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A Laying On of Hands

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James has never had a thing for hands before Q.

It's never been the small details but the large, obvious ones that have drawn him in: curves, muscles, a tempting décolletage, a neatly tapering torso. Not to mention a certain sartorial knack for showing off all of the above.

Q is something else, right from that very first encounter at the National Gallery.

On first pass, Q was nothing but a scrawny, jumped-up, ill-dressed boffin—albeit one whose badinage promised some fantastic verbal sparring—and James felt every last one of his grey hairs and creaking bones just looking at the soft, untested boy. Then Q’s fingers brushed his over that tiny radio unit. Fine, sure, dexterous things. And just like that, the first kernel of intrigue was well and truly sown.

The lust came later: came after James watched Q guide other agents in the field, hands gracefully coaxing code and coordinates into place; came after James witnessed Q prototype brilliant new gadgets, fingers capably caressing and teasing components together; came to stay with a heavy fillip in James’ belly when he caught Q on a smoke break, mind obviously racing elsewhere and elegant fingers flicking, curling, rubbing unconsciously against each other and the cigarette.

What could those clever, talented fingers do to (with) (on) (in) a man’s body?

How easily a fixation can be born. James had a new mission.


It’s child’s play to perform a bit of ground-level reconnaissance. No surprise that Q’s personnel file is locked stratospherically beyond James’ ability to decrypt, but no decryption is required to discover that Q only ever orders takeaways for one or that when his eyes linger on attractive passers-by, they are nearly always men.

Right, then.

“You know, I’ve noticed your penchant for staring at my arse, Quartermaster,” James tests one day when he’s fabricated yet another excuse for loitering in Q-branch.

Q doesn’t blush or miss a beat before he responds, “Well if you’d have your trousers tailored with a few centimetres’ more decency, it might not be forever on such egregious display.” He doesn’t even look up from his screen.

James volleys back. “And if you’d bother to have your trousers tailored at all, I might know whether it’s worth returning the favour.”

Q sighs, a put-upon sort of noise, and asks, “Is this the famed 007 sexual advance about which I’ve been extensively briefed? Because I must say, it’s disappointingly, terribly cliché.”

“Of course not,” James answers. “Merely an observation on the lamentable fit of off-the-peg garments in today’s marketplace.” He pitches his voice lower, a first-rate engine running smooth, and says, "However, I doubt you'll find any of those who've briefed you" — he raises a pointed eyebrow — "mentioning the words disappointing, terrible, or cliché."

Q freezes in his typing, those thin, gorgeous fingers braced taut over his keyboard. “That may be, but I always prefer to gather my own empirical evidence,” he breathes without turning his head.

James huffs a warm, surprised chuckle at the brazen response. “I’m game when you are,” he says, and heads for the exit.

Q returns to his typing, as though they haven’t just been patently flirting. Only when James is nearly out the door does Q add, “Oh, and Bond?”

James turns to find Q, moved round to the near side of the desk, apparently flicking through a folder with more attention than he’s paying James. “It’s worth returning the favour.”

For a moment James doesn’t follow, and then Q puts his folder down on the desk and blatantly bends over, still reading its contents while he puts on very deliberate display an arse that, yes, is well worth staring at.

“Well played, Quartermaster,” James smiles, staring. “And even, one might say, jolly good show.”

The visible side of Q’s mouth pulls up. “Stop taking up my valuable time, 007,” he says.

James takes in one more eyeful of Q’s high, firm little behind, and leaves Q-branch a happy man.


In the end, it’s absurd how few of James’ redoubtable seduction skills are required.

He stops in at Q-branch at the time of night where most of the day shift has gone home and the night shift is still trickling in. It’s when he’s most likely to catch Q on his own, and so he does.

“Alone again, Quartermaster,” he leads.

Q continues typing. “What do you need, 007? I’m five minutes from leaving for an overdue reunion with my bed to which I am very much looking forward.”

Well, with an opening like that...

“Come to mine instead.”

Now Q looks up from his monitor. “Pardon?” he asks.

James grins. “I said, come to mine instead.”

“Yes, I heard you. Just couldn’t quite believe you’d be so—and trust me, absolutely no pun is in any way intended—ballsy about it.”

“I had a fairly serviceable line prepared about requiring your digital skills,” James offers, salacious emphasis on the digital. “I could go with that instead, if you like.”

“My digital skills?” Q asks with an endearingly confused furrow between his brows. He glances at his monitor, then back to James. “I’m afraid I don’t follow. Are you or are you not propositioning me?”

“I very much am,” James answers. He walks to Q’s side of the desk and spins his chair round so they’re facing each other without the furniture barrier. “I’ve developed quite a thing for your hands, you see,” he carries on, lightly but with intent. “So my line about digital skills was cleverly apropos.”

The furrow of Q’s brow disappears in a startled peal of laughter. It’s lovely.

“There are new things under the sun! When people tell me they want me for my impressive digital skills, that’s not usually what they have in mind.” Q is obviously pleased, but there is still an uncertain tension in his body language.

James backs off a step and gestures Q to his feet. He stands cautiously, and, touching nowhere else, James presses their hands together, palm to palm. Their fingers align, but they’re a study in contrasts. For each of James’—stubbed, thick, life-roughened—there’s one of Q’s—attenuated, supple, full of grace. They’re well cared-for, Q’s hands. None of the repeatedly broken and reset joints that tell James’ own past in tweaked muscle and re-knit bone. Instead Q has long, limber, nimble fingers that are even now folding over the tops of James’, nearly a whole joint’s length longer than James’ own. They’re keyboard-calloused and several cuticles have obviously felt the wrath of Q’s anxious teeth, but while James’ fingers are the blunt, brutal instruments he needs to carry out his work, Q’s do his bidding with a ballet dancer’s agile poise strung through their ligaments.

“Your hands are exquisite,” James says simply, and for once Q has no snarky response.

He smiles—a small, glad curve—and says, “Thank you.”

James is fairly certain it’s the most open, unguarded exchange they’ve ever had.

He kisses each of Q’s fingertips in turn, ten fleeting brushes of his lips down the line of Q’s fingers where they rest against his own. When he’s gone from one little finger to the other, he cups his own hands in a loose ball around Q’s and asks, quietly, “Come home with me?”

“Yes,” Q says. His eyes are trusting behind his glasses. “Yes,” he repeats. “God, yes, I’ve wanted to for ages.”


Q’s hands are hardly his only attractive feature. It seems important to make this clear as they arrive at James’ flat. He praises Q’s snake-hipped build that looks so good preceding James inside; Q’s riot of hair that gathers in great and satisfying handfuls on the other side of the door; his pale, eggshell skin as their shirts and trousers rustle to the floor.

“And your mouth could bring men to ruin,” James rumbles, with Q finally in his bedroom, arching against him, panting and flushed and irresistible with nothing but their pants between them. It really is a glorious mouth, and Q obviously knows how to use it for more than just lightning-quick repartee. He responds beautifully to James’ kiss, light, then solid, then deep. It’s a heady delicacy James is fast finding addictive.

“Do you need your glasses to stay on?” James asks, bumping his nose against them.

Q answers by removing them, leaving them on the near window ledge. “Stay close to me, and I can see you perfectly.”

“God bless the short-sighted,” James says. “Staying close to you won’t be a problem.” And he takes Q’s mouth again.

They kiss luxuriantly as James presses Q back and down, catches them both on a braced arm against his bed, and kneels either side of Q’s hips. He pulls away to look at his prize, gulping air, laid out like Christ’s own temptation in tight navy pants. “You look even better in my bed than I imagined you would,” James tells him.

“Imagined this before, did you?” Q asks with a smirk.

“You’ve no idea.”

“Oh, I expect I have. You’re not the only one with fantasies. The reality’s much better.” He writhes with feline flexibility against James’ crisp white bedding. “Higher thread-count, for one.”

James returns the smirk. “Only the best for my bed, be it linens or people.”

“Glad I rate alongside your sheets,” Q quips, but any response James might have made is arrested when Q cups a hand around James’ cock in his grey Y-fronts. He’s not all the way to hard yet, but the sight and the feel of that hand—one of the hands James has dirtied these very sheets over—on his body will get him there very quickly.

“God, that’s lovely,” Q sighs, staring at his hand on James. “All of this– you. All of you,” he waves the other hand to take in James’ near-naked body. “You’re a damned impressive specimen, Bond.”


Q meets his eyes for an incisive moment, then nods, short and sharp. “James, then. And I’m Tristan.”

James is startled. And oddly touched. There’s vulnerability in giving one’s name, especially in the espionage trade. James does it to own that vulnerability, to keep it from being used against him. Q—or rather, Tristan—is certainly clever enough to know what kind of trust he’s just put in James, who is frankly not someone often met with a great deal of trust.

Some of this must show on his face, because Q– Tristan laughs a little, unfortunately removes his hand from James’ groin, and scoots himself up the bed to sit facing James.

“I’m sorry,” James chuckles ruefully. “I appreciate that. Thank you. But I wasn’t expecting it.”

“No,” Q– Tristan smiles. It’s kind in an appealingly honest, unpitying sort of way. “I don’t imagine you were. But I’m old-fashioned in that I don’t go to bed with people who don’t know my name.”

James adds this to his mental tally of things he likes about Q– dammit! Tristan. “And you know how I do appreciate the old-fashioned,” James says. “Only you’ve somewhat indelibly become ‘Q’ in my head.” It’s true, he realises. Despite Boothroyd’s years of service, this technological wunderkind is now the person inextricably attached to that particular letter in James’ brain.

“I’m honoured,” Q says, and he must guess at some of James’ thoughts. “And I’m perfectly happy to carry on being ‘Q’ to you.” He pushes hair out of his face in a charming, young gesture, then smiles impishly. “Though I do hope you’re going to bed with me, not my title, because I hate to shatter what might be one of your extra special fantasies, but I’ll not be talking about devices to help you kill people while we fuck.”

James laughs, genuinely amused, and Q’s responding smile is simple and pleased as a small boy. “Come here,” James says, and pulls Q close.

Q comes eagerly into his arms, to his kiss. He hums and presses up into James’ body, plying his palms up to hang onto James’ shoulders. His grip is perfectly hard. He smells like tobacco and bergamot and man. A huff of that hypnotic scent straight off Q’s skin makes James want wild, unnamed, ridiculous things. He grasps Q’s arse with one hand, over his pants first, then shoving the waistband down to get at bare skin. Q moans into his mouth and bucks his hips deliciously closer.

James follows the redolence of Q’s body, sniffing, licking, biting up his jawline to just below his ear. He flicks his tongue at Q’s earlobe and murmurs, “Take off your pants. I want to see you naked.”

Q whines, and James can feel the muscles in his arse clench as his hips buck again in helpless response. He seems unwilling to pull away from James’ mouth at his neck, and James is unwilling to let go his perfect handful of bum, so there’s an awkward flurry as Q twists and shoves and finally kicks his pants halfway across the room.

James sits back on his heels and holds Q’s hips at arm’s length to look at him. And what a sight he is, all over lean lines of muscle and bone and reaching for James with his gorgeous hands and his ruddy, hard cock. His chest is ephebically bare, so James is pleasantly surprised to see that the thin scrape of hair down from his navel leads to a thick nest of glossy dark curls.

The temptation to touch is enormous, and as there’s no reason on Earth why he shouldn’t, he pulls Q all the way in to settle astride his lap. He gets an arm solidly behind Q’s lower back and moves his other hand down to scratch lightly through Q’s wiry hair. “Mmmm,” he purrs, “Here’s an abundant surprise.”

Q flushes and arches sceptically away over James’ arm. “Were you hoping for hairless?” he asks defensively.

“Quite the contrary,” James soothes, nudging Q close again. He pets through Q’s curls with his fingertips and moves in to speak low and soft against Q’s fine throat. “I’ve no interest in bedding a child and don't want to play at it, either. I always prefer a cunt or a cock that knows its way round the fun we’re about to have together.” He slides his hand loosely around the base of Q’s prick. “I suspect yours does, my clever, bonny Tristan.”

Q bites his lip and nods, and he jerks in James’ hand. “Yes it bloody well does,” he groans. “Jesus, you pull off this absurd talk as well as everyone says, you damned tease. Can we speed along to the part where you fuck me now?” He’s flushed, impatience in his every syllable and the rapid beat of his pulse under James’ mouth.

Ah, now they come to it. James lifts away from Q’s neck. “I was rather looking forward to you fucking me, actually,” he says, and when Q startles and hesitates, James adds, “With your fingers, if not your cock. If that’s not something you’d like.”

Q snorts: a hysterical, undignified sound. “If that’s not something I’d like?! I’m not sure there’s a human on the planet who wouldn’t like to fuck James Bond.”

James allows himself a smirk that’s intended to be smug but may just come out pleased. He’s finding it harder than expected to fall back on his usual tricks for playful seduction. “There are those who’d prefer to be fucked by James Bond, you know,” he says. “Not everyone wants to stick it in.”

Q shoves into James’ briefs with both hands and squeezes his arse emphatically. “Well I do. Christ, do I ever!” he swears. “Just didn’t figure you for a switch.”

“And more often than not, you’d be right,” James agrees. “But I’ve been frigging myself to the thought of your fingers for bloody weeks, and I’d very much like to have the real thing.”

As though saying it aloud has worked some sort of magic, suddenly the simmering arousal he’s been nursing hits full boil. God, he wants.

He reaches behind himself to take hold of one of Q’s birdlike wrists and guides it inward until Q’s fingers brush his hole. His cock leaps against the front of his pants, and he lets his helpless shudder shiver through his body for Q to feel.

Q pets slowly over James’ arsehole, watching as the shudder repeats and James groans, blood flooding joyfully to his prick. “You weren’t joking, were you?” Q murmurs. “You do have a thing for my hands.” There is wonder in his voice, as though no one has praised those gorgeous fingers before. “Look at you, pushing back at me,” he goes on. “You want my fingers up your arse more than anything right now.”

James drops his head to Q’s shoulder, nodding fervently. Those fine fingers and their delicate petting are wreaking havoc on his nervous system. His skin floods hot, and suddenly the pressure of his pants is unbearable. He pushes them down as far as his spread thighs will allow, and when Q runs a fingertip up the length of James’ freed cock to tap once lightly at its weeping slit, James shouts and bucks.

“You’re so hard,” Q says softly. “My fingers make you this hard. Just my fingers.” He sounds incredulous, amazed, though the proof is there in James’ body, plain as day before him.

“Perfect fingers,” James grits out as Q trails that one fingertip up and down his cock with the lightest of touches and presses a bit more firmly with the hand at James’ arse.

A new note creeps into Q’s voice. An experimenter’s curiosity, like James is a promising new project. “Could I make you come with just my fingers? Just touching you inside? Just sliding my slick fingers in and out and rubbing at you, nice as I know how?”

“Now who’s the tease?” James is a shivering mess at the words and the images they plant in his brain. Q pulls a droplet of pre-come away from James’ cock on the tip of his index finger and holds it up between their faces. “Look, James,” he whispers. “My fingers are making you all wet.” His pupils are blown black, high cheekbones mottled red. His rigid cock presses his eagerness against James’ belly.

Before James can even try to gather his wits for a response, Q darts out his pretty pink tongue to lick James’ pre-come away. He hums at the taste; aims a devilish, calculating look James’ way; and sucks his finger all the way into his mouth, extending the hum into a purr.

“Fucking hell!” James gasps. He’s taken a wanton to his bed. Q is a delight. “Give that to me,” James demands and tugs Q’s hand free. He goes down on Q’s index finger immediately, taking it straight to the back of his mouth and laving at it with his tongue.

They both groan, and the hand Q still has on James’ arse grips hard. The best sort of spark and thrill is electrifying James’ body as he demands what he wants – “More!” – with his teeth firm around the base of Q’s finger.

Q obliges, wide-eyed, feeding his middle finger into James’ eager mouth. James moans around them both and sucks, pulling up to the tips before scraping his teeth back down. These irresistible fingers, finally his to debauch, and it feels fantastic. He can’t recall the last time he took a lover just for himself, just to indulge in a particular pleasure. He feels drunk on it.

He swirls his tongue. Q whines. James demands More again.

This time, Q begins to pull back. That’s not at all on, and James edges his teeth—carefully—around the two fingers he’s got, refusing to relinquish his prize.

“Wait,” Q pants. “Jesus Christ, just wait one minute.”

James growls his dissent.

“Fuck,” Q gets out. “This hungry predator bit is really working for you,” he says. “But I need this hand” — petting James’ tongue — “to get the lube so I can slick up the other and fuck you with it.” He presses hard at James’ hole with one fingertip, just breaching the muscle with a rough, dry push that has James crying out an involuntary Ah! that lets Q’s fingers slip from his mouth.

“That’s it,” Q praises. He backs off of James’ lap and pulls his hand away from James’ arse, all of which would be horribly unwelcome if he weren’t also saying, “Get your pants off and get up to the head of the bed. Where’s your slick?” He sounds somehow both aroused and clinical, and James isn’t sure if he’s a lover or lab work to Q right now, isn’t sure which he’d rather.

He obeys Q’s orders — “Lube’s in the bedside drawer” — and shucks his briefs, kneeling on the pillows at the top of the bed as instructed.

Q returns with the bottle of lubricant and freezes, staring at James hungrily, top to toes. “Damn,” he breathes, quietly as though he’s speaking to himself. He looks for a long moment at James’ stiff cock, then says, “You really like my fingers.”

“I’d like them up my arse even more,” James answers, past the point of patience.

It seems to snap Q out of his reverie, because he shakes himself and tells James, “Turn around. Up on your knees, hands on the wall in front of you,” in the same commanding voice he uses to give James directions when he’s running for his life.

It’s a voice James trusts, and he obeys it here, giving himself over to it entirely in a way he never quite can in the field. It feels liberating.

As soon as he spreads his palms against the wall and kneels up at the head of the bed, Q presses warm and close at his back. “All right,” he croons into James’ ear. “Let’s see what we can do.”

He slides one slim, slick, wonderful finger slowly and surely into James’ arse, and James sighs loudly at the push and stretch of it.

“Good?” Q wants to know, and,

“Good,” James answers, stretching the vowels long like the finger Q is twisting inside him. And it is. Q knows how to work a man’s body with his fingers just like he does a tablet or a grenade or some unholy combination of the two. He goes in deep as he can with the one, tickling towards James’ balls fleetingly with the others. He swirls and thrusts and just when James is ready to ask for more, Q slides a second in alongside the first.

James moans and drops his head forward between his arms. God, he’s wanted these fingers in him for months, and they feel every bit as divine as he imagined.

Q mouths at the top of his spine, across his shoulder blades, up to his hairline. He’s pouring out encouraging nonsense about good and James and gorgeous, and James doesn’t give it much focus except when it’s Q asking, “Another?”

He nods, and when Q obliges, the stretch of his body around three of Q’s sodding perfect fingers is a piercing delight. He pushes back on them, encouraging.

“I wish you could see how incredible you look right now,” Q breathes. “Lift your head. Kiss me.” When James does, craning over his shoulder for Q’s mouth, he’s rewarded with a caress of a kiss, sweet and full of care.

“How do my fingers feel?” he wants to know when they break apart.

“Like heaven,” James pants.

“And if I twist those fingers inside and pet you right… there?” Q’s been avoiding his prostate until now, when he makes unerring direct contact.

“Ah! Good– Good boy.”

Boy, James?” Q asks with discipline in his tone and a horrible, threatening withdrawal of those fucking amazing fingers. James clamps down against it.

“Brilliant boy!” he pants. “Beautiful boy.” He’s desperate to keep those fingers inside. “Ace boy. Wicked boy.” Oh yes, like that. Just there. “Wicked, wicked boy.”

Q is laughing gently. “All right, old man,” he says. “I’ll be your boy. Your boy you beg to put his fingers in you ‘til your prick’s like steel. Is that the kind of boy you want? Hmm?” He wriggles his fingers over James’ prostate again, and James grunts.

“Randy boy.”

“Yes,” Q agrees. “Quite. Can I give you four?”

James’ cock twitches violently. “Please,” he begs without shame.

Q pulls nearly all the way out with three, and when he slides back in, there’s more lube and the pressure of what must be his little finger tucked in with the others.

“There,” Q says. “Well done.” There’s praise in his voice, but James can’t focus on that with such an exquisite riot of sensation running through his body, hot and cold thrills and stretch right to the knife-edged barrier between pleasure and pain. Q gently—so gently—spreads his fingers.

James cries out, head jerking back like whiplash.

Q catches his chin with the hand that’s been stroking over James’ torso all this while. “Ssh,” he soothes. “Breathe into it. You’re all right. Breathe for me.”

James does, leaning his cheek gratefully into Q’s waiting palm. He doesn’t know when he closed his eyes, but he forces them open now, bleary even in the bedroom’s dim ambient light. He twists around to meet Q’s eyes. He’s so beautiful, this genius sylph man with his god-like hands that are making James feel better than he can remember feeling in an age.

James is past the words to tell him this, so instead he opens his lips and reaches with them for the fingertips by his face.

Q—brilliant, darling Q—only takes an instant to gasp in understanding, and then he’s doing just as James intended and feeding his fingers—four of them, just like the four in his arse—into James’ craving mouth.

How he’s wanted these hands, and now here they are, here Q is, bringing him such transcendent delight. Fingers fill him so well from both directions, licked and held in his mouth, flexing and rubbing just right in his arse. God, his body feels so good. Raw, simple pleasure for its own sake. For his own sake. It’s for him, these hands touching him to delirium, touching him with desire, touching him and touching him and touching him just as he wants. No secrets to keep, no mission to remember, no complex mix of hurt and happiness and holding himself back. Just shock after shock of sizzling, twisting joy.

Through his haze of spiralling bliss, he is vaguely aware of Q looking at him, watching him fall apart, and it sets him free. He is not 007 or a killer or a spy or anything but James. Just James, with someone beautiful seeing to him perfectly, and he loves it.

He lets himself be nothing but a shell filling up with honey-coated lightning. He sucks at the fingers in his mouth, and he rocks on the fingers in his arse, and when Q says with awe, You’d let me put my whole hand inside you, wouldn’t you?, he feels the merest hint of Q’s thumb nudging at his hole, and his whole being catches on a trap-tight breath in his throat and then stutters out of him in splendid, rapturous spasms of release.

“Jesus, James,” Q breathes as James floats gently back to this plane. “That was amazing.” He pulls his hand from James’ mouth to rest on his cheek and guides him into a soft, sincere kiss. “Does that happen often for you? Coming without a stroke to your cock?”

James shakes his head, words a thing he’s only just beginning to remember.

“You really like my hands that much?” Q sounds like he may finally believe it, wide green eyes wonderstruck.

James hums his assent and turns his head to kiss Q’s palm, holding eye contact. “Thank you,” he manages, though his voice comes out rusty as sunken iron.

“You’re welcome,” Q says, polite with a side of gobsmacked. “Though I feel as though I should be thanking you, as well. I don’t imagine that’s a side of the infamous James Bond that many get to see.”

“No,” James scrapes. “I’d still like it if you fucked me,” he offers. Hardly eloquent, but it’s the best he can do with his brain so scrambled.

“Yes, please,” Q snickers with good-natured humour and audible enthusiasm. “Watching you has done wonders for my hard-on. Can you manage on your back?”

“Only way I can, I think,” James croaks. He eases himself off of Q’s magical fingers and finally drops his stiff arms from bracing against the wall. He flops gracelessly to the bed, feeling his bad shoulder twinge. “Condoms right where the lube was, though do without if you like. I’ve seen your Medical file, and I’m sure you’ve seen mine. If you’re–”

“I’m not arguing getting to fuck you bare,” Q interjects keenly, and James gives a tired laugh. Q grabs hurriedly for the lube and wastes no time slicking himself and manoeuvring between James’ legs. James, who is nothing more than a pile of liquid limbs, is no help at all as Q gets a pillow under his back and wraps one of his legs around that perfect slim waist.

“Eager boy,” James smiles up at him, cheeky as he can currently manage.

“Very,” Q responds hoarsely, staring at James’ hole. “Very” — he slides in — “oh God” — James is open and lax and with no resistance at all, Q’s cut-glass hips are against his arse — “eager, indeed. Fuck.”

James sighs on a satisfied, “Aaaaaah.” He hates the squirming empty feeling after a thorough fuck, and now it’s gone. Q has taken it away, taken care of James once more. His cock is warm and thick, and it fills James just as he wants. It’s almost soothing.

Q himself is altogether another story. His breath is quavering, and he’s squeezed his eyes tight shut. “I’m glad you’re so calm about this,” he says tightly, flexing his fingers bloodless against the heavy muscle of James’ thighs. “I’ll come the second I look at you or move. Bleeding hell, you feel good.”

James lifts a hand to nudge Q’s chin. “Look at me, then. Look at me and move and come. We’ll go for stamina tomorrow.”

Q’s eyes flash open. “Tomorrow?” he asks, a hint of something uncertain in the tensely controlled word. “Again tomorrow?”

James smiles easily, warm-hearted in his fucked-out fatigue. “I’d like that,” he says. “I like you.”

Q barks a curious little shout of a laugh. “Full of surprises, James,” he says with a nip at James’ thumb.

“More sarky banter tomorrow,” James says. “Now it’s time for you to come.”

“Not arguing,” Q responds. He looks down towards his own cock as he pulls nearly out and immediately pushes back in, forcing a grunt from both of them. He seems mesmerised by the slide of their flesh, and James watches. Now that his pleasure rolls in softly without the driving goal of orgasm, he can pay proper attention.

Discovering a new lover’s details is one of life’s great pleasures. Into James’ memory go Q’s eeling hips and salt-spunk smell, his breathy grunts of exertion, the whining keen he makes as he gets close. And ineradicably, above it all, goes the way Q comes when James coos That’s it Tristan, my lovely: wild and seismic and unself-consciously loud, abandoning himself wholeheartedly to his euphoria.

Q collapses to James’ chest like an avalanche. James soothes his shaking muscles with long, smooth strokes along his back. Tailbone to nape. Nape to tailbone.

After a few minutes, Q starts arching into the petting like some great feline beast. “Your hands aren’t so bad, yourself,” he purrs. James smiles at the thought of what a naughty, haughty housecat Q would be.

Said human housecat pushes himself up on James’ chest to kiss him, light but lingering, before withdrawing from James’ body and disappearing into the en suite. The tap runs and James calls, “Bring me a towel. I’m too satisfied to shower.”

“Too lazy, you mean,” Q says good-naturedly when he returns a minute later. He throws a wet towel at James, who may indeed be both satisfied and lazy, but whose reflexes have come back enough to catch before he gets a face full of wet cotton.

He wipes himself down and lets the towel fall as Q climbs into the other side of the bed. The duvet’s filthy, but the sheets beneath it are unscathed. James wrestles his way under them and tugs Q into his arms. Laundry can wait. They’ll only be dirtying the bed further in the morning if James has his way.

In the meantime, the long stretch of warm naked skin along his own pleases a basic, animal part of his brain, and James growls happily.

“I’m telling everyone at HQ that James Bond is nothing but a dirty great plush bear,” Q teases, resting his head easily on James’ chest.

“Do that, and I’ll tell them the Quartermaster wails like a banshee when he gets fucked,” James responds.

Q snorts. “You’ve no evidence to back that up.”

Above Q’s head, James smiles. “Ah, but by tomorrow morning I will.”

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” Q laughs. “If you can make me wail, I might just reconsider that exploding pen.”

“That sounds like a wager, and you know I always love a wager.”

Q props himself up and offers James his right hand. They shake on it, laughing. James pulls Q’s hand to his mouth and kisses its back as though Q were a lady. He holds the kiss, and Q’s laughter fades.

They look at each other silently, James’ mouth at Q’s hand, until Q gives a small acknowledging nod. James drops his head back to the pillow and threads his fingers through Q’s, drifting easily toward sleep with Q’s head and their clasped hands on his chest.