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Jealousy

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The entirety of MI6 was buzzing. Boffins, lower tier field agents, accountants, and even the simple cleaning staff all ducked in the darkest corners of the new building to exchange titbits of gossips they picked up from God knew where and that just irritated the upper management and Q – also known as the one boffin that ruled over all the other boffins – because it slowed things down to an almost halt and that was the last thing that an international security agency needed to be – slow.

 

Q was perhaps the most stressed out of everyone because every gossip hunter came to him in the worst time possible so he could confirm whatever new ridiculous rumour they heard – the new one was a clone, the new one was robot he had created, the new one was a rich old man that wanted to become a real version of Batman, and so on – and if one more bloody thing exploded in his face or set his clothes on fire because people suddenly forgot that he did more things than sip his Earl Grey and lose expensive equipment to unworthy and ungrateful agents, he was really going to build himself a robot that would use all of them as moving targets.

 

And by the way his right-hand woman was making a beeline right for him with a very scary smile on her face, it looked like she was going to be that last straw that broke the camel’s back. “Have you heard?” She practically screeched in his ear as she latched on to his arm to drag him deeper inside his own lair, his other minions trailing after them with equally scary smiles on their faces.

 

“Probably and let me assure you that I couldn’t care less,” Q said dismissively, trying to tug his arm free.

 

But R did not care. “007 has made you into the emperor of sourpusses,” she accused, holding on tighter to him.

 

“More like everyone who refuse to let me do my bloody job did that,” he grumbled, hating that he weighed so little that a woman in high heels and who was a head shorter then him had no problem dragging him around like he was a ragdoll. “R, I need to be in lab 5.”

 

“No, you need to be in the testing area,” she corrected him. “By M’s orders no less,” she added and a minion shoved Q’s own phone in his face before he could remember that he his word was law.

 

Q pushed his head back a little and narrowed his eyes until the text he was being shown came into focus and half-way through the usual long and overly-official e-mail message that M liked to send every time a big change happened – he missed Olivia’s ‘to the point’ e-mailing style – when he realized that he really did have to give up on his weak struggling and simply let the human wave carry him where he officially had to be.

 

He tried to make sense of what was happening, but his phone was back in his pocket and everybody was talking over one another, so that was impossible. Still, he didn’t have a single doubt that this had something to do with the new guy and sure enough, ten excruciatingly long minutes later, he was staring at the smiling new 007.

 

“At least this meeting didn’t take place in the middle of a mission,” Q said as the room fell silent around him, every person holding their breath and watching their new charge made his way towards Q with an extended hand as he was finishing his greeting. “007, I’m your Quartermaster.”

 

“And I’m your new 007, Amon Crichton,” Amon said in a soft-spoken voice, his smile becoming bigger as his hand wrapped around Q’s and they shook hands. “It’s such an honour to meet you, Quartermaster. Your equipment saved my life more than once.”

 

Contrary to popular belief – or believes – this new 007 didn’t just spring out of nowhere like he was some kind of Greek/Roman god and if everyone would stop acting like they were a bunch of high schoolers and remembered that they had access to his personal file, then they would know that he had started off as an MI5 field agent who had successfully assisted a few of their own agents not that long ago.

 

No one in MI5 was surprised when the head of MI6 offered Amon the 007 moniker. While he was not exactly what people envisioned when thinking of a spy, he was an agile fighter and he rarely missed his target. His wide, expressive green eyes had a tendency to make everyone relax around him, his huge smile was natural and kind, and he was quick to adapt to whatever situation he was in and knew to properly use all the resources he had access to. A quick glance at what he was wearing – a tight fitted dark purple suit with a dark blue tie – also confirmed that he knew how to dress, even if Q could tell that he didn’t spend a ridiculous sum of money on it – unlike someone else.

 

“You can’t imagine how shocked I was to actually have it returned to me in a working condition,” Q mixed a compliment with a jab at the new 007 out of habit. “I do hope that your new title won’t come turn you into a reckless fool.”

 

Amon’s smile grew and Q was sure that he heard a few people swoon behind him. “I assure you that won’t be the case, Quartermaster.”

 

Q took promises like that with more than a grain of salt. “Those kind of promises mean nothing to me, 007,” his voice waivered when he called the newcomer by that, but he soldiered through, “and while I don’t expect you to pick your equipment over your own life, I will not be forgiving if you lose them in ways that may or may not involve hungry Komodo dragons or an expensive glass of champagne.”

 

Amon looked confused by his words even though Q was sure that everybody in the room knew what incidents he was referring to. “I would do my best not to let anything as ridiculous as that happen and I can’t wait to be given the opportunity to fully show you how serious I am in the field.”

 

“Spoken like a true rookie,” Q said dismissively, signalling Amon to follow him so he could personally test him to get a rough idea of his reaction times in a control environment and see what type of personalized weapon he would be best suited for.

 

The new 007 ended up having the best results out of the whole double oh lot, but Amon himself pointed out that it was due to the fact that he was just starting while everyone else was a seasoned agent, shocking Q by displaying honest modesty without doubting his own abilities – which was not something you wanted in the type of agent you constantly sent out on what might as well be suicide missions – and more than an ounce of intelligence which was unheard of in a 007 as far as Q was concerned.

 

Amon continued to surprise everyone by always arriving on time for his continuous training, following the orders he was given by whatever boffin was his handler at that time, but he was quick to realize that he was this surprised simply because he had gotten used to having to fight nail and tooth with the former 007 to get him to do even the simplest of things as obedience and protocol following was considered normal for all the other double oh agents.

 

“Could it be that you you’ve gotten so used with James as 007 that you simply cannot imagine anyone else using the 007 moniker acting different from him?” R had asked over a cup of late night Irish tea – with extra Irish and less tea than normal because every now and then in his off time, Q liked to dip in his vast reserve of expensive alcohol bottles that Bond had provided him with in exchange for even more expensive equipment.

 

Q thought for a moment, frowning and worrying on his lower lip despite R’s clicking her tongue in disagreement – at least he had finally stopped chewing on his nails so the woman should really let him at least have this. “It’s strange to praise 007 for something and no be sarcastic,” he admitted. “Not that I want Amon to act like Bond, mind you. He is a welcomed breath of fresh air in a controlled environment.”

 

R regarded him seriously for a moment before dissolving in a fit of giggles, signalling that it was time for Q to retire the bottle of alcohol lest he wanted the woman to become his bathroom rug once again. “You totally wanted Amon to be Bond with a new name,” she accused, repeatedly elbowing him in the stomach and winking at him like she had found out what his deepest, darkest secret was.

 

His crush on Bond was something universally known among everyone at MI6 except for Bond himself, but Q was more than thankful for that because while Bond took men every now and then to bed, those were nothing more than one night stands and he preferred to attempt actual relationships only with women – treacherous women that wanted to see him dead as much as they wanted him to warm them in the middle of the night.

 

Still, he did his best to never let his personal feelings get in the way of his missions and while his mask may have slipped a little in front of Bond when he came to get steal one more thing before riding off into the sunset with that week’s one true love, he never once thought about asking him to give up on his retirement plan – which was well deserved and, according to the letters the two of them exchanges, he more than enjoyed even if Miss Swann was no longer by his side – on the off chance they could become something for a fraction of a moment that would make it even harder for Q to listen in on his official trysts.

 

“I’m more inclined to believe that I wanted M to retire that moniker,” Q said carefully, rolling his eyes at R’s continued giggle fit. He obviously had spent a bit too much time with Eve and the other double oh agents if his alcohol resistance had increased this much. “But perhaps this discussion is best left for another time?”

 

“No matter how sober you are, you’ll still gush over Bond in one way or another,” R accused him, moving from elbowing his stomach to poking his chest. “Or, maybe you’ll become smitten with Amon because your type isn’t a body or a personality, it’s the 007 number itself.”

 

As was the case with any drunken person, R was quite proud of that realization and Q had to admit that there was logic behind her hazy train of thought – though Q was happy to say that it was very flawed. He may have been a boffin and he may have understood technology far better than people in some situations, but he did not feel attracted to mere numbers. As for Amon himself…

 

Well, he seemed to be a decent human being that might have been pleasant to the eye and to one’s soul, but it was much too soon for Q to form an opinion on that and he would much like to see him in action so he could at least put him in one of the many metaphorical boxes he had formed in his mind for all double oh agents – 001 and 009 were careful in their missions with the civilians but not themselves; 006 and 008 were reckless agents that loved to put themselves in danger if it got the mission done faster than planned, and so on.

 

Yet he was not inclined to try to explain that to someone who already knew this but whose brain was swimming in alcohol to remember it, so bed time it was and R was more than happy to crash on Q’s sofa once his two cats snuggled up to her, starting to loudly purr.

 

Q’s wish to test Amon in a real life situation came true earlier than expected when a Spectre remnant started stirring up trouble in the Middle East with the clear intent of convincing the local terrorist cell to focus their hatred on the U.K in exchange for more power, more weapons, and more money.

 

Amon was in the briefing room promptly at 7 in the morning, as he was instructed, standing for attention in a cream coloured shirt and a pair of long white pants and actually saluting Q when he got closer to him, actually acting like the former soldier he was before MI5. “007 reporting for duty, sir!” Amon said loudly, not bothered at all by the lesser boffins snickering behind Q.

 

“MI6’s and MI5’s internal protocols are not that different, 007, so no reason to act like you’re back in the army,” Q said dismissively and his words seemed to make Amon genuinely embarrassed, his cheeks turning a slight shade of pink.

 

That made Q forget all he read about Amon and worry that he wouldn’t last long. Internal agents that reached the double oh tier were groomed to act and to bury deep down their sentiments and because of that, they had so much trouble showing their true emotions that the occasional government officials that visited assumed they were robots.

 

“I know that my promotion to the double oh status was done under less than normal circumstances, but I promise that you won’t need to worry too much about me when I’m in the field,” Amon said as if reading Q’s mind. “Your equipment and your instructions combined with 003’s assistance will more than make up for my lack of experience.”

 

Q cringed. “I hope you learn very fast that it isn’t wise to put all your eggs in one basket, Amon,” he warned, opting to present Amon with a bulkier kit than was normal for such a mission. “But I more than welcome your attempts to convince me not to be a worrywart. Just keep in mind that sometimes, overconfidence does more harm than good.”

 

His words made Amon’s eyes get a sharper look in them, a look he’d seen countless times directed at him when dealing with people who considered him to be too young to speak the worse he spoke or when they found him to simply be irritating.  He’d been working as a Quartermaster for far too long to really care about the way anyone looked at him, but he did start to mentally prepare for situations in which Amon might mishear him or in which his earpiece accidentally got destroyed.

 

Thankfully, no failsafe was needed and the mission, while lasting a bit longer than expected and getting as complicated as it could be – 003 had been captured pretty early in the mission as were a few of the civilians that were helping them  – it was successfully completed with all the casualties being on their enemy’s side.

 

M was less than happy about that as they lacked any proper information about Spectre that could be used to completely eradicate them, but he understood that there had been no other option, but he privately admitted to Q that he was pleased that they didn’t need to start searching for new double oh agents and that he had been congratulated by the Prime Minister for the first time in what felt like forever for managing to diffuse a tense situation in the Middle East with as few casualties and property damage as possible.

 

Q had no doubt that the PM would lord that over the Americans for a long time and that M would remind the PM of the good job they’d done whenever MI6 needed something that wasn’t in their budget. Q, in turn, made sure to recount this in a coded letter to Bond after he had openly praised Amon and 003 for a job well done.

 

Bond wrote back faster than usual, his answer arriving the very next day via DHL Express and while Q had planned on reading it in the comfort of his own home, the fact that the usual yellow envelope had been replaced by a thick box made it impossible to wait that long, so he took his lunch earlier.

 

He was just about to rip the box open when a soft knock at the door interrupted him and since everybody and their mother knew that he had received something from Bond, he was irked that they couldn’t even wait for five whole minutes before starting to tease him. “Is it an emergency?”

 

“I shall return at a better time,” Amon said hesitantly, instantly making Q feel bad.

 

“This is a better time,” Q shouted quickly, tripping over his own feet just as he got to the door.

 

Luckily, Amon had opened it and caught him just in time, saving him from destroying his last pair of glasses and from having to embarrass himself to Medical yet again when he tried to explain how he almost got pieces of glass stuck in his face.

 

“Are you ill? Are you hurt? Do you need me call someone?” Amon bombarded him with questions worriedly, holding Q in such a way that his feet weren’t touching the ground even though it wasn’t quite bridal-style.

 

In an attempt to make the whole thing somewhat less awkward, Q rested his hands on Amon’s back, suddenly remembering that the last time he had been held like this, he had a swollen eye, a bruised lip, and a broken nose and a fuming Bond promising the slowest possible death to those who had hurt him.

 

Bond had been indirectly to blame for his wounds, like always. He’d stubbornly refused to accept the hand dealt to him by the Fates – or M’s orders, for that matter – and he’d buggered off on his own, trying to set things straight. Naturally, Q was quick to follow him and offer him as much support as he could with the few pieces of equipment he had managed to stuff in his pockets before he got caught and just as naturally as that, the people they were after knew who he was and attempted to catch him.

 

He’d fought as hard and as much as he could, taking down a few of his attackers on his own until his luck ran out and the punches started to land. All hope seemed lost when Bond had bursted through the window, expensive suit in tatters as it always happened, face covered in cuts as was tradition and then before anyone even knew what was happening, he unleashed his anger.

 

“I can’t let you out of my sight for a single second, now can I?” Bond had said as he picked Q up like he was made out of fragile glass, holding him in such a way that Q had to rest his head against his chest – not that he minded.

 

Bond’s warmth, his heart’s erratic beating slowing down as the adrenaline wore off, and his spicy smell seemed to be just what Q needed to anchor himself into the real world. Amon smell didn’t have that much gunpowder to it and his aftershave was sweeter. His muscles weren’t as big or well defined as Bond’s, but Amon’s hold was more powerful, rougher, even somewhat uncaring and it didn’t make Q feel secure.

 

“I’m quite fine, if a bit of a klutz,” Q assured Amon, squirming free with ease despite the other’s strength and carefully made his way back to his desk. “I do apologize for snapping at you earlier, Am—007. Do you need my help with anything?” He asked, signalling Amon to enter his office and sit on a chair when it became clear that he wouldn’t budge from the door unless told so.

 

“I intended to thank you for all of your hard work that got us home safe and to…” he trailed off for a moment as if he was trying to gather enough courage to continue to speak to a man that was to him what an ant was to a boot, looking and sounding nothing like the man he had been in the field. “Well, would it be terribly crass of me if I were to ask you to call me Amon when I’m not in the field? I get the feeling that you are not quite comfortable calling me by my moniker yet.”

 

Q clicked his tongue, silently berating himself for allowing once again his own personal preferences to get in the way of who and what he was. “It’s strange to be thanked for what’s expected of me to do, but nonetheless more than appreciated.” Q sketched a small smile before continuing. “And I’ll call you whatever you want me to call you when you’re not in the field or on duty.”

 

Amon’s smile was toothier than Q’s. “You won’t correct my assumption?”

 

Q shook his head. “Despite what the common belief is, double oh agents have a long life. It only makes sense for us to have a hard time associating a new face to an old number and not sound unsure or confused when used, so please do not take it like an insult. You’ve proven yourself to be more than worthy of the double oh status,” he explained.

 

It wasn’t unusual for newcomers to accidentally be made to feel like they were outsiders and Q had received special training in helping them ease into MI6. Yet this was the first time Q had to do this and it made him feel awkward and underprepared.

 

“But not worthy to be 007,” Amon concluded, raising his hand to keep Q from talking. “I’ve read up on my predecessor and my new colleagues were more than happy to share some of their experiences with him, so I know how good of an agent he was. I would even dare to call him a real life superhero, considering that he has saved the world more than once.”

 

“Our dear financers would be quick to correct you given Bond’s tendency to demolish and lose very expensive things,” Q muttered, a headache starting to form just behind his eyes out of habit at the mere thought of all the extra paperwork he had always ended up filing after Bond’s mission.

 

Amon chuckled, jumping to Bond’s defence. “Bureaucrats will be bureaucrats and promptly ignored when the situation calls for it. Though I assure you that I won’t try to emulate the former 007.” He leaned forward and brushed his hand against Q’s, his voice dropping to almost a whisper. “I just can't wrap my mind around making your life harder than it already is by breaking into your department to steal equipment for other agents or by buggering off for weeks on end on a vacation after a needless explosion.”

 

“I’m glad that you don’t need to go through a painful and possibly deadly lesson to say that,” Q said, freeing his hand to move the package closer when he noticed that it had taken hold of Amon’s attention. “I have no doubt that you’ll find out what’s in this by the end of the day.”

 

“I would never dare pry into your personal life, Quartermaster,” Amon said, sounding genuinely offended, his brows knitting in confusion. “Unless you’re issuing a challenge?”

 

“Nothing like that,” Q started and then remembered a little game that the former Quartermaster had played with all newcomers. “Though if you want one, try to get by 5 PM – which is the end of my official work day if nothing major happens – without accidentally eavesdropping on someone gossiping and you’ll get to pick the vehicle you’ll use in the next mission that’s needed. You’re not allowed to obstruct your hearing in any way and if you simply go home right away, you’ll forfeit.”

 

Amon frowned, but moved closer to Q, openly showing his interest at the game. “And I trust that you won’t make sure that people go out of their way for me to find out?”

 

“It wouldn’t be fair if I did that, so I give you my word that I won’t,” Q assured him.

 

“And what will happen if I lose?”

 

“That will be a surprise,” Q said mysteriously and after a moment, Amon took Q’s hand to shake on it before excusing himself. “Good luck.”

 

Within the hour and despite the fact that Amon was new, he knew that Bond had sent Q a very old memory card wrapped in a colourful silk scarf, two bags of exotic teas that were not to be touched unless Q personally gave his blessing, and a simple postcard and Q not two minutes later that Amon knew, so he just sat back and waited to see if he was honourable or not as that was one of the game’s purpose.

 

Another was to allow the newcomer to find out on their own – and in a realistic yet safe environment – the level of trust the others had in him and if they were seen as part of the MI6 family or not and yet another was for the Quartermaster to discern if he was trusted by the newest agent when their life didn’t depend on it. There was no right or wrong combination of results, only lesson opportunities that almost all agents appreciated one they realized what the game was actually about.

 

Not by all agents because Bond was an anomaly in everything and while he was the most curious thing in existence – to the point that the only time he dropped by Q’s apartment unannounced, he had zeroed in on a simple bag sitting on his table counter that Q’s cats had ignored to see what was in it while he was bleeding from a gunshot to the shoulder and a knife wound to the stomach; even more, he actually look insulted when it turned out that it had other empty bags in it which made Q think that he was a cat in human form – he had not even glanced in the direction of the old Quartermaster’s bait. Then again, maybe things would have been different if it had been in a plastic bag or if he had been told that what was in the box was meant for 009’s only as Bond had a bone to pick with him since before he became an official double oh.

 

Amon also proved to be a divergence from the double oh mould, revealing to Q after admitting that he had lost the game that he understood what everything had been about and thanking Q before proceeding to ask him what he was supposed to do now that he had lost.

 

Pleased by how relaxed Amon looked – showing that he trusted that his Quartermaster wouldn’t ask him for anything illegal, dangerous, or treacherous – Q asked him to bring a cup of hot tea the next time he found himself in his branch, quickly adding that this wasn’t going to be a test or anything of the likes.

 

He was interrupted from explaining how he liked his tea by an urgent e-mail and Amon was quick to excuse himself to allow him to work in peace, deciding that finding on his own what Q’s favourite tea would be a fun way to pass time and also the perfect way to get better acquainted with the boffin team.

 

Every day for the next two months, around noon, Amon popped into Q’s office with a steaming cup of tea and while Q wasted no time to let him know that he’d got it wrong once again and provide Amon with a very small hint about the insignificant Holy Grail, they still shared conversations about their lives before they officially ceased to exist even or minor things about their current on that was of no use to anyone unless they were attempting to make either one of them friends or lovers, though Q had been very apprehensive in the beginning about it.

 

Not that Amon seemed to care about Q’s tight lips. He talked about his favourite football team and how much he had loved going to see them play together with his father who was usually a very stoic man, but who completely lost it when that team was involved. Q had smiled and said that he personally found football boring, keeping to himself that his parents had attempted to get him into sports when he was younger and that their attempts ended with him breaking his right leg in three parts.

 

However, Amon learned something from that conversation and the next day, he started talking about the books he liked, his speech quickly turning into a conversation even though they liked different genres – Amon mostly liked stories that were about revenge and old myths from every part of the world while Q was always giddy when he was presented with a mystery and scientific books, admitting that he had a few scientists that were his pen pals.

 

This much, Bond knew, and he even teased Q about it every now and then when he found him sitting hunched over a project that refused to bend to his will and just turn out right already so the lives of the field agents could be made easier or whenever he slumped on the beaten up sofa in Q’s office only to find an equally beaten up book poke him in his back.

 

But that slowly started to change, Amon finding out things about Q that Bond never knew despite how close they were. For example, Bond knew that Q had cats but Amon knew how the cats looked like because he had politely asked Q to show him pictures of them. Bond knew Q liked Chinese food and brought him some whenever he was about to hint that he wanted something he wasn’t supposed to have, but Amon knew which Chinese restaurant was his favourite, knew to avoid anything that contained peanuts because Q was allergic to them, and he also knew that if Q got Chinese food, then Bill Tanner got a box for himself or else he’d steal half of Q’s.

 

Not that Q was upset about that. It was in Bond’s nature not to sweat the small stuff unless he wanted an actual relationship. It was also in Bond’s nature, due to the education he received until that fateful night when he was barely ten years old to think that the most expensive things was naturally the best thing in the world and Q never bothered to correct him and neither did anyone.

 

Basically, when it came down to it, the major difference between Bond and Amon wasn’t the fact that Amon seemed careful on his missions but that Amon could be considered nosy while Bond let sleeping dogs lie.

 

Q’s overall reserve towards Amon despite the lunches spent together with him and ignoring the verbal pats on the back he publicly gave him weren’t missed by R nor did she miss any chance to question her superior about that whenever she delivered the little letters or trinkets Bond sent his way – a self-appointed job, mind you, and one that irked Q because M had called him up in his office to make sure that he understood that he was not to use his minions for anything else outside of branch business and Bond’s love notes were most definitely not a part of that.

 

Still, he understood that R had good intentions with her meddling and all she really did was provide ammo for Q’s battle with his subconsciousness with her reasonable questions.

 

Didn’t Amon do a good job on his latest mission? He did an excellent job, of course. Amon’s finesse put even 009 to shame.

 

Didn’t Amon manage to come back home without any major wounds and without going over budget, something that wasn’t heard of when the old 007 was involved? It was an outright miracle considering everything that was thrown his way and, just like with every other agent he handled, Q could only really breathe properly once they were back in the MI6 building.

 

Did he not respect his superiors and his co-workers which were all things that Bond seemed to be allergic to? He did, although Bond teased more than disrespected most of them. Then why did Q look so sour whenever he had to refer to him as 007? His feelings for Bond wouldn’t change if he accepted Amon as 007, now would they? Of course they wouldn’t and yet…

 

And yet Amon was not James and although Q didn’t try any less to keep him alive, he would probably never truly be 007 as far as Q was concerned.

Chapter Text

Bond was a jealous man that didn’t really like sharing those closest to him with people he found odd. For example, Eve’s first fiancé had set alarms off in his mind even before he met him and everybody he had confided in had scoffed and said that he was just annoyed that he had missed his opportunity to bed a beauty like Eve – though Q hadn’t; he’d ran on James’ hunch and presented Eve with all the right reasons why she should put a giant ‘X’ in front of her fiancé’s title right before 009 had a little bit of bone breaking fun with him before finally depositing in the deepest, darkest cell available.

 

Everyone else was proved wrong in their assumption of James’ ego when he not only befriended Eve’s current husband, but also let them borrow his rebuilt Skyfall with his blessing and at no cost, genuinely liking the man and rooting for the two of them to have an actual happy ending by growing old together.

 

Another time his instincts were right on the dot was when he caught a glimpse of a picture of Tanner’s new babysitter on Eve’s desk. Naturally, Eve assumed that James was interested in bedding the babysitter since she looked just his type – alive, legal, and not a mother herself even though she supposedly liked children – but there was something about her that made him plead with Eve to let Q personally handle her background check. Eve wasn’t exactly surprised when it turned out that the babysitter was a mercenary working for an organization thought defunct that Tanner had personally dismantled back when he was an agent. Eve was disappointed in herself that she had seemingly lost the gut instinct she once had as an active agent and she admitted that every now and then, she was tempted to return to the field.

 

It was because of those instincts that were could have been consider borderline paranoia when it came to a simple civilian that he’d survived as a soldier and a double oh agent for so long and while he’d like to say that he had learned from a young age with no pain to trust them, he couldn't because that would be a complete and total lie.

 

He had to lose his a few good friends, an uncle, a second and then a third home, an adoptive father, an adoptive stepmother – Olivia tried to have him retired one too many times not to be seen as that if James’ life was looked as like a fairy tale – and then his heart to a foolish woman before he learned that the little voice in the back of his mind knew what it was talking about and that it was for the best of everyone around him to lend it his bloody ear.

 

Then Vesper happened and he was foolish once again and that costed him a dear friend once again as well as what was left of his heart and he’d sworn to himself as he watched his wife-to-be take her last breath after delivering him in the hands of his enemies. But that was when he had really learned his lesson, so when Q told him about this Amon Crichton who was and his heart dropped in his stomach and the cold feeling of dread spread through his body, numbing his toes and fingers for a moment, he knew that something was up.

 

As the letters continued to describe in code what was happening, James got the feeling that Q also found the new agent to be odd – as well as Q’s cast who always hissed at this Amon fellow whenever he entered Q’s office – but he focused more on how strange it was to have a 007 spend almost an hour in his office and not have anything missing from it while all James could think of was if Amon at least had the decency to bring Q his favourite food from his favourite Chinese place while he was clearly turning him into a mark.

 

He had contacted Eve with his fear as he knew that Q would refuse to listen to him this time and accuse him of being jealous that someone else got this moniker and the two of them met in a little coffee shop in Paris to talk about it.

 

“How can you make every gift you make as part of self-appointed mission, James?” Eve asked, taking her sunglasses off to remind him just how uncomfortable she could make him with a simple glare. “I have found nothing wrong with Amon, but I also though Bill’s babysitter was a real life Mary Poppins, so what do I know?”

 

James arched his eyebrow. “Then why the glare if you’re willing to give my hypothesis a chance?”

 

Eve huffed, rolling her eyes. “Because I’m sure you’re to blame for this somehow,” she grumbled in her mug. “Even retired, you are nothing more than a pox upon Q’s ‘house’ and love life.”

 

“On his love life?” The question left James; lips even before he had enough time to process what Eve had said and it was clear that she mentally kicked herself. “Please don’t let me stop you from enlightening me, Miss Moneypenny.”

 

With a roll of her eyes and a deep sigh, a miracle happened even though Christmas was many months away and Eve did as she was asked. “Though Q is his usual dense self, Amon is courting him. Up until you called me, I was rooting for Amon because he is your complete and total opposite and God knows Q needs some good buggering.”

 

Eyes narrowed and feeling angrier than he’d like, James tried to remain composed. “You don’t need to spend that much time together with a one-night stand.”

 

“Yes, but Q doesn’t do one-night stands which is the main reason why you were quick to lose your interest in him,” Eve reminded him, smiling a bit too all-knowingly for James’ tastes.

 

James would have been a fool – or completely straight – not to at least think of Q that way after meeting him. He was young, energetic, his voice deliciously smooth and very pleasing to the eye. And that was before he discovered a personality as well as be smart, kind, and caring. The temptation was still there but the cherry on top of everything was that Q just had to be his superior despite his age that deserved all of the respect in the world for the excellent job he did and for putting up with James without bashing his head, so he was satisfied with thinking about him once when he got very drunk.

 

Except, Q liked to sneak uninvited in James’ more intense dreams quite often and James hated himself a little for only being bothered that they were dreams and not reality.

 

“This newcomer wouldn’t be the first to try to woo him, so I’m sure that he’d be wasting his time even if Q was aware of what was happening,” James said dismissively, happy that he could easily recall five other incidents in which Q had been quick to turn down his suitors once it became obvious that they were interested in him.

 

Eve rolled her eyes, but bit her tongue. Paris was too beautiful if a bit overcrowded by tourists and her husband too eager to relive their honeymoon for her to allow James’ stubbornness to ruin things for her. “Fine, we’re all seeing things because Q is a 33 year old virgin that dares not taste from the forbidden book every now and then in your book, so do you mind if we get back to that hunch of yours that I’m starting to think is truly nothing more than jealousy in this particular case.”

 

Insulted and enraged, James was quick to take out Q’s letters from his waistcoat to show Eve, ignoring the needless startled noise she made. “The way he describes this Amon character is very disconcerting. Everyone else that’s new gets a line at most, two if it’s that smartass Gareth insisted Q hire while Amon gets at least a page in every letter,” he started, waiving the letters in Eve’s face.”

 

“You carry around all Q’s letters?” Eve asked, proving that James would have gotten a better result if he spoke to the wall behind her.

 

“Since you won’t be able to focus on anything else until I answer, I have with me only the important ones,” James grumbled.

 

“Which are all of them?” Eve continued to probe, leaning over the table to stick her hands in James’ waistcoat.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous.” He only kept the important ones, like all the letters in which Amon was mentioned because he needed to prove his point and get Eve to be his eyes in MI6 and the ones in which Q talked about that little things that made him happy and the few ones in which he hinted at his newest brainchild because every now and then he felt like he needed a ray of sunshine from the only world he knew for so much of his life. “Anyway, compare what I did in the field with what Amon is doing with Q and then tell me I’m wrong.”

 

Eve opened and closed her mouth like she was a fish for a few moments, looking more and more worried. “He is a new, young double oh agent with a different kind of training,” she tried defending Amon, although it sounded more like she was trying to convince herself than him. “He passed the MI5 security check, then ours when he ran that mission way back, and then ours again when it was decided that he’d be the new 007.”

 

“Raul Silva was one of ours and that ended with a new M, a new Q, new boffins, new housing for MI6, and more than a fresh coat of paint for my ancestral home,” James grimly reminded Eve.

 

“Q himself ran the background check on him and found no real—”

 

“Then look me in the eyes and tell me that I’m just jealous because someone else is 007 and that you’re here simply because you wanted a free fancy vacation in Paris,” he demanded, barely managing to keep himself from raising his voice and Eve was quick to look away in shame. “So you will be my eyes from now on?”

 

“And ears,” Eve confirmed and James felt just a little bit more at ease now that Q had his back covered by her – though he hoped she wouldn’t find herself in a position in which she needed to do some sniping because he pitted Q more than his enemy.

Chapter Text

A year had passed since they caught the head of Spectre and Q was frustrated beyond belief that the organization was still standing. On shaky legs, granted, but still very much alive and with enough strength to tug on some very important strings that decided what happened in the world as well as find a myriad of ways of making things harder for everyone at MI6 – a corrupt government official cutting off some of their funds until they managed to prove with the help of MI5 that he was a Spectre operative, a few well places explosives during a riot regarding Brexit plunged half of London into total darkness for three days which put a strain on the MI6 generators, some of the returned equipment had been tempered with and exploded while his minions handled them that didn’t result in any casualties or permanent damage other than the psychological one resulted from that, more corruption in the higher levels of the ruling class getting in the way of doing their jobs and so on.

 

Spectre’s remnants were always just beyond his reach which made Q suspect that someone was tipping them off, though he had no evidence to back that up. M was inclined to believe him and it was very obvious that he regretted allowing Q to dismantle Nine Eyes and every now and then, when it was so late into the night that it was already the following day, when Q finally threw his hands up in desperation at the futility of things and crawled into bed, he shared M’s regret.

 

It was on such a night, when Q felt even more exhausted than usual due to a couple of double oh agents landing themselves in more trouble than they should have and because things around MI6 malfunctioned even worse than before, that an insistent knock at his door forced him out his cocoon of blankets and soft pillows.

 

Knowing that only one man could make it to his door without him being notified by the guards posted outside that he had a visitor and without getting half of MI6 and all of MI5 to surround his building, Q quickly jumped out of bed and pulled the door open, hitting Bond with a pillow even before greetings started to be exchanged.

 

“That’s a very interesting way of asking someone to sleep with you. Not very effective, but a breath of fresh air nevertheless,” Bond joked, letting himself into Q’s apartment, luggage and everything, a huge grin appearing on his lips when he spotted the unopened bag of genuine Brazilian coffee on the kitchen counter. “I take it that you’ve been expecting me?”

 

“Well, Skyfall is almost done, so I figured you’d find your way back.” He left out the fact that he was sure Bond would do something to his car on his way to London that would need Q’s magical touch to make it work again. “As you’ll get to christen my new sofa, let me know if you wake up with any pains that aren’t related to your age.”

 

There was a normalcy in hearing Bond chuckling so close to his ear as was the relief that washed over him, like he had just heard Bond cracked a really sappy joke after he had been officially marked as KIA.

 

“Knowing you, I’ll say that someone had the audacity to bleed all over your old sofa though I must admit that I’m unsure if they were doing that because of a mission or because of your two living weapons with fur,” James said, touching the area on his right arm in which Q’s cats loved sinking their teeth.

 

Q chuckled. “I’ve been spending more time at Vauxhall than home lately, so the cats are there.” He was so tired and out of it that he almost offered to leave marks on Bond’s body in their place just in case he missed complaining about that, but he caught himself just in time, realizing how that would sound and how merciless Bond would be in his teasing.

 

Bond let a sigh of relief, flashing Q a forced smile as he started to play detective. “Well then, with those little menaces out of the picture, it’s clear that the first scenario is true and I will go a step further and name Amon as the culprit as everyone else has the decency to stay in your bathroom until you are done patching them up before going anywhere near your furniture.”

 

“I have to be in the office at 10, so don’t you start with that,” Q groaned, shuffling back to his room to look for the spare set of blankets. “Nothing but fresh takeout in the fridge—”

 

“As is tradition,” James chimed in, winking at Q as he pulled out a colourful book from his smaller bag. “Bought you a book that might help with that.”

 

Chuckling, Q pointed to a shelf close to the kitchen that was stuffed full of books promising delicious foods in as little time as possible from all around the world. “I do promise to try making a dish before banishing it to the shelf of dust gathering.”

 

“More than I could ask for,” Bond said, bowing his head a little. “Although, if you’d like, maybe we can try making more dishes from all those other books in my kitchen back at Skyfall?”

 

Q had foolishly thought that his feelings for Bond had at least lessened in the year they had been apart if not outright disappeared – after all, there was that out of sight, out of mind saying. And yet, Q’s heart jumped in his throat when James invited him to his home, his mind quickly conjuring up sappy romantic plots that involved sudden storms of all sorts that would get them stuck in Skyfall for an undetermined amount of time before he could rein it in.

 

“Do you hate your remodelled kitchen that much?” Q managed to deadpan, crossing his arms over his bare chest – and remembering that he decided against wearing a top that night only then while Bond had dawned a crisp, dark blue suit that brought out his eyes and called attention to how well-toned his muscles were – and arching his right eyebrow as he usually did whenever Bond presented him with a crazy idea.

 

“I haven’t even seen my new kitchen yet, so think of it as more of a sacrifice that I’m willing to make so you’ll at least learn how to make simple toast,” Bond countered, masterfully dodging the slipper thrown at his head. “Maybe you’ll let me help you better your aim when we’re at Skyfall. I know you hate firing guns, but how do you feel about archery?” He crossed the room in two steps and ran his hands up Q’s arms, nodding to himself. “With a bit of work, you can even use a long bow, so how about it? Come to the new Skyfall with me tomorrow and stay for a week or two?”

 

Q was stopped from giving into temptation by an alarm going off on his phone and before his hand even touched it, Bond had turned himself into his shield and backed him into a corner of the room where he’d be protected, weapon already drawn.

 

“It’s just Amon coming up,” Q assured him, resting his hands on Bond’s shoulders under he slipped out of his agent mode and the safety was back on the weapon. “Be a bloody adult for once and play nice,” he added when it became obvious that Bond planned on continuing to shield him.

 

“I won’t get any blood on your new sofa if that’s what you’re worried about,” Bond promised, opening the door just as Amon was starting to knock. “Do you know what time it is?”

 

Amon needed a second to process who was in front him, shock and surprise quickly giving way to a mask of indifference although it was very obvious by Bond’s scowl that he hadn’t moved as fast as he would have liked and that if Bond had stayed on as a trainer, he would have ducked quite a few points for not pulling out his gun at what Amon perceived as an intruder.

 

“Quartermaster, I do apologize for dropping in announced at this extremely late hour, but there is something urgent that I need to talk to you about,” Amon said, looking over Bond’s shoulder like he was nothing more than a piece of furniture placed in his way.

 

Q was quick to invite him in, ignoring how offended Bond continued to act on his behalf – as if Bond himself hadn’t barged in at an ungodly hour. “Is it personal, or business?”

 

“I would never bother you with my personal issues, Quartermaster,” Amon assured him, unaware of Bond’s eye roll. “Though, as it’s business-related, I must stress that we need to talk in private as Mister Bond here is a former employee of MI6.”

 

Q dug his nails in Bond’s shoulder to keep him still and quiet. “I’ll make his ego grow even more when I say this but he is trustworthy and good to have on your side even when he’s a civilian.” He moved his head closer to Amon’s ear, not missing how tense and displeased Bond had become, like he was repulsed by what he was seeing. “Plus, you’ll save the both of us from a huge headache if you let Bond in on what’s happening right now. He simply abhors secrets and if one is paraded right under his nose, you can bet your last pence that he’ll go above and beyond to find out what it is.”

 

Bond nodded and grinned like he had just been praised, putting his arm around Amon’s shoulders. “Surely Amon understands why I would act like that since he himself is a double oh agent.” He easily guided Amon in the kitchen and sat him on a chair across from Q while he sat to Q’s right, saying everything that needed to be said about how he saw Amon without using words. “Now let’s see if he has good gut instincts or if he just loves visiting his half-dressed Quartermaster in the middle of the night.”

 

With the tips of his ears now red from embarrassment and annoyance, Q turned to glare at Bond. “Need I remind you of the state you found me in the only time you dropped by back when you were an active agent?”

 

“I’m sure there’s nothing Amon would love more than that, but let’s give the boy a chance to impress before giving him such a treat,” Bond snapped back with clear mockery in his voice, amazing Q once again that he was still alive giving that he acted in the same insulting manner even when he found himself tied to a table with a very powerful laser prepared to saw him in half.

 

Amon look was a mix between reluctance and annoyance, his fisted hands hinting that he was very tempted to simply punch Bond for the way he was treating him. That was another mistake on Amon’s part as far as Bond was concerned since he had never openly shown what he felt to anyone so early in the game, let alone to someone he perceived as his opponent. Q worried that he was going to have to step in between the two, banish them to different parts of his apartment like they were a bunch of kindergarteners that needed to be put in timeout for not knowing how to play with each other, but that turned out not to be the case when Amon relaxed and shot Bond a smile that just dared him to give into his more violent cravings, bringing the silent battle to an end since Bond was trying to make a point that even though he was retired, he was still the better agent.

 

“I believe I have stumbled on something Spectre related on my last mission,” Amon said in a tight voice, glancing at the door like he was expecting whatever he had found to burst in and kill everyone.

 

Q groaned, digging the heels of his palms in his eyes, whishing that his biggest problem would go back to being Bond and Amon. “Is there a reason why you didn’t mention this in your initial report?” He then turned to Bond because an opportunity like this didn’t arise twice and because his answer to something unexpected and unwanted this late in the night was humour. “A report, Bond, is that thing you write after completing a mission in which you detail everything that happened and why the equipment disappeared.”

 

Bond’s answer was a tight smile.

 

Amon went with an apologetic smile, looking really uncomfortable as he continued to talk. “I have the utmost respect for everyone in the MI6.” Starting an explanation like that was never a good sign and Q already knew the answer to his question. “I never feared for my life and I never questioned the orders or instructions I was given. But now…” He trailed off and ran his hand through his short black hair. “Now the only thing I know for sure is that I can trust only you because you are Spectre’s current main mission.”

 

No surprise there given that Q was an important asset. He might have fallen for Silva’s trap on his third day as a Quartermaster, but that resulted in him creating a better firewall for MI6 that he constantly improved by duplicating it and letting hackers all around the world having a go at that and then applying the required upgrades on the actual system. His equipment was also craved by many, so nabbing him was guaranteed to cripple MI6 and Spectre wasn’t the first criminal organization to have that on top of their check list.

 

“We can easily draft a list of loyal agents and boffins who could help with this it turns out that you’ve stumbled into the truth and not simply fallen for a ploy,” Bond started.

 

“With everything that’s happened, can you really dismiss such dangerous rumours without verifying that they are nothing more than that?” Amon challenged. “And can you really come up with a list without checking anything?” He added, raising his hands defensibly when he saw how hard Bond was glaring at him – so much for the senior agent showing the rookie how to act. “I ask because once upon a time, Raul Silva would have also made that list, as would Alec Trevelyan and since you obviously care about Q and don’t want to endanger him, I just want to make sure that you won’t do that by accident,” Amon explained carefully, his body tense and poised to jump away just in case Bond decided to throw himself over the table and throttle him.

 

Also thinking that would happen, Q wrapped himself around Bond’s arm to make sure he just stuck to scowling while he gave Amon the talk that all agents go – and since this was the first time he had to give it and the agent who was on the receiving end had yet to lose equipment on purpose, he was going to give the friendlier version. “It’s healthier for you to take everything you hear with a grain of salt,” he started slowly, stomping on Bond’s food to keep him quiet. “Now, we still expect you to report it every time you hear something like that so we can ensure that it’s nothing more than gossip, but that doesn’t mean that you have to start being even more attentive than before with your co-workers.”

 

“So now that you’ve dumped even more work on your already exhausted Quartermaster, the door is over there,” James chimed in, voice dripping with venom.

 

Amon looked to be sent home and if Q knew that if he tried to redirect him to an MI6 psychiatrist, he’d end up doing anything else but that. No, Amon needed a little bit of time in the place he decided he felt the safest and since he came to him, there was no mystery where that was. “My apartment is safe and big enough for all of us,” Q intervened, easily slipping out of James’ hold to grab his laptop.

 

As per procedure, he needed to make sure that no one had followed Amon over MI6 and that there were no glaring holes or inconsistencies in any of his security systems as well pick to the immediate team tasked with doing major checks on everyone. “Amon, you take the sofa and Bond, I hope you’re still used to my sleep kicking because I am not giving up my bed.”

 

The corners of Bonds lips twitched upwards and he graced Q with one of the rarest things in existence – a warm and honest smile Q liked to pretend that it was only for him. “The bruises were missed, as well as the stress of uncertainty looming over the both of us.” He took Q’s laptop from him, using it to lead him to his own room because of course he knew that Q planned on overworking himself. “Will you call out tomorrow?”

 

“Not call out as much as work from home, though that isn’t an invitation for you to be a pest for the rest of the night,” Q warned, easily falling back in his habits when Bond was involved, both men forgetting that Amon existed.

 

And Amon never looked as confused, disappointed, annoyed and awkward as he did now in his entire life.

Chapter Text

James was a light sleeper with an early hour to rise and a strict morning routine when not suffering from a great injury.  He’d jolt awake at the lightest of sounds even in his apartment which not only kept him alive when he was an agent, but it also made things a bit awkward between himself and whatever one-night stand tried to sneak out unseen into the night. Even with that sleep interruption, he’d still wake up at 7 in the morning on the dot, boil an egg for exactly 3 and a half minutes that he then ate alongside a slice of buttered bread with either marmalade or strawberry jam. Coffee was a must and tea was an insult.

 

He pried himself with how well he’d managed to keep to this schedule and he was sure that he’ll never find something that will make him break it. He’d kept it with Vesper despite her grumbling, and he’d kept it with his first wife, although his enemies made sure he didn’t get enough time to even think about trying to break that routine.

 

The routine went to hell on its own the second Q was added to the mix, James getting a huge shock when he had to be shaken awake in the middle of a mission, at 9 in the morning by the Quartermaster he had been forced to share a room with for the first time to ensure Q’s security. He had thought that to be a onetime thing, blaming the long flight for his sound sleeping and that seemed to be the case as the following night, when James found himself scoring with his mark, he was back to following his routine.

 

It happened again when he got to share a room with Q a second time, Q looking apologetic for the forming bruise near his shin as he woke him up near 11 in the morning this. By the third time, James accepted that his subconscious and body considered Q to be so safe that James didn’t need to wake up if it was Q moving around the room and hitting him in his sleep.

 

His morning diet also got changed when Q was involved, foregoing the simple boiled egg for whatever Q found interesting on the breakfast menu but that he didn’t order for himself because the first thing he saw had caught his eye and James found that sense of natural and honest familiarity to be pleasant.

 

It also made Q happy if not at least pleased if James took into consideration the way his face lit up whenever he ordered the dishes he wondered about and the way he stretched in the mornings after waking James up or how comfortable he looked on his side of the bed at night, either typing away at his laptop and grumbling under his breath about unruly agents or reading a mystery novel that he had figured out from the second chapter.

 

Truthfully speaking, he missed those peaceful moments shared with Q the most. He even dreamed of them every now and then, disappointment and a deep feeling of sorrow washing over him in the morning and so he assumed that the Q leaning over him, with his usual messy bed hair and deep frown that filtered in through his half-lidded eyes was nothing more than a remnant of a pleasant dream – that is until his ears were tugged on and he jumped out of bed, looking offended.

 

“I asked you nicely and you just pulled me back down and told me to go back to sleep,” Q said in his defence. “Now get out of bed; Amon made breakfast for us.”

 

The good mood James had woken up in disappeared in a flash. Q hadn’t been entirely right when he said that he was back from his globetrotting because Skyfall was almost complete, although he had planned on using that as an excuse in case anyone questioned his reasons for returning.

 

Of course, no matter how you looked at it, Skyfall was a main part of his actual plans – to keep Q away from Amon until Eve had actual evidence against him to back up their suspicions and to allow Q to actually relax given that all of the letters he sent in the past two months had been about all sort of little problems that appeared at MI6 that kept him practically chained to his desk – and while the first thing he wanted to do when Amon showed up was to slam the door in his face, toss Q over his shoulder, and drag him to  his ancestral home, he might have accidentally made things easier for him.

 

If Q could have turned his offer to visit Skyfall down without a second thought before, things were different now.

 

“I don’t believe going to Scotland right now is a good idea,” Amon chipped in without being asked even before James was done explaining why he should take Q there. “No offence, but not only is your Skyfall in the middle of nowhere, it was also already blown up once.”

 

James will give Amon credit for being smart enough not to say that it wouldn’t be the first time an important part of MI6 dies there and nothing else. “The fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere plays into our advantage as anyone affiliated to MI6 who suddenly decides to go on vacation and they’re spotted making their way to my estate is bound to be the traitor as there’s no other reason for them to go there unless they followed you here and saw me as well.”

 

“That’s assuming that the traitor would come to Skyfall themselves or that they wouldn’t know any better and ignored where you were,” Amon countered in an almost snarl, drumming his fingers against the table. “But fine, let’s assume that Spectre is actually just one person that’s also the only MI6 traitor that somehow doesn’t know about your close relationship… Ignoring all of that, can you be sure that they didn’t have someone booby-trap Skyfall while you were off gallivanting around the world?”

 

“I can be sure,” Q said without missing a beat, brushing his hand against James’ to keep him calm and masking that by acting like he was simply reaching for his laptop. “I’ve personally kept tabs on Skyfall and I can confirm that it’s a safe place.” If James’ smirk grew any bigger, his face would split in half. “The road to Skyfall, however…” He trailed off, frowning as he started tapping away at his laptop. “I can’t fully secure it since not only I’m still working on reversing the damage that Nine Eyes to the international criminal databases, but most Spectre agents we’ve brought in didn’t have a record, so there would be no reason for my facial recognition systems to pick them up.”

 

“So Skyfall is out,” Amon happily concluded, going back to his plain omelette.

 

“At least while the investigation is ongoing. After everyone is cleared, however, I see no reason why Skyfall wouldn’t be a nice vacation spot,” Q added, abandoning the half-eaten breakfast cooked by Amon in favour of the tea James made for him. “If the invitation will still stand after everything is over and done with, of course.”

 

“You’ll always be welcomed at Skyfall,” James assured and, because everything in himself told him that Amon was dangerous, decided right then and there to postpone his own return to Skyfall until Q could join him. “While we’re on that subject, a pipe broke in the main bathroom, so stick around a little longer. I’ll find a hotel, of course, since I couldn’t impose on you—”

 

“Admit that doing that has become a habit for the both of us, so I can’t imagine you plaguing a hotel,” Q cut him off. “Amon, I scheduled a physical for you today as well as a briefing with Miss Moneypenny. I advise you to present her with the real mission report so that we can proceed with the internal investigation.”

 

Amon’s body straightened and his hand twitched, like he barely stopped himself from saluting Q. “Understood, Quartermaster, and thank you for lending me your sofa, even though I’m a big boy now so I shouldn’t be afraid of sleeping alone.”

 

Q gave James a sharp look and James bit his tongue, realizing on of his own accord that it would be for the best to do the dishes while Q did his best to usher Amon out of his apartment in the nicest way possible. He could feel Amon glaring at him with every step he took, probably wanting to find a way to get him kicked out of the apartment alongside him – but Q wasn’t having any of that. He masterfully cut Amon off at every corner and, with a final assurance that he was not upset that proper protocol wasn’t followed, closed the door in his face and let a sigh of relief before turning his curious green eyes on him.

 

“What are you up to, Bond?” He asked in a whisper, his arms crossed, eyes narrowed, his wild hair making him look like an angry forest spirit.

 

“Not—”

 

“I was not lying when I said that I keep a constant watch on Skyfall,” Q interrupted. “I know that no pipes broke, so why the lie?”

 

“A hunch,” James started, quickly pushing a cup of tea in Q’s hands when he marched towards him, slipping an arm around his middle to offset his balance and get him to sit down on a chair. “And although I cannot say any more than that at this point, have my hunches ever been wrong?” And had Q ever need anything more than him having a hunch to trust him?

 

Then again, that had been back when he was still a double oh agent that, though he screwed around here and there, he never truly left MI6 in the middle of a shit storm, especially since he was usually the one who created the shit storm.

 

He didn’t know if Q considered him retiring right after shooting down a helicopter and blowing up their old building betrayal because he actually didn’t know what Q considered truly considered betrayal other than the classical backstabbing and apparently being offered a bad cup of tea – although the latter couldn’t be true or else Amon would have been gone even before his first month with MI6 was over.

 

“Why don’t these hunches of yours ever work when a beautiful woman is involved?” Q asked with an eye roll, pushing past James to flop down in front of his tea. “You’re sleeping on the sofa, by the way. And no special visitors either, no matter how high their clearance levels are.”

 

James smiled innocently. “I promise to keep it in my pants while I’m here.” He pictured  himself crossing his fingers just in case he found himself in a position in which he needed to romance someone to keep Q and MI6 in one piece and since he sadly had many precedents that supported his assumption, he couldn’t be accused of being just horny in advance. “Now, why don’t I make you a real breakfast before you set off to be a not quite evil mastermind?”