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Bite the Hand That Feeds

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M’s eyes cut smoothly to the familiar features of her best and most irritating agent, her expression as keen but unreadable as the reflection seen in a knife. “007,” she greeted, “Good to see you decided to join the land of the living. Perhaps next time you could do it before the paperwork goes through?”

Bond’s lips curved up in a smirk - one third humor, two thirds snark. If this weren’t M he was talking to, it would have been one-hundred percent battery acid wrapped up in a pretty package. “I’ll keep that in mind the next time I get shot.”

“Psych is waiting for you. As is Medical,” M informed him, apparently deciding to ignore the sarcasm. Perhaps this ability to be utterly levelheaded came from M being a Beta, but Bond was willing to be it was a skill intrinsic simply to the woman herself. “The latter is probably going to be interested in how you’re still alive, while the former will want to know why you came back.” The faint upward tick on one imperious brow indicated that that was a thought on M’s mind, too.

Knowing that his boss expected an answer even if she hadn’t outright demanded one, Bond stuffed his hands in his pockets and shifted his weight, muscles flexing beneath fabric in a brief show of discontent. “Some things don’t change whether you’re assumed dead or not. I figured that at least here, I had someone supplying me with guns on a regular basis,” he retorted.

M’s face gave away nothing, but something in her eyes was entirely too knowing. Not a lot of people understood the agents of MI6, what with all the secrets they were wreathed in, but M and 007 had both worked in espionage for long enough that there was a sort of understanding that drifted unacknowledged between them. “Welcome back, 007.”

The words did something to banish the disquiet rifling through Bond’s system - a sense of ‘coming home’ that he hadn’t expected. As much as he often hated his job and what it made him do, he had to admit that here, he fit in more naturally than anywhere else, like a puzzle piece sliding into place. The piece and the puzzle might be ugly things, but sometimes ugly things were necessary for the rest of the world to be happy.

Feeling just a little bit like a sword returning to its sheath, 007 rolled his shoulders one last time before nodding his head, avoiding M’s canny eyes, and leaving when dismissed.

There was the ugly knowledge underneath it all, however, that MI6 was simply glad to have him back because there was nothing quite so unexpectedly deadly and useful as a male Omega, which he was.

~^~

MI6 employed a broad range of people: Alphas, Betas, and arguably more Omegas than most people would expect. Society saw Omegas as docile, quiet, or at least in arguably enticing physically - MI6 saw them as useful, because in the end, that was what mattered when it came to espionage. Alphas could be forceful and demanding; Betas could fade into the background; and Omegas could be useful when it came to getting a target’s defenses to drop, often accompanied by their clothing.

Most Omegas, as a world-wide standard, were female. It was simply a genetic probability. Two of MI6’s most effective and dangerous agents were female Omegas, 002 and 004. The two women were gorgeous, and knew how to use their beauty combined with the natural allure of an Omega to get results where other agents would fail. After all, who could resist the scent of an omega trying to seduce them? They were irresistible to other Omegas, Betas, and Alphas alike. No one turned down a question from them. And after the haze of a rut triggered by them, no one remembered telling either. All heats for Omegas were strictly controlled in MI6 with the best drugs available, but they could also be used to advantage if needed - anything to get results.

The remaining agents in the Double-oh Programme were divided mostly evenly between Alphas and Betas, with no particular bias in gender.

Bond, however, was possibly the first male Omega to make it into the program in recorded memory.

Arriving at Medical (because as horrible as Medical was, it was better than Psych), Bond was met by a few wide-eyed looks. Damn.something shifted in his focus. Inwardly, he didn’t feel much different, and he would never gain the power to command anyone like an Alpha, but suddenly the newcomer’s nostrils flared and his eyes got the size of dinner plates. The med-tech actually jumped as suddenly, where he’d been scenting an Omega, his nose was now telling him he was facing off with a very peeved Alpha.

Seeing one of the regular doctors approaching from down the hall (shaking his grey-haired head lamentably), 007 dropped the act, feeling like either a fraud or a chameleon. He gained some small satisfaction from the fact that he’d probably come very, very close to giving the new employee a heart-attack.

“007,” the doctor greeted, giving the startled med-tech a significant, warning look before turning a more resigned one towards the agent, “We’re expecting you. Something about a bullet to the shoulder? Possible other injuries…?”

“I took care of the bullet-wound,” Bond answered without any particular regret, even as he resisted the urge to lift a hand and rub at the lingering ache. “Just give me a once over and let me go.”

~^~

Medical had long ago given up on really doing much for 007 beyond the basics - any attempts to actually get him to make healthy decisions went up in smoke before anyone could even say ‘fire!’ Still, they patched him up, and regularly refilled his prescription of suppressants, which he was supposed to stop taking on a regular basis - to let his heat run its course - but it turned out that male Omegas had an unusual tolerance that Bond took advantage of. In other words, even though it sometimes made him irritable and left a steady ache in his muscles, 007 kept taking suppressants until he absolutely couldn’t any longer.

Put simply, being an Omega was never something he’d wanted as a child, and that hadn’t changed as he’d grown up.

Psych, somehow, was still determined to make a more responsible, sensible agent out of Bond, a stubbornness they extended to all agents. Of course, all it did was drive all of the agents insane, so Psych was avoided even more than Medical - and now, after having just had a session with both, 007 was about ready to murder someone. He hadn’t stayed dead nearly long enough for this…

‘And now I have to meet the new Quartermaster,’ Bond reflected, mulling over the information he’d been given on the man, and what he’d gleaned in less obvious ways - no agent ever went into a situation blind, or without doing a bit of snooping beforehand. Now, driving to the National Gallery, 007 sighed and grumbled under his breath, “Thirty-four years old, new to the position, and an Alpha. Just brilliant.”

The last Alpha that Bond had had to deal with had been about two weeks ago. He’d broken the man’s arm in two places and snapped his collarbone in half - all the while, the Alpha had tried to command him, but 007 had found that swift actions made the point rather moot. If this Alpha thought that they could push 007 around like any other Omega, they were not going to get on well.

~^~

Q couldn’t remember the last time he had more than 24 hours off in a row. With nine agents, there was always someone needing his help. He tried to set boundaries, but it was too hard to leave one of them in a life threatening situation. Even if he went home, he would still be awake worrying. It was easier to just see it though, and rest once the agent was safely extracted.

He had met all of the agents so far, except for 007. He had been warned that he had a gift for resurrection and not to expect him to stay dead. But this was just a bit much. Q had read the file, and he didn’t see what was so exciting about an Omega, male or not. As an Arch Alpha, he was tired of seeing everyone puff up and tried to take him on as a personal challenge.

M had warned him when he started at MI6 that 007 was out to seduce the pants off of everything breathing in sight. Now that the agent had returned, he would be out for a new challenge. Q sighed. He had a team of agents to bring home, and no time for their ridiculous hormone clouds that followed them around. He took a blocker regularly, in addition to his suppressant. He had no time for the silliness of following around the 00 agents. As the youngest MI6 department head in history, he had enough on his plate without thinking of romance.

His email dinged at him. Oh, speaking of the devil. Time to outfit 007 for his trip to Shanghai. He sighed. There went that brand new Walther prototype, before it even hit the finished stage. Good thing he had several others in the lab, because rumor had it that Bond never brought back his equipment. Q headed to the National Gallery, carrying a minimum of equipment for Bond to destroy.

~^~

Bond was ‘passing’ again. It wasn’t something he did often, and doing it now for the second time in a day had him both uncomfortable and uneasy - uncomfortable because it always gave him a headache, and uneasy because it was a weapon, a tool, and it had been impulsive and foolish of him to show it off in front of a low level employee at Medical. No one would tell, of course, but surviving as a spy had taught 007 the value of keeping secrets. It was in fact possible that the new Quartermaster didn’t know about Bond’s chimeric side - that was a small fact buried rather deeply in his records. Even when people read it, they didn’t always believe it, so he made an effort not to show them and disabuse them of that notion.

But today was already going poorly, and the last thing Bond needed was someone realizing that the scent of Omega at the museum belonged to him.

When Q arrived, he’d turn it off, but for now, Bond happily used his Chimeric skills to ‘pass’ for a Beta. With his build and appearance, it was hard to go unnoticed, but he was already remembering the way of moving with lazy smoothness, keeping his eyes on nothing important, and his posture non-confrontational - all things that would dissuade people from paying a lot of attention to him. Eventually, he found the painting they’d chosen to meet in front of, smirking at the irony of the old battleship detailed in grim paint. “Someone at MI6 has a sense of humor,” Bond muttered to himself, thinking of whomever had picked this meeting place. Feeling a bit like an old battleship himself (although not ready to be hauled off to the scrap-yard yet), 007 settled down on the bench, slowly letting his focus fade. It was a neat trick: if Q were to come up now, he’d have to practically stick his nose against Bond’s skin to detect the fading scent of Beta, but Bond’s natural Omega scent would be slow to come back as well. He was told that it was a very confusing mixture of scent-messages.

~^~

Q knew 007 by sight from his dossier, although he looked a little worse for the wear coming back from the dead this time. He looked older than his file indicated, and he hadn’t shaved. There were still circles under his eyes, and he moved like he was in pain.

“What do you see?” Q asked.

“A bloody big ship,” was the unpleasantly blunt answer. Apparently Bond didn’t recognize Q, because after a flat, “Excuse me,” Bond turned to go.

“007, I’m your new Quartermaster,” Q sniffed the air. He had caught a whiff of Beta as Bond sat down, but now he got a hint of Omega. He would have to re-check Bond’s file, maybe the agent had been shagging someone before the meeting.

Bond froze mid-movement, and seemed almost to wince as he realized whom he’d almost dismissed on principle. Barely bothering to hide a sigh, 007 sat back down again. “You must be joking,” the agent murmured under his breath, almost as if he didn’t even mean for Q to hear.

“Why, because I’m not wearing a lab coat?” Q sighed. “Or were you expecting me to be unable to control myself because I’m an Alpha? I assure you, I’m quite capable of being professional.”

That earned Q a brief glance of surprise from guarded blue eyes; Bond hadn’t been expecting such a cool answer, clearly. But, being a 00-agent, he recovered swiftly and looked back to the painting to avoid eye-contact, “No, because you look like you’re eighteen.” He radiated discontent and edginess like a storm that wanted to get out of a small space - or maybe just get out of this gallery.

“Eighteen?” Q choked. “Far closer to twice that, thank you. But age is no guarantee of efficiency, only wear, 007.”

“And youth is no guarantee of efficiency. You still look green as hell,” was the surprisingly unabashed answer.

“I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in the field in a year,” Q pushed his glasses up his nose and rolled his eyes. “I don’t rely on 00 agents to do my work for me, especially Omegas.”

There was a moment of utter tension: even through his jacket, the rigidity of Bond’s spine and the tautening of his muscles showed. It looked for a moment like he’d stand up again and leave, but somehow managed to stay put instead. In a shockingly low, level voice - cold and flat like a knife-blade - Bond replied, “Oh?” It was a vague, brief reply, and wouldn’t have been almost joking and light if it weren’t for the frosted-iron tone that had arrived without warning.

“I am here to run the mission,”Q handed him an envelope. “You are the tool I use. Ticket to Shanghai, documentation, and passport.”

A pale blue gaze eyed Q’s hand for a moment like it would bit him - perhaps like he’d like to be the one biting - but after a beat, 007 reached over and took it. His tone had returned to something resembling professional, even if it still had a crushed-glass edge that was unpleasant, “Thank you, I suppose.”

“Walther PPK/S 9mm short,” Q handed him a box. “Coded to your palm print so only you can fire it. Less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement. And a standard issue radio transmitter, so I can find you when you need to be rescued.”

“When?” the agent repeated as he took the newest item. Now the professionalism was quite obviously dying, and the harsh tone was burning through more incandescently.

“When you need to be rescued,” Q repeated. “You’re an Omega, I assume I will need to send in a team with pheromone blockers and all? So you don’t affect them?”

“Look, Quartermaster,” Bond stressed the title with a bitter edge even as he kept his voice low enough not to carry, “If you don’t believe that I can do this mission, feel free to look at my past files. Or, better yet, keep your opinions to yourself, sod off, and let me do my job.”

“The success of the mission rests on me,” Q retorted. “I need to know what kind of retrieval you need. No need to be an arse because I try to get you home safely.”

“No, the success of the mission rests on me - as I will be the one with my skin on the line,” 007 growled back, collecting what Q had given him and standing up in a steady, smooth movement - a subtle show of the strength hidden in his frame. “If things are unsuccessful, Quartermaster,” the Omega turned to look down at Q and ask, with faked levity, “who will be the one with a bullet hole? You, or me?”

“Me,” Q told him sharply. “I’m far harder on myself than you ever will be, 007. I have nine of you to bring home safely. And I haven’t lost one yet. Things are going to work a lot differently now that I am in charge. This isn’t me arming you to go rogue. This is me sending you to do a specific job and bringing you back unharmed. That’s my job.”

The look Bond shot him was openly incredulous. The smile on his face was made of nothing humorous, but looked to have instead been cut there with a knife. This conversation had definitely started off on the wrong foot, and was going swiftly downhill… “Thanks for the concern, Q, but I won’t need it. I’ve brought myself back from the dead three…” He paused, looking up as if considering, before correcting with a faintly pleased expression that was probably as faked as the last smile, too. “No, four times. But if I do fail, do try and catch that bullet for me, would you?” he sneered, before turning on his heel and leaving.

~^~

Q rolled his eyes and headed back to MI6. Bloody agents and their false bravado. Clearly 007 didn’t understand what it meant for an Arch Alpha to lose someone under their charge. A bullet would be preferable. And to lose an Omega, who didn’t want help. Q rubbed his temples against the impending migraine.

~^~

Bond was fuming and just about ready to test out his new gun and random passersby by the time he left the museum - damn Q’s comment about it being a ‘personal statement’. The new Quartermaster’s words were still rioting around in 007’s thoughts like a tornado of shattered glass, and with each turn he just got madder.

Who does that little bastard think he is?’ Bond demanded mutely, stalking off. Usually, people around him never connected the Omega scent in the air to the physically intimidating presence he cut - they expected a woman, or at least something demure and petite, so that’s what they looked for to the exclusion of all else - but right now, a few people were making the connection. However, they were also noticing the pure, lethal temper coating him in an almost physical cloud, and it made them look away and back off.

Bond hadn’t expected to instantly get along with the new Quartermaster - Alphas had a habit of being domineering, even without taking their powers into account, and Bond had a habit of meeting that dominant attitude and turning it back on them tenfold. He’d had many a lecture from Psych about this, but hadn’t bothered to change his attitude, at least outside of missions.

On missions, he molded himself to whatever he needed to be. Clearly, the new Quartermaster thought that that meant weak, stupid, and basically every other Omega stereotype. 007’s blood felt like it was boiling in his veins, and it took an effort to reign his anger in.

To calm the rising anger, Bond reminded himself that this wasn’t exactly the first Alpha who’d thought he was just another piece of Omega ass. And since he wasn’t allowed to bloody his Quartermaster’s nose to drive the point home, he’d have to do it another way.

Even though his plane tickets were for tomorrow, 007 returned to his car and headed to the airport. As he went, he began to focus on that ineffable part of him that was Chimeric, and despite the fact that he’d already done this too much for today, Bond was passing for an Alpha by the time he arrived.

Good thing he always travelled light, and that he hadn’t bothered to unpack his car yet. Grinning a rather childishly nasty little grin, Bond reflected as heads turned at the scent of an Alpha, ‘You want efficiency, Quartermaster? Fine. I’ll bloody BURY you in efficiency.’

~^~

“Why is Bond at the airport?” Q looked up from the tracking program he had on the agents. “His flight is tomorrow. Bring me up airport security on the screens, R.”

“Q, you need to see this,” R pointed at the screen.

There was Bond, stance and posture so clearly confrontational that it could be read right through the screen. He literally stared down the gate attendant, who had initially looked prepared to stop him. There was no audio, but it was possible to see the man shaking his head at the 00-agent. At that point, the attendant should have pulled himself together, found his spine, and commanded the Omega to back off - but he didn’t. Instead, when Bond stepped into his space and flashed a tight, humorless sort of grin, the attendant gave way. Moments later, Bond was sauntering through the gate.

“What the bloody hell is he doing?”

“The flight is for Shanghai, Q,” R informed him. “The flight arrives before his original flight was scheduled.”’

“And? What was that about?” Q asked with frustration.

“Bond being Bond, what a show off,” R sighed. “I hope he doesn’t use up his powers before the mission even starts.”

“His powers?” Q was wary. “What did I miss?”

“You didn’t know? Oh dear, I think M should have briefed you on this already.”

~^~

“Quartermaster,” M greeted, somehow managing to show absolutely no surprise at all at the sight of Q moving so swiftly into her office. “I was under the impression that you had work to keep you busy in your branch.”

“And I was under the impression that I knew the relevant information to do my job!” Q fumed. “Just what do I not know about 007 that seems to be such common knowledge?”

Something flashed across the older woman’s grey eyes, an unreadable, knowing look that was there and gone like a spark. However, her expression became more somber, and she gave a brief nod to the chair in front of her desk. “Take a seat, Quartermaster.”

“Why does R think that 007 has special powers?” Q sat down with a huff. “ Do we work for MI6 or bloody Torchwood? What the hell is going on?”

Just barely arching an eyebrow at the explosive responses she was getting from her usually level headed new Quartermaster, M sighed. She looked momentarily older, before her eyes became sharp again - impregnable. “I take it that 007 has done something personally to bring up this issue? If you must know, more information was to reach you tomorrow, but damn that man for making life difficult,” she said, not bothering to hide the jaded irritation that slipped into her voice.

“Well he just stared down a gate attendant at Heathrow, and got on the first plane to Shanghai,” Q ran his fingers through already messy hair. “He already had a ticket scheduled for tomorrow. What the hell is a bloody Omega doing having that kind of force? He was rude at best during the equipment handoff, but R said something about him using up his powers?”

“Firstly, Quartermaster, may I ask you how many male Omegas you have met in your life?” M asked, eyes slightly narrowed, but tone unreadable as she avoided the main question. Being the head of MI6, perhaps she was allowed to do that.

“A few,” Q said with a frown. “I even roomed with one for a time in college, but you know that from my file. I don’t remember any extraordinary powers, just those damnable hormone clouds. That’s why I take blockers.”

Suddenly, M’s face seemed to say that she’d hoped this would be easier… but it wasn’t. Resigned to that fact, the head of MI6 merely met Q’s eyes squarely and went on, “And how many of them were Chimeric?”

“Chimeric?” Q snorted. “I heard about that in biology class, but never met one. Bloody farce if you ask me. Omegas trying to pretend they don’t spread their legs for every Alpha that looks at them twice.”

M’s eyes grew unexpectedly hard, and it was a lot like suddenly feeling the icy brush of a cold scalpel against one’s skin. For a woman who was in no way physically imposing, M was capable of wielding a lot of danger in just looks. “I assure you, Q, that misconceptions like that will serve you very poorly with any Omega in my staff. If you are determined to carry that mindset, I might be forced to give out the information about your particular station as an Arch Alpha. Have I made myself perfectly clear?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Q winced. “My apologies. Its just hard to run a mission for someone when the agent I am supposed to protect is acting like a second enemy and fighting me at every turn. So-what? You are telling me that Bond is Chimeric?”

“Yes,” M put her lecturing tone aside for a more businesslike one, and settled her hands neatly on her desk, “I meant to warn you about that when he left for his mission, because I believed that you’d have a hard enough time meeting with him today based on his personality alone. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything: you’ve read his file, and now you’ve met him. He’s a nightmare to work with some days, but his ability to get the job done is unparalleled.” M’s eyes grew calculating. “You don’t need to like him. You merely need to assist him. I need to know right now if you can do that.”

“I can certainly do that,” Q nodded. “It just would have been helpful if I knew that BEFORE I set up support for the team. I would have sent in far more offense and less defense. I don’t suppose it occurred to the man to tell me. But he was too busy insulting my age and competence.”

Instead of looking sympathetic, M looked as if she was fighting amusement. “Think of it this way, Q,” she said smoothly, a slight upward tick taking up residence at the corner of her stern mouth, “Bond is about as interested in letting everyone knew that he’s Chimeric as you are about telling all and sundry that you’re an Arch. If he could help it - and he often can - he wouldn’t even have people know that he’s an Omega. After all…” M’s expression didn’t change, but something in her eyes glinted. “...People make assumptions.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Q looked properly chagrined. “I don’t suppose he is going to be pleased that I know. Is there a way to handle him that works?”

Sighing and sitting back, M gave Q an assessing look. Perhaps she liked the more understanding demeanor he was showing, because she replied in a tone that was almost sympathetic, “As it seems you’ve already gotten off on the wrong foot, I’d say to handle him very carefully - and with respect deserving of his position and skills, obviously. He’s the best agent I have, Quartermaster, and I won’t have you breaking him. That being said, he very often breaks himself.”

“I noticed that,” Q agreed. “But watching him hurt himself intentionally, and ignore his own safety… As an Arch Alpha, that’s very painful for me. You chose me for the job because I feel compelled to bring them home. Bond seems to do everything in his power to wreck everything around him, and himself.”

M’s grey eyes grew darker - from silver to a tarnished pewter somehow. Her frown deepened. “You’re unfortunately correct, and Psych would have a lot more to say about it than I do.” She paused and breathed in slowly, clearly put off, but not by Q, it seemed: she appeared to be thinking about the 00-agent everyone made such a fuss about. “I’ve known Bond for longer than most. He doesn’t let people in easily,” she said slowly, choosing her words with care, “and while I value your drive to protect MI6’s agents, there’s every likelihood that 007 will misinterpret care as coddling. So I recommend you don’t give him too many opportunities to misconstrue that.” She sighed. “Mostly, that will include you putting up with quite a lot from him, but I’ll have a talk with 007 when he returns. I can’t very well have him shooting you,” she added with a frank look that was more miffed than actually worried, “I’ve no patience to find myself another Quartermaster on short-notice, just because one of my 00-agents has a problem with authority.”

“Should I tell him, about me being an Arch Alpha?” Q asked. “Or will he just use it against me? It might make him understand better, that I know what it’s like to be the odd one out. But I don’t want to give him ammunition, either.”

“That I leave up to you,” M replied ambiguously. Her eyes warned against further conversation, as she pressed onwards, “No doubt you have a branch to run, Quartermaster. The problems you have with 007 - work them out. And I suggest you do so quickly, since he’s taken it upon himself to bump up the schedule for this mission. Unless you have any other pressing issues-” The woman’s posture reminded that she wasn’t a psychiatrist, so he’d better not. “-Dismissed.”

“Yes, M.” Q went back to Q branch to figure out how to direct the troublesome agent.

~^~

“R, you have worked with 007 before,” Q said. “What does he respond well to? And we need to move up the schedule and redistribute the support team to offense.”

“007 prefers to run his own missions,” R admitted. “Give him the facts and he will ask for help if he needs it. But mostly he just needs someone as a set of extra eyes and code scrambling.”

“Well, let’s give him the best intel we can so he can run a successful mission.”

Chapter Text

Being in the field again and far away from anything familiar had cleared Bond’s head. He moved easily through the streets of Shanghai, his scent so mixed up with everyone else’s that he may as well have been a drop of water in an ocean, even with cologne hiding his status as an Omega. The anonymity felt like heaven, and was probably why he liked to be in places like this: ruthless, bustling cities, where nobody knew anybody and nobody tried. The massive heartbeat of the world around him was its own kind of shield, and he used it skillfully as he padded through the crowd. Maybe this was why he always had an itch to go on another mission, even when the opportunity to ‘die’ and retire presented itself.

He knew the expectations of this mission, and the lives riding on it. Even if his target, Patrice, hadn’t been partially responsible for his near-death experience on his last mission, the danger the man presented to MI6 was abundantly clear: that list of undercover agents needed to be recovered. Still stinging from the lack of trust from his Quartermaster, 007 began weaving through the crowd with more purpose, intent on hunting down his target with all speed. He still had the little earbud that had come with his kit, and while his more impulsive side had wanted to ‘accidentally’ destroy it, his more logical side had kept it with him - to a 00-agent, survival trumped all, and survival meant keeping hold of any advantage one could get. A connection to Q-branch, no matter how uncomfortable his new relationship with its department head was, definitely counted as an advantage. Now, Bond considered using it. Tracking down targets in a city this big was rarely easy.

In the end, however, he didn’t need it. The mission specs had given him surprisingly good info on where he could start looking for Patrice, and Bond had to wonder if the new head of Q-branch was responsible for this increased font of information. He couldn’t think of anyone else who could have orchestrated a general search for data like this - camera footage to show recent locations, known haunts via credit card usage, small facts stolen from presumably emails - especially with so many agents busy elsewhere, or already on the run. Even as a bitter coal of temper continued to burn in his gut towards the mouthy little Alpha, 007 felt a flicker of respect ignite alongside it. At least M wasn’t in the business of hiring fools.

Therefore, it was in record time that 007 zeroed in on his target: within twenty-four hours exactly after landing. He’d slept on the plane over, and caught a few winks since, which allowed him to be efficiently alert even as the hour grew late and he spotted his target slipping through the foot-traffic. Cities like this never slept, and Bond rather liked that about them. After following a bit on foot and a lot in a cab, 007 eventually found himself moving along in Patrice’s wake to an eerily quiet, looming skyscraper. Under construction; grand.

Bond had found that the innate skills of Betas sometimes made them lazy: whereas he’d had to learn how to stalk and hug the shadows naturally, they’d been born with the ability to fade into the background at will, and often took it for granted. Patrice was a Beta, and right now, wasn’t really making much effort to stay out of sight as he entered the nearly-completed building. Technically, 007 was good enough to follow a Beta even when fully ‘faded’ - something that only about half of the other 00-agents could dependably boast, something that Bond had the sudden urge to boast to Q about - so keeping track of Patrice was a cake-walk.

Following him up so many floors wasn’t.

Bond got precious little time to consider the limited ways to keep on Patrice’s tail and not be noticed - and even in the time it took him to think that, the options narrowed to one, so with a low curse the agent was darting forward. He hugged the shadows naturally, his dark clothing blending in even as the special formula for his cologne hid him to other senses - someone would have to be literally right on top of him to smell anything, much less that he was actually an Omega. The lift began its stately ascent through the nearly completed floors, and just before it rose out of reach, 007 appeared beneath it, and leapt upwards.

His hands neatly snagged a handhold, letting the agent dangle beneath the lift. He’d moved with utter, cat-like silence, but now found himself hard-pressed not to snarl as the old wound in his shoulder made itself known with a lance of sharp discomfort. Suddenly aware of the increasing distance between himself and the ground, 007 swore mutely in his head and firmed up his grip with his right hand to take some of his weight off the wounded right side. The throbbing pain increased as the lift rose, and time crawled by at a snail’s pace.

Bond was clenching his teeth and seriously regretting this plan by the time the lift stopped and Patrice got off. The unfinished state of the building quickly allowed 007 to get off on the floor below, swinging free and landing with as much grace as possible while his target disembarked the lift above him. Hissing silently as he rubbed at his shoulder, Bond rotated the injured limb once or twice to test his range of motion before stubbornly pushing it from his mind. There was no point in focusing on it now. The nearby stairs provided a quick, alternative route to the next floor up (the lift presently blocking the other way), and 007 took it, gun seeming to appear in his hands as if by magic.
Eerie silence filled the floor above, broken only by the flutter of plastic sheeting. It was a calm night, and this high up, only the loudest noises of the city reached them - in this case, the throbbing beat to a foreign song playing across the screens one building over. The screens were flashing images as well, sending unexpected bursts of light, color, and sometimes darkness across everything. A quick glance showed 007 a floor dominated by nothing but metal support-beams and a few glass dividers that would no doubt lead, in time, to a very chique venue. For now, however, the smoked glass just made it harder to get a bead on his target, although it provided cover, too, as James began to stalk forward slowly.

Over the music, he could hear little noises that he knew well: a gun being assembled. Part of that knowledge came from the first glimpses he got of Patrice, kneeling by one of the open walls and putting together what looked like a sniper-rifle from the case he’d been carrying. Curiosity and foreboding filtered through Bond’s system, and he changed his path slightly. It was his job to capture Patrice alive and make him answer questions, which necessitated understanding the situation first.

The situation became a little clearer as Patrice set up his weapon and aimed it at a building across the way.

~^~

One unexpected assassination and a bad brawl later, and 007 was staring at where Patrice had been hanging onto the side of the building only seconds before. Logically, 007 knew that the loss of his target wasn’t his fault - at least not entirely. Missions were forever unpredictable. Patrice had shot a target of his own before nearly being taken down by 007 - ‘nearly’ being the key word. A fight to subdue had quickly become a struggle for survival, and part of 007 was too callous to care that he’d lost a valuable source of information to the lethal pull of gravity. He was alive, and that was what mattered.

But besides that survivalist part that had kept Bond alive all of these years, the rest of him was thrumming with disappointment and anger, wondering irrationally if the new Quartermaster’s assessment of him was right after all. Pushing down the self-directed anger, as well as a large portion of his pride, 007 did what seemed best for the mission: he pulled his earpiece out of a closed pocket and activated it. Unless he was mistaken, it would be a direct line to Q-branch.

Hopefully he’d get someone other than Q.

“We’ve got a problem,” he growled in a voice full of brimstone and laboriously tempered ire.

As Bond did so, his eyes moved of their own accord to the building across the way, where Patrice had dropped a man as easily as a boy knocking over dandelions with a wayward foot. Everything there was a mass of panic, and only distance kept Bond from hearing their cries of shock, dismay, and probably horror.

Bond’s eyes narrowed, noticing something.

There was one man there who wasn’t disturbed in the slightest. Broad-shouldered and pale-haired, and dressed up in an impeccable pale-cream suit, one man simply stood back and watched. He may as well have been watching an act at a theatre, with nothing more than mild amusement on his strong features. Bond felt his body tighten with a sense he’d had ever since he was a boy, when he’d learned that all Omega children needed to be careful, and that no one in the world would watch out for them if they couldn’t watch out for themselves.

There was a predator in that room.

~^~

“007,” Q turned on the comms link. “What can I do for you?” He brought in Bond’s location on his computer, and zoomed into security cameras in the area. “How can I help?”

Voice clear but slightly gruff over the comm-link, 007’s reply was blunt, “Target no longer living. The list is still in the wind.”

“Dammit!” Q swore. “Ok, 007, go back to the hotel and let me see what I can find. You should have a clear path. I will send in a clean up crew.”

Q disconnected and went to see if he could trace where the list had gone.

Unexpectedly, he immediately had a returning signal again - a flashing light to indicate that 007 was, in fact, calling back.

“Yes, 007?” Q’s voice was slightly incredulous over the comms.

“Not that I don’t enjoy being hung up on, Quartermaster, but I was wondering if you could do something for me,” was the immediate response - perhaps 007 was worried about the line being closed again. He still sounded tense, and his idle tone was probably taking some effort. “The building east of here, on the 94th floor, there was just an assassination carried out. Patrice did the killing, so I wouldn’t worry about covering it up, but I think that someone else in that room might have a connection to this fucking mess.”

“I’m on it,” Q triangulated the cameras to focus on the building across the way. “Blond man in a linen suit?”

There was silence. Then, “You already have eyes on him?”

“Yes, my facial recognition says we have a match, but it's classified,” Q was frustrated. “Let me get this to M and see what she says. Good work, by the way, 007, spotting that. It wouldn’t be classified if it wasn’t important.”

Bond replied with an almost inaudible grunt, making it hard to tell how he felt about all of this, but he was swiftly back on topic. “Acknowledged. Can you tell me where this classified bastard is heading now?”

“He left the apartment, and is heading down the elevator,” Q scanned the building. “I wouldn’t advise pursuit, there is a vehicle waiting for him. Two men inside, armed to the teeth.”

“Hmm,” was the response - not a promising noise, considering it didn’t sound particularly deterred. There was the increased background noise of wind coming through the earpiece. “Describe the vehicle to me. Make, model, and color,” 007 demanded.

“2012 Mercedes, CLS 63, hunter green,” Q informed. “If you plan to chase them, don’t let them drive. That model goes zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds.”

“Oh, I don’t think it will,” the agent on the other end of the comm-link murmured silkily, and then there was the sound of a gun going off - it was muffled by a silencer, but Q knew guns enough to know that this definitely wasn’t 007’s weapon he was hearing.

“Bond, I distinctly remember the kit I issued you, and there were no sniper rifles, or silencers in it,” Q sighed. “Are you going to be able to eliminate all three men?”

“No, I’m just going to eliminate their car,” came Bond’s voice, as well as the increased breath that came from movement - running. “It should at least slow them down long enough for me to make up for lost time. How many floors down is the unknown fellow I’m after now?” Bond finished in a pant.
“About to hit the lobby in 3...2...1. Elevator doors opening,” Q zoomed in on the lobby security cameras and sent a picture to Bond’s phone. “I am sending you a shot of his face.”

“What I need,” was the more impatient growl, as 007 doubtlessly realized that he couldn’t catch up, regardless of whether he took the stairs or the elevator, “is to know who that bastard is, and whether I can shoot him.” There was another growled curse, and the noise of running and stopped; Bond was probably just standing and panting now, watching.

“M-this is Q,” Q was talking on the phone without dropping Bond’s comms link. “I sent you a face. Bond needs to know if he can be killed. He suspects he is working with Patrice.”

There was an awful lot more silence than expected, even though he knew the line had connected to the head of MI6. Bond was growing impatient, “Q, I’m bloody short on time here. I disabled there car, but the downside to stopping a car with a bullet is that it makes people get awfully antsy. They know I’m up here now.”

“She says that it's not enough to go on, that we don’t know the full story,” Q slammed down the phone. “Well that’s a big bloody help.”

“For once, we agree,” was the unexpected retorted, growled in an undertone. “They’re leaving - they have another car, and if I shoot again, I’ll give away my position enough for them to return fire, even at this distance.” Bond huffed. “Although it’s bloody tempting to anyway.”

“Let me see what I can find out,” Q was already looking for more intel. “We need to know what Patrice’s next move is going to be, and right now I don’t have any leads. Any gut feeling on this one?”

“You’re asking me?” was the incredulous response after a beat of silence.

“You have been doing this longer than me, and you’re on the ground,” Q admitted. “I don’t get a whole lot of intuition over security camera footage. And I have never been to Shanghai, so I don’t have a feel for what would be abnormal in this situation.”

The Omega grunted, accepting that. “I’d say that whoever this bloke is, he at least was involved in Patrice’s latest hit. Considering that Patrice was a contract assassin to a list of people longer than my arm, that may not mean anything. I’m going back up to look for anything in Patrice’s things that might give me any leads.” There was a brief pause before 007 continued, slightly more grimly and tiredly, “Then I’ll go down to the ground floor and check his person.”

“Be careful, 007. Until we find out who we are dealing with, please be cautious. I don’t want to lose an agent if I can help it.”

“Understood.”
Bond had barely gone silent again - his professional side a pleasant switch from the bellicose nature he’d shown at the museum - when suddenly Q was receiving an incoming message. It was from M, and both brief and to the point: ‘Report to my office.’

“About bloody time I figure out what the hell is going on,” Q growled. “R, keep a close eye on 007. And keep an eye on who might be watching him. We need to find out who these people are and what they want.”

~^~

007 hated losing, and so far that was what this felt like. The unexpected helpfulness from Q-branch had been nice, though, surprising him - Q hadn’t even acted like a jumped-up little prat. Bond still had his reservations about the young Alpha, but managed to temporarily shelve his animosity. Quickly and efficiently, ignoring how his best lead was dead many stories below him and that his second best lead was driving away right now, whoever he was, Bond put down Patrice’s sniper-rifle and began going through its case. He quickly spotted… a gambling chip.

“Maybe this isn’t a total wash after all,” Bond muttered to himself as he pocketed it, finding nothing else useful. Despite Q’s assurances of a clean-up team heading his way, Bond wiped down anything he might have touched, and left - this time returning to the ground floor in the lift instead of dangling under it. That only improved Bond’s mood a little bit, and whatever humor he gleaned from that was dashed as he eventually made his way to Patrice’s body. There was no need to check whether the man was dead, and it was only thanks to having seen death in a hundred different ways - many of them caused by his own hands - that 007 didn’t even flinch at the twisted limbs and bones crushed on impact.

He found nothing useful on the man except his cell-phone, which had taken the landing poorly. Still, Bond pocketed it, knowing that sometimes things could be salvaged off things like this. He was about to do a search about the body in the unlikely event that something had been tossed loose from it in the fall when the slight wind shifted. In the city, the air was almost always dead and still, unable to rush and curl about with so many buildings choking it off, but this tiny gust was enough to tip Bond off that there was an Alpha headed his way.

007 immediately moved into a crouch, tense and wary.

“007, we have camera footage showing an unknown figure heading your way,” came a voice in his ear - it wasn’t Q this time, but probably one of his minions. Maybe R.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Bond retorted under his breath as he backed slowly away from Patrice’s body, eyes instinctively mapping out exits and shadows. There were a lot of the latter, but fewer of the former than he’d like - the constructive around this area left many pathways blocked off, and 007 found himself scowling, muscles flexing uneasily. “Is it one of the men from the car I shot at earlier?” he hazarded to guess, wanting to know more about what he was facing before the Alpha actually appeared.

There was hesitation from R where there hadn’t been from Q. “Er… yes, likely. We’re gathering information presently.”

“ ‘Presently’,” Bond parroted, already a bit too focused to really sound sharp - merely resigned to the danger he could feel coming, “is too damn slow. Be advised that you might have another body to clean up.” ‘And hopefully not mine.’

“007, report!” Q’s voice was strained, and a bit of a shock in Bond’s ear after it’s absence. “Shoot to kill. Hades Kitchens is a known assassin for hire that stopped being hired because he was leaving bloodbaths, rather than clean kills. Be careful 007, the man has a reputation for being merciless,” Q warned. “He enjoys torture, something of a sadist. I imagine you and I would be quite the prize for him, unique as we are.”

Instead of bristling at the comment about his ‘uniqueness,’ 007 merely assimilated all of the information and braced against the fresh sweep of adrenaline that flooded him. His eyes took in everything with new urgency, even as his hand tightened around his gun with an obscene level of eagerness - there was always an interplay between fight or flight, kill or roll over and take it.

“I have orders to come and help you on the ground there,” Q told him. “I can get more intel locally than I can from London, and this has the potential to get out of hand quickly. Keep your eyes and ears open, and see what hints you can get me. I will be there in 14 hours, I have a car waiting to leave now.”

“I don’t need a sidekick, Q,” Bond growled, suddenly struck with the realization that this nightmare could get worse. The thought of having a non-agent tagging along with him - an Alpha, no less, who always seemed to think they knew best in a situation, but rarely actually did - made 007 just about crawl out of his skin then and there. As it was, he barely kept from swearing, even as he began to hear the faint sound of muffled footsteps getting closer.

“I didn’t volunteer, 007,” Q sighed. “I hate to fly. I was ordered. No one tells M no and lives to tell about it. Look out behind you, I can see someone following you on the CCTV.”

Only the fact that he’d noticed the same kept Bond from tossing back a barbed retorted, but he still made a growling noise in the back of his throat, dearly hoping that Q-branch heard him. His own footsteps quieter, Bond began slipping from shadow to shadow, seeking an exit while also striving to stay invisible. From what he could tell, his dangerous following would probably find the corpse of Patrice first - although it sounded like this newcomer was as hardened as James, so the death probably wouldn’t do much to slow him if he suspected that Patrice’s killer was nearby.

Since Bond’s earpiece remained silent, he figured that either Q had nothing else to report, or the bloody boffin was already making arrangements to head his way. ‘God-fucking-dammit’ pretty much encompassed the entirety of Bond’s entire night, and suddenly he felt murderous. He’d been slinking through the shadows as easily as a shark through water until now, but suddenly stopped, eyes turning to lethal blue chips.

“007?” It was R in his ear now, sounding polite but a little bit nervous. Either Bond was on the CCTV feed, too, or else Q-branch was getting nervous by not seeing him at all.

It was that prim little voice of uneasy logic that reminded Bond what he was doing here and what he purpose was -and as much as he hated to admit it, neither of those things included a gun-battle in the dark, in a foreign country. Still hearing the other man somewhere off to his left (predictably by the body, although probably not for long), 007 took the opportunity he saw in the form of an alleyway not blocked off by chain-link fences or construction materials, and slipped silently away.

~^~

Realizing that he was going to have outside assistance in a little over fourteen hours whether he wanted it or not, 007 crashed in his hotel room for a few hours (not quite enough to really make him feel rested, somehow) and then kept himself busy so he didn’t have to think about Q’s impending arrival. The thought that M thought he needed help - or a babysitter, as he was inclined to think of it - stung deeply, and rankled him, and after last nights failures, it was just about enough to make him think fondly of his time spent playing dead. A few bad memories reminded him that at least he was allowed to shoot people so long as he stayed where he was, but that was a small comfort, so long as his targets remained so out of his reach. He hadn’t heard anything more about the mysterious man in the pale suit, and hadn’t been given further orders, so when he woke up from a bad night’s sleep, he simply made up his mind to dig up whatever information he could.

Bond was used to running missions with little or no outside input, so he started to relax again once he was in the streets. He’d been to Shanghai before, and had some contacts - and MI6 in general had a few more. Apparently ‘Hades Kitchens’ was a fairly well-known name in certain circles, and Bond almost snorted at how easy it was to collect his own information on the disreputable killer. Aptly named Hades, the man had killed quite a few people - and while Bond had an equally long list, Hades had far more unnecessary gore behind his name. Bond got a bad taste in his mouth just hearing about the deranged Alpha, and decided then and there that whoever would hired such a man couldn’t be good news either.

Unfortunately, people were unforthcoming with information about Hades’s present employer, although Bond was able to gleen that there was indeed a connection between H. Kitchens and a certain pale-haired man - who happened to own a casino that Bond was just willing to bet matched the chip he still had in his pocket.

Bond knew where he was going tonight.

By now completely ignoring that he was going to have a visiting Quartermaster in just a few hours, 007 dressed in his best and headed out into another night like he owned it. Perhaps he smelled like an Omega, but he could move like a Alpha, and that meant that few people got close enough to be startled by the truth - and that was just fine by Bond. He momentarily got stuck at the entrance to the casino, as the bouncers didn’t like the look of him, but as usually happened at that point, they got a good whiff of him. Hating himself as he did it, 007 flashed his best ‘come hither’ smile, and was immediately rewarded by lecherous grins in return. The doors were immediately opened to him, and he maintained his charming, warmly pleased look as he sauntered in - as soon as he was no longer looking at the bouncers, however, the smile disappeared, and he looked about the casino with ice-cold eyes and a demeanor like a well-used sword.

It all had a very Oriental feel, and a warmth and sensual closeness, painted in so many tones of red and shadow. There were card-games being played everywhere, and 007 pulled out his one stolen poker-chip to dance it across his knuckles as he walked over an ornate indoor bridge. He heard hissing from the ground below, and glance down to find a huge, scaly head looking up at him. Bond himself could be equally reptilian at times, but this was just ridiculous, and he firmly decided that whoever owned this place was a man to watch carefully.

Deciding to play this through a little, Bond continued onwards to the line of elegantly barred windows to turn in his - Patrice’s - chip. By now, he was making little or no effort to hide what he was, and a male Omega in the room as definitely turning heads. 007 had long ago learned that, sometimes, being in the center of attention was the same as being invisible. People saw him, smelled him, and even coveted him, but he was willing to bet his life that none of them looked further or considered that the Omega was armed.

The woman at the window was a Beta, but her eyes dilated as expected as he walked up and leaned his forearms idly on the counter. “I’d like to cash in,” he said, as pleasantly as a spoonfull of honey, placing his chip down. He slid it towards her, fingers lingering on the red chip, letting her touch his hand as she reached for it. Perfectly faking the pleasure on his expression, 007 even tolerated the faint stroke her fingernails traced across his knuckles.

As she looked at the chip, her clouded senses cleared up a bit, enough for her brows to pull together. “Mr. Patrice,” she said, seeming confused. All 007 had to do was let go a bit more - feeling the tight knot of control as his core loosening, the opposite of the focus he used to ‘pass’ for something other than what he was - for her expression to smooth out again. She smiled as if she’d just taken a hit from a drug. “Welcome,” was all she said, and reluctantly took her hand off his to retrieve something. Bond remained slouched where he was, leaning against the counter and boredly counting the number of people who were staring at his arse. He knew from experience that he could shoot at least three of them before the others realized that something was amiss - the scent of an Omega in the room was just that heady.

The fact that Bond had been on heat-suppressants long enough to be slightly immune to them didn’t help. Before the woman came back, he shored up his internal self-control a bit, not wanting to fog everyone’s head at the expense of his own. Being an Omega was rarely worth the benefits.

“You should find everything in order,” the pretty young woman said, sliding a box over to him. Curious and wary in equal measure, 007 opened it, immediately glimpsing Patrice’s hefty payment tucked away inside. It didn’t tell him much, but it confirmed the connection between Patrice and the owner of his casino, because no one but the owner would have so easily handed over such a large sum of cash for an otherwise unremarkable poker chip. “I hope you’ll come again,” the woman begin the counter added breathlessly, gaining Bond’s attention again.

His smile as as fake as a mask, but he flashed it anyway, knowing that it fit perfectly on his face because he used it so often. The Beta’s own arousal was starting to become noticeable from where he was standing, and by the way she was standing and looking him over, he could tell what thoughts were going through her head. He briefly considered taking her up on her unspoken offer, if only to show her that some Omegas weren’t as docile as stereotypes made it out to be. “I’m sure I will,” he eventually answered smoothly, before tucking the box under his arms and striding away.

By this point, he’d already noticed a few other people far more deserving of his time and attention - even if they promised more danger than pleasure.

‘I’m an Omega, not blind,’ he sighed to himself as three rather obvious bruisers peeled away from the walls and immediately began closing in on him. When one blocked his path in the middle of the decorative bridge, 007 feigned bemusement. “Something the matter, sir?”

The other man’s face was stoic and intimidating, but 007 had already seen the way he’d tasted the air, the way his eyes had dilated. The Beta’s answer was a few beats slow in coming, as his eyes skated over 007’s handsome figure. “I’m afraid we need to speak with you a moment. In private.”

Frowning as if not understanding, 007 turned to look obviously behind him - he was only faintl surprised when he caught a familiar Alpha scent, and recognized Hades from descriptions he’d been given. Turning back to the first man, 007 eased a step forward, fluid and slow. Combined with the dazzling smile he was putting on, it was an inviting look, but anyone who knew him knew that it was the dangerous sway of an adder settling before a strike. “We?” he echoed, then dropped his voice to a low, chuckling, husky murmur, “Or just you?”

He saw it, the moment that jealousy ignited in the Beta’s eyes, and that was when 007’s smile became wickedly real. Without any apparent fear, he waited until he felt the expected hand on his shoulder from behind - not Hades, but another Beta, who was also starting to smell disgustingly of arousal. Bond had seen this happen again and again, and therefore was utterly unsurprised when a possessive, threatening growl exited the first Beta’s throat.

So Bond merely leaned back, turned his head, and with one eye still on the defensive Beta in front of him, brushed his lips across the knuckles at his shoulder - as innocent as an accident.

All hell broke loose.

The only real downside to using his Omega side so flagrantly was that it unavoidably put him in the middle of the chaos. Beta #1 charged with a bull-like roar, but when Bond tried to slip aside, Beta #2, behind him, tightened his grip possessively. Swearing, 007 jerked himself loose even as he jabbed an elbow back hard enough to wind the man. He got free, but he was still too close to the action, and before he knew it, he was tumbling over the edge of the bridge along with Beta #2. The impact with the sand stunned him for a moment, but after a gasped, “Fuck,” he rolled over, giving his head a hard shake.

He opened his eyes to find himself meeting gazes with a giant lizard again - only this time, the Komodo dragon was barely a meter away, and with nothing in between them.

007 barely had time to flip over from his side to his back and draw his weapon, discharging two desperate rounds as the monstrous reptile charged him.

A scream somewhere out of Bond’s range of vision told him that there was definitely at least a second lizard, and that Bond’s hapless companion had been less lucky than he had. As it was, Bond was running on the barest threads of luck, as the Komodo dragon managed to escape both bullets and was soon on top of him, claws scrambling and tail thrashing. The monumental, pure weight of the creature bore 007 down, and when the lizard’s jaws came in - dripping strings of mucus like sick ribbons - he did the first thing that came to mind, which was to shove his gun in the way.

It was a miracle that his hand avoided injury, and that he got off another bullet even as his gun became a lost cause. Nature shows had actually provided Bond with a few random facts about Komodo dragons, the most memorable being that their saliva was so full of germs that it was nearly a poison in its own rights - so he relinquished his gun as soon as he’d pulled the trigger and realized that scores of teeth were about to snap shut around the muzzle.

Bond managed to push out from beneath the lizard even as it thrashed in its death-throws, a bullet through its skull managing to end the threat. Breathing faster and feeling that old ache in his shoulder again, 007 had just managed to get to his knees next to the dying reptile when the thud of feet on sand heralded someone else entering the impromptu arena.

H. Kitchens was standing across the way from him.

Apologizing briefly to the dead Komodo dragon, Bond yanked his gun out of its now-motionless jaws before turning tail and running. The grip was sticky with blood and saliva from the lizard’s mouth ,and Bond prayed like hell that he didn’t have any open abrasions on his hand.

Bond managed to holster his gun as he ran, and his running leap was powerful enough that he managed to grab the bars that lined the floor above the Komodo dragons’ pen. A loud bout of swearing behind him indicated that Hades was having trouble, a fact that Bond couldn’t appreciate very well, because there was another, smaller Komodo dragon now hissing beneath Bond’s dangling heels. “What… the bloody hell… has my world come to?” Bond ground out between his teeth as he forced his throbbing shoulder to work and pulled himself up with the strength of his arms alone. Muscles flexing and bulging beneath his jacket, 007 readjusted his grip, and at long last gained the main floor. He rolled over the railing to fall on his back with a grunt, sparing a moment to just be glad that he was no longer being hunted by a pack of exotic reptiles.

A trio of gunshots from below reminded him that he wasn’t out of danger yet, however, and 007 flipped over onto his feet again. By now, every sensible person in the room was running and screaming, and that bungled up any attempts at sending more guards in to deal with the situation. Bond took the opportunity to join the crowd in their rather sensible (if mad) dash for the exits.

Of course, when Kitchens came barrelling out of that same back exit barely half a minute later, at the tail end of the trickling crowd, 007 was waiting, and launched himself smoothly out of the shadows to take the Alpha right to the ground.

Kitchens was a big man, although having all the air knocked out of him by a man Bond’s size was no picnic either. Bond had purposefully chosen a back exit so that, now that the crowd had mostly fled, there was no witnesses as the two of them began a dark and dirty scuffle in the dirt alleyway. Before Bond could secure his hand, Kitchens managed to drive a hard punch into his ribs, making 007 snarl but not draw back. In fact, he punched back, knuckles splitting open across Kitchens’ jaw, dazing him long enough for Bond to sit back on the man’s waist and draw his gun.

Dazed but not unconscious, Kitchens gargled spit and blood for a second from where he’d bitten something inside of his mouth. As he drew coherent again - noticing the gun as well as 007’s stone-stead, ice-cold blue eyes - he bared bloody teeth and snarled, “Fucking Omega bitch-!”

Bond switched his grip to hold the weapon against Kitchens chest while his other hand locked around the man’s throat, squeezing hard enough to make his strength known. Kitchen’s swallowed spasmodically. “Try that again? This bitch has a hard time hearing when bastards like yourself start spouting useless shit,” 007 replied with ice-edged silk wrapped around his tone.

Kitchens had enough good sense to hold back further obscenities, although his eyes glittered in a mad, dangerous way. “What do you want?”

“Information.” Mostly, 007 wanted to remove this man permanently as a threat, because a murderer like this was a plague wherever he walked. So was Bond, but he at least had a tight leash that lead back to MI6 - Hades didn’t answer to such a strict higher power, his mystery boss notwithstanding.

“How about this?” Kitchens smirked a little, recovering despite the hand on his throat and gun to his ribs; beneath 007, the other man’s hips rolled slightly. “You give me a little somethin’ to encourage me, and I give you what you want niiiiice and easy-”

007 tightened his grip until Kitchens was choking. Most people took in that he was an Omega, and discounted the rest of him - that meant they discounted the fact that Bond was horrifically strong, and trained in how to use that strength. Now, even one-handed, he threatened to crush Kitchens’ windpipe. “Let’s try this again, shall we?” he affected a bored tone as he loosened his grip, just as Kitchens thrashing began to grow weak. Bond ignored the hands that had started grabbing at him and trying to push him away, using his position to his advantage and leaning forward. “Who do you work for?”

Kitchens coughed and grimaced, and wrapped one fist around 007’s wrist, even while Bond began to tighten his hand again warningly. “Myself,” the Alpha coughed.

Bond’s hand slithered back, out of Kitchens’ grip, and then flashed forward to break the man’s nose in a crack of cartilage. Kitchens shrieked. Bond waited until the noise died down to say, “Try again.” He knew that time was of the essence, because they couldn’t stay unnoticed here indefinitely.

Eyes watering and blood now running down his face, Kitchens finally bit out, “Silva. Raoul Silva. You’re the fucker from last night.”

Nothing on Bond’s face so much as twitched, even as Hades made the connection. “Did you know Patrice?”

“Know he’s dead.” One of those mad, vicious eyes cracked open to glare up at Bond. “Know you killed him. Although if that fucker let an Omega kill him, then he deserved-”

Bond punched him again, this time with a hard body-shot, mostly just to let out some of the temper he’d had clogging his head all day. “You’re really testing my patience, Kitchens,” he drawled dangerously.

“And you, Omega, are testing my self-control,” was the bloody, leering reply he got back, making 007’s eyes narrow a fraction. His bad mood burned a little hotter as the comments and slurs continued. “Oooh, those words not sliding off you, are they?” Kitchens immediately noticed, his grin spreading wider despite the pain he had to be in, “How about we-”

At that exact moment, someone came out of the door a few meters behind them, and the frightened shout the newcomer emitted distracted 007 just for a second, and in that second, Kitchens lunged upwards. His hand caught Bond’s gun, pushing it away even as his hand tried to crush Bond’s around the grip. Bond just managed to deflect a punch thrown at him, but it wasn’t until a second too late that Bond realized Kitchen’s had a knife - only hours and hours of training allowed 007 to react quickly enough, twisting and throwing himself backwards. The wickedly serrated blade still managed to skewer past his jacket, missing vital organs but tearing a bloody furrow along Bond’s side. Roaring involuntarily at the explosion of pain, 007 lost the battle for his gun, falling aside.

“Just you stay still,” Kitchens said, and this time it was worse than all of the insults the man could throw, because it was a command. Only Alphas could ‘command’ someone, and it took an amazing force of will not to obey the words when they were said. Bond had a lot of practice shaking of ‘commands,’ as did any agent of MI6 - it was part of their training - but he’d been stretching himself to the limit lately, and his mind was still fogged by the explosion of pain in his side. Lying on his side, feeling blood spreading wetly across his back and belly, 007 bared his teeth but felt his mind crumble for a moment, capitulating.

“I’m going to pay you back for breaking my nose, even if it means fucking your corpse,” leered Kitchens with a purely mad grin, teeth showing seemingly from ear to ear, as he brought Bond’s very own gun to bear on him.

But when the trigger was pulled, nothing happened. “What the fuck?” muttered the Alpha, and that was all the time Bond needed to shake himself loose from the command and surge to his feet.

Bond moved soundlessly, and ruthlessly. His shoulder took Kitchens hard in the stomach, and he heard a whumph of expelled air above him before he slammed the other man hard into the wall. Pulling back, Bond wasted no time, directing a viciously hard punched at the man’s throat - silencing more commands. Kitchens choked, eyes wide with shock, as his body slid to the ground gasping.

For a moment, Bond stood over him, breathing sharp and tight from the pain in his side; he could feel the blood pumping out of it, hidden only by the shadows and the dark color of his jacket. Whoever had been foolish enough to peek outside had wisely darted back in.

Good. They didn’t want to see what 007 was going to do now.

Kitchens had dropped his knife. Bond picked it up, considering it for a moment before he also came forward to retrieve his gun; Kitchens was still trying to get his throat working again, and the impact with the wall had likewise stunned him, so he didn't put up much of a fight, despite being such a self-assured Alpha a second ago. Thinking a moment, looking between the lizard-spittle still slimed all over his gun - and now on Kitchens, too - 007 languidly reached over and dragged the blade across Kitchens’ palm.

“Now,” 007 said, as slowly and patiently as death knocking at a man’s door - because death could wait forever. It knew that it was inevitable. “Let’s see if third time's the charm. I’m going to ask you questions, and since you can’t seem to say anything useful, you will just nod or shake your head. And if you feel like stalling again, or holding me up-” Because that was all this was: this wasn’t even a fight, just an inconvenience. Bond was ‘the little Omega bitch’ who was looking down at an Alpha as if he was barely worth his time. “-Just know that the germs present in the mouth of a Komodo dragon are poisonous enough to take down cattle. That’s what’s seeping into the cut on your hand now. I haven’t a bloody clue how long that takes, but I’m happy to wait here all night just thinking about doctors amputating your whole arm later.”

After that, Kitchens talked.

Chapter Text

There had been a young Omega mother with a fretting baby, and the baby kept reaching across the aisle for Q. Q had finally taken pity on the mother and offered to hold the colicky infant, who promptly fell asleep in his arms. The mother had looked so sleep deprived that Q had left her doze in peace, and looked down at the baby with a sigh.

He had long since given up hope of children of his own, but it reminded him that some people still lived a normal life, while his world ran on chaos and terrorist threats. His thoughts drifted to the conundrum that was 007. He wasn’t sure where they stood, but he owed the agent an apology, and an explanation. He let his hormones drift just enough to settle the infant, and the baby had slept with one hand tangled in his curls for the rest of the flight, not waking up until the descent.

Q got to the hotel room, but 007 was nowhere to be found. The Alpha in him had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, so he set up his laptop to get into the hotel security. He curled into the corner of the couch, glad to be able to relax after so many hours in MI6, and the non-stop flight. His brain hadn’t stopped once, and he could smell the Omega in the room. Tired, it made his protective instincts fret, and he battled to keep them down.

The door opened, and Q stood, gun in hand. Perhaps it should have been ironic, because 007 immediately did the same, weapon up and trained with more practice than Q had. With the lights on, Q could see the dark stain on Bond’s jacket, however, and when his arms raised, Q could see the blood beneath on his shirt.

“Bond, let’s take a look at that before you lose anymore blood, and before it gets infected,” Q uncocked the gun and put it down on the table next to his laptop. “No wonder my stomach hurt, that’s a lot of blood.”

Questions flickered briefly across the 00-agent’s tense expression, just flashes beneath the hard and deadly mask that he’d donned upon entering the room to a supposed trespasser. Even if 007 weren’t also obviously injured, he was clearly coming down from an adrenaline high, which was never safe in the case of trained assassins. For a long moment, 007 just stood there as if he hadn’t heard a word Q said, his gun - which seemed to have teeth-marks on it, of all things - still trained on Q’s head. Slowly, however, the agent lowered his arms, muscles flexing restlessly. “When did you get in?” he asked in a voice that was too low and even to be true - it was the kind of tone that came from trying very, very hard to make it civil.

“Half an hour ago or so,” Q reached to unbutton Bond’s shirt. “I ordered food, should be here soon. Just not as soon as you showed up. And M said I should be overly cautious.” Q rubbed his stomach with a grimace.

Bond shied away as the hand got close, his gun still in hand and bloodied knuckles whitening across the grip. Eyeing Q with fatigued suspicion, he seemed to give a quick calculation on how to get around him, and then did so with the smooth step of a man used to always walking without a sound. He headed to the mini-bar, even as his scent started to do that funny thing where it faded out to nothing beneath the scent-hiding cologne that was losing its potency. “Overly cautious?” the man echoed, gamely keeping up the conversation even if his tone remained a bit guarded, “About the mission or about ordering food?”

“About Kitchens,” Q laughed. “She told me that I couldn’t handle him with my hormones, and that I wasn’t strong enough physically. So I brought a gun. Usually I don’t handle them outside the firing range.”

“Hm,” Bond made a simple noise to show that he’d heard, and proceeded to pour himself a large helping of scotch. He set his gun down to do this, but it was impossible to miss how he kept it close enough that he brushed it with every other movement of his hands. The tension in his shoulders was half from pain, half from readiness, and energy came off him like a low-burning fire. By the time he knocked back a mouthful of alcohol, the unexpected scent of another Alpha was in the room.

“Bond,” Q ran his fingers through his hair. “I talked to M. She- I’m an Arch Alpha. I thought you should know that about me. I’m sorry for the way I acted in the Gallery. I know I have a lot to make up for. But I’m not a threat. You don’t have to use up your energy to protect yourself from me.”

The glass of scotch slammed down on the countertop so hard that it nearly cracked. The tiny bit of liquid Bond hadn’t downed yet sloshed up nearly to the edges, and it was obvious that 007 would have twisted around to stare if his side weren’t obviously injured. Whatever Bond was going to say in response was simplified into a simple, snarled, “Fuck,” as he froze and gripped his side. When it seemed like Q would move towards him, the growl became more sincere, and took on a deadly edge that matched very well with the fabricated scent of Alpha swirling around the blond-haired man like a cloak, “Back off, Q.”

“One of the things, about being Arch Alpha, is that when you are hurt,” Q swallowed as he reached for Bond. “I feel it. You are under my protection. And I would really like to take a look at that wound. I know you are used to pain, but I am not, and it’s making it hard for me.”

The flicker in 007’s expression said that he hadn’t known that last part, and while his eyes stayed narrowed and his posture rigid and dangerous, he did turn around and slowly pull out a bar-stool. Never letting his eyes off Q, he settled into it, back to the bar. “And you’re sure that my being an Omega won’t make things difficult for you?” he said with venom rather clear in his clipped, blunt tones.

“I’m sure that you being a Chimeric Omega makes you my perfect balance, and that if we can stop sniping at each other, we might both get out of this without anymore wounds,” Q felt like he had already been through the first battle of the war with Bond, and had nothing left to lose by mentioning it. “I took the liberty of bringing a First Aid kit with me, can I take a look?”

“Perfect balance my arse,” was Bond’s muttered comment, but he shucked his jacket gingerly. “Just hand me the First-aid kit,” he demanded as he eyed the long slash in the side of his button-down, which was supposed to be white, but along Bond’s right side was presently painted with a heavy helping of red. It stuck to his skin, showing as muscles twitched and quivered.

“Can I at least put on some peroxide so you don’t pull your skin off?” Q handed him the kit from his suitcase. He winced at the pained expression on Bond’s face.

Sharp blue eyes measured him, a cut-glass look that seemed rather intent on peeling skin right off Q, but ultimately Bond seemed less than eager to try and pull away a shirt so stuck to him with dried blood. Clearly unhappy about giving in, the Omega glanced away, but began unbuttoning his shirt-cuffs in preparation to eventually slip his shirt off. “Fine. If you’re so dead-set on it,” he grunted with ill-grace.

Q kept his shoulders down and tried to keep Bond’s hackles from rising any further. He knelt on the floor to treat the wound, and soaked several cotton squares with peroxide. He dabbed at Bond’s shirt, soaking it so it would loosen. He hissed in sympathy at the bubbling, and grimaced as he pressed at his own side. After a few moments, he was able to free the trapped cloth from the agent’s skin.

As soon as he could - perhaps sooner, because clearly the stereotypes about Omegas having low pain-tolerances was false, or else Bond was a masochist - 007 was unbuttoning his shirt and pulling it off. He clenched his jaw, powerful muscles tensing all over him, but quite stubbornly refused to make any noise. One major hint for how much pain he was in, however, came when his continued efforts to use his Chimeric powers failed: the Alpha scent started to fade in a sickly-slow fashion, leaving 007 temporarily as a void that was unnatural to the nose. “Fuck it,” 007 eventually said in an undertone, voice a tad breathy. He held out a hand, palm up, “Hand me the swab.”

Q groaned and handed him more soaked cotton, the smell, or lack of smell, coming from Bond made him feel ill. It felt like he was losing his grip on the agent’s safety because of the lack of smell. He took a deep breath and rose to go open the window to give himself a break. He felt like he was drowning in the lack of oxygen.

It was that very lack of scent that made it startling, a second later, when 007’s low voice came from barely an arm’s-length behind him. The Omega was shockingly hard to track when he was just on the edge of ‘passing.’ “So it really does affect you. The pain of others.”

“Did you think I was lying?” Q took another breath to calm his queasy stomach. “Its not everyone. But the agents are under my charge. When I am charged with protecting someone, it pains me when I can’t stop them from being hurt. That is why M was so keen to have me head Q Branch. She was hoping to lose less agents if the Quartermaster was genuinely invested in bringing them home safely.”

There was a flicker of consideration on 007’s face, although he was still too wound up to be sympathetic. He did consider the tumbler in his hand, however - refilled with alcohol, because that was clearly more important than the fresh blood starting to leak down his side from the hand-long cut hugging the lower curve of his ribs - and then handed it over to Q. “You might need this more than me then. Stitching this up is going to be a bitch and a half, and I’m not sure whether to be amused or not that I’ll actually be sharing the pain for once.” He turned to head back to the first-aid kit, the few lights on in the room painting the muscled plains of his bare back in golden light and shadow.

“No thank you,” Q grimaced. “I can’t handle much of it in general. Wouldn’t be a good idea for my stomach right now. Its all I can do to handle the pain alone. Alcohol tends to make the empathetic pain worse, it lowers my barriers.”

Bond’s hand waved over his shoulder in a ‘do as you wish’ sort of gesture, even as he picked up the first-aid kit and headed towards the bathroom. Notably, he still cast occasional glances back, tracking where Q was. As Bond’s natural scent came back online - as he started to actually smell like an Omega, a ragged-edged, vanilla-scent that spoke of taking suppressants for too long - he became more watchful, clearly not trusting Q farther than he could throw him. But he didn’t try lock the bathroom door or even close it, and his gun remained on the bar.

Q’s hand shook as he pushed on the bathroom door. The blood dripping down Bond’s side made him cringe. It smelled like rotten meat to him.

“Can I please help you stitch that, Bond? MI6, and M in particular, seem to think that we need to learn to work together. Can I at least be useful?”

Finally seeming to realize just what a state Q was in, Bond’s brows pulled together and his blue eyes really took Q in. Perhaps the shaking made Q less of a threat in the broad scheme of things. Still looking a bit uncomfortable, but now due more to simple weariness than caution (and maybe even fear), the larger man sat himself down on the edge of the bath and sighed. “Fine,” he gestured with a bloody-knuckled hand to the kit now perched by the sink, “If you want. Just pass me my Scotch back.”

Q went and refilled the Scotch with a grimace. Bond’s pain felt like a full body migraine to him, the light was too bright and everything smelled too strong. He knelt again at Bond’s side, and cleaned his glasses. He took the cotton and dabbed at the dripping blood to give himself a clearer view. He threaded the needle and swabbed it with an alcohol wipe to clean it. He tried to steady his breath and keep a calm mindset, to calm Bond as well. The agent’s pounding heart was making the blood flow faster, and he wanted to get him stitched up before one of them felt faint. Knowing his stomach, he would be first there.

“Q, are you sure you can do this?” ask the agent in the gentlest tone the Quartermaster had heard yet. It sounded hesitant, as if the agent were unsure how to mold his voice into that sound at the moment. He was lifting his right arm to keep it out of Q’s way, but that meant it hovered somewhere near his back and shoulder, as if unsure or not ready to alight there.

“Yes,” Q nodded. “I will be fine. Its just been awhile since I was with someone hands on while they were under my charge wounded.” He finished the first set of stitches and snipped the plastic threads, careful to tug them tight. “M wasn’t wrong. It is more intense with you being Chimeric.  You project as loud as I feel.”

That made Bond twitch, or perhaps that was the next stitch. He hissed and swore, downing more scotch to battle the pain. “So I take it M told you about that? Or did you figure it out yourself?” he quipped with some jaded displeasure coloring his words, although it was half-hearted now.

“She told me,” Q admitted. “Although it is embarrassing that I didn’t figure it out myself. I read your file. I should have noticed that something was different from the notes. But it didn’t click for me. R was very respectful about not telling me what was going on. I do owe you an apology for the Gallery, though. Your Alpha pheromones affect me as much as anyone, even with the blockers. I’m not used to that. I’m sorry for being so combative.”

As the next stitch went in, Bond hunched, body wanting to curl around the source of pain but knowing better. Instead of pulling away from Q’s careful hands, 007 finally let his hand drop onto Q. His tightly curled fist rested just to the side of Q’s nape, where he could feel the muscles bunch. More lines of tension were drawn all across the agents tough, athletic, scarred frame. He hissed out another curse, letting it trail off into a breath between his teeth, and it seemed for a moment that he either wasn’t listening or was ignoring the apology. Apparently he’d heard, though, because he finally grated out bluntly, “I haven’t had enough Scotch yet for this conversation, but fine, if you want to apologize, I’ll stop thinking of you as ‘that pissy little Alpha’ whenever you cross my mind.”

Q leaned against the agent’s fist unconsciously as he pursed his lips to stitch through the pain he himself was feeling. He laughed at the comment.

“If that’s your idea of a joke, 007, perhaps you should use my name. I get tired of being called Quartermaster.”

“Oh, really?” Bond replied. His tone didn’t quite make it to lightness, because while Bond’s pain-tolerance was clearly insane, he looked exhausted, too, and there was also the things Q had heard about Chimeras overexerting themselves. Bond gave his pain away inadvertently when his hand clenched in the material of Q’s shirt, the agent not seeming to realize that he’d done it. “Are you going to enlighten me on what I should call you, then, or is this a test of my spying skills?” he finished with just a small amount of bitterness marring his droll humor. His blue eyes turned down to watch blood run past the stitches and stain Q’s dexterous fingers, hand still tight in the cloth at the back of Q’s shirt.

“I’m- give me a sec,” Q hissed in pain as he stitched a particularly ragged piece of skin. “Sorry, its Gabriel. Gabriel Shaw. Just a plain ordinary bloke, who has super rare genes that make everyone want to jump him. The school recommended some tests because I was smart, so I skipped a few years. Then they decided to test my brain as well.

“And after that, it was like being a trained performer. Pass this test, do this trick. I got so tired of it. When I got to MI6, I got used to Q. But I don’t want to forget who I am completely. There were things about myself that I did enjoy. I used to love to read, and I did other things. Sometimes I feel like that part of me never sees the light of day.”

Canny, pale eyes were watching him now, tiredly but fairly steadily. 007 still looked a lot like he’d been hit by a truck after a week-long bender, but at least he no longer looked openly antagonistic. “I can understand that,” he finally said briefly, glancing away. His hand had unclenched, but now it flexed idly, and with the smell of Omega in the air, it was a nice feeling. Bond shrugged, then amended, “Mostly, at least.”

“What do you do, outside of work?” Q checked the careful line of stitches. “Thirty seven, I think we are good. let me just clean it up and put a bandage on it.”

Belatedly realizing where his hand was, 007 removed it, frowning at the offending limb but letting his Quartermaster move freely now. In answer to Q’s question, however, he laughed a bitter laugh that no doubt made his side twinge. “Oh, you haven’t heard?” he joked in a low rumble, eying what was left in his tumbler. He downed it in one reckless swallow. “Drinking and fucking are my poisons of choice. Unless I’m sleeping.”

Q shuddered. “I’ve heard a lot of things. I have also learned not to believe everything that I hear. I’ve heard a lot of things about myself that were rather larger than life. The halls of MI6 seem to be the ideal place for stretching rumours.”

“Well, that at least is true,” 007 conceded, standing up to move over to the sink, grabbing a wash-cloth to clean up his stitched wound himself. He twisted and turned gingerly to get a look at the stitches now lining his skin, and looked decently impressed with the job Q had done - he was also shooting the Arch fleeting looks that said he was surprised and pleased at Q’s attitude towards rumors. He brushed Q aside gently as he moved to wet down the cloth. “You’ve been helpful enough. Sit,” he commanded, gruffly but not quite unkindly, tipping his chin towards the seat provided by the closed toilet lid.

“Yes?” Q sat down and shrugged off the cardigan, which had a spot of baby spit up he hadn’t seen before. He shrugged his stiff shoulders. He was tired and controlling the protective pheromones was much harder with one of his charges hurt nearby. “What are we doing next?

It was interesting to watch Bond slip into ‘agent mode.’ He was still half-naked and clearly tried, with bruises starting to bloom on his tanned skin, but something about him physically seemed to focus as he gave Q’s question the attention it was due. “I think next, we have to hunt down a man named Silva,” 007 supplied unexpectedly as he began swabbing carefully at his skin stained red all down his side.

“Silva?” Q raised an eyebrow. “Maybe we should share information, instead of hiding it from each other. I think all of these secrets are going to end in one of us getting hurt. So maybe we should start with how you got hurt, and what happened to your gun. I didn’t know I was making a chew toy.”

Bond snorted, and for the first time, his smirk looked sincerely humorous. He didn’t bother to tape anything over his injury - leaving Q’s neat line of stitches like a testament to what was not quite able to kill a determined Omega - but finished wiping off the blood and strode out of the room towards where he’d left his gun. “I went after Kitchens,” he called back over his shoulder, perking up a bit to sound more like the cocky agent everyone talked about, “Your gun worked marvelously, by the way, despite unexpected circumstances.”

“M said you would remember Tiago Rodriguez,” Q said. “Apparently that is who is behind Kitchens and his men. She said that one of them is more violent than the next. And to tell you to shoot to kill. And don’t let us be captured alive.”

It had seemed like Bond had calmed down and relaxed, but suddenly it was like the second he’d walked in the door again. The muscles up and down his back tensed, standing out against his skin, and there was a hard twitch in his right hand even though he hadn’t reached the counter and his gun yet. Suddenly, 007 was rounding and approaching Q, fast, boxing him in in the bathroom. “What name did you just say?” he asked with all the intensity of a laser sight being focused.

“Tiago Rodriguez, but she said he goes by Silva now,” Q stuttered. “Who is he? She said he was trained to be the best, but he went rogue.” Q tried to calm his fear, but the tension and pain radiating off of the agent were making him anxious, even when they weren’t directed at him. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself, and Bond.

Still looming, a muscle in Bond’s jaw twitched, and it took him a long moment before he answered. When he did, his voice was still as low as a freshly dug grave, and a sense of lethality washed off every bare inch of him. “Fuck,” he finally ground out, and ran a hand back through his hair - which reminded him of his skinned knuckles, which kept him in the bathroom to wash up a tad more. Or perhaps he stayed in a subconscious desire to stay next to the sense of calm that Q was radiating. “I never knew Rodriguez, but we were in MI6 together at the same time. He’s supposed to be dead.”

“Well, intelligence says he is very much alive,” Q shivered. “And has no sanity left. She said that we need to take him out as soon possible, before he can get back to England. He has a vendetta with her, has for years. And I need to get back there as soon as we can to protect her. If someone under my charge dies, it will put me out of commission. We can’t have a psychotic Alpha on the loose.”

Bond was looking at Q steadily, right fist forgotten under the running water. “Are you talking about Silva or yourself? How bad will you get if someone…” He tested the words out, as if unused to them - his expression showed that he was unused to the idea, certainly. “...Under your charge is hurt by Rodriguez?”

“Silva is an Alpha, according to M,” Q said warily. “I don’t generally consider myself psychotic. If I am near someone getting hurt that is under my charge, I will feel what they feel. If they die, it can put me in a coma. That’s why we complement each other, I can help to protect you from him. And I can’t physically protect myself like you can.”

Turning off the water and flicking his hand idly, dispelling drops, Bond made a face at the mirror as if he didn’t necessarily like that. But this time, after all that the Quartermaster had opened up with him, he made an effort to explain himself that was rather lovely. “That sounds an awful like you don’t think I can do my job,” he said slowly, words hard edged but any true temper controlled, despite his weariness - or maybe he was finally too weary to get mad. “I’ve been doing work like this without the back-up of an Arch for some time now, in case you didn’t notice.”

“And you are the best agent MI6 has,” Q’s voice was quiet. “There are just ways I can give you back up, keep you calm, and help you heal. Its not mandatory. I just could be of assistance.”

“Fine.” Bond turned to leave again, probably not realizing how many times he’d started and stopped leaving Q’s proximity. The man was a wreck, even if he was incredibly dangerous regardless. “I won’t say no to assistance. But you might want to take me up on that offer of Scotch before I tell you about this-” He indicated his side with a grimace, and finally reached his gun, picking it up and actually smirking at the little marks on it, “-and this.” He moved over to drop onto the couch, hissing and cursing soundly as he was reminded that sudden movements were bad for stitches and muscle-deep bruising.

“Can you sit back for me?” Q asked. “We can start with your shoulders. I saw some massage oil in the bathroom.”

Bond had eased his head down against the back of the couch, an exhausted sprawl, but now he lifted it up again. Slowly, each muscle tensed once more. It was easy to see - and, for an Arch Alpha - to feel how much this new level of readiness cost the agent, but he did it anyway. For no discernible reason besides Q’s comment, 007 became like a warrior tiredly picking up his sword again, although he didn’t get up. “How about we don’t?” he said, in a tone like silk sliding over steel, a deceptively smooth tone, “I’ll give you my report, and I’ve already tolerated M sending you in to complicate my mission, but I don’t know you well enough to trust you for that.” A humorless slash of a smile stretched across his rugged features, never warming up his falcon-sharp blue eyes. “And you’re pushing me.”

“You sleep with random marks all the time for a mission, but far be it for you to trust someone who is professionally trained to give you a massage,” Q shrugged. “Fine. I’m going to get some sleep then. I have been up for over two days. I just thought it might help with the pain, and help you to relax. Tense shoulders aren’t going to do those bruises any good.”

Eyes narrowing, 007 met Q’s eyes with a stormy, belligerent one of his own. Clearly, the little truce from earlier was on its last legs. “I’ve survived worse,” he grunted back, then tossed his gun onto the coffee-table between them, “In fact, today I survived fucking giant lizards, but don’t worry - I didn’t have to fuck anyone to do that. And Kitchens is dead, by the way.” Bond grinned like a razor blade. The sarcasm that thickened his tone was like a poison. “I think he had some rather interesting plans about fucking me, actually, but instead I convinced him that he should tell me who he works for, what he knew about the list, and where Silva has decided to set up shop. Kitchens was an Alpha, by the way. Maybe he just didn’t notice what I was, eh?”

“Fine, Bond, I don’t want to argue with you. You are a chimeric omega, you can take care of yourself. It could make it easier on you by letting me help you, but I will stay out of your way. Clearly you are going to do things your way whether I am here or not. No possible reason to give yourself a break because you are injured, or because I was ordered,” Q laid down on the sofa across from Bond with his laptop and kicked off his shoes. He let out a groan before he could stop it.

Bond continued to eye Q, and didn’t relax. It was like sitting in the same room as a big cat that was constantly growling deep in its throat and swishing its tail, only this cat was also highly unstable, trained in just about everywhere there was a kill a person, and clearly worn thin. “Am I hurting you, Quartermaster?” he asked, just coldly enough to make it clear that he wasn’t showing sympathy - although a line had formed between his eyebrows to bely his tone.

Q lifted his shirt, exposing a bruise where Bond’s stab wound was located. “Nothing I can’t handle. It should go away by the time we take out your stitches.” He reached for his computer bag and pulled out asprin and a bottle of water. He swallowed four, and cracked his neck.

That finally startled Bond, and the tension left the room as if the container holding it had ruptured. “Shit, Q. Tell me you’re having me on,” he said, sounding winded as he actually got up, standing uncertainly but still looking in the direction of Q’s (now covered) torso.

“Having you on?” Q looked confused. “What do you mean? Look, Bond. Come here and touch this, so you can see its real. I was in Medical after Ronson died. I passed out in the middle of Q Branch. I don’t know what else to say to prove I’m telling the truth. Here, give me your hand.”

Bond hesitated, but finally sat down on the coffee table - facing Q now, his posture less confrontation and more submissive. For an Omega, ‘submissive’ was something rather rare for Bond. He sighed resignedly even as he obliged to stretch forth a scarred, calloused hand, “You don’t… I believe you, Q. And you probably want me touching you about as bad as I want you touching me.”

"Well for starters, I can tell you that it's time to take a break from the suppressants," Q's skin got goosebumps as he touched fingertips with Bond. "I would venture to guess that the Alphas you have been around have been rather short tempered and possessive. After this cycle, you need a break. They aren't working as well as you think they are. You're going to be racing to finish this mission against going into heat."

Bond stiffened, going very still for a second. He withdrew his hand before Q could touch him any more, eyes growing cagy and wary. “Yes, the Alphas around me have been short-tempered and possessive,” he said in a tone that said he was unsurprised by this point - it suddenly became a possibility that the agent was in fact making good use of this. It was a crazy thought, but Bond might have been in this condition for quite awhile, especially considering how little he liked to lose control or be out of action. The next quiet sentence came out limned with distrust like frost, as well as an ironical edge, “And you’re not even the first one to mention how nice it would be if an Omega like myself would go into heat, Quartermaster. Forgive me if you sound a little bit...” His lips pulled back from his teeth, and he made a show of sniffing the air, which would smell a lot like...well...Q. An Arch Alpha. “...Biased.”

"I've never had sex with an Omega," Q retorted. "And I certainly wasn't volunteering. I'm already attached to you with you as my charge. I don't allow myself to lose control. I'm well aware how drawn to you I would be during a heat, and I don't intend to put either of us in that situation. I'm sure there are some Alphas that would be happy to take advantage, but don't mistake me for one of them."

“Then why the well-timed suggestion?” the 00-agent needled, quick despite his fatigue, “And I believe you and I have already had a chat about my seductive skills.”

"Because I could feel it when you touched me!"

That diffused Bond again, a little. He was visibly fuming, and glowering quite impressively, but finally he just dropped his head and rubbed his palms hard across his eyes. “Damn it all to hell,” he grumbled.

"I take blockers," Q explained. "I couldn't smell it until I touched you. So I am going to go down to the desk and arrange for another room. You should try to sleep." He turned to go.

“Wait,” Bond grumbled, dragging the word with notable effort. He stood, the hands he’d rubbed over his face now going back through his hair, now making it stand up in golden spikes. “Stay. I may not be overjoyed with sharing space with someone capable of commanding even Alphas to their knees, but coming back to tell M that this went south because I kicked out MI6’s new Quartermaster sounds even worse. And with the way things are going with MI6…” He dropped his hands, wincing only barely from his wounded side, but facing Q frankly and openly, “Everyone needs someone to watch their backs. Just promise me that you’ll trust me to watch you… and I’ll see if I can react in kind.”

"Ok, if you're sure?" At Bond's nod, Q slumped back on the sofa. "I have some scans running on security, and I was able to put Silva's face in the face recognition software. So if he shows up, I have an alarm set. Can you just put my food in the fridge when it comes?" He was already yawning and nodding off.

Chapter Text

Q had fallen asleep where he landed, his glasses still on. At some point during the night, he had curled his legs up underneath him, and laid lengthwise on the couch. He looked like a sleeping child, arms crossed to stay warm. He made small noises in his sleep, reacting to Bond’s presence in the room. His hair was standing in all directions, and he was frowning.

“Dammit,” 007 sighed, having gotten up about half an hour earlier only to stand at the foot of the sofa and stare ever since.

When Bond had awoken, it was instantly and completely, and with the knowledge that he’d slept through the entire night, wasn’t in any danger, and for once the scent of an Alpha around while he’d slept hadn’t driven him up a wall. Now, standing over Q in just a pair of sweatpants, arms folded, 007 reflected on the fact that Arch Alphas perhaps had a lot more tricks up their sleeve than he’d imagined - and so far, none of them seemed bent against him. Even in sleep, calmness was rolling of the slim Quartermaster in waves, like white noise just at the back of Bond’s senses, and he hadn’t noticed it last night only because he’d been stressed, in pain, and all around in a bad mood.

When Bond unfolded his arms and murmured, “You sneaky little shit,” it was without rancor. Bond hadn’t slept a full night in… longer than he could remember. He moved away from the couch to start his day, the first thing being to pop back some pain pills - not because he couldn’t tolerate the throbbing of his various aches, bruises, and lacerations, but because he didn’t know if Q could.

Ten minutes later saw 007 dropping a blanket over Q’s form, making room for himself at the smaller man’s feet on the couch, and starting in on a breakfast of some of the microwaved takeout leftover from last night.

Q opened his eyes slowly, everything fuzzy despite his glasses still being on. He yawned and sat up. He was a bit surprised to see Bond, but he tried to act like it was normal so the agent didn’t run. He felt much more relaxed than he had in awhile, and he suspected that it was because of the nearness of the Omega.

“I hope you slept okay,” he stretched. “I’m sorry I just passed out. Traveling on a plane is hard on me. All those people in a confined spaced that are anxious, it drains me. And I got adopted by a baby.”

One blond brow lifted, and Q was favored by a pale-blue eye. “Adopted?” 007 said slowly, sounding amused. He lowered his take-out container a moment.

“There was a young Omega woman with a fussy baby that was rather taken with me,” Q admitted. “The baby kept reaching for me, and went right to sleep in my arms. She looked so tired, I didn’t have the heart to give him back.”

Bond surprised Q by chuckling, and after taking a few more mouthfuls of food, passed it over without ceremony, more or less putting it on Q’s lap. “I’ll go heat up more. Then we should probably make plans to track down bloody Silva and get that list back,” 007 griped as if all of this were merely a minor annoyance. He was walking more smoothly this morning, too: less exhausted, more at ease, his footsteps like those of a big cat’s as he prowled back to the miniature kitchen provided.

“If you make tea, I can start scanning the security footage,” Q finished the food Bond had left on his lap. “Oh, and I should wash those stitches, and get you some antibiotics.”

“I cleaned them already,” Bond said, but instead of everything devolving into an argument, the agent added as he put a kettle on, “but if you’re determined to look at them, knock yourself out.” He padded back over, at least pretending at idleness, although a man with that much training and pure muscle only ever did things with intent. He sat down again by Q, lounging back on the couch but placing his arms over the back so that his bruises and new stitches were on display. His look was almost challenging, but at least it was calm, too. A good night’s sleep had clearly been good for both of them.

“Looks good, although that bruising is going to look ugly for awhile,” Q nodded. “You smell less anxious as well, that will help you to heal.”

“Well, I’ll be even less anxious when we finish this,” 007 commented, but sounded pleased enough. He had another serving of food in his hands, all warmed up. “I know that I’m not on the list, since I was declared dead, but I think that I’ll be out of a job if MI6 loses all her other agents. So - what have you got for me, Q? Kitchens gave me a location on Silva, but all I know I is that it’s a fucking island off the coast of Macao.”

“If you can get us there physically, I can get us in,” Q assured. “And I can hot wire almost any vehicle ever manufactured. Can you steer a boat? From what I learned about Silva from M, he is a genius with tech. If you can get me there, I can get us in.”

“Then we’re in,” 007 responded assuredly, flashing Q a quick, devilish smile before frowning at him, frowning at his own food (half-eaten like before), and then handing it over again. “I feel like a grandmother saying this, but you need to eat more. What do they feed you in Q-branch?”

“Um, tea?” Q blushed. “Sometimes I remember to bring a sandwich… it just depends how important the mission is, if I actually get around to eating it. I can’t exactly order take away to MI6.”

“Oh, for the love of…” 007 lamented this new information, but actually seemed rather okay with being the mother-hen figure at the moment, because as soon as his second serving of food was once again ensconced in Q’s lap, he got up - the kettle was whistling for attention. “So we fly to Macau, and then I get us a boat to this island. There’s bound to be security of some sort.” Bond leaned against the counter, all hard muscle and powerful lines, as he let the tea steep. “Can you handle a gun?”

“A gun yes…” Q frowned. “But we are going to FLY to Macau? Um, how coherent do I need to be? That’s why the baby was so taken with me. I usually have to drug myself to fly and it makes the Alpha in me very protective.” And he might figure out that I forgot my blockers… I was so nervous about flying I forgot to grab them. I already had one bottle of pills, so I didn’t think. This is so much energy. I wish I could just take him home where he would be safe.

One of Bond’s brows lifted again, and his weight shifted. He seemed torn between a questioning expression and a slightly amused one. “Unless Q-branch has magically developed teleportation, we’ll be flying, yes. It’s the fastest way, and I believe that you’ve expressed an interest in efficiency before.” The sudden, falcon-like look in Bond’s eyes was a reminder of the keen intellect beneath the handsome features - an intellect honed towards reading other people, which right now meant solely Q.

“What? I’m just not a particular fan of flying,” Q tried to avoid Bond’s eyes so the Chimeric wouldn’t have reason to study him further. He had no intention of doing anything that would make Bond wary, but he didn’t want part of Bond’s attention focused on the possibility of a threat coming from Q because of his smell.

Unfortunately, 007’s interest was clearly piqued - fortunately, he didn’t seem to be reacting with further wariness, but rather the opposite. His footsteps carried him nearer, eyes and posture curious and intent, although he had the good grace to bring a mug of tea with him as a distraction as he asked cannily, “And by ‘not a particular fan,’ you mean afraid of flying.”

“Yes, I’m afraid of flying,” Q shut his eyes and tried not to breath in the scent of Bond, who was stalking towards him like a hunter on the prowl. “And afraid of heights.”

“Fantastic,” 007 mused back. He placed Q’s tea on the coffee-table before sprawling on the couch again. He glanced over as he realized, “But you made it here, so clearly you can survive it. Medication? How groggy will it make you when we land?”

“Not too bad, I can be alert within the hour,” Q said. “I usually bring a thermos of espresso to shock me back, and that will do it pretty fast.”

“And hour. I can work with that,” was the fairly optimistic response, 007’s blond head nodding. His hair was still a tousled mess, but he looked good regardless - and probably knew it. “Since neither you nor I were in the system when Silva got that inside information, I imagine it would be safe for us to fly commercial to Macao on short notice. Unless you like the sound of flying on a tiny, unstable, private plane,” the agent added with a tiny leer that was positively evil. Then he added with perfect grace again, “Don’t let your tea get cold, Quartermaster.”

Q paled, and took a deep breath. He managed to steady himself, but not before a wave of panic radiated off of himself that he hoped Bond didn’t notice. The last think he wanted was for Bond to figure out that he wanted to wrap himself up in Bond’s arms like a security blanket.

“I will arrange seats on the next available commercial flight,” Q got up and hurried to his laptop. “Let me see… I can get us on a plane in two hours, does that give us enough time to pack and get to the airport? I didn’t unpack anything other than my computer, so I just need to change clothes.”

He grabbed clean clothes out of his bag and rushed into the bathroom without leaving Bond time to respond.

~^~

So perhaps traveling with an Arch Alpha wasn’t as bad as Bond had been expecting - or, at least, the problems he was facing were different. He’d fully expected to be faced with coddling and/or bigotry, or even the type of handsiness that most Alphas assumed that all Omegas liked, but instead his biggest concern was the fact that Q looked like he was walking to the gallows instead of towards their flight-gate.

Bond was ‘passing’ again, this time as a Beta. After last night’s sleep, he felt up for it, and it was safer than depending on scent-hiding cologne in close-quarters - still, he could feel the slight drain on his energy. With Q giving him something to focus on, however, he barely noticed. “How are you doing, Gabriel?” he asked, managing to recall Q’s real name at the last second, even if it tasted wrong on his tongue.

“I’m- I’m ok,” Q gave him a worn out smile. “Stop using up your energy though, I can feel you getting tired. You have a perfect alibi traveling with me.” He let a few waves of protectiveness wash over him before he turned and blushed.

Bond flushed, too, mostly because he realized that making use of his Chimeric abilities was a reflex for him by now. “It’s called ‘passing’,” he explained, and shifted his shoulders a bit uneasily as the prospect of turning it off again … but Q had a point. “You can seriously notice when I’m doing it?” he demanded seriously but quietly, moving a bit closer so that only Q would hear him.

“Yesss? I can feel you getting tired, and then I pay attention to what you smell like,” Q took his arm to throw a smile at the ticket taker at the gate. “Thank you Ma’am, yes, I’m sure the trip will be wonderful.” Once they were boarding the plane, he turned back to Bond. “And if I am going to be drowsy, we need you at top form.” He popped a few pills and waited for takeoff.

A desire to have the aisle seat and thus more maneuverability in case of trouble warred with the understanding that Q would probably prefer not to be boxed in, so when they walked up to their two seats, 007 hesitated.

“I can take the inside seat, I’m just going to sleep anyway,” Q settled into the window seat. Bond’s smell had gone back to Omega, and Q resisted the urge to curl up and smell him. It did make him calm, and he dozed off before the pilot announced their departure.

The flight promised to be boring, and at under three hours, not particularly long by 007’s standards. He relaxed back in his seat, taking note of everyone around him on pure reflex, and likewise reflexively casting a dashing smile at the stewardess as she walked by. She returned his smile with a blush, but the cologne must have been working, because she didn’t seem to note that she was chatting with an Omega as she asked about Q’s seat belt. Bond reached over and circled Q’s wrist in his hand, enough to lift it and show that, indeed, the bespectacled young man had remembered to fasten his seat belt before the drugs had knocked him out.

Bond settled back, accepting that perhaps this mission wouldn’t end in fire and ruins, and that just maybe his new Quartermaster was a man he could work with.

Things didn’t start to get interesting again until they’d been at cruising speed for about twenty minutes, and Bond had eased his chair back just a bit to catch a few winks himself. He wasn’t expecting any trouble mid-air, and therefore most certainly wasn’t expecting the bit of shuffling next to him. One wary eye cracked open informed him that it was just Q, wriggling around in his seat. He stilled appeared to be out, but his expression was tilted into a little moue of discontent that James categorized as ‘adorable’ before he could better on it. Honestly, it was the first time that he’d ever used ‘adorable’ to describe something about an Alpha, but Q lived to be a contradiction.

Five minutes later, things got worse as the smaller man twisted around, and Bond was startled out of a half-doze to find… a mess of wavy dark-brown hair piled up against his shoulder. Q’s glasses were digging into his arm a bit, but then little Alpha inhaled deeply and then exhaled slowly. All of his fidgeting disappeared, and he relaxed in place, his slim limbs going still.

Bond had what amounted to a sleepy scarecrow tipped against him, breaths already warming his shoulder.

“Bloody fucking hell,” 007 sighed without particular inflection, too out of his element to even know what to think about this. He tried to scoot away a little bit, but all that ended with was Q falling further against him, making a small mewling noise as his seat-belt dug into his waist. When the agent, gritting his teeth against confused annoyance, tried to grip Q and push him away instead, he learned that drugged, sleeping Arch Alphas were disturbingly adept at burrowing, and swiftly gave up when he realized things were getting ridiculous. Removing a limpet would have been easier, and probably less embarrassing. “Q, you little shit,” he muttered, words drowned by the low drone of the engines. Narrowed chips of sapphire glared down at the dark head still tucked close to his neck, and he accused, “And you’re not even going to remember this!” A quick glance around informed Bond that no one was paying any particular attention to his plight, which finally just got him to roll his eyes and relax gingerly. He ran the thought through his head more logically: Q would not remember this.

Meaning, this was only as embarrassing as Bond made it. Theoretically. With that in mind, 007 gave up on removing either himself from the situation or Q from himself, and resigned himself to spending the next two hours of the flight in close quarters with his present partner.

Which actually wasn’t so bad. Q smelled rather nice - it was hard to tell, but now that he was this close, 007 thought he scented something faintly different from Q that set him apart as an Arch instead of a regular Alpha. With no one watching to tell him not to, 007 pushed down his embarrassment with practiced ease and lowered his nose to Q’s tangles curls. As he inhaled, he felt something unstring itself inside of him, like a tension being removed from a taut rubber-band. Bond relaxed. Q was breathing steadily and quietly now, with the exception of tiny movements of his head, as if he wanted to bury his nose closer, but his glasses were in the way… so 007 did the polite thing and removed them.

He told himself that it was because he didn’t want Q to later notice that his glasses were bent, and inevitably ask how that had come to be. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the way the Alpha sighed as he was finally able to press his face against Bond’s clothing and shoulder beneath.

It also had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Bond savored the feeling of power he had, if only in this moment, with an Arch Alpha cuddled up to him - trusting and unarmed and unconscious. Most people, when they looked at 007, with his broad shoulders and intimidating demeanor, didn’t realize how important little moments of power were to him.

Mostly, because he knew how quickly power could be taken away - even from a person like him.

~^~

Q opened his eyes to hear the descent of the plane being announced. He couldn’t figure out why everything was blurry, but he settled against the warmth around him. There were a set of arms holding him, and he let himself luxuriate in the feeling for a moment.

He could smell sleepy Omega, and then it all came back to him. He tried not to jump and bother the agent he was sleeping on, because clearly Bond needed to rest badly. He nuzzled back against Bond’s chest, and waiting for the agent to realize what was going on, willing it to last for just a few more moments before they got back to the bickering.

It was the stewardess that did it.

“Sir? Sir, you need to put your chair in the upright position.”

The body pressed against Q’s jolted, and for a second, the Quartermaster got a very clear taste of just how much strength 007 harbored, as his arms reflexively tightened. He breathed in one sharp, deep breath, the rough exhale of it ruffling the hair on the back of Q’s head before he could be heard murmuring something vague back to the stewardess - by his voice, 007 had definitely been asleep. Before Bond could presumably move his chair, however, there was the inevitable moment when he realized that he had both arms wrapped around Q’s frame.

Q sighed, back to reality. Might as well acknowledge what was going on instead of the tension eating away at them.

“Did you sleep well?” He lifted his head, sleep strewn curls framing his face. “I rather think I used you like a pillow. I think I may have found a use for you when you retire. Did you see my glasses?”

The humor got Bond to relax, the release of tension tangible through the large portions of them still touching. “Tucked in to the seat in front of me,” 007 responded obediently, even as the plane lurched a bit at the start of its descent. Almost before Q tensed, the arm still around his shoulders cinched tight. “Sorry,” Bond muttered tightly, before starting to disentangle.

“Stay there?” Q could feel his hands shaking as he reached for the glasses. “This is the most peaceful flight I have had in quite awhile. Usually its all I can do to keep from panicking. The baby was actually a nice distraction.”

He could feel himself clutching at Bond’s shirt, but at the moment he didn’t care. He knew it was an irrational fear, but that did nothing to quell the panic. The idea of hurtling along in a metal box in the middle of the air did in his nerves.

The awkwardness was palpable, but 007 decided to obey the request. His arms settled back into place without a word, and locked down once more when the next jolt came - they were clearly reacting to Q’s tension instead of the rocking of the plane, and 007 was like a mountain of stability. The fact that he didn’t say anything helped, too. All of the argumentativeness, the snideness, or the cat’s-claw comments were entirely absent, leaving Q merely with warmth, strength, and a calming scent wrapped around him.

“Mmmm, thank you,” Q managed to calm himself enough to sit up by the time the plane taxied to a stop. “I’m sorry, I don’t usually get that comfortable, or clingy. I hope you slept okay. There is a boat waiting for us at the dock, if you can flag down a cab while I find the luggage.”

“I slept all right,” was the distracted answer, as Bond’s arms returned to his own sides, and something resembling personal space was regained. “Must have happened while we were both sleeping. No harm done.” Bond’s words were as smooth as always, but as he stood and began to disembark (standing aside so Q could go first, doing a perfect impression of a big blond shadow in his wake), he shook his head with a puzzled expression, as if baffled by the sleep he was shaking from his eyes.

Q stretched like a sleepy teenager, managing to get his arms and legs into Bond’s space. He was loathe to let the warm feeling of security go, Bond touching him and soothing him. But back to the mission, and then they could figure out the confusion that was the two of them, calmer in each other’s presence.

Perhaps they were both due for some good karma, because the luggage was found in a timely manner, and a taxi was ready and waiting with Bond barely a moment later. The silence of the ride felt slightly awkward, as did the space between them, considering the lack of it moments ago. By the time they got to the docks, however, Bond was back to business again, a look that was as natural as spots to a leopard. Solemn and ready, he followed Q’s instructions to their boat, only cracking a passing jokes about how Q had ruined his fun by actually renting it. “I was sure I’d get a chance to prove my resourcefulness to you, Quartermaster,” the agent quipped with a quirk of his lips, as he helped the other man on board, “Petty thievery, I’m told, is one of my most delightful assets.”

“I’m sure there are others I might enjoy,” Q stammered. He tried to hide his blush behind a sip of espresso from the thermos he had filled at the airport coffee shop. He turned away so Bond wouldn’t see his blush.

There was another weighted silence, and probably sharp eyes on him, but at least 007 recovered quickly enough - he was light on his feet as well as light with his words, it seemed. “Well, I’m told my ability to cause general chaos is quite charming. And government toppling is something else that I come highly recommended in. Although I think M might use different words…” Bond was grinning impishly by the time he got the engine going and maneuvered them away from the docks with consummate skill. “You’re not afraid of boats, too, are you, Gabriel?” he shouted playfully over the building roar of the engines.

“Not at all,” Q could regain his footing out here in the open air, without Bond’s scent drowning him. It left him feeling oddly lonely. “I can even drive one. So once we get to the island, any ideas about how to find Silva?”

“There are a few sure-fire ways, but they’re all reckless,” 007 admitted, driving with an expert hand. The sunglasses he’d pulled on somehow made him look even more dashing, and his choice in clothing today had tended more towards the practical: a light, tan button-down over a white undershirt, and slacks that looked well-fitted but also serviceable and tough. How the man managed to be dressed down and still look classy was a mystery. “Finding the list should be our priority, and for that I imagine that you’ll want to find a computer there to hack into?”

“Yes, according to M, Silva is a technology expert,” Q nodded. “I may be the only one in the world capable of breaking into his systems. Doesn’t mean I am looking forward to it though. He is running systems that I designed, and I’m afraid of what someone with a lack of a moral code like him could do with that technology.”

Bond, unexpectedly, seemed to find that funny, and started laughing. When he glanced back over his shoulder to notice Q’s perplexed look fixed on him, the 00-agent controlled the amused sounds but still smirked broadly. “Sorry, just impressed by your humility. Good to know I’ve got the only bloke in the world who can do this job. Any other tricks I should know about? I haven’t seen any of that fabled Arch Alpha skill to command people yet.”

“That can be more of a liability than anything else,” Q frowned. “Because then Silva is going to try to use you to get to me. He will understand that you are here as my charge, and he will have no problem taking advantage of that. If he can’t overpower me, he will hurt you, to get to me. He isn’t the sort that would have an issue with abusing that.”

“Well, then our job is simple,” Bond tossed back, his roguish smile as strong as ever, “We make sure that he doesn’t realize that you’re an Arch, or we don’t let him get a hold of me. I’ve got a lot of practice in the latter. How are you at the former?” The fact that Bond could joke about this was both reassuring and disturbing.

“I usually pass as a beta, let alone an Arch,” Q said with a laugh. “I’m not pushy, and I’m tiny. Usually no one pays attention to me. So I see no reason to make them look twice unless it's an emergency. But that might be a bit harder on a deserted island.”

“With not a lot of other scents? Yeah, I’d bloody say it will be,” Bond opined, although he softened his suddenly serious tone to add, “But you’re right, you’re not exactly the physical picture of an Alpha. I actually won’t be surprised if we get mixed up in that regard.” Turning the boat just a little, tossing up spray, Bond added thoughtfully, “Especially if I make use of being a Chimera.”

“That could work to our advantage perfectly,” Q was thoughtful. “How long can you keep it up without it affecting your fighting power? As long as I stay calm, they shouldn’t be able to tell.”

Bond’s chuckle could be heard only barely over the rush of water and grumbling of the engines, but his eyes were sly and amused as he glanced back and informed Q, “As long as you stay calm and they don’t have a nose as good as mine. Even with the wind hitting you, and me upwind, you’re pretty damn easy to pick out by smell.”

Q looked a little alarmed. “Usually people can’t smell me. Its more of an emotional link they respond to, not my scent. You’re the first person that has told me that who I wasn’t involved with.”

The boat jerked. Bond quickly brought it back under control, but his shoulders were rigid and his posture tense for awhile. It was painfully obvious how he moved over the subject, “So we hopefully won’t have to worry about too many people catching you by scent. I hope you have some idea where we might look for a computer for you to break into, because the more efficiently I can get us to our target, the less likely we have to dodge bullets.”

“He’s a tech person, the computers will be somewhere with weatherproof conditions,” he was thoughtful. “He needs some of the top equipment available in the world right now, and he isn’t going to expose that to the elements. I’d say probably somewhere isolated from the living quarters, he won’t want to be disturbed by noise. It should work in our favor. The conditions he needs are perfect for us to break in. I have a zip drive that will transmit his info back to MI6. I just need to get it plugged in and hidden, and his system will become a one way continuation of our network.”

“Should be a breeze then,” 007 accepted the risks with ease, “if you can follow my lead and do what I tell you, at least until we find you a computer. Can you do that?”

“Of course,” Q took a deep breath. “Let’s get this over with.”

~^~

The island was small, but not so small that Bond couldn’t find them an inconspicuous place to dock. It was a bit tricky making sure that they didn’t have to wade through water (no problem for Bond, but a problem for the bits of tech Q had brought along), but the Quartermaster had been surprisingly helpful in giving them the lay of the land beforehand. It was nice to know what he was getting into ahead of time, for once. Bond’s opinion of the dark-haired little Alpha continued to rise.

He still had to wonder at Q’s comment about his scent, however. All Alphas, Betas, and Omegas could be determined by scent, unless they were purposefully taking pains to hide it, but he’d simply assumed Q wasn’t. Even now, with the salt of the sea so strong in the air, and the sun baking everything like a hot fist pressing all life into the earth, Bond only had to tilt his head back a little and take a whiff to smell the conglomeration of scents that was Q - and know that he was something more than an Alpha. True, it was a faint difference, but it was far from unnoticeable.

‘Yet another thing to put on the list of what I do not know about Arch Alphas,’ Bond sighed resignedly in his head, although he quickly amended, ‘Or just about Q.’ For a men who worked amidst secrets for a living, this was equal parts irritating and intriguing, and 007 most certainly couldn’t point fingers.

“Stay here, Q,” Bond commanded in an undertone, reaching back without thinking to press down firmly on one of Q’s shoulders. They’d just come within sight of the nearest buildings, and the fact that no guards had been spotted simply made 007 want to look harder to find them.

Q jumped. The touch was electric. He had noticed that 007’s attitude toward him had changed, but he wasn’t prepared for the wave of something, protectiveness? No, it was more than that, it was the feeling of someone working in tandem with him, their power reflecting off of each other, and complementing.

007 looked remarkably relaxed, too, or a man about to go into a dangerous position. In its own way, it was beautiful to watch: like a lion hunting. The hand on Q’s shoulder pressed down further, until Q relented to fold his legs and crouch down, out of sight. Some of Bond’s mischievous side - the side of him that angered people to no end back at MI6, if the stories were true - showed as 007 looked away from their destination to flash Q a charming, cheeky grin. “Back in a tic. Don’t get bored while I’m gone.”

And with that, 007 was moving, fast and competent while keeping his body low. It was broad daylight, and Bond should have stood out like a sore thumb, but Q had to remember that the man was trained for this: with his choice in clothing (all light colors, tending to shades akin to the arid landscape) allowed him to all but blend in, and in the brief time he’d had, it was as if the agent had mapped out every spot of cover that existed, and some that logically shouldn’t have. In fact, in a shockingly short amount of time, the man had disappeared altogether. Q couldn’t see him.

But he realized that he knew where he was. And that was scarier than being able to see him. Because it meant that they had connected on another level, without realizing it. Now the question was whether or not the agent was able to sense him as well.

Q tried to block the implications of that from his mind, while still focusing on the agent, and his intuition of what Bond needed. There was a conversation that needed to happen once they were back to safety. And Q wasn’t sure how to start that, without admitting that there were emotions brewing beneath the surface between them.

It seemed that Bond was already up next to the buildings, vague emanations of excitement and tension like an explosion contained in beautiful slow-motion coming from the man. Goddammit, the man was actually having fun. And then that bright fire of excitement peaked like an adrenaline spike, and it didn’t take a genius to realize that Bond had spotted someone or something interesting.

Or threatening.

Before Q could even begin to worry about this, he was hit by a new influx of new awareness - new emotions, proving that this link was real, no matter how much he wanted to ignore it. The excitement tangled up with adrenaline, but now disgust began seeping in like muddy ground water rising, along with a primal sort of viciousness that was as terrifying as it was breathtaking.

Q was stuck weathering that mess of foreign emotions, kneeling behind an outcropping and squeezing his eyes shut until he was able to block it out. He still could sense Bond, however, and couldn’t bring himself to feel bad about that because he could tell that the man was alive and safe still.

And when Bond came back, there were Omega pheromones rolling off him like a choking smog, and it was clear what trick he’d just used to complete this leg of his mission. The question was why he’d been so angry and sickened by it.

The problem with the pheromones was that they made Q want to pick up Bond and carry him off to safety. He smelled like he had been exposed to danger, and it was Q’s responsibility to protect him. Damn these emotions. He was used to feeling protective of his charges, but he wasn’t used to the sensation of being emotionally, as well as physically, invested in their well being.

Bond seemed determined to play it off that everything had gone just fine, as if Q couldn’t smell the death on him. Another thing to discuss later on when they had a chance to talk. This wasn’t going to go very smoothly if Q could sense what Bond wasn’t telling him.

Bond directed him to a building that had various computer mainframes running. It seemed like there were separate computer systems, but when Q plugged in his zip drive, he found that they were connected to a common server. That made it a perfect situation. He could get in by connecting to the system by connecting to the zip drive, but it was a one way street.

Bond had been focused but tense the whole way to this building - and exactly how he’d known which building to go to remained a secret. All the fact Q had pointed to rather painful methods of information extraction, the kind that also left bodies. Q tried not to think about it as 007 paced behind him, gun already drawn and eyes on the exits. “How long is this going to take, Q?” he asked, voice low.

“Did you hear that? I’m in, but I haven’t connected to my server yet to send information,” he could smell Bond, his energy crackling and adrenaline pounding. This was Bond in his element, and it was beautiful to watch.

It seemed that the slight noise that had caught Q’s ear had snagged in Bond’s, too, because he was looking fixedly at the door with his gun now cradled in both fists. “Work fast, Q. Looks like we’re going to have company, but lucky for you-” Bond cracked a grin, a vicious look more befitting the face of a wolf. “-I’m a hell of a doorman. Hang tight, Q. I’m going to see if there are any guests to greet.” By the way Bond prowled away, gun still ready but back straight and manner proud, it looked like he’d greet them with all the manners of a genteel and hungry lion.

"Bond, give me ninety seconds, its connecting now!" Q was typing as fast as he could, and he could feel Bond's pulse, slow but strong. "007! How close are they? If you can keep them out for sixty seconds, we can go."

“I don’t know if we have sixty seconds,” Bond grunted, even as gunshots began to pound the air. One actually got in the room and hit something near Q, and Bond swore low and loud. “Keep working, Q,” 007 commanded, the thud of his heartbeat speeding up even as a deep and powerful fury began to swell amidst the other emotions - instead of smothering the bright fire of 007’s focus, however, Q gasped at the way it suffused and bolstered it. “I’m going to push these bastards back a bit.”

“We can go if you can clear the door and keep them out, it will finish on its own,” Q winced at the deluge he could feel running through Bond.

Bond’s own gun barked, a sharp cry answering it to show that he’d hit something, and then he was out the door its wake. Bullets were flying everywhere now, but no longer inside the same room Q was in as 007’s efforts forced the enemy operatives to readjust or swiftly sprout a few bullet holes. Shouts were echoing everywhere, full of panic but also calling for back-up - although more than a few of those were cut off mid-sentence by the bark of a gun, as 007 did his work. The man was a vicious force of nature, and so far as Q could tell, was thus far uninjured, while it sounded like the enemy was panicking.

But 007 was just one man.

Reinforcements had apparently come, and either they’d come in and flanked Bond, or he simply hadn’t managed to hold them all back - possibly both. Q’s work was interrupted by another bullet hitting precariously close to where he was working, and a quick glance informed him that he was no longer alone in the room. Guns raised with intent and teeth bared in vicious snarls, two Alphas and a Beta poured into the room, their scents thick with adrenaline beneath the smoky rankness of spent bullets.

One of them opened his mouth to shout something, even as all three weapons zeroed in on Q. Somehow, Bond must have noticed things swiftly spiraling out of control, and Q could just hear him roaring something. There wasn’t time to decipher what the agent was saying, or what he planned to do about three armed men bearing down on Q’s position with clear intents to kill him.

“Everybody, GET DOWN!” Q let the force of his power echo through his voice, and he could feel it in his fingertips. He let it slam through his fingers in a wave. He rarely let out his Arch Alpha power in full, and it always took him a moment to reconcile the raw feeling of power with the caring side of his personality. But this time it was with 007 in range, in his charge.

The wave of it sent everyone else in the room to their knees, including 007, who had been moving this whole time and just made it back into the room with Q as the power-filled command rippled across the room. Q was frozen in horror. 007 had clearly been poised to shoot someone - possibly several someones, likely three if wishes were bullets - but the command took root in his bones like it did everyone else’s, and his expression twisted in a pained snarl as his arms dropped without his consent, knees buckling. He didn’t use the power enough to let Bond loose and keep the others contained. The men had hit their knees, guns skidding out of their reach. Bond’s Walther lay a few feet beyond his grasp. He had been hit the hardest, since he and Q shared the emotional connection. The agent was actually gasping, feeling the brunt of an Arch’s power for possibly the first time even as his empty hands splayed on the floor. His muscles bunched with the effort of not crumpling further, and it looked as though suddenly gravity had increased tenfold as 007 collapsed alongside the three men who had been coming for Q.

“Bond! Bond, move!” Q rushed to him and fell on his knees. He felt for a pulse, even though he could see him breathing. “Wake up, 007! Please, move for me!” He smacked his cheeks to get a response, but Bond’s eyes were still rolled back in his head. “James, I didn’t mean it for you, I have to protect you.” Q was babbling, he could hear himself but he couldn’t stop the fear. “She told me that you were in my charge, and to bring you back safe. Please, James, move!”

Unfortunately, the last line wasn’t a command, and by the time Q looked up from where he was kneeling over the downed Omega, there were more men pouring through the door. They must have been out of range, but were now closing in fast - the nearest one raised a long rifle, but when the trigger was depressed, it didn’t make the same percussive noise of a bullet.

A tufted dart was sticking out of Q’s shoulder, looking incredibly benign as it pierced cloth and then flesh.

Everything went black.

~^~

Chapter Text

Q could hear murmuring voices, and for a moment couldn’t place where he was. His head ached, and he couldn’t move. He tried to sense Bond, and one of the voices crystallized into 007’s King’s English. The other… he couldn’t place it, but judging by the tension he could feel radiating off of Bond, they had found Silva.

He tried to call to Bond, to tell him to focus on their connection while he ordered Silva down. But then he realized that the cottony feeling stuck to the roof of his mouth was a greasy rag, not his dry tongue. With horror, he tried to move his limbs again, only to find that they were bound. His wrists and ankles were bound and joined behind his back, bowing him into an uncomfortable angle. His fingers and toes were already losing their numbness, pins and needles starting in his frozen limbs.

Even before Q’s eyes snapped open, 007’s gaze must have turned to him, because Q met pale-blue eyes the second he looked up.

Bond was similarly restrained, sans gag - which meant the gig was definitely up, and Silva knew that Bond (despite his gender and powerful appearance) was an Omega, and Q (despite his comparatively small size) was an Arch Alpha. And the third man in the room was definitely Silva, matching the handful of photos Q had seen, and presently standing over where he had Bond tied to a chair, looking like the cat who’d just at the canary. Broader in shoulder possibly than even Bond, Silva’s smiling countenance swiftly followed Bond’s brief glance to where Q was trussed up on the floor a stone’s-throw away. “Ahh, it seems your little friend has decided to join the proceedings - splendid!” Silva clapped his hands, his expression show vast delight that would have seemed friendly and genteel if it hadn’t also looked so sharkish, “I must admit, I was a bit surprised to find an Arch Alpha on my island.” Silva paced a few steps closer to Q, and it was in his walk that Q could see the agent Silva had been: he moved like a predator, just the same as 007 did… only, while 007 was an ally, Silva was most definitely not, and moved like a fox coming up to a bird that couldn’t fly away. The too-wide smile was still in place, but as Silva folded his hands idly in front of him, his eyes turned cold. “If I’d known ahead of time, I would have prepared better accommodations.”

“Ah,” 007 drew attention back to himself with merely a sound of feigned understanding. As Silva turned, 007 managed to sublimate a look of truly impressive fury (Q knew the fury was there because he could feel it, leaking through this un-planned-for connection like lava down a mountainside) and smirk instead, “Like silk ropes, perhaps? Because I have to tell you, these chafe.” 007 rotated his wrists slightly to prove his point, all the while lounging as if his seat were a throne - and impressive feat for a man that was not only tied up, but who had been brought to his knees recently.

By Q. The memory still had the ability to sting.

Silva’s eyes turned calculating, but he stopped advancing on Q and instead stood between his two captives, watching 007 again. “Now, James, you can hardly complain,” he chided, “After all, you killed an absolutely atrocious number of my men.”

007’s smile turned more poisonous, but also more proud. Glibly, he replied, “To be fair, they started it. I don’t take kindly to bullets coming my way.”

“Or in the direction of your… friend, here,” Silva tipped a thoughtful glance Q’s way before turning back, eyes too intense to be safe, “Whom you still haven’t introduced. Poor form, James, poor form. I’m really quite disappointed.”

“Why?” 007 shot belligerently back, wriggling his wrist a bit again, but this time with more intent to test the strength of the bindings. By the low throb of pain Q could feel - a pain that wasn’t his - 007 had been trying this for awhile, and his wrists were indeed raw beneath the ropes. “Not expecting the quiet little Omega to be mouthy?”

Instead of getting angry at the taunts 007 was freely throwing about (proof that the man really was suicidal), Silva’s smile grew more delighted, and he finally gave up interest in Q entirely to wander back to Bond. When he came close enough to actually brush 007’s knees, Q finally felt some discomfort wash down the link that he’d somehow developed with Bond - but the agent pushed it down quickly, cold focus defining his mental state instead. “Oh, there’s nothing little about you, James, dear” Silva chose to respond, voice dripping honey and acid all in one, “I must say, you’re very much not what I would have expected, but I’m not complaining.”

Silva’s hand reached out, and Q was surprised at his own personal feelings of revulsion and anger as Silva’s broad hand played around the collar of Bond’s shirt, eventually pushing it aside. 007 shifted uneasily, but otherwise gave nothing away, until Q sensed the faint jolt of surprise. From his angle, Q didn’t have the best view of things, but it took only a second for him to realize that Silva’s invasive fingertips have pushed far enough against the material to reveal Bond’s latest near-mortal scar: the bullet-wound on one side of his chest where Eve had shot him.

“You know, it’s something of a novelty to me,” Silva went on pleasantly, as he inspected the scar with evident interest, “An Omega in your profession. Has anyone ever told you that that’s odd?” Silva brushed his hand upwards, and 007 was forced to tilt his head away from Q a bit as the backs of the other man’s knuckles stroked the side of his neck. Q was given a view of another old scar - one of many, no doubt - tucked just under 007’s ear. “Your pain tolerance must be phenomenal,” finished Silva with a little frown that put a line between his brows, even as his voice radiated awe to the point where it was clearly patronizing. “Still, just look at you - barely held together. It’s a wonder your little Alpha friend hasn’t started ripping at your clothes.” Glancing again over at Q - shooting him a viciously delighted look that had the Quartermaster’s stomach twisting with dread - Silva leaned down until his mouth was actually brushing 007’s ear, although his stage-whisper was loud enough for everyone to clearly hear, “Those suppressants aren’t working much anymore, are they? I’ve heard that that happens, when you try to use drugs to counter what the body wants...” Silva’s hand slid slowly up the inseam of 007’s trousers, and while Q was able to sense the building tension in Bond’s mind, it was so firmly controlled that the agent didn’t so much as quiver.

Q felt the horror in the pit of his stomach, like he was going to be sick. He had never felt this about one of his charges before, this fierce protectiveness. And then he realized that like the emotional link they were sharing, he and Bond were more than Arch and charge. He was feeling the discomfort and emotion that Bond couldn’t show, and it made him grit his teeth in revulsion.

Paying no attention to his other captive, Silva merely lifted his other hand to grasp with painful tightness at the back of 007’s head, holding him still with fingers in his short-blond hair while he took a deep inhale. He made quite a show of picking up the smell of Omega that Q had been dealing with for ages now already. “And what’s the regulation to cover this? I’ve never really been trained with how an Alpha like myself is supposed to treat an Omega he’s just caught…” Silva pulled back, and Q already knew Bond well enough to know that only the hand fisted in his hair kept him from ramming his head forward and breaking Silva’s long nose. Still pretending to be contemplative, even as his tone grew sweet, Silva moved his other hand further up Bond’s leg, “There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.”

And Bond, the bloody suicidal bastard, decided to answer this with a xyresic grin, and a tone so cool and soft and pleasant that butter wouldn’t have melted in his mouth, “Who says it’s my first time?”

For a moment, Silva’s eyes widened, and even without any sort of link to the man whatsoever, Q could sense the arousal wafting off him. Q shivered in disgust and swallowed hard. He tried to reach out to Bond with calm, to keep him from mouthing off to the point of Silva abusing him.

Silva was obviously startled, and 007 merely continued to meet his eyes with calculated mildness that belied the dangerous intent lurking impatiently beneath. Then Silva abruptly let the 00-agent go and backed away, head thrown back as he laughed uproariously. “Well, well, well, James!” he all but crowed, voice loud, grin threatening to split his face, “You are not at all what I expected! Not. At. All. It’s wonderful. How about this then - I’ll offer you a deal. You see, I was going to just kill your dark-haired companion here.”

With no warning, Silva’s strides took him to Q’s side, one hand reaching down and now tangling his fingers in Q’s hair to wrench his head around. 007’s aloof mask shattered - showing almost feral rage beneath, although Silva blithely ignored the furious roar of, “Get the hell away from him!” He instead looked down at Q with almost clinical disinterest, a frightening look on a fact that he been so mobile and full of emotion earlier. It was like a switch had been thrown, revealing the emotionless monster beneath. Silva pulled Q’s head back further, until he was forced to look straight up at him, neck straining.

Silva continued talking to Bond, however, flashing a tiny, cold smile, “But I’m willing to be magnanimous. I don’t want to be your enemy, James.” The soothing tone sounded so real that it was sickening. Silva let go of Q, but only to pet his head like one would a dog, his expression showing that he took vicious enjoyment out of belittling an Alpha that could take him to his knees - if only he could get the gag off. “So I propose a contest - if you win, I’ll let your mysterious but powerful little friend live. If you fail, well…” Silva straightened and spread his arms like it was obvious. “I suppose that we all must come to an end sometime.”

~^~

Silva kept Q in front of them, hands behind his back as he dragged them all outside. The sun was bright and the dust made Q sneeze, his glasses dirty and askew on his face. Bond had been trusted untied, either because Silva didn’t fear Omegas as a rule, or - and this was unfortunately more likely - because he knew that the guards pointing guns at Q’s head would keep the agent quiet. Silva still didn’t know much about Q beyond the fact that he was an Arch Alpha, but he knew that James cared about his well-being, and was using that to the utmost. 007 radiated tension and frustrated, contained fury like a supernova in a bottle, but he walked almost sedately by Silva’s side. Only the lethal glint in his eyes and the muscle twitching in his clenched jaw gave him away as they all made their way outside.

Q was dragged forward by his two guards to what had once been a massive stone statue, it’s fist visible across the way as if it’s punch had gone so awry as to sever itself from the body. The head was nowhere in evidence, but ropes were brought out of seemingly nowhere to affix Q to what remained of the sun-hot stone torso. He struggled a bit, at least in the hopes of rubbing the gag off, but the tight enough around his face that he could feel it biting into the corners of his mouth - and a gun physically nudging under his jaw dissuaded further movements entirely.

All this time Silva was going on about the people who had once lived on this island, and how he’d tricked them into fleeing it, no doubt proud of his cunning as well as his philosophical musings that followed. Bond only had eyes for Q, however. His face was a flat, disconcerting mask, but Q was lucky enough to be able to sense what was beneath it: the ice was only skin-deep, and beneath that was an aching, twisting fire that wanted to do something but didn’t know what.

Yet.

“So. Here’s the game,” Silva announced, once it was clear that Q wouldn’t be going anywhere. 007’s eyes finally turned away from Q’s dark-haired head to Silva’s pale one, just as a tray was placed on another abandoned piece of stone. Silva lifted a bottle from it, pouring a glass of amber liquid. “Fifty year old Macallan, a particular favorite of yours, I understand. So, what’s the toast? To the men we love?” Silva smirked, although his eyes never bothered to flick to Q, instead staying on 007 with frightening intensity. “Let’s see who ends up on top.”

With that, Silva turned from the Omega and instead faced the Arch he’d captured, all that of terrible focus chilling in the island heat. It took a guard pointing a gun at Bond now to keep the man from moving forward as Silva strode towards Q, affecting the kind of mothering smile usually reserved for skittish horses one wanted to gentle - not boffins who were glaring like they wanted to commit murder. “Now, now, my dear, none of that,” Silva chided, reaching forward and catching Q’s jaw in his powerful grip, pushing his head back against the stone and holding it in place. The hold was brutal even as the words remained sympathetic and almost cooing, “Just because you’re not my favorite doesn’t mean you get left out. Just hold still, and I’m sure it will be all over soon...” As he spoke, Silva took his glass and raised it until it was rested on the top of Q’s head. “Time to redeem your marksmanship scores, James,” he called back over his shoulder, although he glanced back to see Q’s eyes widen as he realized what was coming. Leaning in close enough that Q could smell his breath, Silva hummed in a delighted but softer tone meant only for Q, “He does look a bit rough around the edges, doesn’t he? I’m not at all surprised, after looking at his file, that they’d put him in the field with a babysitter like yourself.” With that, Silva made sure that the glass was balanced, and left with the parting shot of, “Stay still… and whatever you do, don’t lose your head.”

Watching all of this, and keenly aware of the other gunman controlling the situation for Silva, Bond slugged back the shot of fifty year old scotch almost defiantly, and Q winced. He could taste the burn hit the back of his own throat. The henchman to Bond’s right put a gun to Bond’s head, while Silva grabbed another - old but cared-for dueling pistols, Q could tell from here. It suddenly got a lot more serious, even before Silva said with a smile, “Let’s see who can be the first to knock the glass from his head? To be sporting, I’ll even let you go first.”

Q could see the tremble appear in Bond’s hand as he realized his lack of options, and lifted it. The betraying vibration in his bones remained as he stared down the sight of the dueling pistol, right at the coworker that he’d been slowly getting along with better. Bond said not a word, either to lash out against Silva or to try and get out of this.

Of all the odd things to focus on with a sixteenth century dueling pistol focused at the shot glass on his head, it was the vase with the daisies that caught Q’s attention. It was the same color as 007’s eyes, ice. Cornflower ocean. He blinked and locked eyes with him. He focused on 007’s eyes, willing him to maintain contact so his calmness could radiate through their connection to his charge.

Then he realized, with a jolt, that 007 was already calm.

Silva had been smirking at the obvious tremor, even going so far as to taunt Bond. Clearly, Silva had managed to get his hands on Bond’s records, asking now if his last brush with death had perhaps been a bit more permanent - after all, what man worth the title of 007 would have hands that shook so badly just from aiming a gun at the head of a man. Outwardly, Bond appeared to get flustered, jaw visibly clenching, and the jibes turned now to Bond’s status as an Omega. Only Q felt the flash of homicidal annoyance that rolled through Bond’s mind, heating up the steel of Bond’s calm, but only serving to temper it like a blade when it cooled again.

As Bond continued to stall - from nerves, everyone else thought; Q knew that it was from calculating intent - one of the guards moved closer. His gun served as a physical means to goad 007 into action, but the sudden flush of excitement from 007 was like a flash-fire, so hot that it nearly burned out the link. The connection was purely empathetic, not telepathic, but it was almost possible to hear 007 say, “Finally,” in his head even before his lips twitched upwards.

The Omega exploded into motion.

The trick around ranged weapons was that they were designed to be used at a reasonable range - as in, with distance from one’s target. Bond had no problem twisting and jamming an elbow upwards to hit his foe’s arm, sending it intended bullet up into the sky even as 007 swung his own arm out. Bond’s shot was haphazard, but even one-handed he managed to shoot a second guard in the leg. By then, he’d discarded the unwieldy weapon he’d been given to reach up and back and capture the gun that had been touching the back of his head barely a second ago. The guard didn’t stand a chance of keeping his gun, as 007 lashed back even harder with an elbow, and there was the nasty sound of a rib cracking beneath a cry of pain. With a more efficient weapon soon in his hands, 007 twisted to the side, and the third guard’s bullet tore into the body of his disarmed companion instead of its intended target.

007’s first shot with his new weapon took out that third guard; the next shot actually removed the weapon from Silva’s hand.

With all three guards on the ground with bullet-wounds - at least one dead already - and Bond looking as competent as a sharpened knife, Silva raised his hands. Something like madness glittered in his eyes, barely masking the anger now crackling in his expression, making his mouth twitch before he exclaimed, “What are you going to do now? Take me back to her?”

Ignoring the yelling, 007 made sure that the remaining weapons were out of reach, keeping well clear of Silva himself. Then he backed up slowly towards Q, quivering now with only the kind of perfect tension that came from adrenaline - the kind of shivering that did nothing at all to his competent, killer’s hands as they kept the handgun focused squarely on Silva. Bond’s scent wrapped around Q like a cloak as the man reached his side.

And then, unexpectedly, Bond flashed a little grin. Gun in one hand, he reached out the other to the untouched glass still on Q’s head. He picked it up, looked Silva straight in the eye, and downed it - then tossed the glass up in the air and took it out with a shot that actually made Silva wince, because the bullet came perilously close to his person. It was a bit tricky to multitask, but 007 kept one hand free to tug a the ropes binding Q’s hands behind his back, just managing to snag the knot and loosening it enough that the Quartermaster could try and continue freeing himself. “I could always just kill you myself. I’ve only one witness to worry about, really-” He tipped his chin in Q’s direction as Q wriggled his hands free. “And he’s on the payroll. I doubt he’ll complain.”

“You can’t,” Silva grinned, a sickly smile that stretched too wide, like a snake’s before it swallowed something. “Or did you forget that I have some rather precious names under my control? I die - and-” Silva made a popping noise. “-And they’re gone. So what are your choices, hmm? Have your little Arch command me to do as you say?” Silva made a scoffing noise even as doubt slithered through Bond’s mind, and unease: he was clearly remembering Q’s little stunt from earlier, and not fondly. But Silva had more incriminating things to say: “I doubt he’ll be able to focus for much longer, with you hovering on the edge of a heat. Naughty boy, James, abusing those suppressants as you have. They won’t work now, so you’ll have no sensible help from him before long.” He looked almost pityingly at Q, even while hunger lurked in Silva’s own almond-shaped eyes. The criminal turned back to Bond, “So are you going to bring me back to her alone?”

“Who says he’s alone?” Q’s voice rang out against the empty beige buildings around them. The Quartermaster had gotten his hands free, and untied the gag. “You seem to underestimate what a single Alpha and Omega pair can do. Especially ones who can control themselves. Clearly that’s something you know nothing about.” He went and picked up a gun from one of the fallen body guards, and checked it for bullets. He stood back to back with Bond, so together they covered the whole of the plaza.

“Although, if you were as smart as you say you are,” there was a sound of helicopters suddenly whirring, stirring up dust around him, “you would realize that 007 and myself are far from ordinary. It doesn’t pay to sell us short. 007, I believe that’s our ride?”

~^~

By the time they were settled into their seats as the plane leveled off, Q was beginning to feel the drop from the adrenaline kicking in. He had been riding a rather impressive high, enough to give orders, and get them through the helicopter ride and hotel checkout that followed. But by the time they boarded the plane, his hands were starting to shake.

“May I get tea?” he asked a passing stewardess politely. He could feel the exhaustion creeping up on him. It had been a long week, and the only restful night of sleep he had gotten had been on the hotel couch. “Do you want one as well, Bond?”

He tried to stay calm and let that feeling reach out for the agent next to him as well. He realized suddenly that it had been hours since they had eaten, and with Bond’s heat approaching, it wouldn’t do for him to be missing meals. Bond was taking everything stoically, however, as he had been since the MI6 choppers had touched down. This was probably backlash from Q accidentally using his Arch abilities on him, because 007 had been strictly professional, as opposed to the tentative friendliness that had been growing previously.

The link was still there, however, so Q felt like a voyeur as he felt the steady roil of caution, distrust, and directionless worry under the agent’s calm expression. “I’ll have coffee, please,” Bond amended the offer, but otherwise didn’t interact with the stewardess as he usually would have.

Q cracked his neck to both sides. He was starting to feel like his shoulders were up to his ears and his head was going to explode. The crowded airplane, and Bond’s emotional turmoil were wearing on his defenses in short order. He wasn’t sure if Bond wanted to talk, or be left alone to brood. But at this point, the agent’s tension was wearing on him as well, so he took a chance.

“How are you doing, Agent Bond?” He tried for a calm voice, but didn't want to take the liberty of using his first name without permission. The agent smelled sweet, like ripe fruit in summer sun, and he made a conscious effort not to breath in too loud. “I’m going to order food, would you like something as well?”

“You don’t have to tip-toe around me, you know,” was the surprisingly blunt reply, as the 00-agent got to the point with the same directness he usually reserved for guns and targets. However, speaking out loud again seemed also to remind him of the brittle, sharp quality of his own voice, so the 00-agent stopped with a sigh. Briefly, Bond closed his eyes, then amended with more patience but also an increased edge of bitterness, “Or maybe you should, after what that bastard Silva said.”

"Silva said a lot of things, Agent Bond," Q shrugged. "There are a lot of ideas out there, about what you and I are. But what do you need, as a person?"

“ ‘What do I need, as a person?” 007 parroted incredulously, turning in his seat finally and just staring at Q with a mix of sharpness that was just wry enough to give it a slightly nasty edge, “Q, you sound like a self-help book, and I’m starting to wish you’d just knocked off and fell asleep like the last plane-ride.” It again felt like cheating, but Q could feel the confused tangle of emotions beneath all of this - a confusing mess of them which ultimately came out ‘feeling’ like a creature that disliked being cornered.

"James," he tried hesitantly. "I'm trying to ask what you need outside of being an omega, outside of being chimeric, outside of your hormones. How do you need me to relate to you?"

Bond huffed and looked forward again, and for a scary second it looked like Q would be summarily dismissed and blocked out, but then the agent deigned to answer with a tight, utterly fabricated little smile, “I need you to relate to me without constantly thinking about whether I’m going to do something hormonal. Think about the fucking job, Q, and the fact that I’m bloody trained to do it. Or, better yet-” and suddenly Bond’s voice got silky, even as the emotions in him turned dark like tar, viscous and sick, “-lie back and think of England.”

At which point 007 tipped back his chair pointedly, folded his arms, and closed his eyes. He wasn’t asleep by any means, but was broadcasting the end of the conversation loud and clear - at least from his end.

"No!" Q lost his patience. "That is exactly what I was trying to do. Ask what you needed outside your biology. So don't treat me like the enemy. I have been nothing but respectful and cautious of you, regardless of your biology putting a strain on me. I am sorry about what happened in the building, but that does not give you the right to be abusive to me."

By now, they were lucky that the plane wasn’t a full one, and that their raised voices still weren’t reaching over the engines. 007’s eyes snapped open, as sharp and pale-blue and frosted as the edges of a glacier, although his temper was definitely running hot beneath it. “It seems an awful lot,” Bond said slowly, as if having to get the words past an impressive set of fangs, “like my biology is all that occupies you. Or have you not noticed how fucking often it seems to come up?”

"And when have I brought it up, other than to ask you aside from it what you need, or if there is anything I need to know?" Q took a deep breath, and tried to remember that he could stay calm. "I am really trying to do my best to ignore the fact that people can smell you and look like they want to eat you. I'm trying to be understanding that you need to protect yourself. But I'm a little less sympathetic to you without my blockers. I can understand just how irresistible you smell, and it's not easy alright?"

It was impossible to be sure, but it seemed likely that Bond was growling under the thrum of the engines, but at least he didn’t throw any more retorts like knives for a moment. The blacker emotions receded even if they didn’t go away. “Fine. I’m resigned to the fact that we’re bloody having this talk,” he sighed, still leaned back at his chair but now glowering up at the ceiling fit to burn a hole in it. But he stopped suddenly, surprise and curiosity flashing like a hot knife through the butter of his poor mode, “Wait a moment - why aren’t you a wreck right now? I thought you had a phobia of planes?”

"I do..." Q looked up in surprise. " I didn't take my anxiety medicine either. Because you're here, I guess."

That threw Bond for a loop. He blinked from where he was still reclined a little tensely in his seat. “I thought I was driving you insane,” he deadpanned, a bit stunned.

“I-” Q stopped. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been so short with you. I guess it is a help. I’ve been trying to handle forgetting my blockers, and that’s been the only thing on my mind.”

Softening a bit more, 007 took that in, nodding, although the swirl of emotions that Q wasn’t supposed to be able to read showed that he didn’t entirely understand it. The agent sat up again, hands folding between his knees.

“Can we maybe- start over?” Q looked down with a guilty expression. “I don’t get captured every day, or do field work. This is all new to me, and it's a lot at once. And I’ve never met a chimeric before. I don’t know what my body is doing until it does it, and it's… hard. You are my charge, and I feel this incredible urge to protect you. But you are the one that is physically capable of protecting me.”

Actual guilt twisted under Bond’s skin, even before he twisted his powerful, scarred hands together and sighed again. “I think… starting over might be best,” he admitted, talking like the words were foreign. “I’ve known a lot of Alphas,” he started to admit, in a slow unfurling of words that was barely louder than the plane, cautious, “but it’s fair to say that I’m as in the dark about you as you are about me. So if you have questions, ask.” His mouth twisted as if he didn’t like the taste of that, but it was a necessary evil, so he let it hang.

“I just wanted to know if there is anything I can do to make it easier on you?” Q asked hesitantly. “I know a bit about what I project feels like to an ordinary Omega, but… I’m not sure how it comes across to you. I try to have a lot more self control than the average Alpha, because I know when I give a command, it had a lot of power. I really am sorry about in the building, I thought you were going to-”

“Don’t worry about it, Q,” 007 interrupted, and while he did still seem uncomfortable, he also seemed stubbornly determined to put it behind him. Old bones had a bad habit of not staying buried, of course, but 00-agents were famous for burying them anyway. “I knew about the command thing,” he flicked a hand vaguely, inadequately hiding how wary the remainder made him, “and was prepared for it to happen at some time or another - although not doing that again is definitely at the top of my list for ‘things that will make it easier on me’.”

“I really am sorry,” Q blushed. “Do you have any plans for when we get back to London? I know you might need a secure place to stay?”

“I have one,” 007 responded immediately, “This isn’t exactly the first time I’ve had a heat hit me when I don’t want it.” He glanced up at the stewardess coming with their drinks. “I’ll be good to work for a few days more, at least - and before you open your mouth again, no, I don’t want your opinion on whether or not I should be working ‘in my condition’.” He hid the sharp, defensive retort with a smile for the stewardess as she handed over their respective drinks.

“I just-” Q took a breath. “I just meant that I have a secure flat, I installed the security myself. And I am going to be busy at MI6 for the foreseeable future decoding Silva’s network. My office is equipped for me to stay there for weeks at a time. I have no opinions on you working or not. I was just offering. I know a heat after a long time on suppressants can be tough.”

Staring moodily at his drink, Bond grumbled something that might have been, “I just can’t shake you, can I?” before lifting his head and saying in a more audible, if resigned, tone, “Fine. If I need it. Can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” Q answered curiously.

“What the devil do you mean by ‘projecting’?”

“What my hormones and emotions feel like to you,” Q said softly. “I don’t know how much you get more than the average person. They get what I want them to. I don’t know how much more you are picking up on.”

Brows lowering, Bond took a sip of his coffee and made a face, but replied candidly, “I don’t think I’ve noticed. But now I’m starting to wonder what else I don’t know about Arch Alphas.”

“I don’t know how I’m really different as an Arch Alpha, other than the commanding,” Q admitted. “I know as a person I find it horrifying the reputation that Alphas have, we are supposed to be nothing better than rapists, animals who can’t control themselves. So I have tried to always be very conscious of myself. Supposedly a Chimeric is the perfect complement to an Arch, but I have never met a pair. It’s children’s stories and hearsay to me. I just can tell you about my personality. I was a loner, everyone picked on me as a child because I was small. And I was warned not to use my powers because someone could be hurt.”

“Sounds like good advice - not the picking on part, but the last bit,” 007 opined, but flashed a faint ghost of a smile over his cup of coffee to show that he meant no offense this time. “Fair is fair then: I’m a loner as well with a pathological distaste for authority. Or so I’m told.” He drank a bit more before adding in a slightly more serious tone that had a frosted edge, “And everyone picked on me as a child because it’s apparently okay to try and bed Omegas at any age. Of course, that only lasted until I grew big enough to be lethal. I don’t suppose you want that story - not now, at least.” He flashed his eyes around the plane, which was still technically public, even if no one was near enough to hear them.

“Would you like to tell me?” He asked cautiously. “I think everyone is asleep.”

But Bond was forever cagey - either from being a spy, or whatever it was he was hiding within that black tar of emotions that Q kept sensing. “No,” the 00-agent informed him quite candidly, and went back to finishing his coffee without further chatter.

~^~

The return to MI6 was hectic to say the least. Ironically, the part with Silva was the simplest.

M had had ample time to prepare for the return of an agent she’d never thought to see again. The story of how he’d left MI6’s employ was getting out slowly, and it wasn’t a pretty story, but at least he was physically contained now - all that was left was to get back the list, which was Q’s problem. Q managed to do that, although it took all of his attention, and left the rest of Q branch to run missions. The data from Silva’s network would take weeks to sort through, but at least the list was found by the end of the day. There would be no more names uploaded or agents lost.

Bond, as usual, was the one who had to be complicated.

Silva had been totally right about 007’s Omega status being on the verge of causing total chaos, although Q could have told anyone that by now anyway. Now, it was as close to public knowledge as anything got in MI6’s new headquarters, as shouting could be heard ringing out from Medical: M had joined forces with the doctors to try and verbally beat some sense into 007’s head, and he clearly didn’t appreciate the effort.

For those who were not giving Medical a wide berth (which was pretty much everyone), the argument was pretty simple: Medical berated Bond for over-using his suppressants, Bond retorted that there was hardly anything to be done about it now, Medical shot back that having him confined in Medical and inducing the heat was most certainly an option, and Bond asked them how many people they were willing to lose in the effort. At that point, M stepped in and used her influence to cow 007 a bit, but also (surprisingly) got Medical to back off, which made no sense to Q. Sure, having a heat in a clinical location seemed a bit sterilized and cold, but it was hardly humane, and was probably as safe as anywhere else for a paranoid agent to let his guard down. But something about it set 007 off so violently that M herself needed to be there to diffuse the situation, and then the argument quieted down in volume enough that the words were indistinguishable - but it was clear that M was talking levelly and very sharply with 007, who was murmuring back in a low, bellicose rumble. The persistent link between Bond and Q remained, and throughout the argument it had been white-hot with anger as the initial frustration had ignited into something worse. By the end, there was that tar-black emotion that was even worse than all of that combined, and it barely faded by the time Bond stormed out of Medical.

M followed him out, but paused in the doorway, looking decidedly older behind the eyes as she sighed and watched after her best and most difficult agent. Then those grey eyes sharpened as they noticed Q standing not far off, albeit out of sight of the direction 007 had gone. “Quartermaster,” she greeted, still sounding rather defeated, “I assume you’ve heard quite a lot by this point.”

“Yes, I did,” Q sighed. “And it doesn’t seem to matter if I can hear or not, I can feel what is going on with Agent Bond. I did offer to let him stay at my flat being it is secure and I will be here working, but he was rather insulted. I seem to always say the wrong thing with him. Relating to a Chimeric Omega is much more difficult than I had imagined.”

At the mention of Q being able to ‘feel’ anything about 007, M’s eyes narrowed and focused still more, and she abruptly moved down the same hallway Q was occupying. “Walk with me, Quartermaster.”

There was silence for a long stretch as the two merely paced along at a steady clip. For a relatively minute woman, M was a brisk walker, not given to dawdling, even when it seemed she had no direction in mind besides taking the least used hallways for privacy’s sake. “I’ll ask you about how the devil you can pick up feelings from 007 later - I know enough about Arch Alphas that I can take a few guesses - but first…” She paused and sighed, losing her battle-field tone and instead speaking more resignedly, “I wouldn’t say that Bond was ‘insulted’ by your offer. It’s rather more complicated than that, I’m afraid, although I’m glad that someone offered him a safe place to stay. He’s determined to run himself into the ground and see this through before letting biology get the better of him, so he’ll be in quite a state by the time that happens.”

“I was rather hoping he wouldn’t, since it seems to wear on me as well,” Q sighed. “The protectiveness bothers him, but I’m fighting it as hard as I can.”

M didn’t comment except to nod, but by then, they’d magically ended up at her office, without ever having seemed to be heading there in the first place. The older woman led them in, the door swinging shut behind them to lock out eavesdroppers - which gave a hint as to the delicate nature of what M was going to talk about even if the pensiveness in her expression didn’t. M circled around and took a seat behind her desk, gathering herself before speaking further. “I can’t begin to imagine how frustrating this must be for you, but I assure you, your efforts to ignore your instincts are appreciated.” M sighed tightly, and added, “Bond’s status as a male Omega has been making his life difficult long before I recruited him to MI6. Considering how… close… you appear to be getting to him-” M’s eyes sharpened and suddenly it was like looking at the face of a mother lion, or maybe an eagle defending her clutch of eggs. She didn’t reprimand him, however, even if her eyes declared how close this was getting to a ‘shovel talk.’ “-I think it would be best if I told you a bit about what I know of 007’s formative years. He’ll likely never forgive me for it, but that’s life.” She shrugged without emotion. “What I’m about to tell you, Quartermaster, is personal information. You’re not to share it, is that understood?”

Chapter Text

“I understand, Ma’am,” Q nodded. “I think we have managed a begrudged respect of each other, if nothing else. 007’s instinct to protect is as strong as my own, and it was a relief in the field. I just wish we could work in sync with each other. It seems right now all we are doing is spending energy counteracting the other. “

“It’s probably because very, very few people hate Alphas quite as much as Bond does,” M surprised Q by saying frankly. “I’ll cut to the chase,” she went on, folding her hands in front of her while her expression became utterly impenetrable - the iron woman who had lead MI6 all these years without flinching, “It’s not uncommon for Omegas to be abused, and I won’t regale you with the various arguments about hormones and heat and consent. Suffice it to say, rape is far more common amongst Omegas than either Betas or Alphas combined.” One eyebrow rose slightly. “Do you see where I’m going with this?”

“Yes,” Q winced. “And Agent Bond doesn’t have a large frame. He has learned to work with it by being imposing, but I can imagine as a younger Omega, he was quite small. It would explain why he learned to fight so well. I just wish he didn’t expect the worst of me. With him being under my charge, I did explain to him that when he is in physical proximity to me and hurt, I feel physically what he feels. I’m not actually capable of hurting him, unless he were to attack me first, and even then I could only defend myself.”

M’s mouth twitched upwards, in what could have been an almost-fond expression in another world. “00-agents aren’t the kind of people who believe words at face value. I’m sorry to say this, Q, but it’s entirely possible he thinks that you’re lying - he’s been a paranoid man for a very, very long time. But actions speak louder than words, and all that.” M waved her hand as if pushing aside distractions, and shifted topics, “But that’s not what I wanted to make sure you understood. What you need to know, Q, is regardless of what you get up to around Bond - and that is really none of my business - you need to stop thinking of him in terms of his status as an Omega. By that…” She sighed, having the beleaguered look of a mother who never really wanted to give the ‘sex talk’ but somehow ended up doing it anyway. “By that, I mean that the last person to take a dominant role with him in sex ended up with a snapped neck. 007 was badly hurt as a child, at an age when children shouldn’t even be thinking of such things, and he continued to be hurt until the time came when he was big enough to fight back. If we want to play with semantics, 007 got his two kills to graduate to a 00-agent before the age of fifteen.”

Q winced. “Thank you, M. I- no one should have that experience, least of all an Omega child. I think its absolutely irresponsible that aggressive adults aren’t on blockers to start with. Speaking of which, I need to go down to Medical for mine. And then it’s time for Bond and I to go down to the gym together. There’s something he needs to see.”

Q left, and went to track down Bond, who was using his charm on one of the Q branch minions to try to wheedle an exploding pen out of Q’s secret stash. The trick was working inordinately well, mostly because of the very fact that Bond was so wrecked and so close to his heat that allure was pouring off him in waves. The skill with which the man used it just proved that he’d been in this situation before.

“007, I need to go to Medical to get my blockers, and then would you come with me to the gym? I want to show you something.” He didn’t wait for a response, just kept walking and hoped that Bond followed. The link showed surprise and caution at first, but soon it bled into curiosity. There wasn’t even the slightest hush of footsteps behind him, but Bond was there at his shoulder nonetheless barely a moment later.

“Any particular reason for the vagueness of your request?” 007 asked, voice carefully neutral.

“Give me ten minutes?” Q asked.”I don’t think you will need an explanation after. Yes, I need the refill on my blockers,” he smiled at the receptionist in Medical. “Forgot thee the other day, thanks. Agent Bond, let’s pick a room with mirrors.”

Now the curiosity spiked with wariness again, but not enough to slow the agent down. He continued to follow along in Q’s shadow, as light on his feet and quietly dangerous as a big cat.

Q chose a room for boxing sparring, that had mirrors all around. There was a heavy bag hanging from the ceiling. He put the pills in his pocket, and hit the bag with a left hook hard enough that it swung a foot horizontal.

“I’m an Arch Alpha, Bond,” Q told him quietly. “Throw a punch at me.”

Now the agent had his eyes very obviously narrowed, and he was sidling slightly to one side as if physically trying to figure Q out from another angle. “I’m perfectly aware of that fact,” he hedged slowly, “but I’m still not entirely certain why you suddenly want to spar with me.” The slight resettling of his shoulders, however, and the flexing of his hands gave away that he was getting ready to acquiesce with a bit more reason to.

“I was trained as a martial artist, as a child,” Q told him. “My mother thought it was good practice for me to have an outlet for the aggression. And to be able to protect myself if I was ganged up on, without commanding.”

“Without commanding, hmm?” Bond’s emotions were betraying his increasing focus, however, so his words were little more than noisy breath in the air as he began to laser in on the situation. His mouth kept running even as he shifted his stance and crouched slightly, fists rising with slow ease, “And I can trust that there won’t be any of that now?” Those blue eyes got positively deadly as he went on, “Because if you do, you can bet the the second the command fades, I’ll do far worse than punch you, interpersonal relations be damned.”

“There wouldn’t have been in the warehouse, your life was threatened,” Q hung his head.”That was instinct. You’re my charge.”

And in that moment when Q hung his head, 007’s fist shot out, swiftly as the bat of a cat’s paw.

Q ducked the first punch easily.
“Again.”

The first shot had been nothing but idle play; it had been fast, but even if it had connected, it hadn’t had any strength behind it. Hearing the determination in Q’s tone, however, 007 grew a bit more serious himself. As soon as 007 swayed into range again, his right fist feinted and his left swept in for a sharp, hard jab to the chin.

This one connected. Q’s head was snapped to the side and his glasses actually sailed of his nose and onto the mat.

Q’s head snapped back and his instinct took over. He crouched and threw a punch, but it stopped an inch from 007. He threw another, and it did the same.

“I can’t hurt you,” he panted slightly, the adrenaline making his voice shake. “You’re my charge. I can’t harm you. Unless you try to injure me badly, and then only in self defense. I can command you for your protection, but I can’t injure you.”

007 looked startled. It was a rare look on a 00-agent, but with his fists now at his sides and his mouth turned down sharply at the edges, there was really no other way to describe Bond’s expression. It looked like he would perhaps argue that Q was faking it, but he’d had a lot of training in reading body-language - be it in a relaxed conversation or a brief little fight with his Quartermaster. Q had been counting on that. Bond could tell that there was more to Q’s pulled punches than simple falsehood.

“I physically can’t,” Q told him. “There is a force field around you that doesn’t allow me to. Its the same with any of the other agents.”

“Bloody. Buggering. Hell,” was Bond’s gobsmacked opinion on that, but he didn’t argue it - at least not immediately. He lifted a hand to scrub it over his the lower half of face, where stubble was making his jaw rough, all the while staring at Q. This time, however, it was Bond who suddenly grew serious as he dropped his hands and commanded, “Again.”

Q threw a left-right-left hook combo, all of which whizzed to a stop. The final punch was a right uppercut that whistled to a stop just short of Bond’s chin. This time, the agent retaliated, not quite trusting the the blows to stop but noticing nonetheless even as he slid to one side - his own fist came in to knuckle across Q’s ribs. It hurt like an impact with a brick wall, and the agent was probably only using half his strength.

The air left Q with a whoosh and he doubled over. He was going to feel that one for the next few days, and he wondered if Bond could feel his pain like he felt the agent’s. Although this was probably a way to wake up, not a serious pain for 007.

Now the way Bond’s eyes were narrowed looked annoyed, and his emotions were a tangle of confusion and frustration. “I thought you said you have martial arts training?” he asked, in a tone that was probably meant to goad Q but really just came out sounded bewildered. 007 was still circling, hands loosely clenched and ready.

Q stood up, and got his footing. He faked with his hands, and then launched a right roundhouse kick that stopped a hair away from Bond’s nose. He held it there for a few moments, and then slowly sank back to his heels. The next few punches 007 threw, he dodged, at least proving that he wasn’t losing because he lacked the training, although it was increasingly obvious that 007 was holding back now.

Still, it was bloody painful when another of 007’s attacks slid past Q’s defenses. 00-agents, unremarkably, cheated, and the last kick Bond sent Q’s way had nothing resembling form. It was mean and dirty, and it managed to land in the exact same spot that his fist had earlier, the impact as much as the pain taking Q to his knees.

Q bit his tongue hard on the impact, and he tasted blood. He shook his head to clear it and winced as he felt his jaw pop painfully. He tried to stand, but decided to wait a minute for the ringing in his head to clear. He fumbled blindly for his glasses, but gave up and sat down with a whoosh of breath. He was startled when sitting brought him into contact with a solid object he’d have sworn wasn’t there before - and then that object moved, and turned out to be 007, who was now standing close enough that Q’s back had just come to rest against his knees.

“Shit,” the agent swore quietly, hands - not fists anymore, than god - coming to rest on Q’s shoulders while 007 bent down to peer at him. “Just… shit.” Bond at a loss for words would have been funny if the idea of laughing hadn’t seemed so ill-advised right now.

“What?” Q asked with a tired voice. “I wanted you to know.”

Mouth twisting in a grimace but avoiding the reminder, 007 ordered rather gently instead, “Lie down, Q.” He crouched, one hand staying on the Alpha’s shoulder while the other one hovered near the lower right side of his rib cage, where both strikes had landed with unerring accuracy. “I’ll look at it… but you’ll probably want to go to Medical.”

“They don’t even tape ribs anymore,” Q dismissed. “There’s paracetamol and liniment in my desk. I can do that myself.”

Huffing a sigh because he was hardly in a position to argue, 007 nonetheless gave Q’s shoulder a little push to urge him back. “At least let me look at it then. It’s…” Frustration rippled through the link, and a bit of self-chastising temper that was brief was sincere. “It’s trained into me to go for weaknesses, which includes going for the same spot twice. I wasn’t thinking. So let me look and know whether M’s going to lecture me for broken ribs or just bruising.”

Q laid back. “I’m not going to M, Agent Bond. This was just to let you know… I wanted you to know there is one person you can be safe with.”

Pale blue eyes flicked up to meet Q’s, and for the first time… it really seemed like he got it. The fact that Q could feel the moment of realization through the link should have been fabulous, but it was also a reminder of one very big secret he was still hiding from the agent now kneeling over him. Not saying anything - merely nodding slightly and switching his attention to something physical - 007 quickly and efficiently untucked Q’s shirt, drawing it up his side. Callused fingers managed to be surprisingly gentle as they tested skin that was already reddened, following the lines of bone.

Q whimpered a little, Bond’s touch on the tender area along with the smell of him so close to heat was distracting. He took a deep breath to breathe through the pain, and it meant that he inhaled more of Bond’s smell, sweet and inviting. He groaned and threw a hand over his eyes.

At the last second, 007 realized what he was doing. Awkwardly clearing his throat, he seemed to battle with the desire to check if he’d done any serious damage, and the need to put some space between them. He was apparently brazen enough to choose the former, because while one hand rested unconsciously on Q’s stomach, the other continued its careful exploration of his ribs. Finally, however, he withdrew. “Nothing broken. You should probably take those blockers, though. It’s only going to get worse from here,” he said, referring to himself, probably, but also subliminally acknowledging that they’d be working together in the future - which meant Q had at least succeeded a little bit. If they weren’t friends, at least 007 seemed to be accepting him again as a co-worker - maybe even a trusted one. “And I’ve got your glasses.”

“Um, yes, I will after I eat,” he sat up slowly. “I haven’t had time yet today.” He tried to stand, but winced when pain shot through his ribs. “As soon as I get that data analysis going, I will order take out or something. Have you eaten yet, Agent Bond? I wonder if that new sushi place down the block delivers. Actually, I could probably stand to clear my head for a bit.”

“No, I haven’t eaten,” Bond gave in with surprisingly little fight, seeing Q’s twitch of pain and reaching out seemingly on reflex. His warm hand fit itself between Q’s shoulder-blades, helping him sit. “I think that this-” Bond waved his other arm vaguely between them, pulling a face. “-We should both clear our heads. I’m buying.”

“I can hold a lot of sake,” Q warned with a smile. “Let me stop in Q branch, and I will meet you at the doors in an hour. I want to check on Silva, as well. I don’t trust it being that simple to catch him.”

~^~

Q went back to Q branch.
“I need to get out for a little bit and clear my head, R. I have a bad feeling about Silva though, keep an eye on him? The data analysis is running, can you make sure there are no hitches?”

“Q! Lunch was hours ago,” R scolded. “And you have been here since you got back. You should eat and go home and sleep. I did handle things while you were gone. Its a wonder you can see anything out of those glasses, here!” She held out her hand.

Q handed them over sheepishly, the smudges apparent. He ran his fingers through his hair, and winced at the grease and dust that came away. “At least a shower.”

~^~

“So, just how much Sake can you drink?” Bond asked with amusement.

“Oh, probably just one today actually, I’m far too tired to handle being drunk,” Q admitted. “I’m not at my best after all that. And I have to work tomorrow.”

“Ah, yes,” Bond raised his eyebrows. “The post-mission adrenaline drop is new for you.” Bond himself seemed to be handling it quite well, even if the signs of strain were showing through the cracks. He’d turned more than a few heads just by walking in, but Q had likewise gotten them to turn away, by dint of being an Arch Alpha. Few people could pick up the ‘Arch’ portion of that by scent, but they backed off at the ‘Alpha’ part of the equation well enough, before 007 could bother with a glare himself.

“Quite new, and quite miss-able,” he agreed with a shrug of tense shoulders. “It’s hard being in close contact with evil people for me. And Silva is evil. I can’t find a hint of humanity in him.” Bond had made no comment other than to hum thoughtfully, but the slight tip of his head and the somber tilt of his expression could have been tacit agreement.

By the time they finished lunch, the tension between the two had dissipated, although Bond was tired and fidgety. Q probably wasn’t alone in hoping that the 00-agent would just settle down and stop fighting his biology sometime soon, before the heat ripped him apart without warning. He seemed to still be handling it, though. Bond walked Q back to Q branch, and Q went off to talk to Silva after checking on the data analysis.

The basement was cold and sterile smelling. There was the horrid sickly orange smell of industrial cleaner, and Silva was locked in a bulletproof glass cell in scrubs. It gave Q goosebumps just to be there in the room with him again, even knowing that Silva couldn’t touch him. The tendrils of his madness gave him chills. There was no bit of anything but evil evident in his empty eyes.

“What was the point, exactly?” Q asked harshly. “Why do you want him so badly?”

Apparently Silva had merely been playing at disinterest, and he’s been staring down at his hands until now as if he hadn’t noticed the Quartermaster even walk in. Now, however, the way his eyes lit up as he raised his gaze to Q’s, showed that he’d been hoping for conversation. “Well, well, well, you cut to the chase rather quickly, don’t you? Are you sure that you’re not just projecting, Q, dear?”

Ah, so Silva had figured out who he was now.

“He’s my charge, its my duty to protect him,” Q snarled. “You have no idea of anything like loyalty. People are expendable to you. But 007, he’s unusual. You want him because he is rare, not because he is an Omega.”

Silva snorted, actually beginning to laugh. “So many accusations, and you’ve barely even met me!” he exclaimed, sounding hurt even as his mouth stretched in a smile. “I’m hurt that you would think those things of me.” His voice dropped an octave, and he leaned forward to say, “And you’re wrong.”

“Really?” Q bit out in frustration. “So you want a Chimeric Omega to… say… Protect? To cherish? What? Forgive me if I find that SO hard to believe.”

“Oh, no, no, you’ve got me all wrong,” Silva waved him off with a negligent hand, “You merely said that I wanted James because he was rare, and not because he was an Omega. Well, I’m pretty sure that both you and I want him because he’s an Omega.” That smile was as broad as a knife slash from ear-to-ear, and his voice turned patronizing and sing-song as if Q were a naughty child, “And if you say I’m wrong about that, you’re lyyyyying. Tsk tsk.”

“Of course I bloody want him, he’s dripping hormones,” Q sighed. “That doesn’t mean that I will rape him, or abuse him. There’s a difference between wanting and taking.”

“Oh, I couldn’t agree more,” Silva sat up straight and affecting an aristocratic air, which included looking down his nose slightly even as he played with Q, “There’s quite a difference. It’s just not what you think it is.” Silva pretended to fight against his grin, but it was all for show - soon he was smirking like a child. “It’s power. The weak want - the powerful take. And from what I heard from my gunman that you took down on the island, you’re actually quite powerful. So tell me, Quartermaster, how long do you plan to cozy up to him, hmm? Until he drops his guard? Or- Ahhh!” Silva was on a roll now, and got up to stand close on the other side of the glass, making a noise of sudden understanding even as his eyes narrowed knowingly, “You’re one of those! You’re patient enough to wait for his heat. Clever boy, I’m impressed.”

“I will be far away from him during his heat as I can,” Q retorted. “Bond can bloody well decide for himself who to choose to spend his heat with, and I won’t be there to bias him. He would need to ask while he wasn’t in heat for me to believe it.”

“Oh, so the rumors about you offering your house to him are false?” Silva shot back, grinning when Q’s face showed surprise. Silva tsked again, “The walls have ears, Q dear.” He spread his hands in the fashion of priest - or a crucifix. “And just because I am caged does not necessarily mean I am contained.”

“I offered him my house because I will be here,” Q hated this… monster… with every fiber of his being. “He isn’t a prize, Silva. He’s a person. More than I can say for you.”

“Ah, I may be a monster,” Silva admitted with no compunction whatsoever, even looking smug about it, “But what if I win, hmm? The victors write the history books, and victors never, ever call themselves monsters. So what will that make you, when I get out of here? When I find that lovely James of yours? That lovely James that you want to fuck against the wall until he can’t remember anything but your name-”

“James Bond is not mine!” Q was furious. “He is his own person. And its my charge to protect him, and that is something I will do to my last breath.”

“And do you know what I used to say I would do with my last breath?” Suddenly Silva was yelling, too, his voice rising to a roar and his posture suddenly straightening to make him look bigger - like a giant. His face was twisting with emotions in a way that shattered all of his masks of gentility and teasing calm, making it look ugly. Coming forward until he was almost touching the transparent walls between them, he bared his teeth and raged, “I said I would be protecting this very institution - MI6, and the woman who led it. But fate had other ideas.” By now, his smile was manic, wide and broken. “So we’ll just have to see whether your words are even worth the breath you wasted on them, boy.”

Q stormed off, feeling sick to his stomach. That was all he could handle for one day, his nerves were gone. He needed a long shower and a break from his charge. Like it or not, Silva was right about him being far too attracted to the blond agent.

And then things got worse: Q had barely made it to the door of his flat, still conflicted and feeling dirty from just talking with Silva, when he got an urgent message on his phone.

The maniac had broken loose.

~^~

Q got back to Q branch as fast as a cab could carry him. The whole branch was in chaos, each minion tracking a different 00-Agent and division of MI6. There was confusion everywhere, and M was down there with Tanner as well, overseeing the handling. This was the best of England in this room and on the other end of the somms, and they pulled together.

R looked as flustered as everyone felt, but was holding it together, even if her face was a bit white. “Quartermaster!” she greeted in obvious relief as soon as she saw him. Q-branch looked like a stirred-up bees’ nest. “Raoul Silva must have set a virus loose in our systems before his capture - it went off like a cybernetic bomb just over half an hour ago! I take it you noticed that all of the power is on the fritz?”

“Yes?” Q nodded. “I had to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Any idea which direction he went?”

“None,” R admitted with clear frustration, then looked down - as did some others, “We’re following a trail of bodies so far, but that’s all we’ve been able to do. Maybe once we get the computers back up…” R waved a helpless hand. “But that will take hours! Even the back-up power has been shot, and anything that ran on battery is presently playing ‘God Save the Queen’ until we can get that bastard’s virus shut down.” It was rare to hear R so emotional as to swear, and a few heads turned.

“Do you have any idea where he might hide out in the city?” Q asked. “He hasn’t been here in years, and I’m not going to know if he has contacts until we get power back online and sort through the data.” He poured a cup of tea from the electric kettle and sighed. So much for sleep.

“I’ve already given R a list of any contacts Silva used to keep,” M surprised everyone when she spoke, her tone as mountain-steady as always. In the flickering, bad lighting, her expression was hard to read - if she wore any expression at all.

Tanner chimed in, “And it’s safe to say that he’s got help from the police, and our own security. Those who aren’t dead are working for him, near as we can tell.” He looked a bit sick, but like everyone else, had no choice but to stay calm and carry on.

“Where do you need me?” Q asked, rubbing his eyes. “Let’s order takeout, it's going to be a long night. I’m sure most of you were planning on dinner at home. I’m sorry. Wait… who is missing from here?”

“No one from here,” a few of the techies shook their heads, exchanging glances, even as M and Tanner began to speak in low tones and one of the other analysts opened a mobile, presumably to order pizza. Everyone was rattled, but with Q back, his Branch was settling down and focusing - it helps that none of the physical violence of Silva’s escape had touched them, only the technological mayhem.

R, however, had a pained look on her face, and rolled back her chair until she could tug at Q’s sleeve.

“Hang on a second… so if he did this all on his own, we need to make sure-” Q turned. “WHAT?”

It was probably pure reflex from more stable times, but R managed a look that would have fit well on a mother chastising, ‘Don’t take that tone with me,’ before she remembered that they were essentially weathering the aftermath of an attack right now. She kept her voice professional, but it shook slightly, “It’s 007, Q. Silva went right for him the second he got out. We only know that because we had control of the security footage for a bit, and Bond was being checked out by Medical again.”

“Is he ok?” Q was panicked. “Silva- he wants him, wants to rape him. I told him to go to my apartment where it was secure!”

R’s eyes widened, but she shook her head helplessly. “I don’t know if he went there. All we know is from Nurse Williams - she came down here because that’s where M was, and reported what she knew. We’d managed to warn Medical that Silva was headed their way right before all the power went out, and Williams said that 007 got this real hard look on his face and said he’d lead Silva away.”

Q whirled around to Nurse Williams. “Did he say ANYTHING? Of course his chip isn’t working since the Turkey mission. M, can I get a paper copy of 007’s file?”

M merely beckoned to the nurse, who was still hovering in Q-branch and looking supremely out of place - and scared out of her mind. Nonetheless, she immediately jumped into action, hurrying over to the Quartermaster. “He… well… He said that he was going to lead Silva away,” the young nurse replied, basically just repeating what R had already said. “Do you want 007’s medical file…?”

“Yes please,” Q grabbed his cell and started dialing. “Of course he didn’t bloody remember to get a new phone! Thank you, Ma’am,” he took the file from M, who appeared to have sent Tanner to fetch it. “There, I knew I remembered something. Skyfall.”

The nurse, by this point, was skittering off to grab Bond’s medical file, not bothering the question the order from the head of a different department under these circumstances. With everyone on foot, and the power down, she’d probably be a bit in transit. At the word ‘Skyfall,’ M looked up, her eyes bright with recognition.

“Q,” R said slowly, uncertainly, standing up to peer at the file, too, “we don’t even know that he’s left the city.”

“We know that he is going to lead him away,” Q argued. “And that is his territory. Let’s keep that in mind. Where else locally would he try to draw him?” Q pulled his laptop out of his bag, and quickly set up a remote network that wasn’t connected to MI6, or the virus. “Any clues?”

“His old apartment was sold,” M frowned. “I know he bought a new one, but I don’t know that it's necessarily secure.”

“006 had that kitchen fire, and is staying in a hotel,” R frowned. “And I don’t know of any other friends that he has.”

Q hacked into the CCTV footage. There was a black sedan with tinted windows, chasing the Aston Martin,. The sedan hit a newspaper box on the corner, and careened into a water hydrant, spraying water across the intersection and causing several cars to hit each other. The last shot he got was of them was the freeway entrance, Silva several traffic lights behind.

“Get me a map on screen, where does that go?” he shouted.

There was a reason that R was his second-in-command: she worked fast. The computers were all on the fritz, so Q’s command was never going to be answered in its entirety, but R was quick to pull her phone out of her purse. She had a map up in seconds, and slid the smart-phone to sit next to Q’s laptop. With that as a reference, Q was quickly hacking into other cameras and narrowing his search, and it took under a minute to find Bond again - at least the man had taken a fairly recognizable car, and hadn’t destroyed it yet. Silva appeared to have switched vehicles, but there was still a car hot on Bond’s tail.

“He’s heading out of the city,” R realized, leaning over Q’s shoulder. Others were watching, too, slack-jawed: all of the Q-branchers knew that Q was good, but they’d never gotten a chance to see what he was able to do just with his laptop. He was very nearly as efficient as he would have been with all of Q-branch at his disposal, and it was clear why M had picked him for the job.

“Skyfall! It’s a bloody fortress. And the last place he was safe, before his parents died. I’m willing to take a chance and go. Can someone get me a fleet car?” Q asked. He slammed his laptop shut. “Front door, five minutes. I need an emergency kit from the armory, one from medical, and a tech kit! Now!” He raced for the door.

The surprising part was probably that no one so much as budged to stop him. Then again, not a lot of people argued with Arch Alphas when they sounded that determined.

~^~

By the time Q got to the pass leading to Skyfall Lodge, his hands were shaking from all the coffee, and lack of sleep. He had remembered a bag of crisps at the last petrol station, but the last substantial thing he had eaten was the sushi.

The Aston Martin’s tire tracks were clear in the Highland mud. Q remembered adding them after the upgrades, and dropping one on his foot. The tire tread was still black on his toenail. He had taken a shortcut, R in his ear for a change giving him directions. The MI6 fleet car could go much faster than the average sedan, especially since Q branch had standard modifications made to all their vehicles.

Q got out of the car, carrying several bags. “Bond!” he yelled. “I’m here with supplies.” The Aston Martin was parked near the door, and he could see a rifle barrel poking out the window.

The surprise was that 007 didn’t actually appear anywhere near the obvious rifle, but instead circled from the other side of the stone building, an MI6-issue handgun lifted in both hands. Distance had thinned out the link between the two of them, but even without it, the tension would have radiated from 007’s tense, broad shoulders like smoke from a fire. Fortunately, after a few quick sweeps of his eyes, 007 seemed to realize that this really was Q - far away from his usual post at Q-branch, once again in the field - and he was alone. The weapon lowered swiftly. “Q?” Bond asked with obvious shock, and while his tone mellowed, it didn’t quite lose the startled edge, “What the bloody fuck are you doing here, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I figured you could use an extra pair of hands, and supplies,” Q squared his shoulders, ready to insist. “I brought guns and ammo, a tech kit, and a med kit. Tell me where you want me, and what I can do to help.” Q could see his breath, the foggy moor was cold and damp at night, the kind of chill that made his wrists ache from all those nights on the computer.

And he could smell Bond, the nerves and resignation. No fear, but the allure of that sweet smell. And here was Bond on his own turf, a place where he felt secure to go to ground. The confidence and pheromones were a heady combo, and Q was grateful for the open air as Bond surveyed him like a meal.

Some of that heated look snapped off as 007 gave his head a hard shake. This was going to be a problem, and they both knew it - and Silva probably knew it, too. Any Omega so close to a heat was in a vulnerable position, and right now it was like a perfect storm of bad circumstances. Clearing this throat roughly, 007 fully holstered his weapon and managed as brisk nod.

“I won’t say no to back-up, although if this gets you killed, M is going to skin me. Perhaps it’s good that I probably won’t survive if you don’t either,” 007 said with a shrug and a remarkably blase tone - the kind of calmness that only came from facing death too many times to count. He came forward to take one of the bags from Q, although he tried to keep some distance between them. “I’m a little scared to ask how you followed me all the way here. I thought I was better at noticing tails and losing them,” he remarked blandly to hide the curiosity in his eyes as he glanced askance at his Quartermaster.

“I looked at your file, and made an educated guess,” Q stretched, stiff after the grueling car ride. “And I took a car I had modified, and a shortcut. So you wouldn’t have seen me the way you were driving. I beat Silva by a bit because he followed you. But can we get inside before we lose our advantage?”

“Certainly,” 007 agreed, all business as he straightened and strode off. He limped slightly, signs that the car-chase hadn’t been entirely uneventful. The Aston Martin had a few new dents in it. 007 seemed largely unharmed, however, and besides the discomfort he had to be feeling as his suppressants failed him entirely, seemed devastatingly competent as he came to stand at the doorway of Skyfall lodge. At the threshold, he paused, seeming to truly realize that he was inviting someone into a place that he hadn’t shared since he was a child. After an unreadable, contemplative look at Q, however - his emotions too oblique to easily read through the weakened link - 007 pushed open the door.

He even managed something like his usual cheeky grin, and caught Q by surprise as he tease, “Ladies first.” The sign that his body’s hormones were getting to him showed in the way the sentence came across as almost dirty, voice low and words husky around the edges in an effortless fashion that was just unfair.

Q was gratefully he had finally swallowed a couple of the blockers, or else he wouldn’t be able to think straight. Just the visual of Bond losing control was bad enough, and the part he could smell still was strong. The man looked like sex on a platter, and Q tried not to breathe too deeply as he walked by. Those missed doses of blockers were still wreaking havoc with his system, although he had swallowed a handful in the car. He tried not to respond to Bond’s teasing and flirtation, but it took effort, effort that he needed to use to protect them.

Skyfall was old, and obviously not in the best repair, but the small head-start 007 had had on both Q and Silva showed: the windows had been boarded up, and at least it looked defensible. “Any chance you brought food, too?” 007 asked unexpectedly as he closed and locked the door, resetting something that Q hadn’t even noticed, but now recognized as a rather sophisticated trip-wire. Bond was looking now between said trip-wire as the some of the ammo Q had brought, most likely thinking of a few ways to make explosives.

“I stopped and got some basic things at a convenience store, in the bags,” Q nodded. “I didn’t know what you would have in the way of refrigeration or cooking supplies, so I got things we could just eat. Some fruit, bread, canned things. If we survive, there was a village not to far back we can go get food when it's over. I mean-when we survive. Of course we are going to survive,” he shook his head, exhaustion kicking in. “Is there a way to make coffee?”

Bond made a face, but gamely showed Q the kitchen. It was pretty sparse, and anything still there was ancient - but coffee was ultimately made, while 007 kept himself busy elsewhere. He was undoubtedly keeping himself busy in deadly ways, because the bag with the weapons and ammunition had disappeared along with him. Fortunately, so did the makings of a hearty sandwich, reminding Q that Bond had been on the run this whole time without the luxury to stop and find decent meals. That on it’s own usually wouldn’t have phased a 00-agent, but Bond was an Omega with his biology currently turning against him.

Q busied himself with cleaning up, because it gave his hands something to do while his mind wandered. He looked out the window, wondering when Silva and reinforcements would arrive. It was a scary thought, that his life could end here. He had always been so far removed, on the other end of the comms. He had no idea how the agents stayed so calm, staring death down on a regular basis.

It should have been illegal, how quietly 007 could move, even when his last brush with death had roughed him up so much. A hand was falling on Q’s shoulder was the only warning he got before the larger man was rumbling, “How do you feel about sniping?”

“I can do that,” Q tried not to jump. The blockers must be working then, finally. “I’ve tested a fair amount in the shooting range. Actually easier than a handgun. Can I get the extra ammo as well? If I can’t hit them, I can at least cause a distraction.”

007 nodded gravely, the calculating light looking natural in his eyes as he took in what Q told him, and how to apply it. “Good, because I think I have a plan that might end in us living a bit longer. Follow me.”

Chapter Text

Q was lying down on a pallet below the window. He was too tense to close his eyes, but Bond had insisted that at least one of them should rest while they could. It felt like the Scottish damp had seeped into his bones, and he tossed and turned. He was sweaty and thirsty from the long drive and lack of sleep, but the effort to take a shower didn't seem worth it. He finally gave up with a sigh, and decided to try some tea. Maybe he could warm himself from the inside out.

He headed for the kitchen, and found Bond at the table. The food in front of him seemed to be forgotten. He was staring out the window, tapping restlessly. His skin looked unearthly pale in the moonlight, the worry lines turned to valleys of shadow. Q could smell him, the smell of an impending heat that made him smell like a tropical fruit market, and it made his mouth water. His shoulders were tensed, and he jumped when Q knocked on the door frame.

Since the movement was not unlike the instinctive grab for a gun, 007 had the good grace to look a bit embarrassed even as his hand eased back to lie flat on the tabletop. “Sorry,” he murmured, curtly but not unkindly. His eyes slid back to Q, growing slightly more interested even as a questioning eyebrow rose. “Shouldn’t you be catching some sleep?”

There it was again, that subliminal attraction in the air - that ethereal fire that Bond wore now like an invisible cloak. It was one of the skills that Omegas had all the time, an ability to attract people, but it was magnified tenfold as a heat approached, and 007 was no ordinary Omega. He wasn’t even trying right now, and yet, as he turned and the shadows slid and shifted on his face, he was radiating a dangerous sort of sexuality. Suddenly, a simple question about Q’s sleeping habits seemed like a minefield of trouble.

"I- I don't sleep much," Q tried to focus on Bond's words and not the smell. He caught himself looking at James's jaw, and wanting to nuzzle the stubble with his lips. "Is there anything I can do to help? I couldn't relax, and I'm getting too nervous over thinking it."

007 merely shook his head, relaxing a little as the conversation apparently calmed him again. Relaxed, the man was even more enticing, the moonlight sketching out an impressively muscular frame and now softening the lines of strain and tiredness as he turned his head. It made for a heady, unexpected combination of masculinity and an Omega scent that was usually associated with delicacy and fragility - and there was none of either of those things in James. “I think we’ve done all we can,” the agent answered, then added unexpectedly as he pushed the second chair away from the table with an idle shove of his foot, “But you’re welcome to pull up a chair if you can’t sleep. I might catch a wink-” He seemed to notice his food for the first time, wrinkling his nose at it moodily. “-After I finish this.”

"What did you make?" He sank into the chair and laid his head on his arms. "I can't remember the last time I ate a meal sitting down that wasn't at my desk, or slept a whole night."

He stretched his neck and cracked it so hard he shivered. Bond was sitting there at the table, lounging back in his chair. He was leaning into the moonlight like he was drawn to it, an offering for the moon gods.

“Some rather pathetic soup from a can,” he admitted, a silvered smirk just flirting with the corner of his mouth. “It wouldn’t be particularly inspiring even if I were hungry, which I’m not.” He paused to grimace again, and this time, the link provided Q with a rather sharp stab of pain, indicating that physical discomfort was part of the reason for 007’s lack of appetite. Bond lifted a scarred hand to rub at his temples. “Silva has bloody bad timing,” was his last growled remark on the matter.

"Is there anything I can do for your head? I have migraine medicine in my bag. And I can see if I can throw together something more interesting from the cupboards. I should probably eat as well." He dropped a hand to Bond's shoulder and squeezed it, wincing at the knots and tension. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to touch you."

“Don’t worry about it,” 007 shrugged off the words but not the hand. He had actually seemed more startled by Q’s knowledge of his headache than the unexpected touch, which said something either about how distracting his headache was, or how the heat in his system was skewing some of his natural, pricklier reactions. He narrowed his eyes as Q for only a second before they evened out knowingly and he nodded. “I keep forgetting that you feel pain from those around you. That sounds like a bitch, and you have my sincerest apologies that you’re stuck with me.” Somehow, instead of sounding sincerely apologetic, he sounded teasing, even as he gamely picked up his soup-spoon and leaned forward for a sip - all without dislodging Q’s hand, which was a dangerous proposition all on its own.

It was suddenly possible that Bond was more dangerous with his guard lowering as he was with all of his armor and sharp edges intact.

“I’m used to it, it's just not usually so bad from across the comms,” Q said softly. He was enjoying the feel of the agent’s warm skin beneath the worn shirt. “I have a pretty high pain tolerance anyway, the migraines have gotten me used to pain.”

He rubbed his thumb knuckle against the largest knot, and winced at the pain that shot up his arm as the knuckle cracked. He jumped with a nervous laugh. “Sorry, my wrists have been hurting from the cold.”

Eying Q’s hand now, but with a rather tangled expression that spoke of warring temperaments - his natural temperament, which would probably be goading him to take Q’s hand off at the wrist right now, and the side of his nature presently being swayed by hormones - 007 took a moment before flashing his usual, cocky smile and replying smoothly, “It’s an acquired taste when it comes to venues. Are you cold, Quartermaster?”

007 shifted his position slightly - a subtle thing, but it quite clearly turned his attention from his food direction to Q, all without actually turning off the hunger in his gaze. The darkness and silvery lighting was washing the color out of everything, but somehow it couldn’t take the sapphire blue out of the agent’s eyes, and they were glinting like beautiful knives in the dark. It was a wholly unnatural look, at least so far as Q’s relations with Bond had gone so far. The wary, razor-lined agent was gone, being replaced by something decidedly more sensuous, but still predatory.

“I’m cold, but I usually am anyway,” he was looking at Bond but not seeing him, mesmerized like a cobra by the blue ice shards. He wanted to swim in them, wrap himself in the warmth of that skin that contrasted sharply with the sapphire chill. He shook his head, trying to shake his awareness back to their present situation. But all he found himself wanting to do was rub himself against Bond, scent his skin with Bond’s warm smell.

He found himself drawn to the agent’s body, like a cat stretching in a pool of sunshine on a winter day when the storm breaks. And wasn’t that the perfect metaphor, because he was behaving like a feral animal in heat, wanting to throw himself on the floor and bask in the Omega’s fragrance.

And the worst part was, 007 wasn’t exactly stopping him. In fact, he’d turned a bit more, so that their knees were touching with only the corner of the table between them. Meal forgotten - the fluctuations in Bond’s appetite were likely a symptom of everything anyway - the agent faced Q squarely, cocking his head in a fashion reminiscent of hunting falcons, his look made of scalpels as if he were peeling Q apart piece by piece. It was a singularly merciless look, but wrapped up in so much heat that any burn was drowned and pushed away. 007 tilted his head a little further, calculating, before suddenly it was like everything came back to him in a rush.

The emotional link was flooded with realization and shock like an icy tidal-wave. 007 lurched back and up from the table so fast that the chair overturned, emotional whiplash crackling through the connection. Hot on the heels of personal shock and embarrassment was a level of...sickness. That was the only description for the emotion, unless it was some messed-up conglomeration of fear, shock like a sucker-punch, and rather physical disgust that had Bond panting now and looking slightly shaky.

“I’m sorry,” Q jumped up as Bond’s chair hit the floor. “I’m so sorry, I’ll go back to my room and you can get some rest. Yeah… um… call me if you hear anything…” He was already backing out of the kitchen, trying to calm the unsettled agent. There was nothing he could do while being in physical proximity. And being close made him want to touch the agent again, and he couldn’t make himself stop wanting that-

His mind was racing a million miles a minute by the time he made it back to his resting place on the floor. His chest was still heaving, and the shirt was sticking to his clammy skin. He wasn’t sure if it was desire, or fear of rejection that had his heart racing. Or of course maybe it was the physical revulsion that he had felt from the agent as the result of his touch. He leaned his head against the wall, thankful for the cool stone against the cold sweat on his skin.

Back in the kitchen, Bond was shaking his head as if trying to get the cobwebs out, snarling out a string of curses even as he noticed that his headache had faded. “Bloody fucking hel-” he started up another low, growling tirade - the words largely directionless, the buzzing in his limbs distracting even if he had it in him to blame this all on Q, which he somehow didn’t - when suddenly an unexpected noise caught him.

There was a sound like the beating of wings, the dust raised outside the window by the blades of a helicopter.

After one last eloquent curse as he realized what was happening, 007 forcibly pushed the last little embarrassing scene to the back of his mind. “Q!” he roared, even as he turned to dash in the direction the Quartermaster had gone.

Q came back into the hall slowly, Bond's alarm coming across the link of their emotions. The windows lit up with the lights from the helicopter, and he flattened himself against a wall.

"We can talk later. What do you need me to do now?" He tried to send as much calm as he could to the agent, to keep him from running into danger, to get away from Q. "How can I be most effective? They are too close for a sniper rifle now."

“The tunnel,” the agent decided after only the briefest of pauses, and perhaps a glance that said he was both surprised and impressed by the levelheadedness the boffin was showing. “Once you’re out on the other end, you’ll have the distance you need.” He reached out and gripped Q’s shoulder in an unintended mirror of Q’s touch from earlier, although this time it was to tug him in the direction he wanted as 007 moved closer to the windows. “Go figure the bloody bastard would find himself a helicopter!” he shouted in a joking tone that only 00-agents and madmen could bandy about in a dangerous situation.

After that, there wasn’t time to keep an eye on Q. Weapons had been cached all over the house, and 007 picked up one now, preparing to fire even as he moved. Before he could get a clear shot at the approaching chopper, however, the aerial vehicle itself began to lay down heavy fire that drove 007 back. It was natural to twist his body into the lee of a wall, grateful that Skyfall was built of so much stone. True fear - a greater than the cold shock of realizing what he’d just about gotten into with Q, an Arch-alpha, minutes ago - spiked through his system as Bond suddenly thought of those bullets catching Q’s lean frame, but a glance showed that the Quartermaster had already disappeared deeper into the house. Good. He’d be in the tunnel soon, where no bullets were going to reach him.

Refusing to further contemplate his visceral worry over Q’s condition, 007 focused on the heavy whirring of the helicopter as it touched down. Furious at his inability to do anything at the moment, 007 huddled in place while bullets continued to sing by, pinning him down. To be honest, Bond was just about tired and frustrated enough no to give a shit anymore, and that was probably why he was moving the second he sensed more than heard a slight break in the gunfire.

Perhaps it was because, with Q getting further away, the emotions he was subliminally sending along the link were weaker - perhaps it was the heat, making 007 feverish, shaky, and restless - or perhaps everyone was right, and 007 really did have a deathwish. Either way, he got lucky this time, and other men paid for it. Halting their fire just for the time it took to leap out of the chopper, two men dropped with mortal wounds as 007 bolted from his cover and unleashed some pent-up frustration in a pragmatic, logical, but rather violent manner. There were additional vehicles pulling up now as well to unload more villains, but some never even got to touch their feet to Highland soil as MI6’s finest kid what he did best.

Kill when all the odds were against him.

~^~

Q ran down the tunnel. The cobwebs caught in his hair, like tendrils of darkness reaching out to entice his fears. He batted them away, cursing every break he had spent writing code instead of in the gym. There was sweat dripping down his face, and his shirt and cardigan were plastered to him.

Something skittered over his shoes, the squeak of a rat. He could hear the moss dripping condensation on the stones, that had been smoothed by hundreds of years worth of feet. He could smell the decay, the deterioration of the dirt around him. He suddenly reached a curve, and there was the end of the tunnel in front of him. He climbed the ladder, and cautiously opened the trap door a few inches.

There was Bond, guns blazing. He could feel the heat radiating of of the man, a combination of hormones, and fury of having his safe space invaded. He tried to focus on the attackers, but his hands were trembling from the cold. He managed to take out one of the men with a shot to the shoulder, but he couldn’t tell if it was a kill shot or just a wound as the man went down with a scream.

Q managed to take out the headlights of one of the vehicles, and the two men that emerged from the doors. A few managed to crawl out the back, but Q switched on the night vision and took them out as they crept around the back sides of the SUV. A few shots to the helicopter rotors, and the vehicle crashed into the roof of Skyfall Manor in a blaze of gasoline and flying roof tiles.

Inside the manor, 007 swore and dodged to another part of the house, not sure whether to be impressed with Q’s shooting or furious that the Alpha had almost dropped a helicopter on him. Then again, in 00-agent terms, an act of violence of that proportion was tantamount to a marriage proposal, so Bond couldn’t really get all that mad about it. His Walther in hand again, the agent slid through the kitchen and shot the close-shaved head that was just starting to come through the door towards him. One more down. Somewhere in the back of his head, 007 was keeping a tally, recognizing that he was only just holding his own right now with Q’s help - without the gutsy Quartermaster, this would have been a doomed fight from the start. All jokes aside about 007’s suicidal tendencies, he was glad that there was at least some sliver of hope now for survival.

But it was a very thin sliver.

Raoul Silva still hadn’t shown his dastardly head - which meant James hadn’t had any opportunity to shoot it off his shoulders yet. It wasn’t until another hired gunman crashed right through a window and blindsided Bond, actually managing to take him bodily to the floor and render his gun useless, that the real danger appeared. With a black-haired bull of a man sitting on his chest, 007 for a moment forgot to think about anything but surviving right now, in this one fight. Baring his teeth and giving up on his trapped gun-hand, 007 yanked the knife from his opponent’s own belt, slashing wildly upwards with it, knowing he could hardly miss at this range. Truth-be-told, 007 ws also well aware that his own scent was distracting any opponents who got close enough, so he’d slashed his opponent’s biceps wide open and neatly bisected the underside of his jaw before the black-haired man could even raise a defense. The bullet-proof vest the man was wearing saved his torso, but the pain from his unprotected areas had him rearing back with a shriek. Bond took advantage immediately, with a grace of a mongoose pitted against a cobra, knees locking around the other’s waist and body twisting powerfully. He’d thrown his opponent off to one side in seconds, and immediately finished him off with a bullet.

The last bullet in that clip.

“You know, James, you’re proving terribly irritating to me. While I’ll admit that I like men and women who play hard-to-get, this has gone too far,” Silva’s voice floated almost musically through the air as he raised his voice to be heard.

It was reflex: 007 spun and hurled the knife, knowing that he needed a moment to reload his gun. He just saw a flash of pale skin and hair, and thought he saw his knife-blade tear through a sleeve before embedding in the far wall. Silva himself escaped unscathed behind another wall, laughing uproariously. 007 growled under his breath in return, but was beginning to see the true danger of his predicament: he had Q as back-up, of course, but no matter how good a sniper the Quartermaster was, he couldn’t see or shoot attackers through stone walls, and that was where the fight was moving. 007 was effectively isolating himself, and Skyfall was turning into a killbox.

With precious little time to make a decision on the matter, 007 took the better part of valor, and retreated with all speed.

Silva bellowed something incoherently behind him, even as 007 found his way blocked by two gunman that he had to dodge at full speed. He had the element of surprise, and was a lot faster and stronger than his enemies anticipated - 007 ducked under one rifle to ram his shoulder into the gut of one, barely breaking stride in his forward motion, even as the second gunman’s shot went astray over his head. A reflexive twist of 007’s hands, and he had the first man’s gun at least partially under his control - enough so that the next shot went into gunman number two, and with that, 007 was home free.

Q got a bead on another of the attackers, and he went down with a bullet to the temple. A third cocked his gun, and then doubled over with a bullet to the stomach and Q screamed in fury. He knew he couldn’t get to Bond in time to make a difference, but he could eliminate as many of the other possible threats while the agent worked on his own resurrection.

“Your pet sniper’s the other way, James!” Silva catcalled from behind, illuminating a fact that had, actually, slipped Bond’s mind. Berating himself for the mistake but knowing it was too late to turn around now, 007 admitted finally that he wasn’t at the top of his game, and that he was probably going to go out in a stupid blaze of glory.

Oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time. Slamming the new clip into his gun, 007 shouldered his way out the back doors of Skyfall and began racing flat-out across the shadowed moors, glad at least that there was no one out here to pick him off. Q had already done a good job of making everyone fear open places, it seemed, and that gave Bond a fierce and brief smile before a bullet zinged by from behind him, too close for comfort. He dodged left, keeping his body low as he hit taller grass - the cover was sparse at best, but with only moonlight for guidance, one fleeing man could make a hard target.

Silva was saving his breath for running, which was something to thank god for in Bond’s books. He’d had enough of the man’s voice to last him a lifetime and a half. The dangerous Alpha was still behind him, however, clearly playing a game of cat-and-mouse instead of just ending it all with a forceful command. Bond hated being played with, so when Silva once again shot a bullet wide of him - likely a purposeful miss - 007 jerked his arm back as he ran and fired.

Never was there a sweeter sound than Silva swearing. Since his footsteps continued, loud and swift in Bond’s wake, he clearly hadn’t managed to cripple or kill the man, but 007 had given Silva something to think about. Games of cat-and-mouse were a lot less fun when the cat discovered the mouse to have quite a few teeth.

Still, Bond was tiring. He could feel old injuries and lingering tiredness that came from too little sleep and perhaps too much paranoia keeping his mind alert at night. He was still running, but each drag of breath was harsh in his lungs, and his muscles burned. It was almost in a daze that he heard something, and felt his feet skid a bit unexpectedly. Halting instinctively despite the danger drawing ever-closer behind him, Bond looked down, panting and blinking sweat from his eyes.

Ice. There was ice under his feet, cracking. That was what he’d heard.

“Well, well,” Silva’s voice reached him from only a stone’s throw away, jerking 007’s faltering attention back. The other man was grinning broadly enough to nearly split his face, even as he continued forward, but at a walk. It took Bond a moment to realize that Silva hadn’t noticed that it was ice he was walking on - a windy day had managed to blow bits of dust and detritus across the pond’s surface, camouflaging it just enough. “Finally tired of running, are we?” The smile shifted to become a compassionate look, a lovely, comforting bait on a wicked hook. “Really, James, you shouldn’t be in much condition to do anything, should you? Omegas in heat, and all that.”

Q froze, afraid to send off another shot to the attackers, because James was standing on ice that was disintegrating beneath his feet. It was Bond’s move.

At this distance, it was impossible to hear what was going on, but through the scope Q could still see what was going on. That meant that he was able to see the exhausted way 007 was holding himself, the grim determination in his shoulders - and at the same time, the easy, carefree way that Silva walked. That was when the shock hit that Silva didn’t know what he was standing on, and that James was playing bait to lure him closer and closer.

Before Q could act or even shout, 007 suddenly pulled the trigger on his Walther without even lifting it. Silva, having been tensed and waiting for Bond to raise his weapon or run, was caught totally unprepared as the low trajectory, instead of hitting flesh, hit the surface beneath their feet, right between them, and shattered with a glassy crack.

Within seconds, both men were underwater.

Q didn’t know what to do. The Arch Alpha in him wanted to dive into the water and save Bond, but he knew that underwater his glasses would be useless, and he wouldn’t see a thing. All he could do was reach across their connection and try to send strength to the tiring agent. He hoped it would work, because he hadn’t tried it before. But he could feel the weakness in Bond’s muscles, and the ache in his chest from lack of oxygen. It was too far away to see the reflections under the ice, even through the rifle scope.

He worried the longer they were under, but he was a poor swimmer, and his hands were already shaking from the cold. The sniper rifle barrel was like ice, and he flexed his fingers, trying to keep them warm enough to pull the trigger while the painfully slow seconds ticked by. It had been more than a minute, the world record for holding your breath was over twenty minutes, but average for swimmers was two minutes- Q tried to quell the panic that was rising in his chest with each passing second when the water remained motionless.

Then, at long last, there was a ripple, the broken shards of ice swaying against snapped and brittle reeds. More thin ice broke along the far shore, but it took a moment for Q to realize that he was seeing a pair of shoulders surging up through the ice, the rest of the body following. The moon, unfortunately, had slipped behind a bed of clouds, so it was impossible to tell who is was laboriously staggering out of the pond, even with the night vision - but it was clear that there was only one. The link with Bond was ominously quiet, but that could have meant anything: maybe the distance, maybe the shock of hitting the cold water, or maybe just a random fluke causing it to go dormant… not death, surely.

The figure at the edge of the lake was still bent over, and now obviously dragging something. Someone. Both Bond and Silva were imposing, broad-shouldered men, with prodigious strength, so Q still couldn’t say with certainty which was which - meaning he couldn’t in good conscious shoot.

But as the standing figure began to drag the motionless body away from the pond, towards a huddled building that looked like an old chapel, Q began to get the sinking suspicion that 007 hadn’t come out of this one on top.

Forcefully forgetting the crippling cold, Q took to his heels and ran, needing to get to the chapel. Hopefully he was wrong, and he’d arrive to find 007 sitting on Silva’s corpse, a predator angel guarding the demon he’d just slain. If Q was right, however, that was Silva - alive and lethal - even now dragging Bond into the seclusion of the chapel.

Chapter Text

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“How can they let you get in this condition? Tsk tsk tsk. It’s such a travesty. But I did tell you that those suppressants would come back to bite you,” Silva chided with a sickeningly motherly tone, dragging 007 from the dark place his mind had gone when the cold and the exhaustion and the lack of oxygen had snuffed his consciousness clean out. 007 twisted, his body’s urge to cough and spit up water impossible to fight. He only stopped when he felt a hard, damp hand clamp down on the back of his neck, overbearing and commanding. “Your heat really is awfully close, isn’t it, James?” Silva leaned over him to purr happily in his ear.

Even half-drowned, bone-weary, and feeling the sexual charge building in his body like a lightning bolt confined in a bottle - already starting to shatter the glass - 007 was dangerous. More than that, he was determined, and the things he was most determined to never endure was a monster like Silva getting the better of him, sexually or otherwise. Without so much as a snarl of warning, Bond twisted his body, putting his back to the floor but also his feet and hands between himself and the looming Alpha. The attack was so fast and sudden that Silva barely caught the first punch, and the kick to his middle would have sent him sprawling like an overturned turtle if he hadn’t already got such a grip on Bond’s right wrist. As it was, both of them ended up slewing across the floor in a tangle of angry limbs.

“Do we really have to do this, James?” Silva gritted out as they struggled for the upper hand, pushing, grabbing, making short, rabbit-punches that were all the tight space would allow. “Aren’t you tired of fighting? Tired of feeling like you lose even when the record says you won? I can smell it on you…” Silva’s words were pouring out of him like poisoned honey, even as he ended up under Bond, an unbreakable grip still trapping one of 007’s arms and keeping it from striking out. “You’re an Omega, Bond. Why can’t you just accept that?”

Fury burning like a forge at his core, 007 stopped moving for a second, muscles tensed as he maintained the physical stalemate - both he and Silva unable to freely throw punches until they got loose of each other’s limbs - and focused on that ineffable skill inside of him. Hoping that Q wasn’t close enough to feel it, thinking back on how Q had looked so uncomfortable and concerned last time he’d done this, Bond began to use his Chimeric skills. Even as the strain of it felt like it tore things up inside of him, he felt himself ‘passing’ for an Alpha. A vicious, half-mad grin painted itself across his face as he stared fearlessly back down into Silva’s eyes.

“And what do you smell now?” 007 grated out, right before twisting a wrist free - taking advantage of Silva’s momentary surprise as the Chimeric trick - and slamming his fist into his opponent’s unprotected ribs.

The fight continued, desperate, rough, and dirty. Only seconds - minutes at most - could have passed, but it felt like years as hands, feet, elbows, and knees did their level best to break or control anything within reach. Weapons had been lost in the pond.

But Silva had one advantage that even a Chimera like Bond couldn’t mimic, and 007 had just officially used up the last of his energy fighting and ‘passing’.

“Stop. Moving!”

Silva’s roar was a command as only a true Alpha could do it, twisting the words into something solid that could reach right into a Beta or Omega, and capture obedience in iron hands. 007 tried to fight it, but found his muscles locking. It slowed him down enough that the leg-sweep Silva executed caught his ankles, and the floor was a solid, all-body punch as he fell to it. Baring his teeth as other bruises he’d already accumulated protested the landing, 007 tried and failed to get back up and fight again, only to be reminded - again and again - that this was why Alphas always won.

007 still managed to turn his eyes up and glare as Silva came to stand over him, twin knives of pale, furious, defiant blue.

“Such a look you’re giving me!” Silva feigned indignant surprise, then grinned again in delight and began reaching for his belt, “Ah, oh well - you’ll look at me differently in just a moment. You put up quite a fight, James, but the fun and games are over now...”

Q burst into the chapel in a wave of fury, and the wooden door glanced off the stone wall. He had the rifle pointed, but at this distance he didn’t need the scope, he barely needed to aim. He could feel Bond’s shivers, a combination of the wet, cold, horror, and fury at what Silva had in mind for him.

“Bond, UP!” Q commanded with a scream. Silva was still turning to see what the hollow thud of the door had been. “Silva, DOWN ON THE GROUND.” The pale-haired Alpha looked startled, then murderous, than actively scared as his knees buckled without permission, all before Bond was able to get tiredly to his knees. The 00-agent’s teeth were chattering, but he had enough wherewithal to scramble away from Silva as soon as the command to stay still cracked. Bond had proven ages ago that he could break free of commands, if given a chance like this. The look in the Arch Alpha’s eyes was a blaze of righteous indignation and anger like that of a mother protecting her newborn from pure evil.

“Silva, you are going to die,” Q’s voice rang off the stones with a vengeance. He wouldn’t have been surprised if it killed Silva just by way of his wrath. “Not because you are mine to kill. Because you won’t let him say no. He isn’t an animal, he is a person. And he can decide for himself.” Silva, his usual calmness and flippant attitude having deserved him, snarled and fought the command, trying to grab the wooden pew and stand. He started to open his mouth to speak, even though no words from a mere Alpha could do jack shit against an Arch.

Q raised the rifle to shoulder height and emptied the rest of the clip with a scream. Silva’s body jerked, words cut off, and started to tilt in slow motion. He looked down at his stomach, or what was left of it, in horror as the blood flowed over his hands.

And without a word more, Raoul Silva died, all of his power, charisma, and commands meaning nothing as he toppled over.

Gun lowered but still in hand, Q panted, struggling to feel triumph through the righteous rage still bristling through him. He was so busy staring disbelievingly at the corpse in front of him that he neglected to look over at Bond - who, despite how exhausted he was, hadn’t stayed put or even sat down.

In fact, it appeared as though the man had regained his feet only to circle around to right outside Q’s range of vision, because suddenly Q was being startled by thirteen stones of weight hitting him from the right side. Even if he’d had the presence of mind to raise his sniper rifle and shoot again, he couldn’t, as 007 pinned the weapon as if it were second nature even as he crushed the smaller man to the wall. 007 was still soaking wet, water dripping from his clothing and the spiked tips of his hair, but beyond the chill water… Q could feel him burning up like a furnace. He wasn’t shivering from the cold anymore, as he caged Q in with body and arms.

“Bond- James,” Q tried to push the agent off and be the voice of reason. But there was a limit to his powers of resistance with the Chimeric Omega’s warm body pressed up against him, scenting along his jaw like a starving man. “James, please. Wait for just one minute.” He pressed back against Bond with all of his might, to give himself a chance to catch his breath and fight off the hormones that demanded he take Bond, NOW.

It didn’t help that whatever trick of biology let Bond ‘pass’ for an Alpha was fading, giving Q the full weight of the true smell of him all at once, like a suck-punch out of nowhere. Seeming not to hear Q, 007 instead focused on his left hand, which curled unexpectedly around Q’s wrist and squeezed until the gun dropped to the floor with a loud clatter - although somehow the larger man managed it without actually inflicting pain. And without removing his head from where he’d pressed his mouth against the side of Q’s neck, nose tracing the hammering pulse in Q’s carotid. “Don’t feel like waiting,” was the reply Q eventually got, and it would have sounded almost petulant if it weren’t so wrapped up in sex and interest, creating a low, lion’s purr. It got a pitch lower and almost dangerous as 007 added, “Doesn’t feel like you like waiting either.” Bond’s torso pressed closer now without the gun between them, so that they were touching from knee to chest.

“I don’t want to take advantage of you,” Q gasped.

“Then don’t,” was the throaty reply in his ear, and somewhere in there the link flared to life again - enough to show an absolutely intoxicating tangle of heat-affected emotions, as well as a new flicker of disgruntled awareness. “Dammit,” the man grumbled, proving that he could at least push through the haze trying to swamp him. Broad, scarred hands braced themselves against the wall on either side of Q’s head, but the rest of 007 didn’t move back so much as an inch.

“Do you know the consequences of this?” Q shook his head and tried to reason with his own body long enough to protest. Sweat was dripping down his neck, and he was hard as a rock. He felt exhausted from the effort of fighting, and his treacherous body was arguing how much easier it would be to just give in to the intoxicating feeling of the Omega. “What if you decide when this is over that you didn’t really want it?”

“It’s not that I want-!” James started to defend, but gave up with a frustrated noise as the words didn’t capture his meaning. One of his braced hands curled into a fist, thumping the wall in irritation, the muscle of his forearms cording. “I probably will regret this. I’m angry as fuck any time this happens,” he started to explain with a swift stream of words that came from having a mind liable to sink into a heat-shrouded haze any second, “But this is the first time where I feel like maybe - just maybe-!” Right now, it sounded like 007 felt furious, almost dangerously so, but he hadn’t hurt Q yet, or done anything besides disarm and pin him. Bond’s sight came out hot against Q’s left temple as the usually proud agent confessed, “Just maybe I have some control of the situation this time. I’m an Omega, and Silva was right - I can’t bloody change that - but I don’t have to do everything my body wants to.”

“What does your body want, if it isn’t this?” Q shied away from the pounding fist, and the anger. “I am here to protect you. And it doesn’t sound like you really want this. It sounds like you want to fight it and you’ve run out of energy. I should go, come back in a few days.”

“NO,” Bond roared, and his other hand coiled tight. Being this close, it was impossible to miss the bunching muscles, the slide and flex of them - or, for that matter, the insistent, unmistakable shape of 007’s stiffened cock either. But the link was showing a mix of temper, frustration, and such a tempest of other emotions that Q may as well have been trying to identify different raindrops in a thunderstorm. James managed to quiet enough to speak in a moderately more sensible tone a second later, though, stubble scraping Q’s jaw with each word, “I mean I don’t… If I’ve lost the energy to fight, then I’m bloody out of luck finding the energy to deal with the loneliness of my own head for another heat. And… I trust you.” That admission was accompanied by a note of surprise through the link - which Q still hadn’t found the right time to tell Bond about - and bewildered wariness. “If you can keep that commanding, Alpha voice of yours to yourself, and let me take the lead, this might end as something other than a train wreck for both of us,” 007 finally summed up with typical, 00-agent bluntness.

“I don’t-” Q blushed. “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. I needed you away from Silva. And it happened, before I planned it to. I- are you sure? There’s something you should know.” He looked down hesitantly, feeling for all the world like the small boy about to be rejected again, when Bond found out that he could feel his emotions.

But at that point, 007 seemed to finally lose another notch of his control, and a twist of his body had them both stumbling. It was with a distracted sort of humor that Q realized that were liable to end up naked on the altar at this rate, even as 007 steadied them again against another wall, fingers digging into Q’s thighs and hitching them suddenly upwards. The heat was providing 007 with strength he wouldn’t normally have, pushing exhaustion aside. “Don’t care,” the agent grunted shortly, as their change in positions forced Q to either wrap his legs around Bond’s waist or depend entirely upon the other man to hold him up off the floor.

“Please, just one thing,” Q wrapped his legs around James, trying to fight off the impending flood of his own biology losing all reason. He threw his arms around Bond’s neck, panting against the onslaught of the agent pressed against him. “I can tell- what you’re feeling. Have been able to and-” he lost his train of thought.

“Stop talking,” Bond growled, and finally free up a hand to tangle it in Q’s hair and pin his head in place for a harsh but heated kiss. His hips rolled up and forwards, making Q gasp at the friction, 007’s other hand still pressed against his upper thigh with his thumb finding the edge of Q’s hipbone through his clothing. Already Q was starting to get soaked thanks to the pond-water all over Bond, but it was hard to be cold when 007 was somehow maneuvering them both again, and soon the Alpha was on the ground, on his back, with a feverish 00-agent over him. The contrast of the cold stone and hot body was shocking.

“Q,” 007 panted, clearly trying to drag words to himself from far, far away, “Q… Q, the only way this is going to work is with me fucking you. If you’re not okay with that…” He paused and shook his head like he was getting rid of a buzzing in his ears. “...I tried to kill the last person who fucked me.”

“I don’t care, please,” Q was begging. “Any way you want me. Just- NOW,” he pleaded. He should have been terrified by Bond’s words, but all he felt was raw need, a snap of it inside him, that made him growl and pull Bond closer, unable to get him close enough against his skin with the wet clothes still on.

The man over him made a rumbling noise in his throat that translated roughly to appreciation and relief, and then Bond was tearing at Q’s clothing, pulling away only enough to start getting it off. Neither of them were particularly dexterous at the moment, and 007 was definitely falling headlong into a heat: his hands were hungry, needy, his mouth sucking and biting at every inch of skin he revealed, getting in the way of his own attempts to undress the Alpha under him. Fortunately, 007’s reputation in bed was in no way undeserved, and his hands knew what to do even when his mind was far away.

Q moaned and pressed against him, gasping for some friction and relief. He knew there would be marks, his skin was raw where Bond was working his way along Q’s skin, lips and teeth pulling at him like they were trying to consume him whole. He made a throaty cry, as Bond pulled away to rip off their respective clothes that left him feeling bereft. He supposed at some point they should make it to somewhere softer than these cold stones, but then he stopped thinking when Bond pulled at his clothes as well. Still kneeling between Q’s legs, he pulled off his own clothing in swift, smooth motions, like a brutal kind of poetry that revealed bruises and tanned skin, scars and taut muscles. As both of them shuffled around for the necessary removal of trousers and pants, however, James proved that some part of him was still in his mind, thinking, because when Q settled back on the floor again, he had a nest of their discarded clothing under him. It was still quite damp, but it was hard to worry about catching a chill when the heat was literally heating 007 up, his body burning through energy at a dizzying pace so that he was almost uncomfortably warm. The air around them was chill enough that Q could just see some of the water on Bond’s skin rising in the form of steam, before he was distracted again by the Omega coming down on him.

007 might have been ravenous for sexual contact right now, like any stereotypical Omega in heat, but that was where the resemblance stopped. Most people - Q included - had been brought up to think of Omegas as pliant and passive, and definitely submissive when the heat came, but all of that had been broken in 007 and removed in bloody pieces in his formative years, and then trained out of him in his later years to make him the effective, fearless, dangerous agent that he was. If there had once been some soft, docile part of him, it was scar tissue now, and it was a pity, in a way: a 00-agent on his knees would have been a sight to behold…

“You can stop me,” 007 gasped with what was clearly the last shreds of his common-sense and verbal ability, as he laid biting kisses down the line of Q’s throat, down to one nipple, lathing it with his tongue before dragging his teeth across the hardened nub. The air was cold, but Bond’s breath was like a dragon’s.

“Now? Really?” Q’s voice was incredulous and sarcastic. “Now you change your mind?”

“No,” was growled against his sternum irritably, in a tone that really should have been funny - usually it was the Quartermaster getting exasperated at the antics of the agents under his care. Lust-blown eyes with only the faintest ring of ice-blue pupil turned up to him with a look that tried to be a glare, “I’m just not about to force you to do anything any more than you want to force me! But I don’t know if I will… or can…” his voice grew guttural. “...Stop, unless you order me.”

“Too late,” Q ground up against Bond and pulled his hair with a twist. In response, 007 rose up to catch his mouth in a hard kiss. He returned the kiss in kind, hungry, like he hadn’t been touched in far too long. And if his mind was coherent enough to think of it, he couldn’t remember when that was. “I gave you enough chances to change your mind. Now, I want you, NOW.” He pulled Bond back down to him by the hair, and dug his teeth into the tender skin under his ear.

007 hissed, but the link flared up again, flooding Q with a pleasure so sweet it was like a drug rolling through him. One hand was supporting him - barely - so that he didn’t crush Q with his full weight, but his other hand now skimmed down between their stomachs, catching both their cocks in a rough grip that was slightly gentled by the slide of pre-cum.

“House?” Q asked with a gasp. “There’s lube in the bags. And there’s blankets. A bit softer than the floor, even with clothes.” He tried to push James off long enough to get his attention. “I feel like Silva is still staring at me,” he confessed with a grimace. Silva’s eyes were still open and Q tried to ignore them, he really did. But it was a bit of a mood killer, even with the heat pheromones.

It said something about the ability of a long-awaited heat to cloud an Omega’s mind that this only just managed to put off Bond a bit. He paused a moment, muscles tense, and blinked up at Q like he didn’t quite understand the words coming out of his mouth. Then everything clicked and he swore in what sounded like Russian, moving both hands to the floor at Q’s sides and dropping his forehead onto Q’s breastbone in defeat. It was then that Q noticed his shaking again, a sign that 007 was really quite a wreck when his body forgot about the heat.

“Can we go inside then?” Q’s voice was gentle, soothing. Since Bond didn’t protest, he took the opportunity to get up, and pull Bond up with him. He put their respective shirts on and decided that the trousers were a hopeless cause. There was still a fire in the kitchen, and Bond needed some food to stop the shaking, or else he would collapse. The shivering worried Q, so he took the time to wrap his cardigan around Bond’s shoulders as well.

“You need some food as well, before you crash,” he scolded. “I can bring my pallet to the kitchen in front of the fire, and we can stay there. I think we need to be somewhere a bit more protected than a stone room with a dead body for the rest of your heat.”

It took some work (a lot of work, actually) to get out from under Bond, and then actually get them both enough into their clothes that they wouldn’t freeze their arses off when they went back outside. Q’s protective nature was showing in that he wouldn’t take no for an answer on this plan, but he also succeeded in avoiding commands, and 007’s own control was impressive, once he found it again. Of course, they both were just about dying to get their hands back on each other, but common-sense won out over hormones in the end. Haphazardly dressed once again, Q pulled Bond out of the chapel and across the frozen moor as quickly as he could, aware that they were both damp and wet now. The flames on the roof of Skyfall had died down, and Q pulled him around the back to the kitchen door, where the fighting had been lightest. The room was still undamaged, although dusty. The fire from the crashed chopper had actually warmed the room, but 007 still had the presence of mind to offer to make a fire. Q left Bond settled on the hearth, pulling together matches and wood they’d wisely collected earlier, while Q himself went for his pallet.

He found the pallet and his messenger bag where he had left them. Luckily he was cautious: the lube and condoms in his bag were leftover from his last fling, and that had been months ago. He flung the bag over his shoulder, the leather, cold from the stones, smacking against his bare legs. Tugging the pallet back to the kitchen, he found Bond shivering before a slowly awakening fire, staring out into the dark room with a lack of focus that spoke of too much strain on a body that couldn’t take much more. There was neither surprise nor fear when his eyes lifted up to find Q’s face, however.

Q set down the pallet and pushed Bond to lay on it, wrapping him in the rough wool blanket when he didn’t put up any fight on the matter. It was musty, but the cornflower blue softened Bond’s eyes and made him look the slightest bit younger. Q pressed a kiss to his sweaty hair and went to see what there was to feed him.

Considering how independent and recalcitrant 00-agents could be, 007 in particular, it was a pleasant surprise when 007 allowed the mothering. It untangled a knot of tension in Q’s chest to finally vent some of his more mothering tendencies, and when he came back with a quickly-made sandwich and water, Bond didn’t argue - just ate it. However, in the brief time that Q was gone, the man had skinned out of his clothes again, and was just sitting by the fire with the blanket over his shoulders. “They were wet,” was the faintly belligerent excuse. 007 had regained some self-control in their journey from the chapel to here, but it was clearly just a brief respite as the suppressants backfired just like all the warning labels had said they would.

Q gave him a wry smile and scarfed down his own sandwich without tasting it, between swallows of water. He could smell Bond once more, and that smell, it was like fruit ripened in the sun, the smell of a beach paradise brought to a cold winter night in a stone kitchen on the moors. He threw the empty water bottle somewhere in the vague direction of the table behind him and lunged for Bond, dropping to his knees and inhaling the smell of his neck. At first, 007 stiffened, but then his fingers curled into the wrinkled material of Q’s shirt and he pulled him close with a chest-rattling sigh.

He pushed Bond back onto the pallet with a growl, barely remembering in the back of his mind the warning of what had happened to Bond’s last lover. But it didn’t matter, he had no intention of talking. He wanted his mouth on Bond’s cock, and didn’t stop to pull his own clothes off. He worked his way down the scarred torso, tugging at the skin with his teeth, ravenous to get the other man’s erection in his mouth. Groaning lowly in his throat, 007 immediately got the idea, and the spike of arousal hit Q from all directions: from the scent of heat in the air, from the link brightly strung between them, and from the callused hands that slid against his head and into his hair, guiding Q lower.

Q took him in his mouth like a drowning man sucking down oxygen, and all reason left him. It was the salty taste of Bond leaking in his mouth, the hands tugging at his hair, and the feeling of the burning body beneath him. He couldn’t get enough, cupping Bond’s buttocks in his hands to pull him deeper, squeezing the muscular thighs so hard he left fingerprints. He forgot to stop for air until he was gasping, and even then he only pulled off long enough to catch his breath, nuzzling at Bond’s hip bones with a warm, wet tongue the whole while. Bond was panting little wordless phrases, switching languages on occasion, but never deviating the subject - he had only thanks and praises to say in regards to Q’s clever mouth and tongue. With the fire now well and truly going now, 007’s flexing muscles were painted out in sharp, red-gold detail, the warm light splashing across his right side as he arched into Q’s mouth and subsided when Q pulled off. “Yes… Yes, Q… God, your mouth…!” he moaned, fingers fisting in Q’s hair until the tug of it against his scalp sent sparks down his spine. At their best, agents like 007 were built to be brutal, so Q appreciated the control 007 was maintaining now - it wasn’t much, but an Omega of Bond’s build could be a lot rougher when his body wanted something this badly.

Q swallowed him down whole, remembering to breathe through his nose this time. He only caught a few words here and there, Bond was mumbling in more languages than he could name, and honestly, who could be bothered to remember unused mandatory language courses while giving head anyway? Q came back to himself just a little, enough to realize that he was moaning around Bond’s cock, rubbing himself against the pallet blanket. It was a little too much friction, the rough wool chafing against the sensitive skin. 007’s muscular thighs pressed against his shoulders, urging him back on task, even as Bond’s fingertips massaged his scalp.

“Please,” Q begged around the mouthful of Bond’s cock. “I want you to fuck me, please.” He sat up so he could plead, kneeling over Bond’s cock to swallow him down. He was past desperate, wanting more. It could have been him in Bond, Bond in him, Bond’s mouth and fingers, it didn’t matter. Something more before he combusted from the scorching heat. He didn’t know what he wanted, needed, just more.

At first it seemed that 007 was too far gone to heed anything but the demands of his own body, but then there were hands tugging him upwards. That, unfortunately, necessitated removing himself from Bond’s cock (which clearly troubled them both), but 007’s mouth was just as artful and fun to lick into as Bond got Q situated over him again. Without warning, the 00-agent twisted, switching the position, making a pleased - and possibly relieved - noise as he took more control of the situation. “Open the lube,” Bond panted between heated kisses, even as both of his hands slid up the back of Q’s thighs, making their intentions clear when the left one trailed between the cleft of Q’s arse impatiently.

Q fumbled blindly with the lube, unable to spare his eyes as he drank in the sight of the naked agent above him, ravaging him. He finally got the cap off and shoved it impatiently at Bond, moaning into his mouth desperately, trying to minimize the space between them.

Fortunately, they wanted the same thing, and 007 was beyond being shy about getting it. A slicked finger was almost immediately sliding into Q, just forcefully enough to burn, but thankfully not enough to hurt. An Omega in heat wasn’t known, exactly, for his or her judgment skills, or for caring too much about gentleness, but 007 as a dominant Omega seemed to have the sense not to hurt his partner. Not to hurt Q. Hiking one of Q’s legs higher up against his flank, 007 worked in and out with just one finger, long enough that the second to join it without discomfort. Q still hissed at the burn. Bond’s own discomfort came from a body that wanted sexual release and no way to find that yet, so he was now growling obscenities into the crook of Q’s neck while somehow resisting the urge to just jack himself off.

“Enough!” Q was frustrated beyond reason. “Just take me already, ok? You can take your time later, just get inside me, NOW!”

No Alpha orders were necessary. 007’s fingers disappeared and almost immediately his cock was slamming in, making them both cry out and shudder. It was a good thing that 007 had used lots of lube in preparation, because it was dubious whether he’d really thought about putting more on his cock, but the friction was just perfect right now - just the right side of rough. Breathing out a German phrase of endearment into Q’s cheek, 007 adjusted to the rush of sensations for only moments before pulling back out and snapping back in again, chasing the release his heat was so loudly demanding.

Q didn’t let the pace relent, he gasped and yelled, pulling Bond as far in his body as he could manage. He might be the receiving partner in this round of sex, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a hand in satisfying the Omega that was ravaging him.

There was the flicker of thought - the knowledge that 007 was not only very strong, but an Omega who had pushed off his heat for ages, and was being slammed with the compounded effects of it all, right now. With Q as his partner. It was going to be a long night… but Q couldn’t bring himself to mind.

Chapter Text

There was a morning fog just burning off when Q opened his eyes, the fire burned down to embers. The moors were a muted green outside the window, the dust motes dancing over the stones in the shaft of sunlight coming in from the window. It seemed like 007 was asleep at his side, but the a fingertip trailed lazily down his spine.

Instead of heading right into another bout of heat-induced sex, however, 007 spoke with low, gravely clear-headedness, “I heard you last night, you know.”

“Heard what?” Q stretched into his touch with a yawn. His fuzzy brain couldn’t remember what had happened after the sex, other than waking up this morning. He spooned back against Bond and wrapped an arm around his hip lazily.

The hand paused, sliding up seemingly innocuously to grip the arm reaching back towards him, the grip loose at the moment. “Let me jog your memory, before I lose my head again,” the 00-agent muttered, clearly meaning the heat, which would be letting an Omega be this coherent for long. His next sentence dropped just low enough to have an undercurrent of threat as he leaned up near Q’s head, “I believe you mentioned something about being able to tell what I’m feeling.

“Oh!” It all came back to Q with a rush. “I was trying to tell you, before everything that happened. I started to feel what you were feeling, and then we got caught up, and I lost track,” he blushed and hid his head. He tried not to be tongue tied, but in the light of day, he wasn’t sure how Bond would react without the hormones clouding his emotions. “I could feel your panic and anger, and when you got turned on.”

“And it didn’t occur to you to tell me earlier?” came the displeased reply, even as tension slithered down the very link they were talking about - the tension of a very private, prideful man realizing that he’d been an open book for quite some time now. “How long?”

“Um, the plane..." Q sighed. "You're tense, and uncomfortable. And you hate that you can't hide anything from me. You were so overwhelmed that I couldn't hurt you, and I didn't want to push it any further," he admitted. "You're already upset, and I was trying not to make it worse. Every time I brought up how you felt, you got angry."

The growl at the back of his head was not encouraging, especially since Q’s back was to the 00-agent, so the only cues he got as to the man’s temperament were literally verbal ones and emotional ones - which were still not particularly positive. In fact The best thing he could detect right now was a thread of embarrassment, which at least didn’t seem actively negative. However, Bond didn’t devolved into violence, instead pushing his head forward to read it rest it heavily against the back of Q’s neck. “Goddammit,” he sighed in a puff of hot air across Q’s nape, “That long? And you can tell that much? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

"I'm sorry ," Q said helplessly. "I can tell a lot. And I knew you wouldn't like it." He leaned back against Bond with a sigh. "I don't t know how to make it less uncomfortable. With the hormones, it's not so simple to ignore. Before, I could block it out better."

007 shifted, his body coming closer and abruptly reminding both of them of the lack of clothing - and that fact that 007’s body was already gearing up for another round. Omega’s were derided for a lot of weaknesses, but one thing that no one took lightly was the fact that they could be insatiable in a heat. 007 leg go of Q’s arm to slide it around the Alpha’s stomach instead, breathing out against the back of his head again. Some of the temper was dissipating, although whether it was doing so for normal reasons or because hormones were messing with the 00-agent’s head was hard to tell. “I suppose it hardly matters by this point, although I presently feel like a bit of a failure as a secretive spy,” 007 admitted a bit more lightly, tone joking, adding a beat later with a humor chortle, “Although I suppose you can tell that I don’t really find that funny.” Bond’s arm curled closer, until he there was no longer any part of them not touching, the heady scent of the heat increasing at a dizzying pace. Bond’s darker emotions were being blotted out. “We’re going to talk about this later…” 007 promised, the words taking more effort to get out as he licked along the side of Q’s neck to the back of his ear, “But in about two more seconds, I’m not going to care. Are you still with me?”

It was nice that the agent was checking. "Yes," Q gasped. "Let me send R a message, so they aren't panicked and trying to find us. They can send a cleanup team without coming in the house. And later we can decide what to do when we return to London." He sent a quick text, and then tossed his phone, flipping Bond over and devouring his mouth. "Can you feel it?" He gasped. "The bond? How much I want you? I'm tired of fighting it."

Said bond flashed with something new and unexpected: surprise. And something more fragile beneath it, at odds with the powerful body that contained it. Revelling in the kisses, 007 drew Q’s tongue into his mouth for a moment instead of answering. Perhaps he was stalling, but more likely his thoughts were narrowing to where sensation spoke louder than words. When he finally let up from sucking on Q’s tongue so they could both suck in breaths, 007 admitted with a flicker of half-realized disappointment, “Can’t feel a bloody thing. Not of that link you’re talking about anyway.”

Q ground his erection down against the agent. "Can you feel that then?" Q tried to hide his disappointment. He had heard of the bond working both ways with an Arch Alpha and Chimeric Omega, but 007 had been on the suppressants for a long time. Maybe it was better that way, easier once the heat ended and they went their separate ways.

Bond’s chuckle was low and full of heat as he rutted upwards in return, pulling Q back in close but biting teasingly at his shoulder and collarbone instead of kissing his mouth. “And here I thought we were talking about our emotions,” he joked throatily, “I assure you, Q…” His hand slipped between them to grip both of their cocks in one hand, starting a slow, maddening stroke, “I can feel that quite well.”

"Well then, fuck me already," Q was so hard it hurt, and Bond's teasing touch was driving him mad. He was trying not to beg, but the pheremones were addictive, and all he wanted was to ease the ache of desire rushing through him. "Please, I don't want to scare you by taking control. But I can't wait."

“Neither can I,” 007 concurred breathlessly, before gripping Q’s waist nearly hard enough to bruise and pushing upwards. It seemed, for a debilitating second, that he was increasing the distance between them, but then Q realized all Bond wanted at the moment was to line them up. It could only have been hours since they last fucked, so Q was still slick and stretched, and 007’s hunger was having no problem matching Q’s.

Q slid down onto Bond's cock with a groan, matching him thrust for thrust. He clenched around him as tight as he could, every ridge brushing against him in sweet agony. He wanted to come, but he wanted it to last, but he wanted Bond to fill him again. He sat up on his knees, and then slammed down, biting his own fist to stop the cry that wrenched out of him when the crown of Bond's prick hit his prostate.

He reached for Bond's hands and wove their fingers together, giving himself just enough leverage to repeat the move. "More, so close," he begged. 

007’s response wasn’t recognizable as words, but it didn’t matter, as the muscles of his thighs and torso bunched - just as beautiful in the natural light of the early dawn as they’d been by moon- and fire-light - arching his body and changing the angle to hit that spot again. There was a brief flash of emotion through the link, almost drowned out by everything else: irritation as 007 noticed his pinned hands, even as blue eyes opened a slit. The heat was an all-encompassing cloud, so only the strongest of 007’s instincts remained, and one of those was tangled up in a distinctive dislike for being made vulnerable. It was clearly hard to find that reflex under the wave of lust, however, as 007 groaned and thrust up again.

Q backed off, trying to soothe 007 through the bond. The agent's warning came back to him and he tried to appear as non threatening as possible. He didn't want to end up dead trying to get fucked harder, but it took his body entirely too long to decide that. Eventually, 007 merely wrested one of his wrists free, and the compromise seemed to work: Q got one limb to pin as he pleased, and 007 got the other one free to use as he saw fit. In this case, that included alternating between stroking Q cock and petting Q’s skin, smearing pre-cum on it but also seeming to find every hypersensitive spot the dark-haired man owned.

Q reveled in the feeling of Bond's hand on his erection. The touches to his sensitive spots, his inner thighs, his hip bones, and his lower belly, pushed him to the edge. He knew Bond should be able to have his pleasure first, but he folded down to catch Bond's mouth, and came with a sigh. With Q clenching all around him, and the heat compounding everything into an erotic haze, 007 immediately tipped over the edge after him, moaning into Q’s mouth even as he gripped his hand hard. Bond’s free hand came up to tangle in Q’s hair, keeping his mouth close as they both rode out the climax.

The link was a truly wonderful thing post-coital - and possibly more addictive than anything else, as it now sent warm-honey waves of sated pleasure. For once, 007 had no walls up, no defensive anger coiled around him like a briar-patch. It was a vulnerable state, like a dragon without its scales, or a selkie leaving it’s pelt upon the rocks. Breaking from the kiss to simply tilt his head back and sigh, 007 caught his breath with usually alert, blue eyes lazily closed. His free hand stroked Q’s flank idly.

Q took a moment to breathe, and bask in the contentment of his bed partner. He wished for a moment that Bond could feel it as well, the warm pleasure coiling in his belly. He settled onto Bond's chest, nuzzling at the scent of his pheromone laden, sweaty flesh.

It took quite a while for 007 to become verbal again, but even after they’d shifted around enough that Bond wasn’t physically in Q (but the smaller man was still on top of him, basking in the warmth), the caressing continued. The heat was probably still a buzzing under 007’s skin, sated at the moment but by no means gone, and therefore keeping him awake and slightly active. Before the marathon could start up again, however, 007’s head cleared, shortly followed by his throat. “I said we were going to talk about your reading my thoughts, didn’t I?” he said, still sounding muzzy, looking up at the ceiling, “Before all I could think about was sex.”

Q stiffened in his arms. "You feel content, sated. Happy." He sighed. "I wish it worked both ways, because this is awkward. I feel the same, but..." His voice trailed off into uncertainty. He turned away from the agent, and went to stand.

"I was telling the truth," he said quietly, head bowed. "I've never had sex with an omega. The emotions, the protectiveness, it's a lot to handle. I don't usually care so deeply about who I have sex with, and it's difficult to ignore."

Strong hands caught him at the waist, pulling him back instead of letting him turn away. 007 post-coital was clearly easier to deal with than he was at any other time, but he also seemed sincerely thoughtful. And a bit apologetic, as he replied, “Look, Q, I’m not mad. Maybe I should be… but I’m not.” The 00-agent sighed and looked away even as he stroked a hand up Q’s side to his ribs and back down - a reassuring gesture. “I’m not good at talking about emotions, so perhaps I should be thankful for this,” he tried to joke, mouth quirking up on one side. When he looked back at Q, the humor lurked there, too, nestled in pools of pale blue.

Then, because 00-agents preferred to hide behind bluster and brashness, 007 raised an eyebrow cockily and asked, “So, for you first time with an Omega, I hope I don’t disappoint.” One hand stayed on Q’s thigh, massaging the muscle with quiet, gentle strength - the other began stroked in slightly more sensitive directions. “I’m not letting you get bored, am I?”
Q didn’t think that this was entirely the urges of the heat talking, so he allowed himself a smile as he nodded. “Oh, I’m quite content,” he said, but also added more seriously, with discomfort to match 007’s, “And emotions aren’t a topic I’m particularly good at talking about either.”

“Hmm,” 007 hummed, not quite a noise of total acceptance, but one that at least assured Q that the larger man accepted his answer. Wariness still lurked at the edges of the link as 007 asked, watching Q with canny eyes, “Anything else I should know? It seems that every second I turn around, you’ve got another trick up your sleeve, and you already seem to have ferreted out all of mine.”

"I don't think so?" Q blushed. "I've never had a relationship, this type of emotion is very confusing.

“Well, join the club, neither have I. The only other times I’ve been with an Alpha-” 007 cut off sharply, and something black and sick lashed down the link again - the tarry, smothering emotion that Q had noted on a few previous occasions. 007 swallowed once, even as his face became an unreadable mask for a moment. “All things considered, this is going better than expected,” he finished shortly.

"I'm sorry, they should never have," he said quietly. "That's the part of being an alpha I hate, the reputation."

Unexpectedly, that got 007’s expression to open up a little, if only to smirk and say with soft joviality, “Welcome to my world.”

"What else do I not know about you, about what you need right now?" He blushed and couldn't meet Bond's eyes.

Bond’s chuckle went right through both of them, reminding Q that he was not only sitting on the man, but that he was dealing with a particularly virile Omega in heat - one that was getting interested again. 007’s grin grew broader and more real. “Most people would say that ‘what I need’ is pretty obvious, but I appreciate that you’re asking,” he murmured, and beneath the sexual joking, there was very real gratitude, well-hidden but there - the emotional link was as telling as always. “But you knew that, didn’t you?”

"Yes," he hid his head on Bond's shoulder. "What as a person, I mean? I don't know much about you, what you like. All I know is what I know from work."

Bond’s emotions betrayed surprise. “Oh,” was all he said, for a moment, eloquence failing him. “Well…” He cleared his throat and made an effort to answer with the same candid openness Q was granting him, even if it came out a bit awkwardly for a man usually so suave. “I like a good Scotch after a hard day.” Gun-callused fingertips rode the ridges of Q’s spine up to his nape, somehow gently than before, making the Quartermaster shiver. “I like a warm body, although I trust very few of them.” Bond’s voice had grown softer and more thoughtful, although he added with a hint of his notorious roguishness, “For the record, I quite like yours. You’re the first Alpha I’ve met who doesn’t just about give himself an aneurism whenever he bottoms in sex.”

"Why would I?" Q looked confused. "It was good sex." He blushed again. "I usually bottom. The emotions are too much on top. I get- overwhelmed. I get over protective, and I over think it."

That surprised 007. “Yet another thing I did not know about the notorious Quartermaster - Arch Alpha of Q-branch,” he deadpanned, but didn’t seem annoyed, merely thoughtful. He let the silence stretched, his libido picking up again but still low enough for him to control it besides a few restless shifts of his frame, and finally said, very lowly and very softly, “Thank you. For letting me top. Death threats on my part aside, this would not be pleasant if you were… anything but what you’re being right now.” Blue eyes met his, like troubled waters.

"Thank you, I was afraid I would have to tell you I didn't want to," Q blushed again. "I've only topped a couple of times. I couldn't do it my first time with someone," he admitted. "I wish... I'm not that brave."

“Oh, come now, Q!” The lopsided grin was back, putting laugh-lines around 007’s eyes. “You’re brave enough that you just survived a night with me.” He wriggled his hips suggestively, absolutely shameless as he got playful - and also sexually hungry again. “The most dangerous lay in MI6!”

"I've never been with an omega, let alone topped one," he protested with a laugh. "In heat? God save the queen, I would over think it to tears." He burst into giggles. "You might be dangerous in the field, but I have no complaints in bed. You're very... Thoughtful."

“I’m glad you appreciate it,” 007 grunted back as he abruptly tightened his grip on Q and flipped them both around, so that he was looming again - but still smiling wickedly. His eyes traced over Q like every inch was a feast, and he was clearly starving, despite the ‘tastes’ he’d had twice earlier. “Because it’s bloody hard to hold back when I’ve got you like this.” Belying his statement, he held back enough that he didn’t immediately go to fucking, but instead nuzzled at the side of Q’s cheek, his jaw, laying kissing back to his ear even as he inhaled deeply. He seemed to realize something as he lay like that, pressing Q into the sleeping pallet and covering him with his body, “You keep asking me if I feel the link like you do… You’re talking about calmness, aren’t you? That peacefulness was coming from you, back on the plane, and at the hotel.”

“Yes?” Q asked hesitantly. “What else? What am I thinking?”

007 drew back, eyes clearly bewildered. “I’m supposed to be able to tell what you’re thinking? What kind of bloody link have you tangled me up in?” he asked with sincere confusion and perhaps even a little horror.
“I’m sorry, never mind,” Q bent down to kiss him, trying to distract him from the conversation. The idea of mentioning that… he couldn’t. He shivered, nerves getting the better of him. He teased his way down Bond’s stomach, warm lips brushing his ribs. “I just- sometime I’d like to try, being on top.”

007 froze, briefly - a subtle thing that would be hard for the average person to notice. 00-agents were trained not to show things like surprise, or unease.

“I’m sorry, not now,” Q cursed his tongue. “Not during a heat. Just sometime. Although I probably won’t see you after this, not in bed. And it doesn’t matter- I’m going to be quiet now.” He hung his head, blush turning his cheeks scarlet, and down to his chest. “Ignore me, please,” he groaned.

Surprisingly, 007 softened, and his sigh both sounded and felt nothing but tired - and maybe sad. One hand disappeared from Q’s skin only to reappear on his head, and it was only thanks to the link that Q felt how 007 took comfort in the feel of silky, tousled strands against his fingers. “I won’t lie, Q - I like this. And despite being bloody frustrated at you from time to time, I like you, too,” 007 admitted with soft sincerity, but for some reason the levity of his words didn’t match the more somber tone he was using. It made more sense as he went on, in a low rumble like a receding storm, “But I’m broken, Q. I don’t… I don’t think I can be all the things you want. There are some things I don’t want - won’t want.” He paused a moment, as if rallying or controlling himself, and then asked blatantly, “How much did M tell you about my past? My childhood?”

“She said it hadn’t been good,” Q admitted. “That you hadn’t been treated well, there were things that you were far too young to have had happen. That it happened to you for a long time. And there is no reason you would ever want to try, let alone with me. I didn’t mean to imply that you should let me. I’m sorry. I just enjoyed this so much, that if there is anyone I would want to try being on top with, it would be you.”

007’s other hand came up to curl of the Quartermaster’s upper back, tracing the blade of his shoulder in a tactile show of appreciation, even if his emotions remained somewhat maudlin. He surprised Q by verbalizing that gratitude a moment later - something rare for a man who held his cards so close, “Thanks, Q. To tell you the truth, I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually enjoyed a heat - usually it’s just bloody frustrating and inconvenient - but you’re giving me a pretty good idea why some Omega’s might actually enjoy this.” 007’s leg bent at the knee, the inside of his thigh sliding along the outside of Q’s, cradling his hip. “The inability to think straight is a bit maddening, but if I ever get too rough or pushy, it’s a relief to know that you can stop me literally with a word.” 007 actually smiled at that. Q could feel his skin heating up again, lust rising demandingly in his system and burning out everything else as 007 began to lose his toehold on control again. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d very much like to fuck you at least one more time before that back-up you called arrives,” he said with throaty politeness even as his hands grew more possessive and the blue of his eyes was devoured by dark pupil.

“Yes, please,” Q pressed against him, letting the embarrassment go in favor of the hormones that were raging through his body in response to Bond. “I can understand why it would be enjoyable, if there was someone you could trust,” he said seriously. “And it's sad that it's so hard to find. I did tell them not to approach the house, by the way. The clean up team. We have as long as you like.” He rubbed back against Bond languidly. “Didn’t you want to fuck me again?”

There was no need for further encouragement, as the Omega beneath him let the heat take over again, all hunger and heat.

~^~

MI6’s timing was impeccable, arriving during one of 007’s lucid moments when his body was sated and the heat backed off. Q was just about ready for a break anyway, so when his phone buzzed to indicate that MI6 had arrived and was obediently waiting outside for the all-clear, he wriggled out of Bond’s grip. The agent only protested for a moment, making getting dressed as difficult as humanly possible, but then there was a shout from outside. A text a moment later was the equivalent of an apology - apparently someone had smelled the heat and temporarily lost composure. 007 read the text over Q’s shoulder, humor leaving him to be replaced by a grim, displeased look that could have peeled paint off a building. But at least he behaved more like an agent of MI6 after that, swiftly putting clothing back on (new ones, from the supply Q had wisely packed) and keeping a watchful eye on the entrance as he did so.

The return of Bond’s wariness was practical, but painful for Q to watch, especially because it made the agent look more like he had when they’d first met: tired, worn, jaded, and most of all as unfriendly as hell. At least everything was under control by the time they got outside, although everyone obviously knew that there was an Omega in heat coming out of the battered house. A few even thought it was Q for a second, because of his size and built, and looked even more shocked when they connected the scent to Bond. For a moment, 007 responded by calling on his Chimeric side - his scent fading even as his shoulders tightened with pain at the effort - but Q’s belaying hand on his arm was all it took the convince him to stop. The agent didn’t have the energy, and for at least another day or two, he wouldn’t have the focus for tricks like that to come easily.

The Alpha in Q swelled with pride as 007 stuck close to him and trusted him to control the situation, a blond-haired figure moving in his wake like a shark. 007 was making the minimal effort to be charming, but even if he’d been acting totally friendly, no one was quite willing to risk the Quartermaster’s Weatherford when they saw his protective intentions. He was an Arch-alpha, and he wasn’t going to hesitate to use that power if someone decided to let their impulses get the better of them A few brief, curt words were exchanged, largely between Q and the head of the clean-up and retrieval crew, and for once Bond didn’t seem to mind Q talking for him. Or driving the vehicle that Q unilaterally demanded for just the two of them.

It was going to be a long drive back, and Q sighed. His ipod was dead, and he wasn’t looking forward to sitting for so long with tired muscles. He popped a few migraine pills as a precaution, and the fact that they included caffeine was just a bonus. There was only some fruit left in the kitchen, and nothing substantial enough after the calories they had burned.

He made a mental note to stop at the first town they saw and grab something for them both to eat, although from his recollection, that was several hours away. The small villages nearby would have closed for the night by now. Nothing about this was going to easy, apparently. He dug in the glove box for a a tissue to clean his glasses, and found several protein bars. He tossed one to Bond, and settled in for the long ride.

Chapter Text

Q collapsed against the inside of his front door in relief after he dropped Bond off. He was exhausted, and there were simply too many thoughts running through his head from being the constant focus of Bond’s attention for his heat. His body ached, sore muscles that he didn’t know existed making their protests known. He settled for a container of leftovers from the freezer, and a hot bath, too tired to make any logical decisions.

The alarm went off the next morning entirely too soon. He allowed himself a moment of sullen resentment to think about how bonded pairs got an extra day of leave after a heat. But he quickly shook that thought off, because there was no reason to think of things like that. Bond would go back on the suppressants, and their relationship would return to workplace banter. He looked at himself in the mirror and resolutely lied that the idea didn’t bother him.

It was hard to be back in Q branch again. First, there were the looks. R had clearly given the minions a lecture not to ask questions, but it made Q touch his neck repeatedly under the turtleneck. He felt like they could see the marks on him. At the very least they knew what he had been doing, staying with an Omega during his heat. The love-bites on his neck were from a particularly vivid moment, when 007 had apparently discovered a kink for putting some color into Q’s pale skin.

He sighed, hoping at least that Bond wasn’t using the opportunity to tell everyone what a fantastic fuck he had been. Although there had been no hint of that side of Bond. 007 had been wary, but a considerate lover. The agent had been surprisingly gentle, and wasn’t that a surprise. Q tried to quell the butterflies in his stomach at the thought.

He wanted to see him again, so naturally his reaction was to hide the minute there was any hint of the agent. He made some hurried excuse to R, and fled to his private office when the agent appeared in Q-branch barely a full day after their heat-induced escapades.

But apparently luck wasn’t with the Quartermaster - or maybe the entire world was against him - because 007 followed him right into his private office.

Cocking an eyebrow at the owlish blinks he was getting, James toed the door shut behind him and merely regarded the smaller man for a moment. It was probably what could be called his ‘typical look’: slightly challenging, naturally intense, visibly controlled. It didn’t look like the lascivious, leering gaze of a man who’d fucked Q just about every possible way there was to be fucked in the past three days. “So does the offer still stand?” the agent said obliquely as he simply walked further inside and made himself at home on the futon Q kept at the back of his office. Even though Q had done his best to get the man to eat, sleep, and recover during the last three days after Silva’s death, 007 still looked pretty wrecked. It was hard to rest when one’s body was determined to go all-out in the sex department, burning up energy that wasn’t there to burn.

“Offer?” Q blinked at him with wide, tired eyes. “I’m sorry, my memory isn’t the best when my head hurts. I hope I didn’t forget something?”

007 had actually stretched out and closed his eyes, and by dint of being an Arch-alpha, Q could feel and echo of his aching muscles. As he opened his mouth to answer, 007’s brows beetled, and he confessed almost carelessly, “I might not be remembering very well either. You did say you’d give me a play to crash, didn’t you? Or did that only apply to your flat? During the heat?”

“Oh! Of course!” Q dug in his pocket for the keys. “I will text you the address. Sorry, I slept there last night so it will smell a bit like me. But I have clothes here for the next few days, you won’t be disturbed. Take out menus are in the drawer under the kitchen phone, and once you give them the address, they will ask if you want the usual. Feel free to say no.”

“Q, slow down,” 007 sat up, and while he looked exhausted, there was a smirk hiding at the corner of his mouth, as if he was about to laugh. “I was just going to commandeer your quiet office and your couch for awhile.” Bond lifted one eyebrow again pointedly, and added, “But if you want me to follow you home, I could do that, too.”

“I thought you wanted to be alone,” Q felt himself turning bright red. “I’m sorry, yes, of course. There are some biscuits in the desk, or I can order you food. We should probably both have something. You’re welcome to go back to mine tonight though. I don’t think I will bother.”

Now Bond was leaning forward over his knees as he slouched at the edge of the futon, brows drawn together in a more perplexed look, with just the faintest sizzle of frustration there, too - because the emotional link had, of course, only gotten stronger after having spent three days intimately close to the other man. “Q, answer me this,” he commanded slowly, testing his words with patience, “Do I feel edgy to you? I’m assuming that… whatever it is that lets you sense my emotions…” He waved a hand to show he didn’t care what it was called. “...Is still working. So tell me - do I feel angry? Annoyed? What?”

Q had to stop for a second and reach out. Bond felt, calm. Tired but calm.

“No?” he asked hesitantly. “You seem calm, but a little tired. Why? Are you not feeling well? I can get you something-” He caught himself starting to ramble and put a hand to his mouth.

007 chuckled, flashing one of the larger smiles Q had ever seen on the usually grim agent. “I’m fine, Q. Or, at least, as fine as an old dog like me can be after the last… I was going to say three days, but that was probably the highlight of the last year,” the man admitted, running a hand back through his hair even as Q blushed, “What I’m trying to say, Quartermaster, is that you’re acting like I’m trying to avoid you, but all of the evidence you’re getting from me should be pointing to the contrary.” 007 watched him expectantly, then flashed a smaller, more teasing smile, “You’re a clever boy. Figure it out.”

Q settled himself with a deep breath, and focused on Bond’s emotions.

“Oh!” he blushed and looked down, unable to meet 007’s eyes. “I didn’t know what to say. I told you, emotions are very difficult for me, and this-” he gestured hopelessly. “I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never dated someone, and I have no idea how to relate to a, lover?”

“Okay, I think what you need is to slow down, and let me order food,” 007 finally just stood up again, with a look that said Q was hopeless, but perhaps that 007 didn’t mind all that much. “What I’m saying is that maybe - just maybe - I got used to being able to sleep with that calmness you radiate, and since you’re one of the few people I’ve had sex with that hasn’t tried to kill me, that makes you something of a novelty to me.” 007 stepped into Q’s personal space as if it were the most natural thing… and stole his phone out of his pocket. He began dialing, presumably ordering food. His emotions were also a bit more tangled than his smooth words would make him seem, but when a man’s job was based on secret-keeping, this was really quite a candid moment.

“Ok,” Q said quietly. He settled into the soft leather with a sigh, completely overwhelmed. He wasn’t sure what emotions belonged to him, and which belonged to the agent, and where they overlapped. He waited for Bond to hang up, and cleared his throat.

As smoothly and charmingly as could be, 007 ordered them Chinese, glancing up at Q as he returned the phone - seemingly by accident - to his pocket instead of the desk. “Hmm?” he put on an attentive face.

“What are you suggesting?” Q asked quietly, massaging his temples. “If you’re going to steal my phone, can you at least sit down and tell me what you are thinking about? I don’t want to get us on the wrong foot again by making assumptions.”

Looking more pleased than troubled to be caught phone-snatching, 007 returned to his previous spot on the couch, putting him next to Q but not touching him - a polite distance, one that he breached a little by extending his arms across the back of the couch behind them. “Just what I said,” the agent repeated calmly, “M has told me on multiple occasions that I have trust issues, and that I should do something about that. I just decided that now would be a good time to do so, considering how much effort you’ve put into not pissing me off the past two weeks.” Bond tilted his head back, considering, and seemed unable to resist the urge to add, “Well, maybe a week and a half. You were a pain in the arse for the first bit.”

“So you are going to camp out on my couch and follow me home?” Q asked slowly. “I’m sorry, I think maybe I’m a bit dense when I have a migraine.”

For the first time, 007 really seemed to look at the tightness around Q’s eyes and the painful way he was holding his head. Hesitant despite his earlier assertions of being at ease, the larger man reached forward, hand pausing midair for a moment before he let his fingers touch Q’s back between his shoulder-blades, as if he could somehow find and unravel the knot of pain there. “Go home, Q,” he finally said, low and serious.

“No, I have work,” Q protested. He went to stand, and fell back on the sofa with a sigh. “Bugger, that hurts. Is your head bothering you as well?”

“No, I think that this time it’s just you,” 007 said slowly, looking - and feeling - increasingly worried. He fished Q’s phone out of his pocket again and began texting.

“What are you doing?” Q asked suspiciously. “No ordering hookers with my phone, please. I’m too tired to erase evidence right now.”

The agent snorted and smirked, the amusement like a breath of fresh air through the link. “No, Q, as hilarious as that would be. Another time, perhaps. I’m texting R to tell her that you’ll be leaving in five minutes, and won’t be back until Monday.”

“Bloody hell,” Q stood, and he felt his vision spin. “Can you drive? I don’t think I can survive the tube right now. I’m sorry to ask, but you’re welcome to come and stay. I can take the couch at home.”

“Just stop talking,” 007 grumbled mildly, standing up with Q and slipping an arm around him, “Here’s your phone back. Text one of your minions to reroute the food to my flat. The location should be on the records somewhere.”

“R can do that as well,” Q mumbled. “I don’t think I can see the keys right now. Can we stop by medical? I need a shot of something stronger.”

“If you really want to…” 007’s distaste of Medical flowed through the link like an itching sensation. “But I’ve probably got as much if not more pain medication at my flat than they do.” Seeming to notice the way Q was squeezing his eyes shut, 007 paused and maneuvered Q back down onto the futon instead of following through on helping him out. “Stay,” he said, as if Q were a recalcitrant puppy and slow on learning commands. But the agent also swiftly turned away again and turned off the lights, throwing the office into darkness lit only by the gentle blink of computer lights. Footsteps almost inaudible in the dark, 007 came back once more… and again took Q’s phone. “I’m thinking that this won’t do any good in your hands anyway,” he said gently.

“Thank you,” Q said quietly. He put his head down and stayed quiet, letting Bond’s calm wash over him. It was soothing, being taken care of for the first time, and he wished he felt well enough to enjoy it. In fact, it took a moment for him to realize that the 00-agent had actually left the room, but his emotions remained a soothing thread between them until Bond came back moments later.

“Give me your glasses,” he commanded without explanation, crouching down next to the futon, “Don’t worry, you’ll get them back. I’ll even trade you.” Q’s eyes had adjusted to the light enough to show him 007 extending a closed fist, preparing to drop something into a waiting hand.

Q opened his palm and Bond dropped in the object. Q looked at it curiously, and looked to the agent for an explanation.

“Shit, you really are out of your head,” the agent sighed, but explained even as he reached forward slowly and gently to ease Q’s glasses from his ears, “Those are prescription-strength pain-pills. I smuggled them out of Medical.”

“Thank you,” Q sighed. “Can you hand me the tea on my desk?” He accepted the mug and took a large swallow, downing the pills with a cough.

The loss of glasses was explained a moment later when, as soon as Q had relinquished the mug and started to relax, 007 was suddenly pulling a hoodie down over Q’s head. His glasses would totally have been lost in the struggle, but instead, only a bit of dignity was destroyed by the time Q’s flailing was done and he had another layer of clothing on.

"I can do it," Q protested weakly. He emerged from the jumper with hair standing on end from the static. 007’s charming smile greeted him, utterly unruffled by contrast. At least he then had the good grace to hand Q’s glasses back and let him put them on himself. Of course, while Q was just settling them into place, and thus distracted, the Omega slipped an arm under his knees and another behind his shoulders, and then lifted him right up off the futon with a grunt.

"What the?" He pounded at Bond's chest weakly. "Put me down!" He was aware how much ineffective he was being at the protest. He finally curled against Bond's shoulder with a huff and quiet threat about arming the agent with q tips and Cotton balls.

All he got in return was amusement like warm honey down the link, which felt too damn nice to get properly mad about.

“You got to take care of me for the past few days,” 007 murmured, managing to maneuver a hand up and tug the hood down over Q’s face - a move that made sense when the agent began walking out of Q’s office, where the brightness of Q-branch was like a sun by comparison. The hoodie made sense now. “I’m not a man who likes debts, so how about you let me pay you back now, hmm?”

Q nodded. He could hear the gasps of concern from the Q branch minions, but he decided to let 007 deal with it. He must have dozed off, because he awoke to being tucked into the smooth leather seats of Bond's car.

There was a steady thrum of worry coming from 007 at this point.

“Do you get migraines like this often?” he asked, in a tone that said he bloody hoped not, for Q’s sake. The car started with a low and powerful purr, moving so smoothly that it was almost impossible to tell that they were moving now, leaving the parking garage.

"No, thankfully not," Q settled into the soft seat. "I'm sure it was the stress of being close to Silva, I'm just glad it didn't happen earlier. So what are you planning on doing now that you have kidnapped me for the weekend?"

Some of the worry transmuted to amusement, although only the tiniest fleck of mischief was readable in the agent’s emotions. “Well, let’s see… We already tried marathon sex, so I’ll have to try something else now to keep you out of trouble, won’t I?”

Q snorted, which sent him into a fit of giggles, and that left him clutching his head. "Stop!" he protested weakly. "I should make you wait on me hand and foot for that."

Chuckling himself as he took a turn far more gently than he was known to, 007 retorted genially and obviously jokingly, “Who do you think you’re talking to, Quartermaster? I’m the notorious scourge of MI6 - I haven’t a gentle, caring, doting bone in my body. I’m all made of grit and iron. And bad decisions. Ask anyone.”

"I won’t tell," Q sniffed in derision. "If you won't tell I snuggle."

“Oh, the combined lists we have of ‘won’t tells’ is rather long, Quartermaster,” Bond reminded, as the emotions reaching Q grew bright with amusement and pleasure.

"Truce then?" Q asked with a smile. "Those pills were brilliant, tell medical I need a bottle."

~^~

The drive was uneventful after that, the easy banter doing what three nights of furious sex hadn’t: it created an easiness between the two that hadn’t been there before. 007 didn’t bring up Q’s ability to read his emotions, but must have come to terms with it somehow, or else had forgotten it, because it never came up. Said emotional link possibly did as much for Q’s migraine as the pain pills did, sinking into Q’s bones like contented waves. It seemed like no time at all before 007 was parking and moving around to Q’s side of the car. “Milady,” he offered his hand to Q totally seriously, but ruined it by grinning.

"Wanker," Q teased affectionately, accepting the help. He cracked his neck in relief and gave a happy sigh as he spied the bag of takeout waiting at the door. "I hope you ordered lots of pork chow mein," he warned. "I don't share."

“I ordered a bit of everything,” Bond admitted, sliding his arm around Q’s back with only the faintest hesitation. Apparently picking him up like a bride could be done without a thought, but simpler signs of affection had to be thought over and considered - although after a moment, he pulled Q in close. “Since out of the two of us, I’m not the mindreading one.”

Q opened one eye to make sure his migraine was gone. And if his head was resting on a double oh agent’s chest, and it wouldn’t be the last time, well, that could simply be added to the combined list of ‘won’t tells’.

Bond’s flat was surprisingly… normal. It was neither spartan and clean nor egregiously messy; it looked lived-in, but not recently lived-in, a testament to the fact that the man had been ‘dead’ for some time, and had probably only spent time very briefly in the flat since then. The blankets tossed haphazardly over the couch were testament to where the agent had been sleeping.

“Since you’re opening both eyes and and standing without wobbling, I’m going to assume the migraine’s abated,” 007 guessed with the ease of a spy, trained to notice things like that. He walked towards the kitchen with their food, but called back over his shoulder, “If it comes back, take the bedroom - it’s darkest. And don’t try and give me any chivalrous talk about who’s taking the couch, because this is my flat, and I can sleep where I goddamn like.”

The words should have been harsh, but the only emotions coming down the link to Q were ones of warm amusement, softening it all to a humorous level. There were faint spikes of wariness, but it didn’t take a genius (which Q was) to realize that that was probably because 007 had just invited an Alpha into his home. Considering the man’s past, that probably didn’t happen often… if ever.

Q accepted a plate with a grateful smile. He couldn’t remember the last hot meal he had shared with someone. He sat at the kitchen table, glad for the break from technology and constantly being on call that came when he was home alone.

“Is there tea?” he asked, stretching as the aching muscles relaxed.

“There can be,” 007 nodded, finding a kettle and setting it to boil before joining Q at the table. When he sat, he let loose a deep sigh as if suddenly unsure whether he wanted to bother eating or just fall asleep on the table. He chose to take time for the former, fortunately, although he looked once again like a man who could sleep for a week. Q barely had to focus on his emotions to tell that, despite the wariness, the agent was largely content, even if he still watched Q like a cat who was unused to having company in his domain. That undercurrent of alertness belied his free and easy actions and speech.

Bond looked as exhausted as Q felt. He got up and poured them each a second mug of tea, and then retreated to the sofa.

“Is there TV?” he asked, pulling a blanket over him and curling up against the side of the couch. He sighed contentedly as he felt Bond relaxing, tendrils of calm brushing over him. He patted the sofa beside him, and lifted the blanket for Bond.

Watching with fatigued amusement from the table, 007 snorted and smirked, “I should tell you no, just to see what you’ll ask for next.” Despite the mild snark, however, the larger man got up, seeming appreciative of the space Q was giving him. 007 ended up with his shoulders against the arm of the couch opposite Q, the blanket only up over his legs. Shoes had been kicked off at the door. Tossing Q the remote, Bond closed his eyes and lay down, feet to Q. “Don’t get too comfy,” he grumbled with mock warning in his sleepy tone, “I’m kicking you off the second I decide to really sleep instead of just doze. You’re to be banished to the bedroom. The couch is mine.”

Q turned on a documentary about the history of Europe between the great wars, but dozed off by the first commercial break. He wasn’t sure how long he slept, only that it was dark by the time he opened his eyes. 007 was sleeping, his legs resting on Q’s lap. He was loathe to move, comfortable resting in the agent’s body heat. He allowed himself to doze off again, after liberating his phone from Bond’s pocket and texting R that everything was ok, and that he really did need a weekend off.

“Go to bed, Q,” the 00-agent proved that he wasn’t asleep, despite evidence to the contrary. He moved his feet back so that he could shove one at Q’s hip in a surprisingly childish fashion for a grown man. “I stole you away from Q-branch so that you could not work, but I’m entirely certain that you’re texting on that phone you just liberated from my pocket.”

“Just letting the minions know I am still breathing before they stage a rebellion,” Q retorted. He stretched, and frowned forlornly at his tea mug, which was empty. “Is there more food and tea?”

007 grumbled something that might have been, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” or might have been a sleep-rough chuckle - both were equally possible. “How are you built like a scarecrow when you immediately think ‘food’ when I say ‘bed’?”

“I’m still hungry,” he protested. “You worked me out good!” He blushed suddenly, and got very interested in his phone.

It was a shock to feel embarrassment from 007, too, a sharp flash of it down the link. As if the couch had suddenly grown less comfortable, the man swung his legs to the floor and sat up, “Second-supper it is then,” he said, standing and padding to the kitchen. 00-agents weren’t known for being self-conscious about sex - and certainly 007 didn’t embarrass easy - but the reminder of the heat, now, as they both shared space in Bond’s flat, had various emotions wafting off 007 and reaching Q like an uneasy itch under his skin.

“Bond,” Q tried to walk into the kitchen with enough noise to not scare the agent. “I think it's a little too late to be embarrassed.” He tried to let the agent see how comfortable he was in his presence. He turned on the kettle and reached for the leftover noodles in the fridge, eating them cold with his dirty chopsticks from before.

Narrowing his eyes for a second, surprise flickered through him followed by remembrance. “Ah. You could sense that,” he said with the toneless voice of a man trying to come up with an answer that sounded better. He stood aside and let Q move about, folding his arms and leaning against the counter. “Suffice it to say that this is new ground for me,” Bond admitted, slightly challenging, alert again after his nap. “I don’t tend to have sex with coworkers while I’m in heat, and afterwards, I don’t invite them over to my house.”

“It is for me as well,” Q admitted. “This is the first time I have been to a coworker’s house that didn’t involve dropping off equipment or a kidnapping threat.” He hopped up to sit on the counter, and stared curiously at Bond. “You still seem surprised that I’m here, that you invited me.”

“I’m as surprised as you,” the agent huffed, embarrassment growing. “Look, Q…” He scrubbed a hand over his face before dragging it across the back of his head, ruffling the golden-blonde hair there into a right mess before blurting out what was on his mind, “How about we… start over?”

“Where would you like to start?” Q asked gently, aware that the 00 agent was a hair away from bolting.

007 sighed again, sagging back against the edge of the fridge. “As friends. I feel like we never got to be that.” His mouth quirked up at once side as he reminded, “I started out hating your guts and ended up sleeping with you.”

“That would be a nice change,” Q admitted. “What would you like to know?”

“Know?” Bond blinked, nonplussed by the question. He rolled one shoulder in a languid shrug, “I guess I’d just like to know if all I feel for you is based on first impression and really great, heat-induced sex. In between those extremes…” He stopped and tasted the words, expression softening just the barest fraction. “...I think I saw someone that I’d like to get to know. Am I wrong?”

“I don’t know?” Q shrugged. “I don’t think of myself as being very exciting, I go to work and go home. I tinker with electronics, and I love to read. Once upon a time, I thought of being a writer, before I discovered electronics. There isn’t much about me that’s extraordinary, what you see is what you get,” he gestured self deprecatingly.

“Q, you work with international spies and assassins for a living. And I am one of those spies and assassins. Interesting isn’t exactly something you’re lacking. Or something that either of us should be looking for.” Getting frustrated with himself as much as anything, 007 breathed out slowly through his nose before changing tactics again, “Just… sleep with me. Not have sex with me - sleep with me.”

“Ok?” Q agreed hesitantly. He got down from the counter and put out his hand to Bond. “Maybe you can stop calling me by my letter now, James.”

The relief that went slowly and cautiously through Bond was like broad wings slowly unfolding, matching the little, understated smirk that stretched across the man's rugged face and warmed his eyes. “I can do that… Gabriel.”

Q smiled and sighed at the smirk he had grown used to over the past weeks.

007’s practiced smirk flashed back into place, and he went on as if it were reflex to make everyone’s life just a little bit difficult, “Hmm… You know, I think I like Q better. I don’t think I can remember all of the extra letters in that other one. Besides, you look like a Q.”

“Just come to bed, James,” he laughed. “I don’t bite unless you ask.” He didn’t wait for a response, just went to Bond’s room, and curled up on the too soft sheets, that felt like a luxury hotel.

~^~

Q came half awake slowly, no longer alone in the bed, despite how he’d gone to sleep alone. Apparently Bond had just needed time to think it over just a bit longer. And if he was luxuriating in the feeling of warm skin beneath his cheek, and a hand carding through his curls, well it was just another thing to add to their combined list of ‘won’t tells’.