I couldn't help myself ;_; I saw the movie and this happened. I have no excuse. But seriously, Bond and Q are like, married forever type of couple, ok? Legit. all that snark.

Um, some quick things- I left female M alive because I just love her, a, and b, there is a line in this fic that I just had to use. I would have cried if I hadn't. Also, there is some OOC. There are some discrepancies in there too, by the way, because I love Bond but I was basically too excited to really research before typing. I made Bond 40 (because that's how old Daniel Craig is) and you, numerous other discrepancies. Whatever.

OH, this fic is also unbeta'd currently _ I was too excited to put it up and I wasn't going to ruin Ferrari's Thanksgiving for fic. She'll beta it later and then I'll replace it! So yes. I'm sure there were some other things I wanted to tell you, but I forget what they are. No wait, those things where it looks like -w-o-r-d-? pretend those are strikethroughs! FF doesn't let me do ANYTHING.

On a final note, check out our Tumblr! We love hearing from you! We're thetwowriters!

Bond, Q supposes, is a proven 'suave man,' with enough charm and grace to seduce an enemy and leave them wanting more, as he's shown to do on more than one occasion.

Also, as much as Q would never say it out loud, Bond is a brave man, a strong man- one who can take apart and put a gun back together in less than five seconds if he's in the mood to show off or not die. He's the kind of person who could get out of the stickiest of situations with nothing but a paperclip and a small rock, and come out of it with as big an underreaction as he could.

Case in point, how the man always runs away from doctors while bleeding profusely from some gaping hole or other, calling out that it's, 'but a flesh wound,' before taking off and leaving everyone else in the dust.

He's got biting wit. He's a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a sort of glittery charm that makes him the most desirable, suave person to ever exist, as Tumblr would say, since ever.

So why is it, Q has to wonder as he watches the man wield a laptop like a club, that all of that promptly disappears the second he steps into Q Branch?

"Seriously?" he asks, sighing and pinching his nose in a (once again) failed attempt to ward off the killer headache that goes hand in hand with contemplating James Bond. "In what way was it necessary to throw your state of the art, one of a kind, laptop at a supposed enemy's head instead of just bloody shooting them?"

Bond just grunts and shrugs before thrusting said laptop (now destroyed, of course) under Q's nose. "Ingrate," he says, acting mortally offended even though the situation warrants no such thing. "I saved your life from an unknown assailant. I am your God."

Q just sighs again, barely resisting the urge to bash his own head into a wall. "No," he says, gritting his teeth to keep back some of the more colorful words from popping out if his mouth. "No. You do not get to sail on by on that excuse this time, understood?"

"She was standing too close. What was I to do when an unknown assailant was in your personal space and clearly poised for some sinister attack?"

"What on earth," is all Q manages to get out before he has to stop and breath so that he doesn't end up spewing invective left right and center and, consequently, setting a bad example for his little intern kiddies.

"That was not, as you say" he says a good few minutes later, pausing to make the necessary air quotes even as he starts to really get on a roll, "an unknown assailant."

"That was Tina, the new intern, who was introduced to the entirety of the staff in an attempt to prevent certain agents, like you, from doing things, like throwing laptops at her head, that would otherwise cause her bodily harm."

What is his life, that he actually means multiple people when he says that? As in, more than James Bond, as though he alone weren't bad enough to give the steadiest of people the most of raging of ulcers.

Bond just shrugs nonchalantly in response, although there's some tension settling into his frankly huge shoulders, like he's unhappy.

"I was in Bolivia," he says, doing something funky with his eyebrows that's probably supposed to convey something meaningful. "Getting shot at. By drug cartels. I almost died. I'm afraid that I simply didn't have the time to attend any meetings in the middle of running for my life and saving the world."

Q just waves him off because a) Bond does that sort of thing every other week, just for fun, even though he knows that his poor, overworked quartermaster and overlord -w-o-r-r-i-e-s- loses sleep over each piece of destroyed equipment, and b-

"Still not an excuse. This was two weeks after the fact." Q says, squinting at the incorrigible man in front of him, trying to psychically beat sense into his head.

Said man just coughs a little, and Q can't be sure but that almost looks like a pout. "I almost died." Bond says managing to make it sound like a trump-all and a petulant declaration all at once. He's also looking at Q as though he's a puppy-kicker, or perhaps a baby-killer, for not putting one of his many near-death experiences above the first one ever for the new intern.

Said intern who's probably scarred for life now, oh dear lord- Q can just imagine the sort of paperwork he'll have to do when she inevitably needs a psych eval and the requisite therapy sessions. It'll be a bleeding nightmare.

But of course, he can't really say that, so he just sighs again and just says instead, "You threw a laptop at her head."

Bond just grunts, definitely looking unhappy now.

"Why can't you just admit that what I did was in the interest of protecting you? She was standing too close. I didn't know who she was. I reacted like a proper agent should," he says in response, actually starting to sound irritated, and rephrasing the same argument that he's been making since this whole thing started.

No seriously, Q despairs even as he feels himself crumble, this just can't be his life.

Except for, apparently, how it is.

In the end, all he can do is bash his head into the desk because this man, agent, is the most infuriating person on the planet and will more than likely send Q to an early grave. But, Q thinks sourly, a bitter taste in his mouth even as something like affection warms his heart, the idiot means well, at least.

Bond just furrows his eyebrows and moves from using his laptop as a club to using it as a shield. "Are you quite alright?" he asks, seeming for all the world as though he were serious. "You're sort of- twitching a bit."

Well, Q thinks despondently, there's nothing for it. He did choose this life after all.

Every day spent here is another day of wondering why he'd done that to himself.

He just sighs and grabs the laptop from the madman standing just across from him. "You, sir, are a neanderthal," he says, and before Bond can come up with some sort of witty rejoinder, he unceremoniously kicks the lughead out of his branch.

When he turns back around, his interns are all giving him a look, some as though Q's being purposefully obtuse, and others as though they're sort of terrified.

Q isn't really worried because that's pretty normal.

He can't but wonder why nobody will stand within two feet of him now, though.

See, it's sort of a stupid reason to get suspended- but then again, a lot of the reasons why James Bond gets suspended (without pay, usually) are rather stupid.

Still though, if someone had asked Q to cite one or two reasons as to why Bond would get his arse chewed out by a women half his size and a bit more than twice his age, well, this wouldn't even be in the top one hundreds list.

It wouldn't even be in the top thousand list.

Hell, this wouldn't even be on the plate as an option, much less make any sort of list.

"Really," he says, helping the poor medical team do their job by basically sitting on Bond to hold him the hell down. "Really?"

The look Bond gives him would frighten a lesser man; as it is, it just makes Q kind of want to slap him a little. Except, he can't, because James Bond is the sort of idiot who will sit there, quietly, and take a beating in the name of protecting his country even though he doesn't have to- all because Q had made a comment about other agents being better qualified and had, at most, hurt his pride.

Which is just stupid, because Q hadn't even meant it the way Bond had probably heard it, when he'd said, "007, fall back. I repeat, fall back. 004 will take your place. He is currently more qualified for finishing this op right now."

He'd said it in an absent-minded way, already tracking the other agent's whereabouts and shooting off rapidfire instruction to get this done quicker. He honestly hadn't meant anything by it.

Then again, Q also hadn't exactly been keeping his agent in the loop about all of the extra information he'd been unearthing while the idiot had been slinking through the shadows like some sort of giant, quiet thing.

Which is how they've ended up here, with Bond being horrifically hurt and trying to brush it off, M having a coronary and probably drinking herself to death at the office, and Q trying his best to get the idiot to see reason even though he's wiggling like a great bloody fish and opening up wounds that haven't even begun to actually close yet.

He's forced to remind himself that he chose his life, and that there's no going back.

Still though, he could've been some posh upper level executive, with a corner room, and windows.

Then again-

"Listen, you great fucking lump," he finally barks out, grabbing Bond's face between his palms so he can glare him right in the eyes. "Would you please just sit still, and allow these nice people to do their thrice damned jobs!"

"I'm fine," the lug says in return, trying valiantly to shrug off no less than twenty-two stab wounds, a punctured lung, and several fractured bones in various parts of his body. "Or I would be, if certain people would get off of me and bugger off."

Q just glares. "I would get off, but you see, certain people are being stubborn arseholes and trying to bleed to death. So you can see why I'm currently not amenable to any suggestions that come out of said people's mouths."

In the meantime, Bond glares right back, managing to look like a kicked puppy while being six feet of pure muscle, glaring, and also, coincidentally, being absolutely covered in blood.

"Yes, well," he says, wriggling even harder, the bastard, "I think I would know whether or not I need medical attention. Unless of course, there are better qualified peopleout there to make that call, too?"

Ooh, still bitter then; and also not making sense.

Furthermore, Q is pretty sure that if his agent were in any sort of decent shape, he'd have Q in a headlock or some such thing by this point. The fact that he's only wiggling around says a lot, in and of itself.

But that's neither here nor there.

"Oh for the love of-," Q grits out, trying his very best not to have an on the spot aneurysm and just barely managing it, by the skin of his teeth. "Listen. These people here? They are doctors. Which means yes, they are also better qualified in this case, alright? Jesus fucking Christ."

Bond just looks petulant, doing that thing where he glares and tries his best not to pout and fails. "Yes, well, maybe you should just leave, then. And go have a chat with 004 about qualifications instead of sitting here on underqualified me and wasting your time."

"Oh my God," Q says, bring his head down on the uninjured part of Bond's chest in lieu of finding a convenient wall. "Is this actually going to be a thing? You're bleeding out and dying, and you're turning this into a thing. Are you serious right now?"

"I don't know," Bond grunts out, still glaring but no longer bucking-something Q is grateful for because his balance is precarious, at best.

"Why don't you go and ask someone who's qualified to respond properly? Like 004."

"Oh my God," Q says, again, before discretely signalling for the medics to bring out the tranqs. "You're serious. You're legitimately arguing with me while dying."

"You're bloody fucking right I am," Bond manages to get out before the medics stab him and he starts to figure out what's happening.

He doesn't even manage to aim a fully betrayed look in Q's direction before passing out altogether.

A few hours later finds Q sitting at his perpetual headache's bedside- he may or may not be holding the agent's hand, just a little, because it gives Q the illusion that Bond gets to sleep a nightmare free sleep. His face is, for lack of a better word, smushed into the bedding right by Bond's hip because he feels guilty even though nothing is really his fault.

"I hate you..." he groans out, wishing that he could be in his comfortable bed instead of stuck in an uncomfortable chair, watching over his favorite pain in the arse with only the ticking clock for company.

Despite his hopes, there's no answering quip.

Q just sighs and tries his very best to suffocate himself in the sheets.

Unsurprisingly, he doesn't succeed in killing himself out of -g-u-i-l-t- discomfort.

"You are the biggest, most aggravating jerk that I've ever had the misfortune to deal with," he complains about twenty minutes of silence later. "Taking things to heart like that and charging in like an idiot with a deathwish. What even are you?"

Bond, of course, doesn't respond.

"No, really," he continues, trying his best to scowl and failing miserably. "What is it? Do you want to die? Do you want me to rot in guilt for the rest of my days and faithfully bring flowers to your grave every Sunday?"

Silence still reigns, which Q is not okay with.

Another hour still, and of course, the panic of the day-the sheer gut-wrenching terror that this man, this gorgeous, broken man, won't come back to -h-i-m- them- sinks in a little, and he's left shaking and just barely holding off on curling into himself.

He doesn't even want to think about how utterly pathetic he must look right now.

"I didn't mean it that way, you know," he whispers through chattering teeth, even as his mind replays every hit struck upon his agent's flesh, every stab, "About the whole 004 business. I didn't, didn't- I just, I just meant that 004 was closer to the goal and also better able to handle computers. Which, let's face it, you use them like they're bloody javelins most of the time, so."

Bond just kind of lays there, which does a grand total of nothing to make Q stop getting on with his panic attack. "Seriously," he says, almost frantic in his need to get it out, "I didn't mean it that way at all; you have to know that, you reckless, tech-destroying, arsehole. Oh my God, you overly sensitive little prick."

Of course, Bond doesn't say a word, the bastard.

Another twenty minutes, and Q finally let's himself curl up miserably, keeping half an ear out for the machines as he allows himself fall into a fitful sleep.

He doesn't feel it when strong arms pull him up and off the chair and into the bed, nor does he feel a warm body curling around him in an attempt to offer comfort.

When he wakes up again, though, Bond is gone, and he's neatly tucked into the hospital bed- he never realizes that he spent the night in bed, curled up with James Bond of all people.

The three days of suspension ends up being a day and a half of suspension, at most- because Bond is a workaholic who really is damned good at his job and also because he absolutely refuses to stay at Q's flat, all alone and bored, while Q gets to go and have fun at work. His words, not Q's.

(Q himself is a little confused because he still has no clue as to why Bond is staying at his flat, at all. He just knows that the night after the agent had seen fit to check himself out of Medical, he'd simply shown up at Q's place, drenched to the bone and looking like some sort of massive, stoic, snarky puppy dog.

Then, he'd just sort of shouldered his way in and made himself at home, all while Q had been gaping.

(To be fair though, Q hadn't really been able to bring himself to mind, nor had he dredged up the willpower to the kick the man out. And so, he'd let it be.)

M just sort of proceeds to ignore the fact that Bond has, once again, flouted her orders and puts various other agents, agents who have pissed her off, on babysitting duty- Agents who then curse their fate as Bond leads them all on a merry chase, because he is the biggest, snottiest, most annoying child that there ever was.

Q interrupts the shenanigans exactly twice, once to make sure that his agent eats lunch, and once to make sure that he's taking the pills he's supposed to be taking. Said agent doesn't argue once, which is a source of never ending relief and, worse still, consternation.

Well, actually, the fact that Bond actually listens when Q says things is apparently a surprise to exactly no one, except Q himself, who just sort of floats through the day with expressions of disbelief and suspicion warring upon his face.

But again, that's neither here nor there.

In the end, they all get through the day and their their respective workloads, except Bond who spends half the day hiding from the other double-0s of MI6 and spends the other half of the day hovering around Q Branch and generally being in Q's personal space, always hovering about like a ginormous bloody space heater at Q's back.

To be honest, the whole thing just makes Q want to smile, an impulse that he doesn't even bother to fight even though it's got a lot of his minions in a bit of a strop.

That evening, as they go back to -t-h-e-i-r- Q's flat, he sort of wants to ask about it, ask about what's gotten the great, ever cynical 007 playing about like a schoolboy and hovering about. But the words die in his throat when he sees the great lump curling onto the sofa, looking for all the world like a large, contented cat and probably tearing out a lot of his stitches out in the process too.

He has to shut up, then, because if he talks, he's pretty sure that the warm rush of feelingsthat he's currently experiencing will come spewing out in the most unfortunate of ways- and that, that will end well for nobody.

Instead, he gives himself a minute to put on the grumpiest face he can manage, before walking over and thumping the berk on the least injured part of his body.

"Up," he says in the most severe voice he can muster, maintaining his scowl even when ice blue eyes blink up at him with lazy curiosity.

"Oh for God's sakes," Q says, sighing even as he unsuccessfully tries to just pull the man into an upright position, "Up. I have to check you out to make sure that you're not going to bleed all over my furniture."

Bond just raises an eyebrow. "Your concern," he says, even as he pulls his shirt off, "is, as ever, touching."

Q doesn't even bother to respond because he's busy checking the aforementioned wounds and making sure that his agent isn't going to die on his watch.

He also may or may not be discreetly checking Bond out because that body is gorgeousand Q is more of a heathen than he would like to admit.

(On a complete side note, Q never asks Bond to leave, which should seem peculiar but actually isn't, in the end.)

Apparently, the whole ordeal with Bond nearly dying from sheer stupidity gets some sort of ball rolling, because he goes from just being the agent's quartermaster, to his secretary, to his babysitter, to God only knows what else.

It sort of becomes a, a thing, as it were.

007 is acting up in some indistinct corner of the world? Q gets called in to talk him down or, as one of the other agents had put it, 'bitch at him in sweet dulcet tones until the monster finally settles.'

James Bond is trying kill himself by taking on too many missions back to back? Q gets thrown to the proverbial lions because apparently, he's the only one who can talk to the man and actually have him listen, even if it's mostly through nagging and bitching.

M starts to order him to be there whenever Bond stumbles into HQ after a hard mission, which, well, he'd always been doing anyway because he's there for before the mission, and through the mission and he isn't going to leave the man alone after it. But he does as asked anyway, and forces the man to listen to a medical doctor about medical things, which is not only only a miracle because it works, but also because it earns him a freaking pay raise.

Yeah, it's all massively weird for Q too, like, Ubuntu as an OS weird or black coffee weird.

"I can't believe it," Q mutters one day, even as he tries to reassemble the broken pieces of what had once been a state of the art gun, while also throwing all the useless bits at Bond's head because the bastard deserves it for doing this to Q's precious tech, "I work my bloody arse off for hours and hours to keep her agency well equipped, put in for overtime just fixing your equipment, put in even more overtime fixing everyone else's, and the thing that earns me the raise is being your over-glorified babysitter."

Bond shrugs, lazily dodging all the projectiles coming at him before smirking proudly, the asshat. "Are you really complaining over what is essentially, free money?" he asks and Q has to wonder, is he? Because honestly, it feels a lot like he's not, and not even for the right reasons-which is sort of terrifying on some levels.

"Oh do not even go there, you complete monster" he says instead, throwing yet another melted computer chip at the agent, "you are the hardest job to do, ever. So I'm still underpaid and overworked and unappreciated."

Bond just hums in something resembling agreement. "I appreciate you," he says, before kipping in for a nap on the plush cot that Q'd had brought in, just for those days when Bond is too hurt to do anything and is too stubborn to just go home.

"Well, of course you do," Q says with a huff, before whipping out a miniature screw driver and going to town, "If I weren't around, I doubt you'd even be able to function properly, much less get your hands on the sort of tech that I've been giving you. Which brings me to my next point. Don't think, for one second, that I forgive you for the atrocity that you've wreaked on my poor baby here."

Bond just grunts, which Q takes as a signal to continue even though it's probably more of a shut up than anything else. "No really," he says, voice softening as the other man's breathing starts to even out, "I expect proper compensation for this- a solid dinner atleast."

This time there is no answering response, because the great and fearsome Agent 007 has settled in for his nap, and not even the most of vicious of attacks will wake him from it.

(Unless of course, the attacks are real, in which case, he'll be up and retaliating before he's even fully awake. If it's just Q trying to get his lazy arse up, however, Bond will continue to steadfastly ressemble a great moldy log, dead to the world and essentially useless.)

In the end though, Q won't lie, atleast, not to himself- he secretly revels in the cozy, almost domestic feel of it all- revels in the smile that grows on the other man's face with each passing day, chasing away atleast some of the shadows that seem to constantly dog the man's footsteps.

Honestly, if this is his life, Q can't help but think that things could a whole hell of a lot worse.

One of the (surprisingly) few downsides to the whole thing though, other than the obvious increase in his workload, is that Q is starting to notice things, things about James Bond that hurt, that cleave his heart right in two.

He notices things like how the man hides so much of himself from the world, burying that soft squishy underbelly under hard muscle, a rough smirk, wild sex, and pure, unadulterated talent- notices how, really, only M and Q are privy to anything of his real self at all and even then, M's knowledge is minimal and Q notices how that hurts Bond.

He notices things like how, sometimes, when the world is warm and even Tanner is loosening up enough to bring them candy and alcohol, or when M is yelling for no other reason than the fact that she doesn't want to seem soft to anyone, ever- Bond gets this look in his eyes, like he's actually happy.

Now, normally, this would be a good thing, a phenomenal thing even, despite what Q will say when Bond actually pisses him off- but the thing is, about five minutes later, Q will turn around and the look on his agent's face will slowly but surely change.

He'll go from utterly happy to brooding in no time flat, his eyes going to from bright to dull and desolate, and he'll get this look on his face like he knows that he doesn't deserve happiness and wonders when it's going to be snatched away from him again.

In times like that, it's all Q can do to finish up one of Bond's more extravagant requests, be it an exploding pen or a mini-laser cufflink.

The extra work becomes worth it, then, because thrusting the finished product under Bond's nose and watching those eyes light up again is something that Q wants to continue to keep doing.

Oddly enough, though, with each new gadget that he shoves at his agent, his interns and underlings start eyeing him like something fascinating to study under a microscope. Frankly, the feeling this produces is more than a little daunting.

He also notices other marked changes in the amount of sex that James Bond has in correlation with the number of missions he runs.

More specifically, the mission sex takes a drastic fall, even if it doesn't disappear completely because this is their job and information has to be gained at all costs.

Q understands that part, atleast.

What he doesn't understand, is the complete stop in recreational sex because seriously, Bond is actually making it a point to hover around Q Branch like a particularly overprotective helicopter, rather than indulging in copious amounts of gratuitous monkey sex.

This actually worries everyone, because that's not just a change in a simple behavioral pattern, but a huge change in his very being. As a whole, Bond needs sex almost as much as he needs to breath or posture, everyone knows this, except for the part where he apparently doesn't.

Of course, whenever someone brings it up, or even makes a passing mention about it, the agent just sort of gives Q a weird look, as though it's obvious, before shutting down completely.

Q just sort of wants to scream because, what the hell.

Another thing that he doesn't understand is why, after each increasingly rarer bout of professional sex (and doesn't that sound rather horrifying? Maybe Q should just call it work-related sex), Bond feels the need to shower- after one of those clean-up sessions, the agent is always pink, as though he's scrubbed himself raw, and he always spends the night just silently watching Q, even when Q doesn't do anything worth the scrutiny.

Q himself actually never knows what to do with Bond when he's like that, or when he just gets dark and lonely, so he pretty much always just goes to his fallback-he just puts on the kettle, gives the man a cuppa, and kips down to read aloud whatever he happens to grab.

"Feels like I'm putting you to bed," he'll quip, allowing the other man to crowd into his personal space as is his wont, "What are you, 4 or 40?"

"Excuse you," Bond will grumble, lazily draping himself over all available surfaces and Q, "I'm not a day over 39, thank you."

"My foot," Q will crow, before opening his book with a decisive snap, thumbing through pages long worn through multiple reads, and they'll both just settle in.

Invariably, Bond always mocks his choices the next day, but that's ok because the shadows in his eyes disappear for a while, replaced by a twinkling mirth that one would have to look for to see, and that makes it all worthwhile in Q's eyes.

Q isn't too sure as to whether or not this is a thing, too; but recently, 'someone' has been leaving behind food -and on one occasion, a jumper- at his desk. It's never anything too extravagant, usually just a poorly made sandwich, or some quick pasta tossed in butter, or some other dish that an otherwise incapable bachelor would be able to throw together in a pinch.

Admittedly, the sweater had been of a rather high quality, but it'd been a one time thing and therefore not as important to note.

On another note, the same 'someone' who's been doing the deliveries, has also been taking great pains to avoid all the CCTVs and security cameras that are installed all over the Branch. This is rather stupid because a) Q has installed biometric-scanners at the doors, windows, and in all the vents, which means that if anyone uses any of the viable methods in or out of the lab, Q knows that they're there. Incidentally, he also knows who they are, what Branch they belong to, what their vitals are, as well as their statistics, and their goddamned life stories-

-and b) even with all this at his disposal, Q doesn't need to use any of it to know exactly who's behind sneak feeding him.

There are, Q has come to realize, less than a handful of people who will go through that sort of effort for him, who will take the time out of their day to do something as inane as making sure he eats. Of thathandful of people, there are maybe two who have the access to actually accomplish the feat.

Considering that Tanner is still normal enough to just hand things straight to Q, that leaves just one person. Also, there's only one person that Q knows, in the world, that would feel the need to protect his macho image while doing something so utterly kind-hearted, the only who would feel unsafe with such kindness exposed.


Of course, Q has no bleeding idea as to why the idiot is going through all this trouble. But there's a rather large part of him that appreciates it nonetheless, melting ever so slightly as his brain conjures up images of the agent in a kitchen, a flabbergasted look on his face as the same razor-edge brain that's saved the world itself on so many occasions fails miserably at something as inane as cooking, of all things.

Frankly, it's endearing- a little weird maybe, but still utterly endearingand Q just can't help but smile whenever he comes out of a stuffy, boring meeting, and there's a poorly wrapped cheese sandwich on his desk.

But still, he cannot allow things to continue as they are.

"Tell you what," he says about a week after the mysterious appearances begin, sitting on the cot and watching idly as the agent curses before attempting to break out of the trap that Q had set for him, "Why don't you stop with the secret santa business and just have lunch with me like a normal person?"

That, oddly enough, puts an end to all of Bond's struggles.

"Really?" he asks, finally freeing himself (because this trap is one of those; the more one struggles, the harder it is to get out of) and looking at Q with an odd mix of hope and trepidation painting itself into those expressive blue eyes, leaving Q wondering as to just what is going on.

"Of course," Q says, feeling off kilter, as though he's not answering the question that he thinks he's answering but continuing anyway, "After all, it wouldn't do for you to miss lunch in an attempt to make sure I eat mine."

Clearly, that's not the right response.

He watches, curious, as the other man just blinks for a second, before his face settles into a deep scowl. "Fine," Bond says, with another one of his infamous almost pouts, "if that's what you want out of this, then fine."

"Out of what?" Q asks, raising eyebrows at the petulant response but, of course, he gets no answers of his own.

"I hate you," Bond grumbles as he curls onto the cot and lays his head on Q's lap.

Q, in turn, just rolls his eyes at the overdramatics and cards his fingers through his agent's hair. "Mmhmm."

The Valentine's day thing is quite possibly the weirdest, although, in retrospect, there is a distinct possibility that Q is deficient in someway because he never realizes that its a clue.

Then again, he's probably also too angry to even think of it that way.

As it happens, everyone in the Q Branch gives everyone else in the Q Branch a little something- because ultimately, most everyone in the Q Branch is considered a 'nerd' and will, therefore, not receive much (if anything) in the name of romance.

So, every year, they give each other a little something, just to put a smile on everyone's face rather than watch as a select few enjoy the holiday.

It's a good practice, actually, because it boosts morale- Q isn't so stupid as to think otherwise, even though he thinks the holiday itself is utterly mundane. So, the day before, he goes out and gets everyone in his branch some chocolate, the good stuff because his staff deserves the best.

He doesn't even consider the dramatics that would ensue as a result of his actions.

As expected, the candy exchange receives no real fanfare, the girls grin and give everyone little pecks on the cheek, and the guys pretend not to be affected by the whole affair even though the thought of all the glorious sugar clearly has each and every one of them aquiver with joy.

Q himself is grinning and yeah ok, the holiday itself is nothing but a last ditch attempt on Hallmark's part to stay alive, but as he hands Tina (the poor girl) her little goodie bag, even he has to admit that it's nice to see her smile so happily.

After all, after the absolute debacle that had been her first day here, she deserves something nice to make up for it, even if it's just a few truffles here and there.

"Thank you, Boss," she says shyly, getting on tiptoes to give him a quick peck on the cheek-

-which is, of course, when his idiot of an agent decides to make an entrance, by running in and pushing the poor girlabout as far away as he possibly can.

Which, considering that he's a heavily trained assassin and is also built like a goddamned bus, and that Tina is actually rather tiny and built like a waif, well-

-the poor girl goes flying, stumbling back against the far wall.

There is a second of complete, utter silence in the branch, before a flurry of movement explodes outand several of the staff run over to check on the poor girl. Granted, she seems unhurt in the long run, seeming simply dazed instead of injured, but she's still tiny and the baby of the Branch, and everyone sort of wants to protect her- especially after the great Laptop Incident of Lord knows how long ago.

Meanwhile, Q just stares, horror etched on his face, because how on earth had everything gone so pear-shaped, so damned quickly? How had the smile on that girl's face turned into a look of fear, so bleeding fast?

The answer is simple, unfortunately.

The same answer is also, if the look on his face is anything to go by, utterly unrepentant.

Q may give in on a lot of things to this man, make concessions that he would otherwise make to noone else- but even he knows when to put his foot down about the whole thing, which is why he walks away to check on Tina without saying a word.

He doesn't even stop even when Bond tries to talk to him, because he knows that if he engages the man, that if he explodes the way that he wants, that if he lashes out with words and fists the way he's dying to do- well, it'll end like it always does. They'll just end up snarking at each other like a couple of school boys. Then, Bond will make those silly puppy eyes at him until Q just caves in, and that'll be the end of that.

That just won't do this time.

The arsehole needs to learn that doing things like what he just did, are not ok- and Q knows that the silent treatment will work better than anything else.

This thing, silent treatment, whatever, continues for a full four days; Q doesn't even give in even after Tina herselfwalks over and tells him to cut the agent some slack.

"He didn't mean it," she says, sipping her tea and staring at Q with widened eyes, as though willing him to understand something.

Q refuses to budge. "No," he tells her, not even bothering to look up from his work, "He needs to learn."

Tina just sighs. "Come on, boss," she says, a beseeching look on her face, "I didn't even get hurt!"

"That doesn't make a difference," Q says in return, "The point is, you could have been; you just weren't despite his best efforts, because you were born under a lucky star. I simply will not associate with someone who does things like that."

Tina groans this time. "I think you're overreacting," she says.

Q snorts, "That's the Stockholm Syndrome talking- you've already been here too long if Bond has gotten to you that quickly."

"Whatever sir," she says, as she gets up to leave, "you're going to have to talk to him at some point."

There are a lot of things that Q is always right about, and then there are the things that other people are right about- Q can admit, in the privacy of his own thoughts, that this time might just be the latter.

The thought is only further cemented when he returns to his desk, and sees that Bond has returned his equipment from the latest mission- all in one piece, for once. Of course, there are no apologetic notes or forgiveness candies- hell, it doesn't even seem like Bond is so much as acknowledging that he's done something wrong.

But then again, Q thinks as he looks at the only piece of fully functional equipment that Bond has ever returned, there's no need for anything more overt, is there?

"You know that you can't go around pushing people around like that, right?" Q asks as soon as he walks into -t-h-e- his flat and sets sight on the (moping? Is he, is he moping?) agent on -t-h-e- his couch, "Because let me tell you, what you did was utterly reprehensible."

Bond just grunts, turning away and sulking like a child.

"What is wrong with you?" Q sighs, shaking his head and staring at the ceiling as though begging for strength.

But there's still no response from the other man because, apparently, he's decided that if Q is going to give him the silent treatment, he's going to give it right back.

Which just figures because of course he's going to pull something like that in retaliation. It's not as though he's the most mature of people, even on a good day- so really, why does Q expect better things from this man again?

He just shrugs, exasperation clear on his face as he just turns around to walk off, because there's no point in dealing with this bullocksy situation-

-which is, of course, when Bond decides to talk.

"Are you even going to ask?" he asks, expression blank, like he only does when he expects the worst news. His voice sounds almost disturbingly small, like he's just tired, and the sound of it is almost heart-wrenching in a way.

Q doesn't understand.

"Ask what?" he questions, even as he frantically runs through his mental files to see whether or not he'd forgotten something. He feels like he's missing something really important, like there's something just at the tip of his brain just waiting to be noticed. If he could just pull it up, just get to the bottom of what's going on, he's sure that he can erase that look off the older man's face.

Said man's response only intensifies this feeling. The agent just looks, as far as terrible similes go, like a broken-hearted wall- like Q had just reached into his chest and crushed his hopes and dreams, and like he's trying to hide the fact by looking as stoic as physically possible and failing miserably at it.

It's killing Q to be honest, even though he couldn't say why, not even on his life.

"Nevermind," Bond says in the meantime, resignation practically oozing from his very pores as he gives his most listless shrug, "It's nothing important." And Q sort of wants to scream a bit, maybe even smack the man around, because clearly yes, it's extremely important. It's fucking out of character, is what it is, because James Bond should always bitch and moan and snark about everything, except for the part where it isn't out of character at all. It breaks Q's heart because, when it counts, the giant, idiotic, moron that Q has the privilege of being quartermaster to, keeps it all in.

But, in the end, he can't really say anything either, because the more he prods, the more the other man will clam up; and that's neither conducive to getting answers nor in making the other man feel any better.

And so, Q heaves what feels like his umpteenth sigh of the day before meandering his way into the kitchen, fully prepared to do what he always does when Bond gets into one of his moods.

"You could just tell me, you know," he says, just once, as he brings out a steaming cup of Earl Grey and settles in to read through, 'The Once and Future King.'

As expected, Bond doesn't say anything in return, but Q considers it a win, anyway, when he slouches down and rests his head on Q's lap like he always does.

-and no, things aren't fixed per se, because the man clearly has issues that Q's yet to figure out. But, as he runs his fingers through the the agent's short-cropped hair, Q makes a vow to make it better- somehow, someway.

After that, things just sort of even out, except for how it doesn't because he still feels like he's missing something enormous. It feels as though something has changed drastically, although nothing really has.

Q and Bond still basically cohabitate because apparently, it's not worth the effort for Bond to keep his own place when he barely spends his time there. They pretty much still eat together on most occasions, except when they don't, and then Bond will drop off a poorly made lunch or dinner depending on which meal he thinks Q is most likely to skip.

Q is still called in to babysit Bond at all times- mostly when he's injured, when he works too much, when he won't stop picking fights with other agents, and when he walks into work and M is in no mood to deal with him.

So yes, nothing changes, except for how it does.

-because Bond actually gets a little bit more quietwith each passing day, and setting off alarm bells and red alerts and warning signs all at once.

But Q doesn't know how to fix that, even though he desperately, desperately wants to.

In the end, because that's just how Q's life is, it all comes to a head one morning about two months after the weirdness starts- one of the interns finally has some sort of ill-timed panic induced seizure and proceeds to spew information like she's utterly incapable of control.

"Oh my God," she says, looking on with a sort of devastated awe as 007, James Bond, Machismo Extraordinaire, drops yet another poorly made sandwich onto Q's desk before running off for his mission of the day, "Boss! I know what's going on. Boss."

Q honestly can't be arsed to even look up from his laptop; because between trying to figure out why Bond is unhappy and trying to figure why the damned idiot just can't keep his equipment in once piece, goddamn him, he doesn't have any attention span to spare.

"What," he says, voice monotone as dexterous fingers speed through taking apart and reassembling one of his more state of the art guns, mind barely sparing the power to process the girl herself, much less her words.

"It's like some sort of, of mating ritual or something," she blurts out in the meantime, "Oh my God, Boss, do you see that? He's, he's showing that he can provide for you, and, and, oh my God. Boss. He's been marking his territory. No wonder he doesn't like Tina! How have you not noticed?"

"Hm?" Q says, frowning at one of the pieces before taking out one of his smaller screw-drivers, "What are you going on about, then?"

How on earth, he wonders at the same time, can someone break a single gun in no less than 8 places? What, had Bond decides to shove it through a particularly large, titanium-made blender?

The intern just smacks her forehead into her desk. "Boss." she says impatiently, as though she's seriously considering just beating the information into his head, "He's establishing himself as a potential mate, ok? He is wooing you."

"Mmhmm," he says through the pin in his mouth, glaring at the bent, melted, twisted wreck that had once been his pride and joy.

Apparently, this is the part where the intern loses her temper.

"Ugh, men,"she says before just coming over, pulling his head up from his work, looking him in the eye, and saying very clearly, "He wants to be your boyfriend."

The 'you idiot' goes unsaid, even though anyone privy to the conversation (which is everyone) can hear it loud and clear.

As it turns out, even Q can't ignore something like that- not even when he's busy doing what he does best- and he finds himself gaping and stuttering as though he were back in primary school once again, facing up against foes twice his size.

What makes it worse, oh God, is that everything makes sense; it all falls into bed with near audible clicks and for the first time in possibly ever, Q wonders how he'd been so slow on the uptake.

But in the end, there isn't much he can do about it because Bond is in Oslo, and Q is busy with his branch and this type of conversation has no place in the working environment. So, he simply shrugs off the intern girl, pointedly doesn't write her up, and goes back to work.

Oh, but when they get home, Q is going to possibly bludgeon his idiotic agent to death because seriously, what the hell.

(Incidentally, he also gives the girl a pay raise. Let's see what someone else feels like when they get a raise for everything other than their hard work, he thinks a little snippily.)

Q spends all of one minute wondering as to whether or not he wants to be in a relationship with James Bond of all people, then he proceeds to kick the thought right out of his head because of course he does.

He's been living in (and there's no other way to phrase it) domestic bliss with the man for even he doesn't know how long, depending on him and being depended on, in return. To go back to being the way he had been before this whole thing had started would be, in a word, unacceptable.

Therefore, Q supposes, it's not really whether or not he wants to be in the relationship that matters. It's more that Bond had obviously not only known about the happenings on, and had not only invested so heavily into it that he hurt, but that he hadn't bothered to clue Q in.

He's going to get it when he gets back, Q decides- there will be no mercy.

Because he's not nearly the heartless prick that he pretends to be, Q manages to wait until Bond gets back home from Oslo and even waits for him to finish showering before going after him. After that, though, all bets are off, and before long, he's frog marching the man over to the lilo, sitting his arse down, and proceeding to level him with the sort of glare that even budget cuts don't normally warrant.

"Well...?" He crosses his arms, and looks down his nose, hoping to convey every bit of disdain he feels towards certain agents and their inability to act like regular human beings.

To his credit, said man just blinks. "What?" he asks, looking befuddled as though he has any right to, the bastard, "What is it?"

"Don't you start with me," Q grits out, because there is no way that the bastard doesn't understand what's happening, "Although one must wonder, should I confiscate you to the sofa for the rest of eternity?"

Except that he wouldn't because if he did, there would no chance whatsoever to play catch up with the sex that they haven't been having, that they should have been having, goddamn his life, anyway.

"What on earth are you talking about," Bond says in the meantime, looking at him as though he were the emotionally stunted crazy one in this relationship, "I alreadysleep on the sofa."

"Oh my God," Q groans in response, because once again, this is his life- because he's not only been cockblocking himself all along, but has also been stonewalling the relationship itself to the point where Bond seems to think that he'll never catch on to his sneaky ways.

"Alright," he continues on after a few moments of muttering despondently, "I can see how this is going to end if I don't bite the bullet right now, ok? So I ask-"

"Have we, or have we not, been dating for the past several months?"

Of course, par for course, this is about when the other man suddenly starts to look shifty; his eyes are darting about the room as though he's trying to plan an escape, which just-

Q just takes a deep breath, in through his nose and out through his mouth so that it actually calms him somewhat, before plopping down next to his agent. "Seriously," he says, "You would rather stalk-date me, never talk about any of this, and hope that I catch on at some point in the vague future, rather than just ask?"

The guilty look on Bond's face says it all.

"How," Q asks the ceiling, "is this my life? What did I do in a past life to deserve this?"

But he's curling into his newly discovered boyfriend of several months in a way that can only convey happy acceptance, that can only mean that he doesn't really mean the things he says sometimes and that yes, he's a little upset with the situation, but he'll get over it.

Apparently, though, that's more than enough- the slight approval that Q gives with that small movement gives Bond everything he needs, because before Q can figure out what's going on, he's being yanked onto his back and Bond, James, Bond- is everywhere.

"Must've saved a Maharaja's life," the bastard says, breathing against Q's lips, just hovering and not doing much else. He knows exactly what he's doing to Q- every move is a calculated bid to seem as irresistible as possible.

If only he knew.

Q just glares up in mock annoyance, though, even as he fights off a wave of affection. "Mm," he hums, because he can't let the man's ego go unchecked, "I'm thinking I killedone instead. Maybe tortured them a little before sending them on their way."

In response, Bond just raises an eyebrow, and says something snarky, but Q doesn't catch it because Bond is doing that thing again, where a remark cuts close but he doesn't want to show any weakness. So, like any good boyfriend , Q rolls his eyes sky high before pulling the lug down for a proper kiss.

"You must've saved the world a million times over, though," he pants a good few minutes later, "Because that's the only reason I can think of to love you like I do."

-B-o-n-d- James just smiles.

I hope that wasn't too bad, guys! I mean, as usual, I feel I may have made it too abrupt and quick, especially towards the end- and it's definitely not the best writing out there. But I hope you enjoyed it even the littlest bit! Also, those who live in the USA~ HAPPY THANKSGIVING! THIS IS MY GIFT TO YOU! R and R please!