A/N: Oh yeah, I'm on time :) This along the normal chapter length lines again. I haven't started the next one yet and school is on again. I'll post when I can (and trying really hard to keep it in a two week frame). Your reviews do make me want to write and I get that nice warm fuzzy feeling. Anywho, enjoy and please leave a review!
BelieverofManyThings - Nice to know you're still here! Didn't have to look long this time :D
BloodLily16 - Can I? Oh yes, I have a few in mind! ;)
saye0036 - Thank you! I have no toddlers in my family nor do I ever properly get in contact with one. Guess I'm just good at observing that cute little group of people. I love the thought of M too. People in those kind of jobs are so lonely :( And thank you for your review! New reviewers and irregulars are always a nice surprise :)
Wasser1 - Another new reviewer! Hola! I couldn't agree more. It's what got me into this writing business :))
Chapter Twenty-Three – Don't Go Around Breaking MI6 Employee's Hearts
At first it didn't strike him odd that they seemed to mingle in the dense parts of the crowd for a while. That was until James realised he and Louella were the core of it all like the eye of a hurricane. Jumbled around them, following the two around not so subtly were at least a third of the Q Branch employees present at the party and a bunch of girls from accounting.
"Did you do something, or why are all these people twirling around you?" Eve snuck him a club soda.
He wanted to chuck it away for the simple lack of alcohol in the beverage. "I haven't done anything," said James, "There's nothing I can do to tone down some people's affection for toddlers."
"Louella doesn't seem to mind," Eve pointed out. Louella hung at her father's hand, but her attention was on some of the boffins with fluffy hair.
"Go dance with your boyfriend Moneypenny."
She shot him a glare, "You make me sound like a thirteen year old at a school dance."
"Manfriend then." He stalked off with the admirers in tow, ignoring Moneypenny's dirty look. They snuck up on the Quartermaster in a corner, a vain attemt to hide out. Q shot his underlings a look that dismissed them. James decided to stay right there with the only person besides M who could fend off anyone with their stern expression.
"Bond. I see you met half of Q Branch."
James wondered if the posh authority ever faded from Q's voice.
"Fewx, thiwsty?" Louella pointed at Q's glass.
Something softend in his eyes, "No, are you?"
Q asked James "It's coke. Can she have it?". He nodded. What James hadn't expected was for Q to crouch down to her level and explain what the drink was made of.
"This is yummy," her eyes dilated with delight, "and fizzy!". James could almost hear the chorus of awe when she all but bounced on her feet. He felt a surge of unwanted emotion. It was a mix of pride, proteciveness and embarassment. His two and a half year old daughter had all of MI6 wrapped around her chubby fingers and he was left to play daddy in front of the same crowd.
She shoved the glass at him, "This good Daddy! Taste."
"No thanks, I know how it tastes Lou."
Louella didn't budge.
"Oh for heaven's sake Bond," Q scoffed, "take a sip for your daughter. It's not a vodka martini, but you'll live."
Anyone else would have blushed. He took the glass and a sip of it, "Thank you Louella the coke is good.". James's glare was pointed at the Quartermaster.
"See. Being a good boy isn't hard at all."
He didn't wring Q's neck even if his fingers itched with the desire to do so.
"Daddy I have to pee."
Tanner choked on his drink. A light blush crept up Q's cheeks. Bond was glad they were the only people at their table. Without a word he got up, lifted Louella into his arms and walked off.
He couldn't spot Eve or M anywhere, which meant he had to make the trip to the ladies bathroom. He might as well die. James slendered past the line of women, each shooting him a questioning smirk. His eyes whispered: I'm 007 and my daughter needs to pee. Get out of the way.
Floral fumes danced in the marmor-covered room. He locked himself and Louella into a stall, away from the women powdering their noses. Louella fought with her stockings and dress, grunting adorably.
"Daddy, why did dem giwls look at you like that?", she asked blissfully unaware of the situation, "You goned in the wong bathwoom?"
This time James did blush as giggles and sniggers echoed in the stalls close by. He'd never live this down.
"All done!" exclaimed Louella, loud enough for her silver voice to bounce back from the walls.
"Great," mumbled James. He checked the hem of her dress over twice. If he had to face an amused mob he at least wanted avoid any clothing disasters.
Upon opening the door James was confronted with a dozen cocky smirks, which he pointedly ignored. He hoisted Louella up on one of his legs, washing her hands while those same people bored holes into his back with their gazes.
"Why awes some soaps bubbly like this?" Louella asked as the water rinsed the foam from her palms.
"Because it's handy that way, darling." James cringed on the inside after realising what he had said. He dragged Louella out with a whine of 'But why?' hanging in the air after them.
Eve leaned against the wall outside the door, "The rumor mill's efficiency has gone up drastically after smartphones went viral."
By half eight Louella was half asleep in his arms, despite her protests of being fine and wanting to dance. James didn't know why he still sat at the sidelines watching the dance floor.
"Thought you might need this." Q handed him a vodka martini. He had two other drinks. James wondered whom the third one had been for. "Look at them," He pointed to Moneypenny and Tanner, "Disgustingly sappy and in love."
"Don't do love Quartermaster?"
The snort Q let out was more then enough of an answer. It also was a tell tale of the fact that he might have had one drink too many to be lucid. James couldn't blame him. Instead he took a big gulp of searing alcohol.
M appeared at their table not long after. She took the empty seat and untouched drink, both there just for her. "Thank you Q. You are a dear," M sighed.
James thought he'd misheard. Since when was M, the ultimate iron bitch, calling anyone anything nice?
"You really did tire her out, Bond." She stated, running a hand over Louella's messed up curls.
Q lit up at that, "Did you hear all the rumors sneaking around about Louella being her daddy's little princess?". James caught his victorious eye and couldn't help but wonder if the Quartermaster took joy in such things. Maybe he should have returned his equipment more often.
"Who hasn't? It's spreading like wildfire. So are Miss Moneypenny and the Chief of Staff. I do believe your branch has a lot to do with that, Quartermaster."
The two most serious people James knew had just turned into gossipers. It was definitely time to call it a night.
A/N 2: I'm trying to get these updates done. Promise.