James flinched, breath hissing through his teeth in a drawn-out exhalation of near-panic.
Sweat beaded on his brow before trickling down the sculpted planes of his face to itch in his beard. Small muscles along his jaw flexed and released minutely, bearing scant witness to his terror, not that anyone noticed. His eyes rolled and he strained, body tensing, trying to get away before somebody - probably he himself - got hurt.
They'd been in (what Q jokingly called) their ‘love nest’ - a primitive little cabin not ten miles from Skyfall - for four days so far, miles from even a working telephone, let alone so much as a sniff of internet-capability, and Q was bored. This usually meant trouble for James, as Q’s flexible, inventive mind came up with ways to be…unbored…
Q’s back was turned as he swished the old-fashioned, cut-throat razor in the slightly soap-scummy water of the enamel basin on the night table. He inspected the blade in the pale, wavering light of a candle, hummed contentedly, then turned back to see James crowded up against the wooden headboard of their bed looking like a frightened kitten: all fluffed up and squinty-eyed, face covered in lather. He laughed.
“Really, Double-Oh-Seven?” His voice was ripe with gentle condescension, Q at his most Q-ish. He fixed James with a glare, bright eyes glinting over the top of his thick spectacle frames. “How your many vanquished foes would laugh to see you so, James - Silva most especially, I should imagine. If only he knew that this is all it takes to bring you to your knees! Now,” his voice deepened, darkened, curling into James’s ears and permeating his brain, “Come. Here.”
James was programmed to respond to that voice, and he did so without conscious thought, shuffling down the bed until his legs hung over the side and he was adjacent to his razor-wielding lover. He looked up at Q and huffed a deep breath, emptying his mind of all but trust. He swallowed once, twice, then tilted his jaw, exposing the muscular-yet-vulnerable column of his neck to Q. He could feel his pulse thundering, the fragile skin covering it fluttering in time with his heartbeat. He closed his eyes and calmed himself as if he were on a rooftop, curled around his sniper rifle, waiting to make a hit. When he opened his eyes next, he was ready. “OK, Q. Do it.”
Q swished the razor once more, before dropping a kiss on James’s sweaty forehead. “Trust me, love. I’m not always a clumsy boffin!”
The blade skimmed up, rasping as it caught and cut the coarse hair of James’s thick beard. Scrape, swish, scrape, swish, scrape… Q hummed as he worked, something which sounded possibly operatic, but could as easily have been Coldplay to James’s unmusical ears. As Q turned to rinse the blade once more, James said, “Why are you doing this? I could have gone to the barber’s, Q.”
Q paused, head tilted as he thought. James fancied he could hear Q’s brain whirring, making and discarding arguments before he spoke: “Because you are mine, James. Mine to love, mine to fuck, and always, only, mine to care for.” He reached out and cupped James’s cheek, stroking a thumb across his eyebrow. James leaned into the contact happily. Q used the pressure of his palm to tilt James's head up and look into his eyes, speaking with quiet determination. “I don't mind Mallory sending you all over the world - it is your job, after all - but I do mind any job which requires you to cover your face with man-fur until you look like a jolly caveman!” Q pressed his lips together with quintessential Q-displeasure, and James felt a tingle of arousal shudder down his spine. He bit his lip.
With a smirk, Q resumed shaving James, still muttering about M’s operational decisions: “And you can bet that I gave him a piece of my mind, too! Scrape, swish, scrape Didn't work, of course...damned man seems to think he's in charge...would like to see Six function without Q-branch…” Scrape, swish… p> As Q worked he flushed with anger, his eyes darkening and narrowing. His movements became slightly less controlled and the scrape, swish, rhythm faltered, until…scrape”Ouch!”
Q yelped and dropped the razor, flicking his hand. “Shitshitshitshitshit!” He stuffed his thumb into his mouth, painting his lower lip with blood as he did so. James shifted off the bed, concern written all over his half-shaven face. He gently pulled Q’s thumb out and inspected it; blood welled in a clean slice along the pad, flowing fast as cuts of that nature always do. James looked up, just as Q licked the blood off his lip and grinned. James elevated Q’s hand and dragged him and a spare candle into the tiny bathroom off of the bedroom, rummaging one-handed in the medicine cabinet for TCP and sticking plasters.
He sat Q on the edge of the bath and crowded him, trapping the smaller man’s knees between his own legs as he silently doctored the minor wound. When he'd finished, James pulled Q’s hand up to his mouth and kissed the wound through the bandage; the overpowering tang of TCP making his tastebuds tingle, the tan fabric of the plaster soft and tickly under his lips. “There,” he said quietly. “All better.”
James towed Q into the bedroom and installed him on the bed, taking the shaving supplies back into the bathroom and efficiently finishing his shave off. He rinsed carefully, then patted his face dry before applying aftershave. He grinned at his reflection in the mirror and turned to go back into the bedroom, startling when he saw Q stood in the doorway. Q smiled.
“Do you know what I love most about this God-forsaken dump?” Q asked James as he walked towards him, managing to prowl, even though it was less than four steps from the door to where James stood, frozen. “It’s not the lack of amenities,” he slid his hands up over James's chest, “Or the dismal Scottish scenery,” he tangled his hands in James's hair and pulled James's mouth incrementally towards his own, “Or even the bloody stupid weather”, he smiled, bringing one hand round to gently pull James's lower lip down.
“It's that you relax enough that I can sneak up on you without getting shot…”
Q was whispering as he finished speaking and drew James into his kiss. James sank down into the heat and safety of Q’s embrace, groaning at the touch of Q’s mouth. He stood perfectly still and let Q direct the kiss, closing his eyes to just feel, responding to the pressure and speed of Q’s mouth, until Q broke the kiss to lead James into the bedroom.
Q quickly divested James of his jeans and underwear, directing him to lay on the bed with a nod. James lay on his back, propped up on his elbows, and watched as Q stripped down, then stood at the side of the bed, looking at him.
“What?” James asked.
With a frown, Q propped a buttock on the bed and a fist either side of James's hips. He leaned down and planted a soft kiss over James's heart, then looked up, for once strangely shy and almost unsure. His heart seemed to be in his clear gaze as he spoke.
“I still don't know what I did to deserve you, James,” he said softly. “You're my perfect compliment - the brawn to my brain, light to my darkness, the sub to my Dom. I never, in many years of hoping and hunting, thought I'd find someone I could love as much as I love you. You complete me.”
Stunned, James flopped down flat on the bed, a smile spreading across his normally reserved face. He reached up and pulled Q down, for once being the aggressor in bed, cupping Q’s face between his palms as James pressed devouring kisses on his mouth. “I...love you...too,” he panted, straining upwards. “I can just...be…me, with you.” He broke off to stare solemnly at Q. “You are home, Q. Always.”
A shy, sly smile suffused Q’s face and he actually blushed. “I know,” he said primly. “But it's always good to hear.”
Just then, in accordance with some unwritten law of romance, a gust of wind blew through the ill-fitting windows, making the curtains billow and puffing the candles out, just as two bodies came together in the darkness with whispered words of desire and love.