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Live and let lie

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It was 6.43am when Q unglued his eyes to look at the time. So late already? Well, late, he supposed, was a relative term. His hairless alarm clocks were usually on the prowl at least an hour earlier than this, stomping across his pillow, patting his face (claws optional), or combing his hair in their efforts to get him to the kitchen for breakfast. It was little wonder he was always tired.

He took a quick inventory of his surroundings. No little warm weights were snuggled up next to him. Had he mistakenly closed the door on them last night? He'd had to stop shutting his insistent girls out when the woodwork had started to suffer. No, it was ajar as always when he checked. Something was amiss.

He dragged himself from the beneath the duvet and wandered blearily out of the bedroom. The kitchen, he found, was dark and quiet. Curious.

Q shuffled through to the living room and immediately regretted the decision as his shin made friends with a misplaced, low side table. If he hadn't been awake before, he certainly was now.

He was about to curse his own carelessness at having moved furniture around simply for it to be fallen over in the dark when he remembered his house guest. Ah. Right. As he rubbed away the pain, he silently swore at Bond's carelessness instead.

The object of his irritation was ensconced of the couch where he'd spent the night. Q hoped it was lumpy.

If he discovered Bond had shut out his furbabies in the night, he'd be looking for a hotel before the sun was fully up.

Q staggered his way across the room, intent on poking the man awake with his pointiest finger to quiz him, only to stop in his tracks. Apparently Bond's ladies' man reputation was not only well deserved, but extended even to females of the feline persuasion.

The little traitors had defected.

One of the beasts, lying on Bond's legs, looked up at him through slitted eyes, then rolled onto her back and stretched, putting her soft underbelly on display. Her sister, curled up high on Bond's chest, didn't even bother to acknowledge Q. Delightful.

The girls usually made themselves scarce when he had people over, even those who were frequent visitors. And yet here they were, draped indecorously across a complete stranger and enjoying every moment. Apparently they'd forgiven him for labelling them Rogaine and Alopecia - even if their human hadn't. The unmistakable sound of purring could be heard in the otherwise silent gloom.

Maybe the man they were currently pinning to the couch had fed them earlier. That made Q feel slightly less uncharitable towards him - and to his cats. It was just cupboard love. They'd found an easy mark and were happy to wait on him (quite literally) for seconds.

Either cupboard love or body heat. After all, Bond was pretty solidly built.

Focus, he willed himself. This wasn't exactly blackmail material, but it deserved to be captured for posterity anyway. It was just, well... cute.

He tiptoed back to his bedroom and double checked his phone settings were silent and the flash turned off. He just hoped no-one would stir before he returned. Knowing Bond and his tendency to be thoroughly annoying, Q wouldn't be surprised if the man were fully dressed and halfway through his first cup of coffee, all in the time it had taken him to creep to his bedroom and back.

He found the scene delightfully unchanged. Ha! The erstwhile 007 wasn't the only one with stealth capabilities. Score one for the quartermaster.

He suddenly felt like a naughty schoolboy, palms sweating and heart thumping uncomfortably against his ribcage. Q really didn't fancy getting caught at this and summarily strangled by a half asleep ex hitman.

He manoeuvred himself til he found what seemed the best angle, careful not to trip over Bond's shoes in the process. A tea cup, uncleared from the night before, twinkled ominously in its saucer as his hip nudged the dining table. Shhhh, he admonished silently. The cup obliged.

Q wanted to open a blind but he daren't risk disturbing anyone. This was tempting fate enough as it was. Anyway, he could easily invent tech to counteract the poor lighting if someone hadn't already done it for him. He pointed the camera and positioned his finger to click.

"Don't..." came the low warning from the sofa.

The phone bobbled in his hands and his heart skipped several beats but Q held his nerve and took the shot. "Too late."

Bond cracked an eye and gave him a disapproving look but made no move to get up. Neither did the cats.

"I thought you were asleep," he said casually, firmly pocketing the phone in his pajama bottoms. He'd need to upload to a super secret, armed guarded, alarmed cloud asap if he wanted to stand any chance of holding onto that photo.

"With you thundering around like a baby elephant? Hardly. I had no idea someone could make so much noise wearing socks."

Q ignored him. "Tea?" He breezed passed on the far side of the table so as to avoid any attempted tackle. He didn't rate his chances.

"Thanks."

Sufficiently pleased with his morning's work, Q managed not to tell the man to go make it himself.