Sometimes instead of Earl Grey, Q takes the peppermint tin. Cracks it open, breathes it in. The leaves are curled, and green, and drab. Water frees, unfurls and sinks them: they catch, lovely, in the late light—sun, strained twice. Through window and pot. Brew turns golden, and the stainless steel lid burns his fingers. Always something left behind.

Q wishes this were clear as code, the hidden beating force beneath the streets, behind the sky. And him with fingers on the keyboard, on the wrist, distal; Bond's voice in his ear. Proximal as satellites can provide.

Instead: chaos and chlorophyll, a stray leaf in the cup. Q drinks the tea. After the burn, the taste of ice-blue eyes, cooling, sardonic. And once there was that mouth, all smoke and edges: something to feel. Even when it's no longer there.

This taste. Product of runners and tendrils, unrelenting as roots: binding, non-binary. There are words Q won't say, can't even think them: love too red and rounded a cage, against that body as bare as a blade. He closes the tin, rinses the cup. Walks away with the peppermint long on his lips.