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What Came After Vienna

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James Bond – 007

Sölden, Austria

Hotel Horatio – Room 12 – 13:36

 

     Bond was at least five meters away from the hotel room in which Q was staying when he noticed the door was slightly open. A simple mistake that someone like Q wouldn’t have made, James reckoned. The agent slowed down to a stop and took a moment to inspect his surroundings. Not a single soul to be seen, which wasn’t necessarily a good sign. He raised his left hand, a voiceless indication for Madeleine not to take another step and hang back instead. Looking around warily, he swiftly unzipped his bomber jacket and reached inside with a gloved hand for the Walther PPK that rested snugly in his shoulder holster.

 

     The metallic number 12 hung crookedly from the door like a sombre premonition of what James would find inside. The Double-O reached forward and barely brushed his fingers against the dark wooden door when it swung open ominously, revealing the disaster inside the modest hotel room.

 

     His eyes darted from side to side, searching the room for signs of the bespectacled boffin. Nothing. The cold breeze blowing the curtains from the broken window drew his attention.

 

     James would’ve crossed the room in only a few steps had it not been for all the furniture toppled over and Q’s belongings strewn across the room, which forced him to walk around or over them until he finally reached the window.

 

The broken glass cracked under his heavy boots, the sharp sound contrasting with the long whispers from the lonely alpine wind.

 

Maybe Q had managed to escape through the window…

 

     His hopes were crushed almost as soon as the thought crossed his mind, when he leaned over the window’s frame and looked all the way down at the pristine snow that covered everything. The fall was too high, even if Q had actually tried to get out through that broken window, he wouldn’t have survived the fall.

 

A crimson glint on the window sill caught his eye and made him look down. Fresh blood which Bond accurately assumed came from his Quartermaster.

 

     “Bond.” Madeleine called with a tone of urgency in her voice. She had completely disregarded James’s orders and gone into the room only to stop when she found a trail of blood leading into the bathroom. The same trail of blood that came from the window. Bond hadn’t noticed until now, too distracted with the thought of a wounded Q having to fend for himself. Shaking his head lightly, he stepped over a broken coffee table and followed the trail of blood on the floor.

 

     His heart raced in his chest and his breath hitched in his throat as every cell in his body told him to prepare for the worst. He couldn’t stop picturing it. Q slumped down in the bathtub with a bullet hole between his eyes or worse… He didn’t think he could maintain his composure if that was really the case. James was really starting to understand just how much the bossy Quartermaster meant to him.

 

     The bathroom door had been wrenched off its hinges, clearly someone had been eager to get in there. Bond sighed in relief when he stepped into the bathroom and found that Q wasn’t there either, yet the tension in his body did not dissipate. It only grew when he looked at the sink to find Q’s computer broken and submerged in water.

 

Smart enough not to let them get what they wanted…

 

     James moved the self-sabotaged computer, looking for the ridiculous stickers just to make sure it was Q’s. There they were, brightly coloured and almost childish. He huffed quietly as he took one more look around the room, shaken by the implications of this. They had taken Q with them and it was Bond’s fault, not anyone else’s.

 

 


 

  

Quartermaster – Q

Hauptstraße, Östen

Range Rover Sport SVR – 14:04

 

     The first thing Q noticed when he started regaining consciousness was that he was in a car, the soft vibrations letting him know that they were also moving quite fast. Next came the realisation that his wrists were bound together by… rope? No, it was thin and smooth despite digging painfully into his skin. However, it didn’t weigh enough to be a pair of handcuffs. Zip ties, Q realised. He felt impossibly tired, like he was swimming in molasses and every thought and idea moved in slow motion.

 

You’re being kidnapped, you idiot.

 

     At least part of him was aware of what was going on, and what would possibly happen now. The sole thought of being tortured made him feel like he was going to be sick. Perhaps the drugs in his system had had a part in that, now that he thought about it. The young Quartermaster let out a pained grunt as he heaved dryly, alerting his captors of the fact that he was already awake or at least semi-conscious.

     He felt a sharp pain on his neck that prompted him to finally open his eyes and try to look around. However, that only brought another disappointing surprise. There was a hood over his head, which obscured his view and stopped him from seeing anything past his nose. Panic started rising in his chest as he started realising just how serious the situation was. The young man reached up and yanked the hood off his head, drawing a sharp breath as the cool air hit his face. They no longer were in the icy mountains, but driving past empty fields.

 

Get to the door!

 

     But before he could even try to lunge for the door, a bald man sitting next to him hurried to grip his arm tight enough to leave a bruise. Not that he cared. They were paid to bring the boffin in alive, not intact.

 

     Q tried to yank his arm free with all the strength he could muster. He kicked and squirmed as he tried to get the thug to let go. And he did. Finally, he let go of his arm when the Quartermaster hit him hard enough. Now free, Q reached for the door handle and pulled from it, opening the car’s door. He stopped when he realised that he would have to jump.

 

Shit!

 

     The car was moving incredibly fast and the drugs that were starting to take effect made everything spin around. Q leaned forward and allowed his weigh to pull him down. Falling out of a moving car would be way better than getting tortured for information. Surely that was what Bond would have done, right? Right?

 

Bond…

 

     He figured James would’ve realised by that point that Q had been taken. What would he do? Surely, he wouldn’t waste his time looking for Q. Surely, he wouldn’t be so stupid. He would prioritize his mission and let MI6 deal with the–

 

     No, MI6 wouldn’t deal with the rest. They wouldn’t because as far as they knew, Q was in his flat, in bed with a cold. He should’ve told someone that he was going to go looking for Bond. Moneypenny, at least.

 

Idiot!

 

     His vision was going black, but just as he was about to hit the tarmac, a hand gripped his jumper’s collar and yanked him back into the car. The last thing that went through Q’s mind as he easily slipped back into unconsciousness was that James would’ve never made a mistake like that.

Chapter Text

         


 

          It had taken James at least a week to be able to find the location where Oberhauser had been hiding away. After the disaster in Austria, Madeleine finally told him what White had meant when he told Bond to find L’Américain. It hadn’t been a person after all, but a small hotel in Tangier. The fact that she had no idea why her father had led them there didn’t help. James had expected her to at least have a vague idea of what they would find in there, but the hotel room seemed just like any other. After turning the hotel room upside down in search of something, Bond had sat in the same spot for hours, with a bottle of old liquor in his hands and his mind inevitably wandering back to Q as he watched Madeleine sleep. He could just hope the young man was still alive. Alive didn’t mean okay though. In that exact moment, Q could’ve been in complete agony, wishing himself dead, and there he was, hoping he would still be alive.

 

           Thankfully, he realised that there was more to that hotel room than they initially thought, and soon enough punched a hole through the wall to get to the secret room behind it. It was in there, that the Double-O found the location of Oberhauser’s base in the Sahara.

 


 

James Bond – 007

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Oberhauser’s base – 20:38

 

            Things had gone south pretty quickly and after Oberhauser had led him into the room full of screens and technicians, James finally began to understand what he was up against. A blow to the back of the head with a pistol’s stock had been enough to render him unconscious. He wasn’t even sure how long it had been, but the next time he came around, he was being dragged by two men down a long hallway. Bond groaned quietly, feeling his head throbbing with pain. Madeleine wasn’t around, or at least not within sight. James knew he probably should’ve been worried for her, but in his state, the first word that came out of his mouth was:

 

“Q…”

 

            The men looked down at him and pulled him up, forcing James to regain his footing, as weak as he still was. He staggered and looked around dazedly as they made their way down the naturally lit hallway.

 

“Where is he? Where is Q?”

 

            With every question he asked, his desperation grew and it was painfully audible in his voice. “Your new cellmate?” The men laughed, leading James into a steel cell. One of them opened the door before the other shoved the blond in roughly and slammed the metallic door shut behind him. James would’ve turned around, he would’ve yelled at them or at least tried to escape, but the pitiful sight in front of him was just too overwhelming.

 

            Slumped in a corner of the cell was Q, unconscious, broken and covered in his own blood. His regularly messy hair was matted with blood, his glasses were long gone and for a second, James thought he might actually be dead, before he saw that his chest was barely moving with each shallow breath he drew with difficulty.

 

           “Q?” Came the question, James’s voice cracking. “Q?” He asked again and this time, he took a step towards the boy. “Christ…” James breathed out, suddenly forgetting about all his own pain and discomfort. Q had been badly beaten, more than once it seemed. He couldn’t begin to imagine what the Quartermaster had been through in the past few days. Or maybe he could and that was exactly why he was so afraid to examine his wounds closely.

 

“He touchingly refused to help us track your special blood. The man is barely alive, but I saved him so you might watch each other die.”

 

            James’s jaw tightened after hearing Oberhauser’s heavily accented voice behind him. He wanted to snap his neck just for touching Q, but now was not the time for sentimentality. He turned around slowly, all traces of emotion gone from his face by the time he faced the other man. Oberhauser couldn’t stop himself from smiling when he saw James’s face. As much as the agent tried to hide it, he could clearly see underneath the mask of indifference that he wore.

 

            Oberhauser looked at Q then and grimaced before lifting his own sleeve slightly to take a look at his watch. “I’d like to have stayed, but I’m on a rather strict timetable.” He hummed before sauntering away, followed by the men that had dragged James into the cell.

 

            They were finally alone and James couldn’t keep his façade up any longer. “Q…” The blond breathed out, sinking to his knees next to the younger man. He brought two fingers to his neck, checking for a pulse. He let out a breath of relief when he felt Q’s weak and erratic pulse under his calloused fingers. Somehow, Q looked even younger like that, which only made Bond feel even worse. He hated it, the built-up worry in his chest which was now mixing with a bitter pang of guilt.

 

            “Q.” James tried calling his name again, hoping this time he would at least give a sign of starting to regain consciousness. Nothing. He sighed and slowly slid his hands under Q’s frail body, moving him off the wall and laying him down on the cold floor. He figured that at least he would be a bit more comfortable like that. The young man wouldn’t need to be in more pain than he already was. James leaned back against the wall and sighed, bending a knee towards his chest and resting his arm on it as he focused on how to get them out of there.

 

 


 

 

Quartermaster – Q

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Oberhauser’s base – 03:04

 

            Q had been lapsing in and out of consciousness for a few hours now, soft pained groans leaving his lips every time he started to wake up and the pain reappeared. He dreaded the idea of being awake, knowing that as soon as he was conscious enough to be able to speak, two men would show up and drag him into another room, just so Oberhauser could start another round of questions.

 

            James. Oberhauser wanted Q to track James using the Smart Blood program, and all Q could think every time the pain started, was the fact that he hadn’t believed James when the blond told him that Oberhauser was alive. He had ignored him and assured him that he was just being paranoid. Oh, he regretted it so much now…

 

           The next time he groaned in pain, he heard rustling next to him and he immediately opened his eyes, trying to move away from the source of the sound. His abused mind was convinced that it was Oberhauser, back to torture him and try to gain access to all of his secrets.

 

“Shh… Q, it’s me.”

 

           The young man stopped moving as soon as he heard the familiar low voice cooing soothingly at him. He opened his eyes, or at least one of them since the other one was too swollen to even be useful.

 

          “B-Bond?” His voice was barely a broken whisper, but that was enough for James. “Yes, Q. It’s me.” Q never thought he would be so happy and relieved to see the bothersome Double-O in the same room as him.

 

“Y-You… c-came?”

 

            The note of surprise in his Quartermaster’s voice proved to be rather annoying for Bond. Of course he did! He would’ve gone to the end of the world just to get Q back, even if he would never say it out loud. Up until that point he always thought that was just implied in their rather unorthodox relationship.

 

             “Yeah.” James breathed out, defeatedly. He looked around just to avoid having to look into Q’s bloodshot eye and the rest of his swollen face. It just made him feel guilty and with good reason, none of that would’ve happened if he had been more careful.

 

             His gaze finally landed on Q’s fragile hands. Those long and nimble fingers that James could spend hours watching fly over computer keys now looked swollen and crooked. The agent’s first instinct was to reach to take Q’s hands and examine them, but the boffin flinched immediately, terrified. It broke James’s heart to see him like that, the fear in his face.

 

“I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to see how bad the damage is.”

 

            It was Q’s turn to feel bad about it. He should know already that Bond would never hurt him, but after the last week, he couldn’t be certain and he sure as hell didn’t want to go through more pain. The young man cradled his hands to his chest and turned away from James, reminding the agent of a wounded animal.

 

“Alright. Fine, I won’t touch you.” James knew he would have to be the one to give in, otherwise, Q wouldn’t.

 

            “You’ve already been through enough…” Bond clenched his fists as he looked up at the cell. After seeing Q’s state, he was sure about it. He wanted to twist Oberhauser’s neck and snap it with his own hands, not because he had ruined every single good thing James had ever had, but because he had hurt Q.

 

Chapter Text

James Bond – 007

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Oberhauser’s base – 5:23

 

            Up until that point, Q hadn’t managed to stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time. He kept mumbling nonsense and talking about James as if the Double-O wasn’t there, right by his side and trying to at least comfort him if he couldn’t ease the young man’s pain.

 

           James had to be honest with himself, Q didn’t look good, at all. Even if they managed to escape from there, and they would, he had no idea how he would be able to move Q without him getting shot or hurt. The blond ran a hand through his cropped hair and let out a soft huff, considering his options as he waited for Q to stir again, hoping that perhaps he would wake up with some ridiculous idea on how to get out of there, which the boffin would then execute right after sassing the agent about not being able to come up with a plan by himself and suggesting that he was getting old for the job.

  

          James couldn’t help but smile sadly at the thought as he looked at his broken Quartermaster, who was still resting on the floor.

 

“Oh, Q… I think you might be right after all.”

 


 

Quartermaster – Q

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Oberhauser’s base – 8:47

 

            Of course James Bloody Bond would show up to save the day and his arse. He always did. But there was a problem this time. A teeny tiny problem that was the main reason why Q was still bleeding on the cold concrete floor of a cell and not sipping a warm cup of Earl Grey at home with his two cats, Marie and Turing curled up on his lap. They were both trapped in a very well-made cell and Q wasn’t exactly available to talk into James’s ear and guide him through the process of escaping.

 

            “Q!” The light that came in through the large windows across from the cell was helping him wake up again. That and James’s stern and slightly pissed off tone. It seemed like 007 was running out of patience, or something really bad was about to happen. Perhaps a fair combination of the two.

 

            “Q!” He blinked his eyes open this time, just to see the agent’s face looming over him, waiting impatiently for him to regain consciousness.

 

            “007…” Q croaked, his voice barely audible and his eyes trying to focus. Without as much as a warning, James slid his hands under Q’s armpits and hoisted the boy up, which only made him cry out in pain. “Sorry.” Bond breathed out as he made Q sit upright with his back against the wall.

 

            The sharp pain coming from his broken ribs filled Q’s vision with black spots as he threatened to pass out again. The young man winced and he drew quick, shaky breaths, trying to get the pain to go away instead of just succumbing to it and the sweet darkness that offered him relief.

 

            “They’re coming back, Q. Any ideas?” James asked, insisting on bringing the Quartermaster back to reality and anchoring him there. He was crouching down in front of Q, his large hands resting on the boffin’s forearms and squeezing firmly whenever it seemed like Q was starting to drift off.

 

            Q was looking for answers inside his brain when his gaze dropped and his eyes miraculously landed on James’s watch. The same beautiful, black, modified Omega that Q had given him some time ago, hoping it would be useful in the agent’s hands.

 

Oh, one word of warning, the alarm is rather loud... if you know what I mean.

 

            “T-The watch… 007…” Q could barely speak, but it was obvious that he was making a huge effort to be understood. “What?” James breathed out, his eyebrows furrowed deeply.

 

            Had he been able to, Q would’ve rolled his eyes. He seriously didn’t know how Bond had managed to stay alive for so long. “The w-watch… I-I lied a-about the w-watch…” Having heard him, it slowly started to sink in and Bond gradually realised what Q meant by that.

 

If you know what I mean…

 

            “I think I do…” James muttered under his breath, his lips twisting into a small smirk as his cold blue eyes meet Q’s swollen visage and the two men shared a complicit look.

 

            They barely had a couple seconds before the cell’s door opened behind James and three men stepped in. Q tensed visibly as he waited for one of them to drag him out again. His heart felt like it was about to beat out of his chest with just how afraid he was. But they never even went close to him. The three of them went straight for James, gripping his arms tightly before they escorted him out of the cell.

 

            One of them stayed behind to lock the cell once again after the other two men had left with James. He took a moment to examine Q, amusement plastered all over his face. After a moment of hesitation, he opened the cell again and stepped in, moving in to occupy the same spot where James had been just moments ago, crouching in front of Q.

 

            “Not so talkative anymore, huh?” The man taunted him and reached out to touch Q’s broken nose. Naturally, Q whimpered loudly and tried to move away, which prompted the man to laugh. “What’s wrong, princess?” This time, the man caught one of Q’s broken hands and squeezed tightly, making the Quartermaster writhe under him and cry out in pain.

 

            “Hm?” Q’s pained screams turned into pleas soon enough as he tried to get the man to let go of his hand. The guard wasn’t done though. He squeezed even harder and grabbed a handful of Q’s hair with his other hand, slamming the young man’s head back against the wall and making his vision go dark in the corners. “You’re not even useful to him anymore.” The man sneered, forcing Q to look up at him. When he saw just how afraid the young man looked, the guard finally let go of Q and got up, satisfied with his work.

 

            “You’re going to die in here, so you’d be better get used to the idea.” The man called mockingly as he walked away after locking the door and disappeared down the hallway. Q was glad he was finally gone, so he couldn’t see the hot tears that slowly started rolling down his cheeks, mixing with the dried blood on his face as once again, he faded off.

 


 

 

Quartermaster – Q

Glen Etive, Scotland

Skyfall House – 8 hours after M’s death

 

            “Ever been to Scotland before?” Tanner asked in a lame attempt to ease the tension in the air.

 

            “Once. Dad took us with him to Glasgow for a couple days. I can’t remember much except for the rain.” Q replied quietly without taking his eyes off the DB5, which was currently being lifted and secured to the recovery vehicle they had brought from London. The two men stood side to side, hands in their pockets and facing forward, both trying so hard not to look at the two bodies that were being carried out of the old chapel in black body bags. One belonging to the man Q once had admired and the other one belonging to the woman who had given the young hacker a second chance.

 

            Q was the one who finally turned around, but it wasn’t the bodies on the stretchers that he looked at. His green eyes landed on James Bond as the blond agent followed the bodies, his jaw tight and his gaze cast upon the ground as if trying to hide just how close he was to tears.

 

            The young man frowned and took one more glance at the car. “I’ll be back. Please make sure they don’t break it even more.” He said, leaning close to Tanner before he looked at James again and strode towards him.

 

            As soon as James saw him heading his way, he groaned and cursed under his breath, turning to walk the other way. The last thing he wanted was to talk after being pestered by Medical already. Under any other circumstances he would’ve loved to talk to Q and tease the boy, but at the moment, he just wanted to be alone.

 

            “007!” Q called as he increased his pace to catch up with the other man. “Not now, Q.” James grumbled and shook his head, thinking that all Q would want to do now would be to scold him for destroying the car.

 

“Bond–“

 

           “I said not now!” James finally snapped, turning around to glare at the young man. Q stopped dead in his tracks, looking at the Double-O with wide, scared eyes that could’ve made anyone feel sorry for him. Even Bond.

 

           “Sorry.” The blond sighed after noticing the look in his Quartermaster’s eyes. “I shouldn’t be taking out my frustration on you.”

 

           Q was silent, lips pursed tightly as he looked down at the ground and shook his head. “It’s fine. I understand. I just wanted to let you know how deeply sorry I am.” He said softly, keeping his voice low.

 

“She was a great woman–“

 

            “She was a bitch.” James interrupted and Q promptly tried to fix that. “She had her flaws, like everyone else.”

 

            James nodded almost dismissively and looked away to avoid meeting Q’s eyes again. “Mm.” He groaned quietly, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket. Q shifted, slightly nervous and unsure of whether he should speak again or just shut up for his own sake.

 

“I also wanted to say that… you’re not alone. Not now. Not ever.”

 

            It wasn’t just something he had said to comfort James at the time, in a way, it had been a promise. Q meant it entirely and that was the exact same reason why he had found himself in Vienna, months later. A promise he had once made and now had to keep.

 

           

Chapter Text

 

 


 

Quartermaster – Q

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Oberhauser’s base – 9:17

 

     “007!” Q woke up to the sound of an explosion, gasping sharply as he immediately remembered what his last words to the Double-O had been.  The watch. The bomb…

 

Oh god…

 

     He pushed himself to a sitting position using what little strength he had left in him and looked up just in time to see Bond and the blonde Q recognised as Dr. Swann heading his way. She was holding onto James’s hand tightly, as if her life depended on it, and it probably did. She looked around nervously, obviously entirely unaware of why James had led her deeper into Oberhauser’s lair instead of straight towards the exit.

 

     “Bond?” Q mumbled, hoping for an explanation as to what was going on around them, even though he already had a good idea.

 

     “Hope you had enough time to say goodbye to everyone, Q. We’re leaving.” James smirked and winked at his Quartermaster as he smashed the electronic padlock to pieces and opened the cell’s door.

 

     “James!” Madeleine’s accented voice rang through the cell, warning Bond of an incoming threat, a large man that had seen before, guarding the cell. James had to duck for cover when the man started firing at them, and as soon as he was close enough, the Double-O lunged at him, knocking the larger man to the ground.

 

     Madeleine stayed down with Q, watching James fight off the guard, whose gun was kicked off his hand by James. The pistol skated across the room and landed by Q’s feet, who slowly reached for it and picked it up.

 

 


 

 

James Bond – 007

Gara Medouar, Morocco

Oberhauser’s base – 9:19

 

     The man was putting up a good fight and as prolific at hand to hand combat as James was, Oberhauser had done a great job at weakening him. He was quickly losing the fight and all he could think of was what would happen to both Q and Madeleine if he did lose. They had no chances of getting out on their own, not with Q like that.

 

     With the agent’s mind elsewhere, the guard took advantage and managed to flip them over and put James in a chokehold. The Double-O squirmed and dug his nails in the man’s arm, try to get him to loosen his grip so he could breathe. But the guard wasn’t giving in and Bond’s vision was starting to darken. He slammed his elbow against the man’s ribs repeatedly, but it only made the man tighten his grip. Just as he started thinking that would be it, James heard a shot being fired and suddenly, the man’s grip loosened. Not only did it loosen, but the guard went down and hit the floor with a loud thump.

 

     James drew quick breaths and brought a hand up to rub his throat lightly. He finally turned around slowly and furrowed his eyebrows deeply when he realised what had happened.

 

     The man was dead and Q was holding the gun in his shaky hands, traumatized.

 

     The boffin had actually killed a man to save his life, something Bond would’ve never thought Q would have had the guts to do, not even to save his own life. But he had done it for James.

 

     Unfortunately, there was no time to sit down and figure out what this meant. James scrambled up to his feet and rushed towards Q, who was still frozen in place. The Double-O gently pried the gun from his fingers and tucked it in the hem of his trousers, leaning close to Q. “Sometimes a trigger has to be pulled.” The agent whispered, meeting the boy’s green eyes.

 

     “Help me lift him up.” He told Madeleine, clearly an order and not a suggestion. Between the two, they managed to lift Q up, wrapping their arms around the young man’s waist, and immediately headed out with James holding a semi-automatic rifle and clearing their way.

 

     As for Q, as soon as they made it to a vehicle and he felt the seat under him, he drifted off into unconsciousness once more.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

James Bond – 007

En route to Casablanca, Morocco

McDonnell Douglas MD500E Helicopter – 10:02

 

 

  James’s eyes were focused ahead as he piloted the helicopter, but every now and then he glanced back to where Madeleine and Q sat. Between the two, they had managed to strap the unconscious Quartermaster safely before taking off quickly.

 

At least he’s unconscious and can’t complain about his fear of flying…

 

    The Double-O sighed and shook his head, he didn’t really have time to dwell on what had happened, he had to think of what they would do next and how exactly they would stop Max Denbigh, along with SPECTRE, from gaining access to the world’s surveillance systems. The Double-O program wasn’t even a thing anymore and M had given up already. James couldn’t trust more than a handful of people really; Madeleine, Moneypenny, Tanner, maybe M and… Q.

 

     If there was one person he knew he could trust, it was Q. Especially after seeing him shoot a man just to save his life. It really made him wonder how far his Quartermaster would go in order to keep him safe. Of course, he wouldn’t like to put that to test, not after seeing the look in Q’s eyes when he killed the man.

 

     James sighed and looked back at the young man again, eyebrows furrowed in concern. It wasn’t easy to take a life, not at first at least. He knew that Q would need some time to get through it, and he was planning on being there for him every step of the way. If he made it out of this one alive, that was.

 

     Madeleine met his eyes with her own blue ones and pursed her lips for a moment, trying to find a way to comfort the agent.

 

     “How long until we reach Casablanca?” She asked, raising her voice so James could hear her over the loud sound of the helicopter’s rotor.

 

     “About an hour.” James replied, turning to face forward once more.

 

     “Are you sure you’re okay to fly this?” She asked. After all, Oberhauser had just been poking around James’s head and torturing him, she didn’t want to end up crashing because the agent was too stubborn to admit that he wasn’t up to the task.

 

     “I’m fine.” He grumbled.

 

     “But–“

 

     “Fine.”

 

     Madeleine went silent after that and chose to look out the window instead of starting an argument with Bond.

 


 

 

Quartermaster – Q

London, England

Hildebrand Safe House – 18:26

 

 

     As he started regaining consciousness, Q realised that he was no longer laying on the dirty floor of a Moroccan cell, but on something soft. A bed probably, since he wasn’t moving and a couch couldn’t possibly be this comfortable.

 

     Upon opening his eyes, he found James’s cold blue eyes looking down at him. An image he would’ve loved to wake up to, had it not been for the fact that James was just a few inches way too close for his comfort.

 

     “Fucking hell!” Q croaked, his voice hoarse. He reached up weakly and tried pushing James away, but it was like trying to push a giant boulder with a single hand. He gave up soon enough and just groaned softly.

 

     “Could you please take a bloody step back, Ja–007…” He just dropped the sentence at the end, hoping the agent hadn’t really heard him, but the smirk and the look of amusement plastered on the blonde’s face told him otherwise. Great.

 

     “Good morning to you too, Q.” The Double-O hummed, crossing his arms over his chest and remaining exactly where he was despite Q’s protests. “Where are we?” The young Quartermaster asked dazedly, trying to sit upright only to have James place a hand on his chest and push him back down on the bed.

 

     “A safe house in London.” The agent answered, watching as Q’s eyes widened in surprise.

 

     “London?” “Yes, Q. London. You’re slow to catch up, aren’t you?”

 

     The young man furrowed his eyebrows as he tried to remember exactly how they had gotten to London. The last thing he remembered was the sound of an explosion and… oh god…

 

     Q paled as the memories rushed back to him and suddenly he felt like he was going to be sick. “Q?” James asked warily as he watched the colour leave the Quartermaster’s face and his features twist into a pained grimace. “Are you okay?”

 

     Before the agent could even get an answer, Q leaned over the edge of the bed and gagged. Thankfully, it had been way too long since he had last seen any food so his stomach was completely empty, otherwise he would’ve ruined James’s fine Crockett & Jones black calf oxfords. “Christ…” He breathed out, taking a step back just for precaution.

 

     “The man I…” Q started as soon as he managed to catch his breath, making James frown. Just like he feared, Q hadn’t forgotten about that yet. “…shot?” The blond prompted, raising his eyebrows. The young man nodded almost fearfully, hoping for a very different answer than the one the look on James’s eyes was giving him.

 

Dead, obviously.

 

     The Double-O decided to leave his usual cynicism aside for the sake of his distressed Quartermaster and simply nodded to confirm his suspicions. “Shit…” Q breathed out, rolling onto his back and closing his eyes.

 

     “He deserved it, Q.” The agent replied softly, his face losing all expression it once held. “How–“ “You did what was right.” Q scoffed after hearing that, but James opened his mouth to speak once more and try to convince him that he wasn’t a cold-blooded murderer.

 

     “He would’ve killed me if you hadn’t done it.”

 

     There was a deafening silence as the two men looked at each other. A silent acknowledgement of what had happened and the fact that they had really saved each other’s lives that day.

 

     It was Q who finally broke the silence with a soft “Yeah” which he mumbled as he slowly sat upright. Bond let him this time and just watched to make sure that he was alright, he felt responsible for Q after all. The boffin wouldn’t have ended up the way he did if he hadn’t gone looking for him.