Blow Me Away
Bond was not sure when it happened but somewhere along the line he managed to make a few friends at MI6. For many years it was just him and some employees that seemed to tolerate him on good days and resent him on the bad. It did not bother Bond that much, he came to MI6 to get his missions and his tech, and then he was off to the next place. He had a working relationship with his co-workers, and that was just fine. After the events at Skyfall something seemed to change. Tanner and Q were willing to defy orders for him. It was even more surprising that Q agreed to lay out the breadcrumbs for Silva with almost no objections. Q was new to the job and did not owe him anything. Q and Tanner went against protocol to help him. That kind of loyalty and trust was not something that Bond was not used to.
Mallory, the new M, insisted that Bond pass all of the tests before he could take the next mission. It was annoying and he said as much to Moneypenny when he walked out of M's office. He did not need to pass any tests to beat Silva even if the entire was such a colossal mess that no one was really talking about it. Moneypenny frowned when she heard about the tests but nodded.
"It's not an unreasonable request," she said.
"You shouldn't have been let into the field at all," Q's voice said over a speaker. Bond raised an eyebrow at Moneypenny but she smiled innocently.
"Thank you for your input Q. Your extensive knowledge of fieldwork is relevant, of course," Bond deadpanned. Q scoffed over the phone.
"I only care if you can shoot my guns straight. I need to speak with you; come down here." Q hung up and Moneypenny looked amused.
"You two are going to get along so well," she said. Bond did not dignify that with a response and made his way down to Q branch. None of them so much as looked up when he walked into the room far too distracted by whatever they were working on. Q stood at the head of the department, his fingers flying over a keyboard. Bond joined him and watched as Q hacked into what looked like the Iranian government.
"Did you call me down here to show off?" Bond asked.
"No," Q replied easily as several windows closed. "I can change them."
"You can change what?" Bond asked. Q turned and faced him his expression completely blank.
"The tests. I can change the results so you have passed all of them and make it look like the first results were a mistake," Q said simply. "We need you out in the field not shooting paper targets like this is boot camp."
"You think I can't pass them on my own?" Bond asked.
"Might as well save the time," Q said shrugging. Once again Bond was surprised at how easily Q was willing to go against M for him. Changing records could be a serious offense and Q seemed to be a valuable asset.
"I'll pass the tests on my own," Bond said. Q nodded like he was not surprised. Q turned his attention back to the computer and Bond watched him work for a moment. Bond knew enough about computers but Q was typing so fast that Bond could not keep up. Q had not asked him to leave, but after a moment Bond strolled out of Q branch.
Bond passed the tests and went out into the field with Q in his ear. It was truly remarkable how smooth everything went. With each completed mission M nodded and commented what a good team they made. Bond was not keen to argue because it was true. Little by little Q seemed to open up more and Eve would comment on their 'flirting'. He noticed how Q rolled his eyes but not once did he disagree. Bond filed that observation to the back of his mind.
Bond walked into Q branch after a mission that went so smoothly that he had tech to return to Q. It was late and Bond was planning on leaving it on Q's desk but Q branch was not empty. Q was standing at his desk and talking with Moneypenny and Tanner.
"007, I was not expecting to see you here tonight," Q said.
"What's going on here?" Bond asked. Moneypenny grinned and Tanner looked a little guilty.
"Q is turning Q branch into one giant gaming system," Moneypenny said.
"Basic LAN connection," Q said. "I'm going to school these two in Counterstrike."
"We'll see," Tanner said. Bond blinked and saw a small cooler underneath Q's desk. Q followed Bond's line of sight and smiled.
"You're welcome to join us," Q said. Bond's knee jerk response was to refuse but something made him stop. Moneypenny looked far too smug, Tanner seemed to be amused but it was Q's slight smile that made Bond change his mind.
"What do you have in that cooler?"
Several hours later Bond was well on his way to drunk and very annoyed. CounterStrike was apparently a shooting game, which he should have been good at. However, that did not seem to be the case when Q killed him with a single headshot. Moneypenny had changed into yoga pants and a t-shirt and Tanner was wearing blue jeans. They were spread out over Q branch hunched over keyboards. Bond glared at Q who smirked back.
"I can't take this embarrassment anymore," Moneypenny declared. She was in third place but there was a rather large gap between her and Tanner.
"I need sleep. I think my blood is going to turn into coffee," Tanner said as he set his keyboard aside. Bond was not tired yet and he glanced at Q who shrugged.
"You could leave now with your dignity," Q said.
"I don't have dignity," Bond said at the same time as Moneypenny and Tanner said, "He doesn't have dignity."
"If you insist," Q replied. Moneypenny and Tanner left the room shortly after. It was nearly four in the morning and things were still quiet. Q set up a computer so they were across from each other. Bond tried to stare Q down but he looked amused. He was more than a little tipsy by now not that it seemed to affect his gaming at all. Ten minutes into their round and Q was leading by ten points.
"How did you get so good at this?" Bond asked as Q killed him with one shot again.
"A lot of free time in my formative years," Q replied. "I could just have a knife if that will make things a little more even?"
"Now I'm sure you're making fun of me," Bond grumbled. Q chuckled and Bond spent the next few minutes stalking the level looking for Q. There was no sign of him until Bond's avatar ended up with a knife in the back. "That's not even an accurate way to back stab someone."
"You would know." Q said. Bond narrowed his eyes and walked over to Q. Q stood but did not turn around. Bond stood behind him close enough that he could feel the heat coming off of Q's body.
"You go for the kidney's here," Bond said and he touched Q's side. "They will bleed plenty and quickly. Or you can go for the throat." Bond touched the jugular on Q's neck and ran the tip of his finger along it. Q was so still Bond was not sure he was breathing. "Across the throat before they can react." Bond reached across Q's throat and moved a fingertip from one side to the other. "Severs several major arteries and destroys the esophagus."
"And sometimes your target is aware what's going on and can stop it." Q said and Bond was about to point out that that did not happen often when Q twisted. He was quick, much quicker than Bond had initially thought, and Q snatched Bond's hand that was holding the invisible knife. Q was nimble but he was not trained for this. Bond got his hand back easily and pinned both of Q's wrists to the desk. Their faces were in such close proximity, their noses were almost touching and Bond felt more than he heard Q's chuckle. "I should have known I couldn't out maneuver you."
"You should have," Bond replied and he was smiling. If this was anyone else he would have kissed Q breathless but this was not just anyone. This was Q, the best partner he had ever had out in the field, and they worked in perfect harmony. A physical relationship would just complicate things and Bond was fairly sure he and Q were friends now. There was too much at stake to jeopardize what they had. Bond released Q's wrists and took a step back. Bond considered himself a master at reading subtle cues but he could not gage Q's reaction. "Thank you for inviting me."
"Of course," Q replied waving him off. "We'll have to have a rematch at some point but next time you can pick what we do."
"Next time. Of course." Bond said. They gathered their coats and Bond offered Q a ride home. He made no attempt to follow Q up to his flat and Bond went home alone. That was okay because he gained a partner and a friend. From there Bond spent time with Moneypenny ("Call me Eve"), Tanner ("I know better than to give you my real name"), and Q ("You're the spy 007; if you really want to know my real name go look for it") when he was not on an assignment. He had friends at MI6 and his attraction to Q lingered but he never acted on it and if Q knew he never commented on it. They worked flawlessly together and that was all that really mattered in the end.
Q struggled to open his eyes and he realized two things at once; he did not know where he was and someone was calling his name. Q blinked and pushed himself off of the floor. The back of his head hurt and when he touched it his fingers came away with blood. Slowly everything began to come back to him. He took the tube home and as he was walking down a hallway Q noticed that one of the cameras was not on. There was movement behind him and then just pain. His hands and feet were not bound but his laptop and phone were gone. Someone was still calling his name and Q looked around until he saw a phone a few feet away with a Bluetooth next to it. Q moved over to it slowly – it was particularly difficult to do if the world was spinning before his eyes.
"Hello?" Q said into the earpiece.
"There you are," Bond said over the line. "Did you fall asleep on your phone again?"
"No I don't know where I am," Q replied. He stood up very carefully using the wall for support. Bond was very quiet over the line. "How did you know it was me?"
"You said my name. What do you mean you don't know where you are? Are you hung over?" Bond asked.
"You would know all about being hung over," Q muttered. "I believe I have been kidnapped." An uneasy silence fell and for a moment Q thought that perhaps Bond had hung up on him. The phone was not his and it looked rigged to explode if he tried to hang up or active a GPS.
"Describe your surroundings," Bond said.
"I'm alone in a room. I can hear the road outside but the windows appear to be boarded up." Q walked carefully over to the only door. "Door is locked and the phone I'm on is booby-trapped. If I hang up or touch it, it will short circuit." Q wandered the room and tried to find anything that could tell him where he is.
"Sounds like an abandoned building," Bond said. Q could hear Bond typing on a computer.
"The time tells me I was only unconscious for ten minutes so I must be close." Something on a nearby table caught Q's eye and he made his way over to it. Bond was talking in his ear about how it did not sound too bad and they would get him out. He told Q not to panic or draw attention to himself. Against the far wall was a mess of wires on a device with a timer ticking down. "We have a problem."
"Did they come back for you?" Bond asked.
"No and I don't think they will. There is a bomb in the room with me and there is less than five minutes until it explodes," Q said as he knelt in front of the bomb just as the five minute mark ticked by.
"Shit," Bond whispered. "You can disarm it though, right?"
"Perhaps," Q said as he looked over the bomb. Next to it were some very basic tools. The kidnappers were playing with him but his head was throbbing and it made his stomach turn. Bond was asking what he meant by perhaps and it was giving Q a headache. "Please stop asking inane questions. I believe I have a concussion and it is not making this easy."
"Disarm that bomb Q; I'll get you out of there," Bond said. Q knew that tone of voice; it was when James Bond was willing to do whatever it took to complete his objective. Q hummed in agreement and began to look over the bomb as the four minute mark passed. "I found you," Bond said. "You're a mile from my flat and as far away from MI6 as possible. I'll send a message to M and we'll get you out of there." Q heard the words but he was not processing them.
Instead he was focused as he took the bomb apart piece by piece. It was extremely complex and unlike anything he had ever seen before. The timer continued to tick down as if mocking him for his incompetence. Over the Bluetooth he could hear Bond running. The three minute time passed and Q struggled to focus but his head hurt. He felt sluggish and staring at the bomb was like trying to read a language he did not understand. Q cut a few wires and moved some pieces around but they were all fail-proof.
"I can't disarm this," Q whispered as he stared down to the bomb.
"Of course you can; you're a bloody genius. Don't give up," Bond said. It sounded like he was running even faster. There was nothing Q could do now though. Maybe if he had more time and a clear head he could do this but in his current state Q could not disarm this bomb. He moved away from the bomb so he was across the room from it. Not that it would make much of a difference. He could still see the timer as the two-minute mark ticked by.
"Do you have any regrets?" Q asked.
"Plenty but you shouldn't be thinking about those because I'm getting you out of there. How much time is left?" Bond asked.
"Not enough. I have a few but only one that kept me awake at night," Q said as he rested against the wall and fought the urge to close his eyes. Going to sleep would be better than watching that timer but he could not look away. "Do you remember the first night we were together outside of work?"
"Of course. You linked up four computers in Q branch and we played CounterStrike. You beat all of us significantly," Bond replied. "I'm almost there."
"Yes and after I back stabbed you, you got frustrated, reasoning that it was not even the proper way to back stab someone," Q said ignoring Bond's second statement.
"So I went around to show you the right way. How much longer, Q?" Bond asked. Q watched as the last thirty seconds ticked by.
"Do you remember, James?" Q asked.
"You've never called me 'James' before. I'm coming around the corner now," Bond said. Q watched as the last of the time ticked by.
"That's my regret."
Bond rounded a corner and watched as a floor of an apartment building exploded. He threw up his hands and felt pieces of glass cut his arms. Bond stared as the flames licked from the windows and he could feel the heat.
"Q?" Bond said into the earpiece and waited for a response. "Q, answer me." Nothing but silence followed. "Q report in. Talk to me." There was a click and the line disconnected. MI6 swarmed the area but Bond could not take his eyes off of the building. It was burning and Q was in there somewhere. Bond could not wrap his mind around the fact that he was too late. Very rarely was he ever too late and yet here he was. There was a hand on his arm and someone was pulling him away. It sounded like Tanner but Bond was not sure. People began to run around to contain the fire and keep people away. Bond could not take his eyes away from the fire and the ringing in his ears from the explosion.
Bond spent the next twelve hours at MI6. It took some time to get the fire under control and even more to look through the debris. The technicians made their way in and out of the building. They talked about how the bomb was extremely complex and it would have taken a long time to disarm. That was time Q was not given and that was the point. Bond gave his statement to a pinch-faced M. It was not a secret around MI6 that Bond and Q were friends. They looked at him when they thought Bond could not see them. Just before the twelfth hour the phone rang. Bond was in M's office with Eve and Tanner. M spoke briefly and hung up the phone.
"They finished going through the area and they didn't find any survivors," M said. Bond was about to argue that unless there was a body there was a chance that they had the wrong location but M held up a hand. "They found his glasses. Bond reported that Q tried to disarm the bomb and since we all know that Q is far sighted he must have been there. Without those he would not have been able to attempt to disarm the bomb." Bond watched everyone, watch their expressions, and wondered if this was how they all reacted when he died. Eve clutched a folder in hand but gave away nothing. Tanner had his eyes on the ground and did not look up. "Miss. Moneypenny?"
"I have what you asked for, sir," Eve said as she handed over a file. Bond knew it was Q's and that M was about to write 'deceased' in big, red letters. Bond could not stand to watch that and he walked out of the office without looking back. Eve joined him a moment later and put a hand on his shoulder.
"He was depending on me," Bond said.
"There wasn't anything you could have done. There wasn't enough time for Q to disarm the bomb and there wasn't enough time for you to get there," Eve replied. "We can't save everyone."
"I'm aware," Bond snapped. After a minute, he spoke again. "I apologize. I shouldn't snap at you."
"It's fine," Eve replied. She leaned forward and rested her chin on his shoulder. "Take some time off." Bond usually argued about time off but he felt tired down to his bones. Whoever was the next Q Bond knew that they would butt heads if he went into the field in this state. As much as it pained him to admit he was going to have to take some time to clear his head.
"Maybe it will be for the best," Bond said. Eve nodded against his shoulder but he was not keen to move just yet. Eve was a warm and comforting presence at his back. It took far too long for Bond to gather himself together and walk out of MI6.
Q did not have any family but there was a funeral. Eve called and asked if he was going but Bond was not. He already hated himself for getting attached again. It was M all over again, a wound that felt like it had been ripped open, and Bond could feel the blood dripping. For two weeks Bond did not do much. He worked out, he drank, and slept not nearly enough. Tanner and Eve had stopped by a few times but Bond sent them away fairly quickly. He needed to break these ties, friendships, from work because they were just getting in the way. Q's death should not have affected him like this and Bond hated himself for it. There was no excuse for this and Bond wondered why M was not breaking down his door and dragging him back to MI6. Bond had a feeling Eve and Tanner had something to do with it.
Two weeks to the day since the explosion and Bond was well on his way to sloshed. It was three in the morning so he thought that he had the right. It was not like it was eight in the morning or something like that. There was a knock on his door and Bond froze. There was an alert every time someone entered the building when he was home and it had not gone off. None of his neighbors spoke with him. It had been two weeks and no one had tried to kill him. There was another knock and Bond put down the glass and picked up his gun. He was not stupid enough to open the door or look through the peephole so he only had one shot at this. Bond eased over the door and there was another knock. It seemed to echo in his apartment. Bond steadied his hand and released a breath. Bond pulled open the door and took the person by the shirt. He jerked the stranger into his flat, pinned them against the now closed door and shoved a gun under their chin.
"Are you going to shoot me, 007?" Q asked with a raised eyebrow. Bond felt like he was falling into that frozen lake in Scotland all over again. All of the air escaped from his lungs and for a moment Bond wondered just how much he had drank and how little he had slept in the last two weeks that he was hallucinating. It looked like Q; the floppy hair, the stylish and modern clothing, the slim frame, but there was more. The man that looked like Q had his right arm in a sling, a healing but deep head wound near his hairline, he favored his left side like his ribs hurt, and Bond could see that looked like a healing burn on his neck.
"When we met I made a comment about the gear you gave me. You named something and told me that Q branch doesn't do that anymore. What was it?" Bond asked. He was ready to snap the neck of this imposter in a second, the need for revenge itched under his skin, and once he got himself sorted Bond already had plans to kill everyone involved in the explosion. The man that looked like Q frowned dubiously.
"An exploding pen. Could you get the gun out of my neck? You're aggravating my burn," Q said. Bond blinked and took a step back.
"You were dead," Bond said.
"Clearly I wasn't," Q replied. He winced when he moved away from the door and strolled into Bond's apartment like he belonged.
"I saw that apartment explode. They found your glasses." Bond felt like he was stating something obvious. Q stared at him like he was an idiot.
"That did happen and I was there," Q said.
"That is not an explanation," Bond snapped and Q did not even flinch. "Explain yourself." Q stared at him and Bond felt like he was being evaluated. Q sat down at his small kitchen table and Bond joined him.
"I really was kidnapped and I was there when the bomb exploded. I put a table between me and the bomb and I managed to survive, barely. I've been in intensive care for the last thirteen days. M found me and said that the group that attacked me did not consider anyone else a threat and would not attack anyone else. We felt it was best to fake my death for now. They would find out eventually but we hoped to have tracked them down by then." Q explained all of this like it was not a big deal.
"Who else knew about this?" Bond asked.
"Just M," Q said as he looked at the table. "I apologize for this, James. I understand if you do not want to work with me anymore." Bond could not find his voice; all he could do was stare as Q stood up carefully and walked toward the door. Bond knew instinctively that if Q walked through that door they would never work together again. M would assume animosity and separate them and the very thought of that made Bond want to put his fist through a wall.
Bond was on his feet and he took Q by the wrist, mindful of his injuries, and Q stared clearly confused. That's my regret. Q looked like he was about to say something, an excuse or logical reason for why Bond should let him walk through the door, and Bond did not want to hear any of it. He released Q's wrist and pressed his lips to Q's. It was not quite a kiss, just a dry press of lips, and Q went completely still. Bond pulled away and took in the man before him; Q's eyes were comically wide and Bond felt something cold sink in his stomach. Q did not feel anything for him, it was a mistake, and now everything was ruined.
"I shouldn't have-" Bond started hoping he could find some of saving this.
"Shut up," Q interrupted and yanked Bond into another kiss. Q's lips were soft and he was not nearly as tentative as Bond thought he would be. Q forced Bond's mouth open and licked along his bottom lip. Bond dropped his hands to Q's waist and pulled him closer. The sling was in the way but Q did not seem to care. He released Bond's shirt and wrapped his good arm around Bond's neck threading his long fingers through Bond's hair. There was a slight scrape of nails and Bond groaned into Q's mouth. They were moving but Bond was not sure where until Q hit the wall. Q jerked and broke the kiss. He winced in pain and cursed.
"You're still injured," Bond said as he removed a hand from Q's waist and touched the wound on Q's forehead.
"Obviously," Q grumbled and when Bond looked back into his eyes there was a fire there that made Bond smile. "When I'm done healing we are finishing this. That is not up for debate."
"I wouldn't dream of disobeying you," Bond replied as he walked carefully into Q's space.
"Damn right you won't." Q grinned and they kissed again.
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