WOW hard chapter to write. I really hope they stayed in character. Thanks so much everybody who reviewed and followed and favorited this story^_^
Also Shadowtheo...what your hoping for...may be in the works(I say nothing but it might happen)
Finally there was an inquiry about Skyfall. It was bound to happen. M died and orders were technically ignored. Although Mallory took the fall for that and said he had given those orders for them to run off like they did. But naturally…eventually an investigation was going to happen. Bureaucracy took its sweet time though.
Q wasn't much bothered by the thing. He just did the tech and so nobody was terribly concerned with him. He had been asked a series of questions by the two MI6 suits investigating. The bureaucrat types were often smarmy and irritating but these men, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, just wanted to get their work done and move on. Q could respect that. Their session was brief.
That was all well and fine but then they wanted to go back to Skyfall.
They wanted Bond to go back.
They wanted him to walk them through the events of that night.
After that conversation had taken place Bond had apparently managed to leave the room without slamming the door. Then he ended up in Q's office. He did slam that door a little too loudly behind him and then proceeded to lean against it staring fiercely at the wall behind Q's head. Q for his part had witnessed one or two of these…for lack of a better term…tantrums. Or at least his agent's equivalent to a tantrum. He decided to proceed as if everything was normal.
"Hello Bond, would you like to sit down?" Bond met his gaze for a moment and then looked away again. Q could see his jaw tighten.
"There's an inquiry about M," The words were soft and neutral but squeezed past gritted teeth.
"I know. I had to answer a few questions about it," Q stated. Bond's eyes flicked to his gaze and away again.
"They want me to go to Skyfall," finally the words were said and no more were needed. Q knew exactly why they were asking. And he had a pretty good notion of why Bond was…less than pleased. Finally having said it Bond sighed and came to sit in the chair in front of Q's desk. He slumped into and made a face at Q.
Q was trying to formulate some kind of a reasonable response. Something helpful. Something that the agent could take with him on this trip. Something useful.
"I could tag along…?" It was a statement that became a question and Q immediately regretted it. It seemed beyond ridiculous. Q was good with computers. He understood people well enough…he was good at reading them. But in person, in a bad situation he felt his wisdom and usefulness were lacking. That night at the bar had been proof enough of that.
Although Bond surprised him. He didn't laugh or make any disparaging remark. He just stared at the younger man. Those hard eyes taking in details and sizing him up. He was actually considering Q's offer.
"Is there a legitimate reason for you to come?" Q raised his eyebrows and tried not to look too surprised.
"There is a tech conference in Glasgow this weekend that I've been meaning to see." Q murmured thoughtfully and Bond nodded.
"Alright then. Best let M know. We leave the day after tomorrow." With that Bond got up and left the room and a surprised Q behind.
The plane ride was as awful as ever. Q could never ignore the inherent dangers of getting into a pressurized metal tube while it shot through the sky. If Bond noticed that Q was gripping the armrests during the entire flight he chose to ignore it. Q was grateful for that. His phobia was an irritation and an embarrassment. He wondered if Bond noticed and was looking the other way in some attempt to give him privacy. He might have imagined that.
Once they got off the plane Q breathed a little easier. And it might have been his imagination, but Bond didn't.
Bond only spoke when they asked him a question. What road did you drive on? Did anything happen during the drive? Did M say anything? Bond's answers were quick and terse. Q wondered if he was trying to get away with as many monosyllabic answers as possible.
For his part, once he just muttered that the Quartermaster was tagging along the Croup and Vandemar paid him little mind. He sat quietly during the drive. When they reached the charred remains of the castle Q felt his jaw drop a little. Photos had not done the scene justice. He never ceased to be amazed at the sheer amount of destruction one 00 could wreak.
Bond was stiff and to the point as he walked the Croup, Vandemar, and Q through the house. A trap here shot nails everywhere, a trap there, there's a nail in the wall. Croup and Vandemar inspected the nail still embedded in a piece of charred wall with interest. It was half melted and hard to see amongst the blackened ashes.
He walked them through the rubble and eventually to the tunnel that M and his groundskeeper had escaped through and where he soon followed. He offered to show them the caves but Croup and Vandemar wrinkled their noses in distaste. Even Q was a little uncomfortable at the idea of the dark tunnel that could cave in at any moment.
So they went to the car and drove the mile or so to the church. Bond didn't even have to direct them since it was visible from afar. Although as they drove he did point at a frozen lake as it passed and muttered,
"Fought him there." The Croup nodded and Vandemar made a note on their clipboard. Q hadn't said much and was beginning to feel rather useless during this excursion. For his part Bond just stared out the window.
When they reached the church everybody got out of the car and headed for the door. Q noticed the headstones but didn't say a word. Bond walked by them with his chin up, but he walked close to them. His hand brushed over the top of the headstones.
Croup and Vandemar were already in the church and examining the scene. They talked to each other and made notes oblivious to the world. Q stepped inside and felt the chill mildew of the air. He looked up and found that camera in the far corner. He almost smiled and then he glanced back and saw Bond stop at the threshold. His gaze seemed distant and Q could see those jaw muscles tighten.
"James," Q murmured and that gaze finally went to him.
"Come on James," Q motioned with his hand and forced himself to not look away. That gaze was like something fractured. All cracks and sharp edges. Q wondered if for a moment he was seeing through the cracks. Were there emotions beneath the surface, hidden like burning embers in coal? Was it fear? Or grief? Or nothing at all? Still he didn't look away.
"Come on James." Repeated words and the hand outstretched and motioning.
The other man clenched that jaw and the gaze turned steely. He didn't take the outstretched hand as he walked by Q. But he gently brushed a hand on the younger man's arm as he went by. Then he went to Croup and Vandemar and answered the rest of their questions firmly and in as few words as possible.
James did not look at him again. His expression went hard again. The cracks had sealed.
James didn't even glance at him until they were on the plane. The moment Q stepped inside it he could feel his breathing quicken. He jammed his hands into his pockets where they became white knuckled fists unseen. Bond wordlessly let him take the seat at the window. The plane engines started and Q stiffened in his seat. Bond made some kind of a noise and dug something out of his pocket.
It was the standard MI6 earpiece that he used on missions. He tossed it onto the tray table in front of Q.
"So explain how this thing works again? Because I think it's shit." Bond threw the words out carelessly. He sounded bored. But his expression was something different. The plane started moving and Q inhaled sharply and gripped the armrest.
"Q, I genuinely want to know what on earth you think is so great about this thing?"
"You know full well it's not useless, I designed it." Q answered through gritted teeth. His face went a little red. He wished James would leave him alone, but he knew exactly what he was trying to do.
"Then explain why this isn't a piece of shit," James insisted, his expression was still unreadable.
"Well the inner casing is made from titanium so if somebody decides to try and break your head this won't shatter in your ear drum." Q spoke slowly as he tried to measure his breathing. He was trying to sound normal. Bond listened attentively as he ran through each little detail of the ear piece. For a brief moment he did manage to forget about the plane moving them across the runway.
"And the wiring is…" his breath left him as the plane sped up and began to lift off the tarmac.
"Yes what about the wiring," Bond prompted. Q stared at him for a moment before letting out a slow and shaky sigh.
"Is this some sort of a thank you for earlier? Because that would be unnecessary," he muttered. Bond just gave him a long hard look.
"You were saying about the wiring."
So Q explained every inch of the ear piece until they were up in the air. When he ran out of things to discuss about the ear piece Bond took off the watch Q had modified and simply pointed to it. As Q explained the technology his breathing evened out a little. Although he was still terrified when the plane began its descent he found it was indeed easier to focus on the circuits and wires of Bond's cell phone. He explained it all at length and Bond listened to every word.
When the plane landed Q was the first one out of the door. He let out a deep breath and leaned forward to rest his hands on his knees. He jumped a little when a voice said in his ear,
"Now we're even." Q straightened up to look Bond in the eye.
"Fair enough," he said and Bond gave him half a smile before turning and walking away.
OK so first off can you tell I don't know shit about electronics? That was all totally pulled out of my ass. Also yeah I really can't tell if they got out of character in this one. I suppose since this is all my headcanon now this might just be their continuing character development. I like the idea that Bond would still be kind of rude when he is trying to be nice. Also seriously Bond really just loves to exit at the end of chapters and Q loves to watch him leave. I don't know why the fuck that keeps happening.
And everybody who gets the Neil Gaiman shoutout gets a cookie XD
Also this is just a bit about me and my headcanons. A lot of this story now is probably more James helping Q than vise versa. I think that's how James would get close to somebody (M, Camille, Vesper, he generally did a bit of saving or tried to with each of them). I think James likes to take care of people and its his only way of showing affection. Thoughts? Reviews? Seriously your feedback makes me very happy if you have the time for it^_^