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Morning Practices

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James hummed and waited off to the side of the gate, tapping his foot and leaning over his bike in the process, the fresh morning sun of a new day grey in the distant horizon. 

Phone in hand, he peered at the haphazard message of “Sorry! COmign!” that had just arrived in his inbox a couple of minutes ago and smiled mischievously to himself.

(It barely took him any effort to know exactly what Q looked like, half-asleep and scrambling to get his things together.)

The front door swung open quietly in another five minutes or so, and James turned toward it in an almost lazy manner, taking in the sight of Q trying at the same time to shove everything he needed into his bag, lock the door, and get his shoes on properly.

And of course, he was mumbling curses under his breath the entire time, bed hair sticking in all sorts of directions.

Honestly, James hadn’t met anyone else who could curse up quite a storm as well as Q did. Not even adults.

“Shit, sorry.” Q rushed over, nearly unable to catch the metal gate from slamming behind him as he bolted it in place.

“Hitting the chess strategy books again, weren’t you,” James said and grinned cheekily when Q flushed up to his ears. 

“I’m about to enter a tournament, you know.” Q pushed his smudged glasses back up the bridge of his nose, then hoisted up his knapsack.

“Yes, and I’m about to be late for my swimming practice, so hop on, please.”

James straightened, one foot ready on the pedal, and swallowed back a chuckle when he heard Q tutted under his breath but climbed on anyway, settling like a familiar weight on his backseat.

And off they went.

“You’re lucky I’m the team captain,” James said after a bit as they rounded a corner, pleased with the wind in his hair. “I don’t have to always be on time.” 

“Yeah, and you were lucky that I reminded you of the tryout on time, or you wouldn’t even be in the swimming team now,” Q quipped.

James laughed, turning his head to the side and keeping one eye on the road still. “Hey,” he said. “It’s early enough that no one is here, you know.”

Q looked up at him at this, instant realization dawning on his expression because he was just that clever, and quirked a small smile, soft and indulgent and so so pretty.

He slipped his arms around James’s waist, warm and secure, and held on.