When the explosion occurred, Q had been flung to the far end of the room. He sailed across it, and his body mimicked a rag-doll, he'd always hated them with their eyes always wide and unseeing. In a matter of milliseconds, his back is on fire, the flames are devouring his shirt as if it's made of paper. He hadn't even had time for the agony to reach his brain before the screaming started. It took him a full second to realize it was coming from his mouth.

He had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. His first day of work and the only reason he had been there was to deliver some paperwork to his predecessor, hoping to allow the transition to go more smoothly. He cursed his terrible luck, not even officially on the job yet, and already injured. He wasn't even a field agent, so why did it have to happen to him? He lies in his hospital bed and all he can think of is the pain. The pain had been so completely unbearable, white hot and crushing as it had engulfed him.

He spends two months in the hospital, the boredom eating away at him to a point where he has to beg for his laptop, becoming such an annoyance that they finally submit to his wishes. Before that he had worked through three Sudoku books, each one growing more and more tedious.

He's finally healed enough to leave, there is no pomp or circumstance, he simply catches a taxi home and pours himself some tea. Tomorrow he goes to work.

Tomorrow he meets his first agent.

It has been four months, four months of grueling healing and three failed one night stands. Every single one ending in grotesque looks and quick departures. One had barely made it long enough to pull his pants back on before bolting. Each one is a lesson learned, cementing in his mind that he is no longer desirable, no longer handsome in any way.

So he wears long sleeves, buys a multitude of sweaters to cover as much bare skin as he possibly can. He nervously tugs at then whenever he feels uncomfortable, it almost distracts him from work some days. Almost.

And Bond is incorrigible, he finds reasons to pop in to Q branch all the time. Forever flirting and touching, smiling and bringing him gifts. He would find it incredibly endearing in normal circumstances, but in his current state of self-loathing, he just finds it distracting.

Others are beginning to notice, they've started a pool on how long it will take for Q to either snap and kill Bond or actually go out on a date with him.

Q is terrified, this man is handsome, utterly dangerous, and has been with some of the most beautiful people in the world. Whatever has possessed him to pursue Q is completely beyond his comprehension.

Bond is like a machine or a puzzle that he can't seem to wrap his head around, something which is altogether confusing for him.

He agrees after the longest time to go out with Bond. Only once, he assures himself, he will do this once then Bond will leave him alone. After all, Bond is not the type to take no for answer.

Money is exchanged, Moneypenny wins the most. Tanner asks him why he couldn't just hold out for a few more days. Q reminds himself to start bugging Tanner's devices.

The date goes surprisingly well. They have fun, there is wine and great food. Q laughs for the first time in far too long. Everything is wonderful. Except.

At the end of the night, they are standing outside Q's flat. Q is drunk, giggling and smiling at some story that Bond has told. He sees the look in his eyes, sees him move closer for a kiss. He gives in, but it's a selfish desire overtaking him, this kiss was something he wasn't ready for at all but he was just so curious. He'd wanted to know the taste of him for so long now, wanted to know what. He pulls himself away when Bond attempts to further the kiss. His hand being placed on Q's back, that's the end. Q pushes him off and bids him goodnight before rushing inside to the safety of his flat.

He sits at his kitchen table to calm himself down, and then goes to bed.

Thoughts muddling in his head, he can't find the will to sleep.

Bond corners him again at MI6 the next day, he seems worried but insistent. He asks Q out again, tonight.

He doesn't know what to say.

So he just says "Yes."

The second date is just as well as the first, they see a film and James laughs whenever Q corrects the screen. They walk around London aimlessly and peer into shop windows, it is calm and relaxing. Q hates it because of his expectation of what will happen at the end of the night.

But James surprises him. Once they reach the front steps of Q's flat, he simply squeezes his hand once and bids him goodnight.

Inside his flat, Q is utterly puzzled; not only by the way James had acted, but also by the way he had.

He'd wanted James to kiss him.

There are dates, many of them, after that. They see films and go out to dinner, they learn about each other and they grow very close.

But they haven't kissed since that first disastrous attempt.

Part of Q wonders if James knows about his scars and doesn't want anything to do with them, perhaps he is only seeking companionship. Another part of him knows that is ridiculous, no one knows about his scars except for M. He had burned any paper trail that could possibly lead back to him. He always wore something to cover them and he didn't slip up. He was so careful.

Then one night James kisses him on his door step and he's flooded with the scent of him, whiskey and something completely unique to just him. It causes every sense to stop, every thought to be pushed from his head and without even thinking about it he opens his front door to stumble in to his flat, James still attached.

They fumble up the stairs and into Q's living room, a sparsely decorated area except for the multitude of bookshelves lining the walls. Bond tugs him by the lapels to the couch where they fall in a heap, Q on top with Bond writhing underneath. Q lets out an aching moan at the feeling of friction James is causing beneath him and he steadies himself by placing both hands on James' shoulders.

"Oh god," with every muscle in his body protesting, he removes himself from James and sits on the couch with his head in his hands "we can't do this."

James sidles over to him, laying a hand on his leg in a comforting gesture. "Why not?" he looks so confused and hesitant that Q just wants to reassure him, but he can't. "What's wrong?"

"I can't-I just- I can't do this with you." The words slip out from between his lips and he doesn't mean that, he can't do this with anyone but he desperately wants to with James. He stands and sees James sitting on his couch in utter confusion.

They are silent for what seems like hours, but is probably more like seconds before Q cracks. "You'll do the same thing the others did, you won't want me and you'll think I'm hideous, you'll leave and you'll hate me." The words tumble out from his lips unbidden and if he could help the hysterical edge they've taken on then he would. But he can't. He can't he can't he can't.

"I don't understand," James stands and he walks to where Q has been hysterically pacing for a few minutes now "I can't-I need you to explain to me what you're talking about."

Q finally looks at him with anger on his face. The anger is not directed at him but the sharp curve to his lips and the way he growls only add more levels to James' bewilderment. "This is what I'm talking about," his voice rumbles out and he's removing his cardigan and with a quick jerky motion he pulls off his shirt "these are why I can't be what you want me to be." The clothes are gone now, nothing is shielding him.

The skin is ridged and red, puckered and angry. He hates himself a little each time he glances at it in the mirror, a not so subtle souvenir of pain and his own incompetence. It trails down his back and across his arms, each ridged centimeter just a reminder of those who leapt from his bed, revolted by the sight of him.

He expects to hear muffled shock, perhaps even the opening and closing of his front door. What he does not expect is the feeling of a cool hand touching his back, caressing the scars there with such care. He hisses and turns around to face James.

"I'm sorry," his tone is incredibly remorseful "Did I hurt you?" his hands are raised in a gesture of surrender, letting him know that that was the farthest thing he would ever want to do.

Q has forgotten how to speak, he simply stares at James in utter perplexity.

"Why are you still here?" Q's head cocks to the side and his arms wrap around his chest, protecting himself from everything.

"What are you talking about?" James has not taken his eyes off of Q's this entire time.

"You haven't left yet." And it is Q's turn to be confused again, looking at James' face he does not see revulsion or pity, merely curiosity and no small amount of mystification.

"Why on Earth would I leave?" he says as he reaches out to grasp one of Q's hands in his, lacing their fingers together.

"That's what…well there were others and they well…they left" he looks down to their fingers, intertwined and thought about how strange they looked together.

"They're stupid then." Q laughs at that, actually laughs at the absurdity of the misplaced sentiment.

"You are insane." It's a statement of a fact, and he sees the corner of James' eyes crinkle as he answers with a smile.

"You were already fully aware of that," James snickers as he kisses Q's knuckles, then his face goes serious "everyone has scars. Yours are just a little more apparent than mine."

Q cannot help himself then, he pulls James into a bruising kiss. He marvels at his responsiveness, James lets him control the kiss and pour every frustration into it. He had expected him to be controlling, but James is anything but.

When they finally break apart from each other, James traces his hands along Q's scars. At first it causes Q to twitch involuntarily, but he relaxes into the touch soon. James' hands dance along his back, exploring the slightly ridged expanse.

With a sharp intake of breath, Q arches into the touch, and James runs a hand along his lower abdomen until it has reached the waistband of his pants. He undoes and pulls them down until Q is left standing naked in front of him, he then divulges himself of his clothes.

Q appreciates the naked man in front of him, his body taut and solid. He notes that James has a few scars of his own, bullet wounds, the thin lines where a knife has slid across his skin. He wants to touch them, so he does. And James moans and pulls him into a kiss, less desperate and angry than their last, instead filled with only passion.

They make their way to Q's bedroom, kissing all the while. They topple to the bed and suddenly Q is on top of James, looking down at his flushed cheeks and dilated pupils.

He lays his hand on his jaw and trails a finger down his neck to his chest, then follows the trail with his mouth. He plants kisses on James' jaw and neck, nibbling and enjoying the feeling of him arching underneath him. His trails inevitably lead to between James' legs where he is already stiff, he looks up at James' face before licking the length of him in one fluid motion.

James moans, and that is all the urging Q needs to slowly circle the tip of his cock with his tongue. As James bucks his hips, he slowly takes the thick length into his mouth and relaxes his throat muscles. Moving his neck up and down as James bucks his hips and his hands finding their way into the sheets, grabbing handfuls of the soft fabric to tether himself. Moaning loudly at the feeling of Q's mouth on him.

"Stop," James says with an almost level voice "I won't last long if you keep doing…that with your tongue." The sentence is broken up by a sharp gasp.

Q hums with James' cock still in his mouth and then pulls his mouth off.

He looks up to James' flushed face with a hesitant smile, he hasn't left yet. He searches his face and rather than seeing trepidation in his eyes, Q only sees pleasure mixed with anticipation.

"How ummm," he pauses as he looks at James inquisitively "How do you want to do this?"

James looks at him in all his nervousness and suddenly reaches up to burrow a hand in Q's hair.

"How would you be most comfortable?" James asks as he rakes his fingers through Q's already untidy hair.

Q pauses for a moment and almost doesn't say the words he wants to, he steels himself. He is not a coward or an idiot, just spit it out.

"Can I," he hesitates –oh god it's not like this is the first time he's ever had sex- "Would it be alright with you if you penetrated me." The last part had come out more businesslike than he had intended. He felt ridiculous and he pressed a hand to his reddening face.

James laughs, but it's incredibly good natured, and the hand that was previously entwined in Q's hair is now resting on his neck.

"That sounds perfectly fine," With a laugh still on his lips and a rather endearing smile he asks "Where do you keep the lube and the condoms?"

Q points to his bedside tables, where a small bottle of lube resides in the drawer along with an unopened box of condoms. He had bought the condoms months ago, before he had been burnt in every sense of the word.

James reaches over with bit of effort and grabs the small bottle, he presses the lid and it opens with a pop. Q climbs off of him and lies down on the bed as James pulls out the lube and slicks his fingers with it, he then carefully pours some onto his fingers before transferring that to Q's entrance. James presses a finger inside of him, meeting with a small amount of resistance. He moves slowly and Q relaxes under his touch, allowing him entrance.

His fingers are skilled and with a few deft movement, he has elicited a moan from Q's lips. As he squirms and adjusts himself to find a better position, James touches and massages him with his precise fingers. He'd heard that James was a good lover, but he had mistakenly thought it was his charm and his vigour rather than the talent he seemed to possess.

"I think that should be alright," he says after a few minutes under James' capable touch "I should be stretched well enough now." He is ready for this, he wants it so very much, he hadn't realised how much until the moment had arisen.

"If you'll do the honours then." James says with a smile that is more than a little coy and too charming. Q wants nothing more than to remove it, so he ferociously kisses it off. He reaches down to grab one of the silver packets that had been thrown haphazardly onto the bed, unwraps it and rolls it on with ease.

James positions himself above him, bracing himself by placing both hands on either side of Q's shoulders. He moves achingly slow as he presses in and Q whimpers at the feeling, urging him to hurry up a little. James obliges and increases his rhythm, going slowly but steadily.

"Oh fuck," words are coming out of Q's mouth and he reaches an hand up to grip James' uninjured shoulder "Oh come on you can go faster already."

"Bossy," James grunts out as he pushes into him "I like it."

The pace of his hips increases until he is pounding into him in a frenzied rhythm, nearly each one hitting Q in exactly the right spot. His breath comes out in little huffs of pleasure and he clings to James' shoulders for support. Then James wraps one hand around Q's reddened cock and begins to pump it vigorously, timing his strokes with each thrust. Q moans and writhes and barely notices when Bond pulls out of him, and flips him so his chest rests on the bed, other than a small scoff of annoyance he doesn't notice, he's so lost in this moment. He presses his body to the mattress as James wraps his hand around Q's cock once more.

He does notice when James kisses his scars though, even in his haze of endorphins and desire he notices. His head twists around in shock and he's met with those eyes, those too blue eyes so filled with passion and such unfathomable depths that he nearly looks away. James kisses Q's scars and with one final thrust, he comes undone inside him. Q follows shortly after, a few strokes of James skilled hand is all it takes for him to collapse underneath him.

They stay like that for a few moments, both panting heavily with sweat clinging to them. James pulls out and slumps into a heap beside Q, utterly spent. He reaches over and pulls Q into a lazy kiss, then rests his hand on the crook of his neck.

"You're beautiful" James intones as Q flips over, running a hand through his hair.

Q doesn't believe him yet, but he thinks he might be able to start.