accepting his hand to shake.

"Russia took off a few inches while I was there," Junmyeon says calmly, ignoring Namjoon's raised look over his sunglasses.

Namjoon briefs him on the car ride to MI6, sitting casually in the car as Anna sits opposite, smiling and holding a briefcase on her lap as the driver ignores them, eyes on the road. Apparently, MI6 has been experiencing some issues with most of the syndicates and crime bosses in Asia, getting them to cooperate and get across borders. They know all of the agents at MI6 (Namjoon, Jackson, and all of those that had been converted to 00 agents) and MI6 has been trying to push in with their newer units, but with little success.

"Yoongi's tried a few times, but his temper doesn't bode well with them, especially since he's never been good with the South Asian Languages," Namjoon is saying, sunglasses turning over in his hands as they rest in his lap. "It'll be good to have you on board. I think Kyungsoo said you and Minseok would be headed over with us?"

"Just me," Junmyeon clarifies, feeling some of the tired slick against his teeth, making his mouth bitter. "To clean up your messes."

"That's funny, coming from you," Namjoon laughs, glancing over at him with that wide grin of his. "Didn't Soojung kick you out because of how much of a slob you are?"

"I keep my job and my personal life separate," Junmyeon says shortly. "Unlike you."

"Ouch," Namjoon scoffs, though he looks more amused than insulted. "I'll get you down to R&D, then it's up to you to get through English on your own. You can try to talk to them, but I guarantee most of the other agents would prefer to watch you suffer."

"Good to know," Junmyeon says, this time in English, and Namjoon's smile twitches.

"J is going to love you," is all he says. "And maybe the rest of R&D."

"Why's that?"

"They're all nerds," Namjoon explains. "Your kind of nerds too. Half of them still have Star Wars figurines and decals stuck on their computers and desks. You're still into that stuff, right?"

"I'm into my work," Junmyeon says curtly.

Namjoon lets out a sigh, sinking back into his seat in the car and casting Junmyeon a saddened look. "Pity, I was so looking forward to you asking if they had any lightsabers like you did when you first started. They might actually laugh here, where as I don't think any joke you told could make Changmin laugh."

"Just as long as I get what I need for the job," Junmyeon says, smiling tightly at Namjoon's relaxed form beside him. He's here for work, on assignment, not to catch up with Namjoon while one of the monitors sits and watches them in seemingly innocent smiles and sharp looks. "That's what matters to me."

Namjoon sighs again. "Still just as much fun as you used to be," he says, then settles back into his chair, falling silent for the rest of the ride to MI6 as Anna watches Junmyeon from the corner of her eye.

*

The last time Junmyeon had been inside MI6, it had been in one of the older industrial buildings, rebuild and designed for the British Secret Service and had stunning views despite being relatively unassuming from the outside. This time, Namjoon and Anna lead him underground, through dank and decrepit tunnels, smelling of stale water and old rock.

"Budget cuts?" Junmyeon asks, turning around another passageway and allowing himself a private smirk as Namjoon has to stoop to pass through one of the archways.

"Redesigning," Namjoon says, Anna walking primly ahead. There was an attack on headquarters a few months back. Blew up M's entire wing. He was not pleased."

"He?" Junmyeon repeats. The last time he'd worked with MI6, M had been a woman, diligent and terrifying.

"Maggie resigned," Namjoon says, catching the look on his face. "The previous Chairman for Intelligence and Security took over after she left. You remember Tom?"

"I wonder, does Hiddleston mind being called 'Mom' as much as Maggie did?" Junmyeon wonders aloud, turning down another passageway.

The smirk on Namjoon's face is all too familiar. "Well, you're welcome to find out when you meet him."

As it turns out, Tom, known now as 'M' among the agents, doesn't take offense as openly at being called 'Mom' to his face. Instead, he lets out that sort of disconcerting laugh with a small duck of his head before his piercing blue eyes have Junmyeon's blood running cold. "Funny," M says, before proceeding with the assignment.

Junmyeon will be working with 009, one of the agents that had converted to the double 0 agents back when Kyungsoo had sent the last batch a few years back. It's been a while since Junmyeon saw Jackson, but he assumes that the other man hasn't lost his charisma, nor his mischief if M's slightly tolerant expression is any indication. They're schedule for a plane to leave that night to Dubai, their target a rogue agent from Shanghai who had broken into the department of military services during a 'holiday' a few months back.

"You can get your things down in R&D," M says, his hands clasped gently behind him as he stands by his desk, white teeth in that easy smile. "I imagine you'll also be meeting our new Quartermaster."

"What happened to Boothroyd?" Junmyeon asks, following Anna down to R&D.

"He retired," Anna tells him with a fitting smile. "It was his time."

"You make it sound like he died," Junmyeon says. The silence that greets him in Anna's smile isn't reassuring that he's wrong.

R&D is a complete contrast to the rest of the underground fortress, the walls steel and chrome, clean and immaculate among the whirs of machines and experimental equipment. Anna leads Junmyeon into the center of the room towards a large table strewn with devices in varying states of completion. Standing by the table are a few assistants, 'minions' as Bond calls them. Bond is also there, arguing with a man in a white coat who looks barely older than Sehun, Kyungsoo's paige.

"After 007 leaves, you may speak with him," Anna tells Junmyeon cleanly before turning and leaving, walking away without a word.

'Him' is what Junmyeon assumes is the new Quartermaster, though he looks far too young to be in charge of R&D. In fact, he looks barely out of college.

Perhaps a prodigy.

Bond, as classy as ever, steps away from the young man in spectacles with a sort of irritated temperament about him, passing Junmyeon with barely a second glance as he mutters about 'new tech' and 'pajamas'. Whatever it is, Junmyeon feels no need to interfere with him. 007 has never had a specifically good reputation with the international agents sent in, and Junmyeon's heard enough stories from Namjoon or through Minseok to last him a lifetime not to mention from the female interns sent over here or who have dealt with him when he ends up in Korea.

"You must be the new Kim," calls the man in the white coat. He's standing near the table, fiddling with a few machines with his gaze downcast, barely paying him mind.

"And you the new Quartermaster," Junmyeon says, stepping up with a small bow.

"Just Q," the man, Q, says, and he glances up. A small tug to the corner of his lips nearly suggests a smile. "And before you ask, no you shan't be receiving any exploding pens."

"I wouldn't see the purpose of one," Junmyeon almost wants to laugh. "Was that what had 007 looking so frustrated?"

"Poor man still refuses to recognize the advantages of a smartphone," Q says, looking up in the direction Bond had just left before his eyes slip to Junmyeon. "I don't have much for you."

"I'll take what you can offer me," Junmyeon says politely. If there's one thing he learned from the last time he was here, it was to get on the good side of R&D. In only the few months he'd last worked for them, he'd brought back everything they'd given him in one piece. At least the last Q had seemed to appreciate it, and the assistants certainly did.

"Intriguing," Q says, his mouth still quirked as he steps back.

For the mission, Junmyeon receives a genetically programmed pistol, a tracking device in a ring, and electromagnetic scramblers fixed into cufflinks. Q seems least proud of those and Junmyeon has the distinct impression they were mostly the work of Tom and his enthusiasm towards male fashion.

*

Jackson is just as enthused as ever, giving Junmyeon an unnecessary hug when he sees him in the airport after Anna drops him off. Then it's just them actually doing the mission, which sees Jackson being, well, himself, right up until they have to work when he shifts into the professionalism that makes him a world class assassin.

It's a fast mission, easy and clean, where Junmyeon and Jackson find their target fairly simply and eliminate him, procuring the stolen intel that he'd been intending to sell to a high buyer in Dubai. From there, a different agent takes over, a handsome man with a stunning smile telling them to head home.

With all of his tech intact, Junmyeon returns to R&D and receives no more than a glance at his returned items before being sent out with another agent and a new mission, new tech included.

The new agent is one of England's, a new double 0 by the name of Moseley. He's handsome, charming, and seems to be intensely competitive with 006 agent Ben Barnes and spends half the flight to La Palma bitching to Junmyeon about him.

Moseley is cocky, less than polite about Junmyeon's still shaky English at times and his momentary lapses in comprehension. By the time they get to the volcanic ring of islands off the coast of Africa, Junmyeon is more than ready for him to slip away and 'enjoy' himself before their task at nightfall. It goes as planned, where Moseley returns and they shut down the head of crime on the island that had been trying to detonate a device inside the island's volcano to wipe out the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Of course, it doesn't go without issue, Junmyeon nearly thrown into the magma at one point and Moselely almost losing an ear during a knife fight.

It could have been worse, and it is with a thin mouth that Junmyeon returns to MI6 to return all of his equipment save for his pistol. It earns him a look as he apologizes for losing the equipment, just a look. Tom grants him a few weeks of recovery leave to attend to the bruised vertebrae in his back from when he'd been flung against a steel pole.

"I should have warned you about Moseley," Namjoon says when he stops by. "He's a bit of a-"

"Prick," Junmyeon finishes, grimacing as the medic with him tests at the damage to his back. "I believe that's the correct term."

Namjoon simply grins.

*

The first time they had come here, Junmyeon had been dragged out with Namjoon and the rest of the British to partake in a proper gentleman's evening. It meant liquor. Liquor, women, and smoke blown from cigars that had Junmyeon wishing he was back home, in Korea, with the burn of soju on the back of his throat.

It had been that night that Junmyeon found the only reason Namjoon drank dry martinis was because 'it fit the job description' and that he and Jackson had a questionable relationship with tequila. Yoongi is a new addition this evening, a young man Junmyeon hadn't met the last time he was here aside from briefly. While his English isn't as strong as Junmyeon's, his weaponry and field work is just as strong, if not more so.

Tonight is their night, Anna, Emma, and Wendy dragging a few of the other members of MI6 to the bar with them for some proper drinks. They're pleasant, Anna far more humorous than Junmyeon initially suspected, she and J, or 'Jae', from R&D genuinely joking at the bar (though that's mostly Jae) as the others stew about their drinks.

"So what do you think of it?" Jackson is asking Junmyeon. "The whole thing."

"It's fine," Junmyeon sighs, sitting back and letting his eyes linger on his vodka. He's never been one for martinis like Namjoon, preferring the straight liquor. Tasteless, and undetectable on the breath. "Though the food could use improvement."

"Aside from the food," Jae swings in. So far, Namjoon had been right, and though Q had been less than interactive, only casting Junmyeon what could be confused as curious glances, Jae had taken an immediate liking to him. "What about the rest? You been around yet? Seen the sights? The smells? The wonders to behold?"

"I've been a bit busy," Junmyeon tells him, though his mouth tugs in a smile. There's something about Jae that makes it hard to dislike him, even if he is a bit... different.

"You should go explore while you're here," Jae says, smile already bright. "I could show you around. Or one of the other minions."

"Don't call us that," Wendy calls over, her pretty eyes narrowed.

"I just say what we are, and what Q actually believes," Jae calls, fingers tapping over the bar-top idly as he smiles.

"Q doesn't actually-"

"Fondly," Jae amends. "We're his beloved minions. He'd be lost without us, and he knows it. He's fond, just, you know, struggles how to show that along with every other facet of human emotion. You just have to get to know him."

"Which is so easy," Namjoon drawls, then snorts loudly into his martini, earning a grimace from Yoongi who sits beside him, nursing a bourbon.

"You just need to get on his good side," Jae says, draping an arm around Junmyeon's shoulders as if they've been friends for ages. "I swear he has one." The smile on his face is wide, bright, the light of the bar catching on his many piercings. "Maybe Junmyeon can find it."

"Time to dig out that old otaku, Suho," Jackson calls from down the bar, already past his first few shots of tequila.

Junmyeon just nods, humoring him, and offers Jae a small smile to satisfy him as he turns to the bar and flags down the bartender. "Another," he requests, raising his empty glass.

*

It isn't that Junmyeon dislikes the British. Quite the contrary, he finds them to be relatively interesting and a unique bunch of people with a bit of an eclectic sense of humor and behavior. The problem isn't in the people, it's in how Junmyeon, no matter how many times Jackson tries to explain it to him, cannot understand their sarcasm.

At first, Namjoon had explained it as a sort of linguistic barrier he probably has. Then, after Junmyeon had been stuck dealing with Emma as a personal tutor for over a month, Namjoon had amended his statement and just called Junmyeon hopeless.

Regardless, he's gotten better. Now, though, standing in R&D and watching the young prodigal inventor pour over what appears to be a computer squished into a watch that might explode at any moment, Junmyeon is struggling.

The problem isn't that Junmyeon dislikes Q, in fact he quite enjoys the other man. It's that despite his best efforts, he can never determine if Q is being sarcastic or whole heartedly serious.

"You can laugh, you know," Q says, glancing up at him through his long curled bangs. "I am quite funny, even if Bond doesn't seem to think so."

"I wasn't aware Bond thought anyone was funny except himself," Junmyeon says, not bothering to censor himself. He's seen the rare interactions between Bond and Q, mostly of which consist of 007 seeming to completely disregard Q's aptitude with technology and it's relevance today, transforming his purpose in the field into an antiquity.

"He finds you funny," Q says lightly, once more glancing up at him as he continues to work. "Though I feel that's more done out of ridicule. Don't take it personally, he distrusts people who are different than him. It's a survival mechanism."

"I figure that a better survival mechanism is to convince everyone you like them," Junmyeon comments, looking between Q and the watch, wondering if it's for him. He'd been sent down here to retrieve his equipment for his next mission, this next one with Namjoon, flying out in the morning. It had been treated like an old time reunion by Namjoon, and Junmyeon can't deny he's looking forward to spending some time with the other man. Old memories.

"Gain their trust," Q contemplates, focused on the watch. "Is that why you're being so polite?"

"To you?"

"To everyone," Q continues before he glances up, dark eyes bright as they lock with Junmyeon's. "And me."

"Maybe I just like you," Junmyeon tries, smiling as he watches Q closes the watch face and finish his work.

"Or perhaps that's just your survival mechanism," Q replies, and when he looks up his mouth is curved in a smile, holding out the watch with one hand. "Don't lose that. I haven't made any others and I need to see how it holds up in the field."

"So I'm your test subject?" Junmyeon almost laughs, accepting the watch.

The smile on Q's face turns almost placid. "Yes," he says and Junmyeon blinks before the Quartermaster launches into a confusing explanation of what exactly the watch does that he'll find useful while out hunting down thieves in Manila.

*

Manila isn't as much of a closed mission as Junmyeon expected. Instead of just Namjoon and Junmeon heading into the capital, it's the two of them with the fabulous company of 007 and command in their ears. It goes in from a relatively low key mission of capturing some rogue agents that had turned when the tides of fortune shifted, and ended with sewers.

Junmyeon has been to Manila a number of times, on business and once, many years ago, with Seokjin, one of the members of the administrative departments back in NIS.

That was years ago though.

What had started as Junmyeon and Namjoon tailing their targets through Ayala park and scouting for a way to head them off before they could be spotted had turned into Bond showing up and nearly blowing the park up. Of course, as soon as that had happened, everything had gone to shit and no amount of Junmyeon glaring at the agent would communicate to Bond how much of a dipshit he was.

It had devolved into a completely unnecessary car chase, where Bond had gone off after one target, one with the 'more valuable intel drives,' while Junmyeon and Namjoon had split up to follow the other targets who had flung themselves into a bit of a manic car ride back towards Manila Bay. Traffic in Manila is frustrating at it's best. Traffic during an insane car chase in a stolen taxi is an abject nightmare. Somehow, through all of the screaming of tires and Namjoon's high pitched shrieking, they'd ended up on the way to the harbor and somehow taken a detour following their target into Ermita's sewers.

Of all places.

"I hope you didn't have any open wounds before jumping in here," Namjoon calls from ahead, the flashlight on his pistol flickering over the water they're up to their chests in. "I've heard parasites are-"

"Namjoon, shut up," Junmyeon almost growls, definitely not needing that imagery. It's bad enough knowing what they're walking through down here, he doesn't need to imagine it mixing with his blood stream. Besides, it's nothing that the medics back in London or Seoul can't address.

"I've heard blood parasites are the worst," Namjoon continues, clearly not shutting up. "I found this podcast a few months back-"

"Of course you did," sighs in a slight crackle over the earpiece in English, startling Junmyeon into remembering that they're not entirely alone down here. "Namjoon, one podcast doesn't make you an expert on blood parasites."

"I'm more of an expert on them than you," Namjoon scoffs back. "You never even listened to the one I sent you. And it was-"

"I don't need to know more about numbers, I am numbers," Q cuts in shortly, and Junmyeon fights down a grin even when chest deep in sewer water. "Keep walking, you're almost at the turn."

"Oh, are we," Namjoon says, his voice echoing off the water slick walls. "Thank you for that-"

"Shut up, the whole city will know we're down here," Junmyeon says, keeping his voice calm and controlled, breathing in and out through his nose to keep his body calm, his nerves collected. "If they don't already, that is."

It hadn't exactly been a quiet journey to get down here, most of it involving gunfire, many people yelling and an upset cart of mangos (which Junmyeon deeply regrets but cannot entirely apologize for as he feels no remorse).

"I wouldn't say the whole city," Namjoon grumbles, glancing back at him in the dim light of the sewer. "Just, like, a significant part of the Intramuros."

"You're not in Intramuros yet," Q drawls into their ears through the small ear pieces they'd hastily plugged into when Bond had shown up in all of his British time wasting glory. "You're still in Ermita. And still in a sewer."

"I hadn't noticed," Namjoon grumbles and Junmyeon is about one second away from shooting his fellow agent. Just a light gunshot wound, nothing serious. "Q, aren't you supposed to be so high tech we don't even need to be down here?"

"It's not my fault you two couldn't even tag him properly." Q almost sounds disgruntled over the ear piece. "I can't do everything, just clean up after your messes. Do you even know what Ermita looks like right now?"

"Far more exciting than it usually does?" Namjoon suggests.

"You're supposed to be saving the world, not destroying it," Q grunts at them.

"You're just sore that we're keeping you awake during the hours you usually don't sleep anyway because you're playing Galaga," Namjoon banters over the ear piece. "Don't think I don't know. You're not the only one at HQ who doesn't sleep at night."

"Shut up and do your damn job," Q almost snaps and Junmyeon pushes down the urge to laugh. They're on a job, but somehow as frustrating as taking jobs with Namjoon always is, they're also somewhat less...

"I am doing my job," Namjoon says, and ducks around a corner in the sewer passage. "I'm doing an awesome job. Junmyeon can vouch for me."

There's less of a reminder that they kill for a living.

"Namjoon is mostly doing his job," Junmyeon supplies the silence in his ear. "The rest he's just stalling for time. I'm entirely doing my job, and being incredibly tolerant."

"Junmyeon would be lost without me," Namjoon mutters as they slog through the sewer. "Literally, he nearly fell into a sewer pit and he's so tiny-"

"Namjoon, shut up or I'll shoot you."

"- I hypothetically rescued him but because his ego can't deal with this shit I'll just report he rescued himself," Namjoon finishes. Junmyeon barely has a second to glare at him through the darkness before the soft whiz of a bullet flies past his ear and the games stop.

Fortunately, they'd somewhat managed to corner their target into a culvert leading up to the streets of the Port Area. Unfortunately, their target nearly shot Namjoon in the face and both Junmyeon and Namjoon ended up sprinting across to the marine soaked in sewer water. Even less fortunate was how Namjoon had successfully shot their target in the leg, which had seemed like a good thing, until a rather exciting boat chase ended in the man overboard at which point they realize his swimming skills were below par.

And he drowned because of the leg wound, lost to Manila Bay's extremely polluted waters and taking their Intel drive with him.

"Well," Namjoon said, his gray hair streaked with stuff Junmyeon didn't even want to think about. "Look at it this way, there's no way someone's going to get that intel now. Not even if they dredge the Harbor. It's probably disintegrated already from the pollutants."

Junmyeon ignores him, trying not to acknowledge that he might actually be right in spite of how insulting that is as he drives their stolen motor boat back to shore and the awaiting squadron of police cars.

*

According to Jackson, 'Tommy isn't pleased'.

"You're probably going back once we get things with China settled down," Jackson explains.

"Why aren't you involved in that?" Junmyeon asks, frowning slightly.

"Because they know me too well," Jackson says, shrugging as he walks Junmyeon back from the entrance. He'd been he one to ride back to MI6 with Junmyeon, Namjoon taken to the medic area immediately as he had, ironically, been the one to get blood poisoning from the waters they'd been wading through. In a way, Junmyeon feels sorry for him, knowing that's not a fate he'd wish on anyone. On the other hand, Namjoon gets a 'vacation' even if he knows he'd go insane being grounded for any length of time, it's the concept.

"So I'm heading there instead?"

"No, you're assigned to recovery," Jackson explains. "Once you check in with Tom, at least, and return your equipment to Q branch."

"How long?"

"Oh, M doesn't like to keep people for long conversations," Jackson says, though his grin suggests he's being a dick on purpose.

"No, I mean-"

"Just a few days," Jackson laughs. "Then you'll be back out, as per usual."

Tom looks far more polite than typical when Junmyeon is led into M's office, looking up with that sort of poise that suggests potential demise if Junmyeon says the wrong thing. Of course, the double 0 agents all have a bit of leeway with M, they always have. Junmyeon is a guest here, working on commission from NIS, and he doesn't have any leniency.

"Welcome back," Tom says, smiling that wide smile that's almost disconcerting with how nice it seems. "I hear the mission was mostly a success."

"The intel didn't fall into enemies hands," Junmyeon hedges.

"No, it fell to the bottom of Manila Bay, if I heard correctly," M continues, and rises from the desk in one elegant move. "I have people dealing with it. Despite what Namjoon may think, we can dredge if we must, and I'm far too invested on that intel to just let it gather in the silt."

"Understood," Junmyeon says, bowing slightly.

"You're heading to Qingdao next," M says simply. "There's a group there that's I'd like you to keep an eye on. Two if you can spare them."

It's a simple assignment, and Junmyeon keeps his mouth shut about it, instead nodding and excusing himself to return to R&D before taking a brief respite for training and recovery.

R&D is in chaos, the Q branch a tremendous roar of sound as machines blow through round after round of ammunition that Q appears to be 'testing.'

"Oh," Q says, glancing at Junmyeon when he hands over the watch. His eyes linger. "You actually brought it back."

"You asked," Junmyeon says, going for a smile.

"Funny how you brought back the watch but not the intel drive," Q says, his dark eyes glinting behind his protective glasses.

"Priorities," Junmyeon shrugs, making to dismiss himself before his eye catches on one of the stickers on Q's mug.

"Is that-"

"Coffee," Q says. "Mine."

"No, psyduck."

Q blinks, then slowly, very wonderfully, a real smile spreads over his mouth. "It is," he says, and this time he doesn't look away.

*

"I can't believe you and Q actually connected," Jae is more excited than Junmyeon has ever seen him. Or more drunk. Junmyeon doesn't really care to tell the difference, just get Jae off his shoulder. "This is astounding, Q doesn't connect with anyone. I don't think he even connects with his own mother and she birthed him."

"Thank you," Junmyeon says, then frowns, not really sure why he's thanking Jae, but it felt appropriate.

Quite.

"I'm making him a double 0," Jae announces to the bar.

"You can't just make people double 0's" Emma says, almost rolling her eyes. "Only M makes-"

"He's an honorary double 0," Jae interrupts her with an almost petulant and authoritative whine. "Because he's my favorite."

"I thought he was Q's favorite," Yoongi asks from where he's leaned against one of the pool tables.

"Same difference," Jae says, waving a hand. "Q and me? We've got this connection-"

"I thought it was Junmyeon Q had a connection with," Anna jumps in, and grins widely at the frown on Jae's face.

"Semantics," Jae says, shaking his head. "Semantics, semantics, seman- you're all terrible people who kill humans for money. Why am I talking to you about this?"

"Because you make it possible for us to murder for a living," Yoongi reminds as he lines up a shot.

"Speaking of which," Junmyeon says, glad to derail the subject. "I'm pretty sure you're coming with me on my next assignment, Jae."

"The one to King Kong?"

"Qingdao," Junmyeon corrects automatically.

"That's totally what I said," Jae mumbles into his forth Moscow Mule. "Is Q giving you any new toys to play with? Maybe after your connection, he'll make a whole stream like of new tech that's all pokemon themed. Just for you. Because you have a connection."

"Nerds," Moseley almost scoffs from where he's positioned at a slight distance away, nursing a scotch.

"Yes!" Jae shouts down towards him. "Nerds! Nerds are what we are, William. Respect us! We make the shit that keeps you alive! Respect!" And with that, Jae is gone, determinately stalking towards Moseley to give him a lecture face to face about how not to devalue Q branch while Anna and Emma watch on in almost fondness.

It isn't until Emma has sighed and gone to go and rescue Moseley from Jae that Anna joins Junmyeon and nudges him gently. "Though I do have to agree with Jae," she says with a soft smile. "I do think it's good that you and Q are getting along. He doesn't find connection with many people, even if he's surrounded by like minded individuals."

"Good to know," Junmyeon muses, and nods to her with a polite smile as she steps away to challenge Yoongi to a game of pool, his mind on Chinese characters and pokemon breeding.

Blinking, Junmyeon frowns, shaking his head, trying to refocus. The game changed a long time ago.

*

When Junmyeon is sent off to Qingdao, he's given a pistol, a small set of explosives disguised as acupuncture needles, and a pair of glasses that is rather flattering on him that acts as a hands free computer. He's also given instructions not to break any of his gadgets and to bring them all back in one piece.

Still wearing the glasses as he tests them out, Junmyeon asks before he thinks, "What about myself?"

"What about you?" Q asks, watching as Junmyeon runs through the computer, learning it's functioning and how to use the system. It's not that hard, mostly just like the regular computers he used to build back when his practice had been mostly field work and hacking. When Junmyeon pauses to look at Q, he's smiling in vague amusement, that glint in his dark eyes prominent. "If you can keep yourself in one piece, I'm sure M would be pleased."

Junmyeon isn't sure what exactly prompts him to say it, but he feels his mouth quirk anyway. "Only M?"

"Namjoon may also be relieved, I think he enjoys you," Q says, and his mouth quirks in amusement at his lack of suitable answer.

"I see," Junmyeon says, taking off the glasses carefully and putting them in their case.

"And myself," Q finishes.

"Why are you smiling like that?" Jae asks when he meets him a few minutes later to travel to the airport together. "It's weird. Makes you look older than you are, which is saying something."

"I'm having a good day," Junmyeon tells him easily. "Please don't ruin it."

"I don't ruin good days, I make them better," Jae tells him succinctly as he tugs his bucket hat over his ears with a bright grin.

*

The problem with Junmyeon's job isn't the pay, or the rigor or the people he works with, it's how complicated dealing with death can be. Not just dealing with death, but dealing with the delivery of death.

All of the, in the end, come down to being murderers. They're trained for it, taught from their first day of training not how to defend themselves and protect, but to harm, to attack, to kill. They're trailed to take away life as effectively and efficiently as possible, and they're damn good at it.

Junmyeon is damn good at it.

Which is why it's sometimes hard to separate the occupational aspects of his job, where his target is a name and a face and a figure, but it's not a person.

There is no connection, not like there might be with a different line of work.

Not like there is a connection with Minseok and the other assistants. Not like how Seulgi works with the families of the agents, keeping them safe, learning about them.

In Junmyeon's world, and any agent's world, there are their allies and there are their enemies, and the gray area in between isn't often touched.

Sometimes though, every once in a while, he'll end up in Qingdao with highly specialize glasses on and look up to find a face from his past staring down at him in shock. It's the same face of the man he'd left, he'd put through heart break just as much as he'd been put through, and just like all those years ago, Junmyeon is punched in the face.

The only difference is that this time, unlike the first, Junmyeon isn't too stunned to react and instead flips his ex and ends up getting and entire crime syndicate on his ass for attacking their boss.

"YOU WERE JUST SUPPOSED TO GO IN AND CHECK THINGS OUT!" Jae is screaming at him over his headset as Junmyeon attempts to not get shot or have his head smashed in. "THIS ISN'T LAYING LOW AND CHECKING THINGS OUT."

"Thank you, Jae," Junmyeon huffs, jaw set as he pushes back more attackers and catches Yifan's cold eyes on him from the edge of the room. "You're being exceptionally helpful."

"You just-" It's been years since Junmyeon saw Yifan, since the two parted ways. Since Yifan went back to China to take over the family business and Junmyeon immersed himself into his work, climbing the status latter until he finally took up the formal training to become a special op for NIS. "Were you just sarcastic to me?"

"I could use a diversion right about now," Junmyeon almost growls.

"Q is going to be so proud of you!" Jae is positively whimpering, and as Junmyeon watches one of the men pull out what looks like a very damaging quarterstaff, the power cuts completely and everything goes black.

In the few seconds of time Junmyeon has to get himself out of the area, the only thing that crosses his mind isn't that it's just unfairly ironic that his first real boyfriend ended up the boss of a crime syndicate. It's that the glasses he'd promised not to break are lying crushed on the ground back in a room where Junmyeon was reminded his targets aren't just nameless disconnected bios on a screen, they're people.

Ghosts that come back to haunt him in shattered glasses and the slow forming bruise along his cheekbone.

*

Returning to MI6, Junmyeon expects to be sent home.

Instead, M greets him with a smile, informing him that his work had been extremely helpful, as they'd been trying to track down Yifan, who had gone under the alias of 'Kris' for a few years before completely submerging into the crime world. HIs reveal with Junmyeon had been enough for them to be able to drag him back out, peg him for all of his dirty work, and begin dismantling his chain of command.

Junmyeon knows he should feel proud, but instead he just feels sick, remembering the awkward slightly bumbling man he'd once known. The person behind the kill that is so often forgotten in an effort to keep it professional.

To keep from feeling guilt at taking a human life. It's all part of the job description though, killing and moving on, being able to cope without it tearing him apart.

Everyone has skeletons in their closet, and Junmyeon's closet just happens to be walk in with an extra wing for all of his.

"So, does that mean you're not sending me back?" Junmyeon asks, standing in composure before M's desk and waiting for his commands.

"Not just yet," Tom says, letting out a pleased sigh as he sifts through the papers on his desk. "I have a few more things I want to check on before we send you and some of the others back. I'll probably send you back with Yoongi, and maybe Namjoon, if he agrees."

"That's a big if."

"I imagine you'll be with us for a few more months," Tom muses, playing with his nameplate, the 'M' emblazoned in gold on it. "Perhaps longer, depending on what the situation is."

It almost tempts Junmyeon to take a break. He never has, only heard of agents taking a leave of absence or, in the case of Bond, pretending to be dead so no on bothers them only to return in a pissy mood when everyone has sold all his shit. It's still turning over in his mind as he heads into R&D, stepping into Q branch before remembering his silent promise to bring back something from Guangzhou.

"I forgot," Junmyeon admits as he begins unloading the equipment onto the bench for returns, glancing up at Q in apology.

"But you did bring back a shiner," Q replies, nodding towards the impressive bruise still decorating half of Junmyeon's face. It had taken a few days for the swelling to lessen around his eye, and it's healed significantly, but it's still a bit gruesome to look at. "I do not envy you."

"As long as you don't give me a matching set," Junmyeon says, and offers an apologetic smile. "The glasses didn't make it."

"Lost?" Q asks, one eyebrow raised.

"Broken," Junmyeon admits, thinking of how easily they'd been crushed in moments.

Slowly, as Junmyeon looks up at Q and watches him look at him, it almost is like Q seems to soften, to pull down some of his literal edges and finite language all geared towards sciences and calculations and prodigal statements. "There are worse things that could break," Q says, and though the words are succinct, the look in his dark eyes is almost careful, considerate.

It leaves Junmyeon still, watching the Quartermaster as the words linger between them before he nods, a soft smile that feels more sad than happy tugging at his mouth. "Yes," he agrees, nodding once. "There are."

*