Chapter 1: I took what I learned to heart
So one day I'm reading these stories about the trio of Bond/Alec/Q and I thought to myself 'I could totally do that, easy pesy'. I thought I could write a one shot and be done in a day.
Fast forwards months later and I was wrong, especially with how long its turning out to be. I thought maybe just keep writing till I finish and post it all as a really long one shot, but then I thought hell, screw it and am going to post chapter by chapter. Should be maybe 5 chapters at the most, I hope.
So here is my first ever story for the Bond series. I apologize if it's not even close to being up to par compared to others, especially the lack of proper wording, but I tried my best and I think it came off good, but hey who knows. *shrugs* Also it includes mpreg, which I'm sorry if that's not your cup off tea, but its an essential part to this story. This also means that in this story, mpreg is considered a normal happening though rare as explained int he story.
Hope you enjoy! <3
As they laid claimed to him, covering him with their bodies, bruised lips and calloused hands leaving behind marks he would have to hide under white button ups and cardigans, he thought he could never love anything more than these two men, even if they didn't return the sentiment.
They were complicated, broken, heaving around burdening pasts that would have brought ordinary citizens crumbling down to their knees, pleading for mercy. Their skin was scarred, mapped out sporadically with the remnants of bullets and knife wounds that Q would find himself sometimes tracing with his fingers and lips, in an effort to communicate to them silently that he thought they were lovely testaments of their bravery for Queen and country. They were indecipherable at times, like trying to hold coversation with two brick walls that withheld any emotion, only allowing indifference, smugness, or seduction to seep through the cracks, as if they couldn't quite turn off the technique they used when pursuing a target out in the field.
They never speak about the missions they got on, no matter how brutal or tolling they sounded when Q runs reconnaissance for them. They never say anything geared towards romance, because 00 agents don't do romance; they kill, fuck, and use anything as a means to an end to accomplish the mission. They may come home to him, for relief or stability after their tedious work, Q can't quite be certain, but he never assumes that means they’re all in a relationship, as dysfunctional as it would be. Yet all this hasn't stopped him from loving them, quietly and formidably, since this all began 2 years ago.
And if ever something where to materialize that would surmount that adoration he had for them, a preposterous idea but still deserving of a forethought, then their content arrangement would be torn apart in a nanosecond.
Only then she came along, and decisively Q knew, they had been doomed from the start.
He stares down at the papers, clipped to a plain manila folder and labeled with the name Krenshaw, E, one of the many pseudonyms he uses to partake in mundane civilians tasks without being able to be traced back to any relevant information that could pertain to him.
He feels like he's just been shot with a hyperborean gun, one that's currently being tested in R&D department, as his body stiffens and hands begin to shake minutely. His eyes skim the page's contents repeatedly, frantically searching for some sort of sign like, "April Fool's! Got you bloody good!"
Though he must admit, an April Fool's joke mid-Septemeber is a bit cutting it.
Name: Krenshaw, Eric Gender: Male
Birth date: 15-04-1981 Age: 31
Height: 5' 9" (1. 75 m) Weight: 9 stone 4"
hCG levels: 28 mIU/ml [indication of pregnancy]
Recommendation/Notes: Iron supplements for low weight, added amount of daily intake for nutrition. Frequent monitoring of fetus recommended if patient decides to continue forward with the pregnancy. High risk pregnancy due to male gender, could develop complications in forthcoming months. May need to be put on bed rest towards should early on sets of preeclampsia start to manifest.
"You're not joking?" he looks up to the physician, who has been patiently waiting for him to finish analyzing the test results.
"No sir Mr. Krenshaw, I'm afraid I’m not much of a comedian," the older man takes off his glasses. "Your hCG levels were conclusive in their diagnosis and we even ran the test a second time to confirm the results, as most expectant parents have inquired of us to do so in the past to be absolutely certain."
"But I mean, I-" he can't quite sort out his jumbled thoughts at the moment. "I mean for two years this hadn't happened, and more often than not there was protection involved-"
"As you are probably well aware of or not Mr. Krenshaw, most male pregnancies are much harder to come by, could take months or even years to conceive a child. This is also why male pregnancies are immediately considered high risk, complications tending to arise more commonly than they do in female patients."
Q just nods his head, trying to take in all this information. The doctor just smiles sympathetically at him.
"I know this can come as quite of a shock for most, I've seen my fair share of patients at a loss for words with results like these, so please take all the time you need to come to a decision."
"Decision?" he repeats confusedly, hand waving away a stray hair out of his eyesight.
"Whether you'll be continuing the pregnancy or terminating it."
The information that has most recently been presented to him is comparable to a line of code out of order in a system’s mainframe sequence, throwing everything out of sync. He's often faced with a decision when such an event occurs: either delete the misplaced code or change everything else to fit around it.
He swallows, glimpsing down at the words and numbers that somehow come together to formulate the fact that he's pregnant, carrying a child that has a father/fathers that are involved in a very dangerous line of work and-Oh fuckin' bugger.
James and Alec may be excellent lovers, their practiced and refined skills quite a thing to behold in the bedroom, but in no means are they paternal.
He slumps quietly where he sits on the examination table, taking notice that the physician has moved from his previous seat and is now beside him, setting up a machine of some sort, he quickly deduces an ultrasound commonly found in an obstetrician's office.
"Maybe you would like to see the developing fetus? It can help a great deal in the decision making process."
He finds himself nodding without hesitation, needing to see the evidence for himself rather than on paper. Too often in his profession, well-planned out procedures and full layout schematics can go tits up when an actual mission is being undertaken.
"If you would please lift you're top sir."
His hands fumble with the bottom hem of his shirt, before he lifts it up to reveal his flat pale stomach. The physician, Dr. Albertson, the name tag reads, squirts a copious amount of gel that makes him shiver before a wand attached to the ultrasound is placed upon the gel, pressing down as it moves around the stretch of skin. The whomping sound coming from the machine makes him frown, wondering if it's considered normal or if something is awry with his anatomy.
"It's the just sound waves you're hearing. Not to worry."
He briefs out a sigh of relief he didn't realize he was holding, Dr. Albertson huffing out a chuckle, a clear sign this is not first nervous patient to worry about everything that comes with the revelation of becoming a new parent. A parent, a father.
Bloody hell its only 8:25 in the morning and too early to have life changing news presented before him. He had just come in to check if he had the flu, not if he was expecting. Cheese and rice.
He jerks out of his thoughts to see the older physician smiling patiently at him, before motioning to look at the screen. He breathes in deeply before turning to look at the screen and-
A tiny mass, no larger than a pea, made up of cells and currently floating in the middle of the screen like the planet pluto hovering in space. The blastocyst, he recalls the term from old college courses in biology and anatomy he took when he was thinking about pursuing a career in medicine, contains genetic material from himself and a 00 agent and- Oh bugger. His eyes seem to be watering at their own accord like a bloody hormonal woman. Hormonal? What irony that he never thought he would be using that term to pertain to himself.
He cannot help the wet sound that escapes his mouth, his eyes tracing over the minuscule shape, detailing the image so that it may remain ingrained in his mind. This child is a manifestation of his unspoken affection for two MI6 agents. A child he most certainly never thought he would have, whether because of his commitment to his work or lack of a suitable partner interested in having a family. Dr. Albertson breaks him from his revere, handing him towel to wipe away the excess gel.
"You're welcome to take as much time as you need to decide, though the law prevents fetus terminations after 24 weeks, so I suggest that you-
"I'm keeping it!" Dr. Albertson looks startled at his outburst, so he amends more calmly, voice softer, "I mean, I'm keeping the baby so no spiel about termination is needed." The word termination makes him feel queasy just hearing it.
Dr. Albertson nods with a kind smile. "Alright." He then grabs a few pamphlets and a business card, handing them to him. "These will give you the gist of what you need to know, fetal development stages, dietary restrictions, and other information that will be helpful to read through. I'll want to examine you every 2 weeks, which will increase to every week come closer to the delivery date. You can schedule you're next appointment with Doris up in the front, and you can reach me with the private number on the card if you have any questions."
He thanks the physician, heading out of the examination room with new information and a resounding decision on his hands.
Q sits back against his leather couch, sipping his earl grey tea from an old mug, trying to organize everything he's learned thus far. The minute he arrived back home, he had spent hours researching anything and everything he could find on the internet; it was both a fascinating and horrifying venture. The pamphlets had been just a peak into what his body would be undergoing, while the internet supplied even more precautions to worry about, which was a truly lovely addition to the stress already beginning to weigh heavily upon his shoulders.
He checks his phone, the back light illuminating the time of 21:36pm as he flips through text messages from earlier in the afternoon. He had turned down Moneypenny's suggestion for drinks, passing on the idea of her thoughtful cheer-me-up since Alec and James are on joint mission in Cairo. She's the only person that knows of their affair, but he figures it was better for all parties involved that the fewer people who knew, the better. It could comprise him, James, and Alec both professionally and personally, safety wise a huge risk to consider, which is why their relationship isn't publicized, though there isn't much to publicize in the first place.
Yet now, as his free hand finds itself resting gently on his still even stomach, he has to consider the safety of soon to be the most important person in his life, his child. Their child.
And suddenly he’s hit with the chilling thought that someone with a personal vendetta against either MI6 or any of its assets, including his own position as Quartermaster, could decide to try to kidnap and harm the child. The image knocks the breath right out of him and causes his hands to tremble so vigorously, he has to set his mug down on the glass coffee table before he drops it.
‘Breathe! Just breath you git!’
He breathes in deep, attempting to calm his racing heart as he rests his hands firmly on his stomach, in hopes of reassurance that he and the babe are fine, safely tucked away in his locked and armed flat. No one could get break in without a bit of trouble and electrocution.
Once satisfied that the flat is secure, he lets himself relax back into his throw pillows, surprised to realize his hands are still resting on his stomach. Without removing them, he allows his mind to drift back to the debate that's hurting more than just his head.
No one outside of MI6 clearance can have knowledge that he is pregnant. He refuses to let harm come to this child nor allow him or her to be exposed to the violence that they so often encounter in his line of work, though less blood shed and more schematics being in Q branch. Heaven forbid someone find out the child is not only the offspring of the head of Q branch, but also a deadly 00 agent?
He tries to swallow down the nauseous feeling that's becoming all too familiar.
And then there's the actual remaining fact he has to remind himself: As much as 00's don't do romance, they most certainly don't do love.
Well, he can amend that last statement, if not for what he's read of the highly encrypted files of both agents, though they were easily accessible for him, because he’s Quartermaster for a reason.
James had lost his parents at the tender age of 11, an terrible loss for the young boy who loved his mother and father dearly. He was soon taken in by MI6, thus leading him to become a 00 agent. But no event shaped James into the man that he is today then one with, if he could find it hilariously ironic, a woman.
Vesper Lind, the only other woman, besides M, that James has ended up both loving and despising. Love, in that he left MI6 for her, would have killed and done anything for the godforsaken woman. Hate, in that he had fallen for her so easily, had seen no sign that she would have ended up betraying him, that the whole premeditated plan of seducing him was to get him tortured and killed. She ultimately failed her mission and it ended up costing her life, something Q might've been able to smidgen up the tiniest bit of pity for, had he not come to care so much for the man behind the designation of 007.
Nonetheless, James had not come away unscathed, and for that, Q hated her.
After that incident, James had become an unstoppable force, an immovable object that would never again delve into emotional attachment nor willingly choose to love again. And though their exchange lasted longer than the trial period of a one night stand, Q would be no closer to James Bond's heart than any other target he's bedded.
Alec was not much easier.
Alec's father had murdered his mother and committed suicide when Alec was only 12 years old. MI6 seems to have a thing for hiring orphans, so Alec was taken in like James and trained to be an agent, years hardening him to become a 00. Yet his true test would come when he discovered the truth behind his parents' deaths. The love he had for England was shattered with the revelation that his parents had fled to England during the second World War in hopes of protection, only to be taken and turned over to the USSR, where they lived through hell. Alec was furious, the knowledge turning him into a weapon of mass destruction that almost destroyed England and himself in the process to reenact revenge.
Only by God's grace and James careful negotiation, had brought Alec back from the brink of criminal insanity. With a 5 year probation period and an apology written by the Queen herself, Alec was reinstated to 00 ranks.
Q knew both James and Alec had learned the cost of loving something too much, whether it be a person or a place, love could be as dangerous and lethal as a gun pointed at your head. Which is why he knew the moment he agreed to their sly smirks and blatant flirtations, they would never love him.
And truth be told, he had always been curious as to what they saw in him, a thin and wild-hair technophilic that was far too committed to his job and gadgets that came along with his position, than to go out and participate in social interaction like most young people do on a Saturday night. Well, he was at least. He does pride himself that he was able to resist their charms for more than two months before he gave them a chance. After that, he became far too gone on them to put up a charade of resistance.
He shakes his head from memories of sweaty bodies and rushed kisses, because what was he focusing on earlier? Oh right, love.
If he doesn't deserve love, then at least this life that’s developing inside of him does. Pure, unconditional, unhindered love. And with a heavy-hearted sigh, he knows that even asking them to try would be too much. They can't and he shouldn't expect that fact would change in the years to come.
He brushes a hand across his face, feeling wetness that's fallen down his cheek, realizing with a heavy sigh that he's actual crying over this bloody mess. Maybe it’s the awareness that he has to make a choice, between three people he loves, two versus one. And he does not have to ponder even for a moment before he knows what his answer is, though it does nothing to ease the ache in his heart.
He lifts up his mug up from the coffee table, tea long gone cold, but takes a lengthy pull from it anyway. All it seems to do is make him wish he could drink something a whole lot stronger.
For the next two weeks, Q becomes hyper-vigilant.
Every time someone enters Q branch, he couldn’t help the stiffness that would creep into his shoulders, a uneasy tell that he wasn't quite ready to confront two particular MI6 agents. The breath of relief that he would let out when it turned out to be one of his minions or another MI6 operative, such as Tanner or Moneypenny, was a great welcome these days.
He had to end whatever this mutual benefit arrangement between the three of them is, no matter how much it's sure to break his heart in the process. It's the only way to keep the child safe, from outside forces and the agents themselves, both which could hurt the child more than the he or she could bear. Though loosing his lovers, he cherishes the fact that he would still have a part of them with him always. The child would be the best parts of them, have a certain innocence they all have had to let go in this line of work, when they've had to pick up a gun to shoot a target or even when he himself has had to decide who gets to live and die in a moment's notice.
Given the choice between them and the child, the child would always, undoubtedly come first.
His hand itches to rub his still flat stomach, but he can't, not here in the open while at work. He has yet to tell anyone, but that's because he has to wait for Alec and James to return. After that wreckage of a conversation, he'll head to M's office to turn in his resignation. It's the only way he could come up with to ensure the child's safety, and to escape becoming a public display for people's amusement and knowledge as he assuredly would begin to swell in his midsection to accommodate the growing child.
He turns to look a one of his apprentices, Alice, a young girl who has been with them for 6 months.
"Here are the reports typed up by 004 and 008 from their last missions in Moscow and Okayama. Also included are the weapons feedback and any trouble shooting problems that were encountered."
He takes the reports, two sizable folders holding at least 30 pages each, and smiles at the girl.
"Thank you Alice."
The girl looks surprised he remembered her name, but smiles bashfully as she heads back to her desk. His lips quirk up as he takes his mug of Earl Grey tea and the stack of reports with him towards his private office.
'Maybe the name Alice if the baby is a girl?' He shuts the door behind him, striding over to place the documents on his cheer wood desk. 'It's a nice name, surely not to be picked on for in the schoolyard. Plus it has a ring to –‘
"Hey gorgeous" a voice whispers in his ear, making him jump with a yelp, causing him to drop his mug and shatter on the ground.
He turns to see Alec, standing behind him and trying to contain a smile behind his hand, but failing to do so as his shoulders shake with laughter.
"006," he grits out. "I thought I told you numerous times not to sneak up on me like that?"
The agent in question lets his hand drop, revealing a smile that pairs all too well with the eyes that give him an appraising once over. He can feel himself flushing from the obvious lust-ridden gaze, but refuses to let down his act of being irritated, which is not all that hard now that one of his favorite mugs is lying shattered on the floor, an unavoidable casualty when being confronted by a 00.
"Q" the agent purrs out, prowling towards him as he takes a step back, bumping into the desk. "I thought we agreed that we don't need to use titles anymore when we're together."
"Sorry, but I think that agreement doesn't count when we're in the workplace, 006."
Alec grabs him around the waist, pulling him into the other's chest, forcing him to look into deep green eyes.
"Yes, well I think behind close doors we can bend that rule of yours, Quartermaster."
He frowns. "And I think that we need to keep an air of professio-" Lips crush against his, effectively silencing for the moment. God, it's been a little under 4 weeks, but he's missed this feeling that happens whenever one of them touches his skin or kisses him breathless. It's moments like these he could almost convince himself they feel something for him, more than lust, more than brief sexual encounters that lead to-babies. Shit. No, no more kissing. Stop kissing.
He allows the kiss for a few moments, because apparently he’s a masochist, before pulling back and pushing against Alec's chest. He then ducks under the still outreached arms, stepping around to the other side of his desk, pretending to focus on the sheets of data he has lying around. Sadly, his focus is shot and the lines coded numbers remain indecipherable after experiencing a kiss like that.
"I thought you were supposed to be in Ciaro?" he asks, feigning indifference that counteracts his racing heart.
"Well we were supposed to be there for at least two more weeks, but then we got bored and decided to speed up the process. No use in delaying the inevitable just for the sake of show."
He lifts an eyebrow. "And you thought you would just leave your partner there once you were done?"
“Actually,” a new voice sounds from his leather couch. When the bloody hell did he get there? “I wanted to see the pyramids but you know how Alec can be. Impatient little prick really.”
Bond flashes him a smirk, that damn smirk, and throws aside the GQ magazine he was browsing through, standing up to prowl over to his desk. Q stands his ground, refusing to move an inch from behind the safety of his desk.
“Well, I hoped you enjoyed yourself 007, but since you both are here, I’m safe to assume you’ve already written up the correct documentation of your mission and reported to M?”
Both agents grins grow mischievous, like naughty schoolboys if he’s being honest, as they side-eye each other before shrugging.
“No…” James starts slyly.
“Because where’s the fun in writing up boring old debriefs. It’s a waste of paper to be honest. Aren’t you environmentally conscience Q?” Alec finishes, adding on fake sincerity.
Like Alec gives a damn about the environment.
He glares at Alec, hoping to communicate the stern reprimand needed to get through to the agent. “Well rules are rules, or else who will continue fund you’re love of weaponry if you can’t account for even a single bullet?”
“Q” Bond whispers close, making him jump again, because how the hell did he move without him noticing?
He steps aside to try to maintain distance between himself and both agents. “Yes, 007?” he asks, keeping the pinched tightness around his mouth.
Be aloof, professional, restrained. Dear God restrain yourself from pleading for them to take you.
Bond ignores the safe-for-work distance and closes in, hand wrapping around his wrist. “We’ve just finished the assignment around three in the morning, had to wait four hours for our flight, flew straight back here on a five hour flight, and all we desire to do is unwind.” Another hand makes his way up to his neck, calloused thumb messaging against his pulse. Not appropriate, no distance, not good. “I think we’ve earned a little reprieve, including yourself.”
He frowns in disbelief, as he looks at his titanium Rolex. “It’s not even two in the afternoon!”
“Q..” Alex sighs out exasperatedly.
“No, sorry but I actually have work to do unlike you both. In fact, I have to actually read through over 60 pages worth of documentation that 004 and 008 were kind enough to type up, no matter how detrimental to the environment it may be.”
“Shh,”Bond pulls him close, lips caressing his jaw. Oh bugger. “You’re overworked and stressed Q. And you need a moment to let go and relax. If anyone gets mad, they’ll have to get through us.” Bond’s lips then move up, leaning in to touch his.
He really does try to not melt against James’s mouth, but can’t seem to help the sharp inhale that happens when another hand comes to rest against his lower back, as if the heat of the fingers are burning a hole through the fabric.
Shit. This is it. He needs to just say it. End this, quickly. Like a band-aid, rip it off-
The door opens, startling everyone. Q jumps back away from the 00 agent, but Alec and James draw their guns to point at the intruder.
Tanner looks comically wide-eyed at the barrels of the guns being pointed at him. “Umm, Q?”
Everyone lets out a sigh of relief, both James and Alec letting arms fall to their sides a bit stiffly. A boring and effortless mission in Cairo, his arse.
“Yes?” he asks, trying to keep his voice steady.
“I brought the testing results from R&D for you to look over.” Tanner lays the files on his desk, than looks at the other two. “Bond, Trevelyan. I'm surprised to see you returned so soon, but pleased nonetheless. M will want to speak to you both promptly.”
Both agents glance at one another before passing Tanner to leave the office, James looking back to send him a look that reads ‘we’ll be finishing this later.’
Tanner waves off as well, shutting the door to allow the Quartermaster some privacy. He eyes gaze down involuntarily, suddenly remembering his mug is lying in pieces on the titled floor. Bastards. Well he's tired after that conversation, so he'll just clean it up later or have one of his minions attend to the mess.
Ignoring the spilled tea, he collapses in his leather desk chair, feeling a bit, no scratch that, grossly overwhelmed and unprepared for future conversing with the two 00s.
He guesses no time like the present to drown one’s sorrows in data sheets and field reports.
"Here you are sir. That's all the intelligence you requested," Jamie, one of his minions hands him.
"Thank you Jamie," he glances at his watch. "It's almost midnight. Pack up for the night and go get some sleep."
"Thank you sir. Will do.” The young intern then heads to his desk to clear out and leave.
Q branch is quiet deserted at the moment, the only people being himself, Jamie, and Marvin, a senior analyst whose stuck working on recon for 009's mission in Bulgaria, if he recalls correctly. Everyone else left hours ago, lucky employees that don't hold as high of a responsibility position in MI6.
He heads to his own office, glad that he had been coherent enough to remember to grab some tea on his way back from the late meeting he had just comeback from with the security department. He already recognizes that it’s going to be a late night.
As he closes the door, letting it stay open just a crack if anyone should need him, he's also pleased that he had cleaned up the shattered tea cup before grabbing dinner with Moneypenny in the cafeteria. Since then, he’s been running back and forth from department to department, trying to ensure everything is running up to speed and that his transition will go as smoothly as possible.
That reminds him he'll have to call Eve to schedule a meeting with M for tomorrow morning. Right after he'll converse with Alec and James. They deserve to be told sooner rather than later, so they won't be thrown off their game for the next mission. Not that loosing this affair will be a hard hit for them, but it may take time for them to adjust to the sudden change.
He sits down slowly, trying to take in that this is the last night of being Quartermaster. It's making him melancholy and depressed if he's to be honest, but he has someone besides himself to think of now. This is all for the best.
He focuses on the files Jamie handed to him, occasionally sipping from the simple white mug before a someone knocks on his door.
"Come in," he calls, sipping once more from his tea. The person enters silently, and Q guesses, nervously like some of his minions tend to do if they have a question. "I already told you that you're free to go home Jamie. You've done enough for-"
He looks up and pauses at the sight of James and Alec, walking into his office, Alec letting the door close all the way behind him. He's surprised they're still here at this late hour.
"Jamie?" Alec asks with a sly grin. "Is that your new nickname for James or is there someone we need to be worried about?"
He scoffs. "Neither; Jamie would be highly irregular to call James by and Jamie happens to be one of my interns who stayed to help finish up some files I needed."
"Well, now that that's settled," James peeks at his own watch, "it's late and all of us are in need a long overdue break."
He tries to wave them off, wishing they would just leave because he's not quite ready to delve into discussion about particular matters of importance. "Can't. I still have to review these and-"
James bodily lifts him out the chair by the shoulders, Alec coming up behind to slip his arms through his coat.
"And they can wait Q. Just like the rest of whatever MI6 thinks its so damn important to overwork you this late," Alec fixes his collar and starts to button his coat for him. Objection!
"But I need-"
"What you need is a nice heavy drink from the corner bar and then to be taken to bed and debauched for hours," James hands him bag, which he clumsily grabs at the implication of James' words. He completely disagrees!
"No, but see-"
"And we aren't going to let you leave the bed for days," Alec grins seductively at him, his hands running down his torso to come to rest on his hips, squeezing firmly. No, no touching!
"But-" he mumbles helplessly, before James puts a finger on his lips to silence him.
"No more excuses Q. We're wasting precious time," he pulls his arm and Alec pulls the other, both ushering him to the door.
"Do they keep umbrellas in this bloody place?" Alec inquired. “I think it's started raining not long ago."
He pulls his arms back and rips away from them, causing both Agents to look back at him in question, yet he can't bring himself to meet their eyes.
"Q?" James asks, a touch concerned.
"I don't think that's a good idea," he says quietly.
"What? Borrowing an umbrella?" Alec asks confused, but still smiling nonetheless at his own humor. "We can walk in the rain, as much as a bother as it is, though I must admit the thought of you in soaking wet clothes is becoming a better idea more and more I think-"
"No," he grits out lowly, before sighing dejectedly. He needs to do this. He can't force them to stay. "I don't think we should continue this...arrangement we have between us."
Silence. Absolute silence. The kind where you begin to wonder where that bloke is that's supposed to drop a pin or something. He looks up and finds both agents looking right back at him with their masks up, the looks in their eyes indecipherable to him. It makes something twinge painfully in his chest, the thought to have broken through those walls a while ago, only to witness their return now because of him.
"May I ask why?" James asks with that tone he uses to sound indifferent, the only flicker of tension coming forth when his eyes narrow. Alec remains silent, all good humor wiped clean from his face as his hands clench by his sides.
‘Why can't you both love me?’
James strides over to him, stopping a foot in front of him, hands not reaching out to touch him, but something Q wishes they would desperately do. "Why?" he asks again, voice eerily calm
‘Why can't you both love us?’
He swallows over the forming lump in his throat, straightening his spine with false bravado.“Because I want something different, dependable. I want stability and commitment and-" things he would never ask of them nor try to change about them. "I’m ready to look for someone or people that can give me that here. What we have is a distraction, especially in our line of work. You both go on missions, all sorts of dangerous endeavors that could end up getting you killed, and I'm stuck here wondering if you're going to come back fine or in a casket? And when you’re back, you’re always focused on getting what you want, even if some of us have prior commitments to attend to. This isn’t a suitable engagement anymore for me.”
His mouth tastes like ash.
"Then why did you agree to in the first place when you knew this is our lifestyle?" Alec asks, jaw set firmly. Q aches with the wish that the agent would fight so vehemently over love instead of lust.
He sighs as if exacerbated, in order to carry on the charade "Because at the time it sounded fun, sounded easy. But I've come to the conclusion that-" lie lie lie lie lie "-it isn't worth it."
He feels like he might be sick as the familiar nauseous feeling settles heavy in his gut.
They both look at him for a short pause, then James nods wordlessly and turns around, walking out the door without another word. Alec looks away from him, before following the other man, grabbing the door handle to pull it shut behind him with an echoing click.
The minute he's alone, Q drops the act, breathing out shakily, but faintly as his hands come to clutch his coat. His throat still feels like it’s straining against a lump that’s formed, hurting as if he's just been punched square in the chest .
He doesn't feel relieved in the slightest now that it’s over.
He gets home late, hair and clothes soaked from the heavy torrential down pour that reflects his current mood perfectly. His phone shows its 02:45 in the morning, making him want to crawl in bed and never leave. He'll have to get up in less than four hours and that news is neither exciting nor gratifying.
He had left Eve a message before he left work, which she'll take care of when she wakes. One last task and then he'll be able to focus on his child solely.
As he enables the security lock on the flat and shrugs off his coat, he’s hit with the sudden reflection that Alec and James had never been to his flat in the past two years. It was always their place after milling about at some local bar and whatnot. They had never slept beside him in his own bed, and now with a crushing revelation, never will.
And for some reason, that thought, of all things, is the catalyst that starts the waterworks.
He heads into the contemporarily designed office, Eve showing him in with a smile to M's desk. He hopes all the scrubbing he did in the shower this morning has gotten rid of the evidence he was up sobbing most of the night and did not get a wink of sleep. He takes the offered seat as Eve shuts the door to give them privacy, leaving him alone with M who turns around in her chair to look at him, hands clasped under her chin.
"You wanted to have an audience with me, Quartermaster?"
He swallows and nods. "Yes ma'am. I want to discuss a situation that needs to be addressed."
M sits up straighter, giving him her full attention. "Is it a grave matter?"
His fingers pick absentmindedly at his sweater. "Nothing dire ma’am, but personally speaking, yes.”
"Well," she waves her hand, "go on."
He takes a deep breath in and out. "I would like to resign from my post as Quartermaster."
She stares at him unwaveringly for a long moment, only narrowing her eyes as her mouth pinches.
"And may I inquire why you have come to this decision?"
"Well, it's also tied to the proposition that I would like to resign from MI6 all together."
She does not speak so he tries to divulge his thoughts. "MI6 has been a wonderful opportunity ma'am, but as you see, I-"
"Mr. Williams," she cuts him off, using his legl last name with a stern tone. She's one of the only people in the world to know it. "When you were first brought on in the Q branch, you were the youngest analyst there, but you showed remarkable promise from the beginning, so much so, that you rose through ranks to the position you hold now at what most would consider to be an alarming rate. You are the youngest and one of the most brilliant heads of Q branch we had in a long time, though I would not let the flattery go to your head because I have no patience for cocky arses. So if in fact you are resigning, I can only assume that it is either a result of a threat against your life or you're dying? Am I presuming wrong?"
He bites his lips, wringing his hand. "Yes ma'am. Both excuses are not applicable to my situation."
She reaches over and pushes a red button on her desk, which begins to blink, signaling that they won't be overheard by anyone ease dropping.
"Then I ask that you please give me the true reason behind your resignation."
"I'm pregnant ma'am," he watches her eyebrows raise a fraction in surprise, a rare occurrence to behold. "And I fear that not only working in MI6 but also being Quartermaster could end up putting the child's life in danger. It's not a chance I want to take."
M nods understandingly, take a moment to let her eyes drift down to where his hands have come to rest on his stomach unknowingly, elbows propped up by the arm rests. He tries not to squirm self-consciously from the scrutiny until she finally looks back up to meet his eyes again.
"While I understand your concern for the safety of your unborn child, it's nonsense that the child would be more safe outside of MI6. Everyone who works here full well knows the risks in our line of duty, yet are secure in their knowledge that this is the most reinforced and secure location of all of London. The child and yourself would be protected, and if it reassures you, security measures can be increased tenfold. Whatever is necessary, because I refuse to lose a brilliant mind like yours as I'm sure many others would agree with me."
He flabbergasted at the proposition, not quite sure what to say.
She stands up and walks around her desk to lay a calm hand on his shoulder, making his eyes grow wide at the unusual gesture.
"We at MI6 are, in essence, a family and we protect one another with our lives. I can assure you that you and your child with be safe here with us. I swear my life on it."
"Thank you, ma'am," he answers humbly.
"I also assume that you want to keep this news from many people, as a wise security measure to partake, but who else would you like to be informed of your situation beside myself?"
"Moneypenny ma'am," he answers immediately, because she is the only person who will know the entirety of the circumstance, including the parental identity.
M asks Eve to join them in her office over the intercom, to which she appears not two seconds later.
M signals him to speak, which he explains everything he can in the presence of M, all while withholding the paternity of the child. Eve eyes get wider and wider until he finally finishes his spiel. Eve is quiet for a moment before a smile grows on her face, her arms encircling him carefully.
"Oh Q, Congratulations.” Her smile falls slowly, her eyes looking between him and M. “I'm assuming there must be more to the news though if I've been called in to your meeting?"
M takes the reigns, exchanging the procedure of secrecy that will be involving only them.
"I also am suggesting Quartermaster, that you be moved up to an office near my own when you reach your second trimester, or even before if you've started to show more noticeably. You can make an excuse that you're involved in a classified project and will be needed up here for more direct contact, though you will still be available for communication to Q branch when needed."
He nods in agreement. "That sounds like an excellent arrangement ma'am. I'll keep you updated when I'll have to transfer upstairs."
"Good," she nods before turning to Eve. "Ms. Moneypenny, see to it a car is arranged for the Quartermaster's travels to and from the building from now on. I want detailed security on him from now on when he's outside of MI6 without gaining attention."
"Yes ma'am," Eve nods determinedly.
"We'll establish a private line of communication soon to be aware of any changes that may occur. If you have no further question, that will be all."
They both nod and head out of M's office, waiting till they are far enough away before turning a corner and conversing.
"You're pregnant?!" Eve exclaims quietly, hands grabbing his arm.
He looks around to make sure no one is watching them. "Yes, but like M instructed, no one can know but us."
Eve leans in, "Not even Bond and Trev-"
"No," he whispers frantically. "We aren't together and they are not willing to be tied down by becoming fathers."
Eve frowns angrily. "So they know? And is that what they said? I'll give them a good smacking if they think they can abandon you now of all-"
"No," he shushes her gently. "They don't know I’m carrying a child and even if they did, it would not work out." Eve's side eyes him. "It's dangerous Eve, if someone where to find out the child's other fathers.” He shivers despite the comfortable temperature. “I am not willing to let something happen to him or her just to try to keep them a little longer; maybe one day, I'll tell them."
Her anger drops, replaced by a sympathetic look. She loops an arm around his shoulders, pulling him into her side.
"Plus," he says, "you always weren't a fan of our arrangement."
She sighs. "No I wasn't, but that was only because you deserved more. You love them, while they assumed it was all fun and games." She leans her head against his as they start walking towards the elevators. "Doesn't mean I'm overjoyed you're doing this alone."
"But I'm not alone. I have you and M."
She bumps her hip with his. "You know what I mean."
He sighs out faintly. "Yes, sadly I do."
Chapter 2: and it caused us to stumble
Gosh couldn't wait to post the next chapter. lol I'm impatient.
But warning that this chapter is pretty sad. Sorry :(
The next month and a half passes tediously and agonizingly, though he withholds the later feeling from anyone except Eve.
In order to drown out the turmoil of his heart, he busied himself with work, preparing for the upcoming relocation. Once he had informed Q branch that he would be transitioning upstairs for several months in order to work on a classified project, he spent most of his time bringing everyone up to speed on any complication that would need to be handled. His beloved minions had been worried almost instantly when he gave his announcement, fearful that he was quitting (oh the irony), but he assured them he would come back once the project was finished and they would be able to reach him by viral communication if they had any questions or concerns. They were appeased with relief at that news.
Straying from details of his professional life, his personal life was similar to a trekking up and down mountains. He reached highs in each passing appointment with Dr. Albertson, getting to see his little one grow almost an inch or so bigger every visit. Eve had even accompanied him on his most recent visit, wanting to see the child for herself. Though she may vehemently deny it, Q is positive there had been the tears in her eyes. But the most breathtaking memory was around the 3rd appointment, when he was about 9 weeks along, the babe would weigh in at 0.07 ounces and be 0.9 inches long, about the size of a green olive. That appointment was most memorable because he heard for the first time the indescribable sound of his child's heartbeat. He believed in that moment he had never heard anything more beautiful.
But alas, with every triumphant reach of a mountain's top, there is the descent to the valley that one must take to begin anew. The lows were insurmountable, a gray painful aura he never knew he could feel. Since that last time he encountered James and Alec, he hadn't seen heads or tails of them, and that seemed to him to be more painful then if he were to be yelled at or cursed out. It was only by chance that he caught a glimpse of James when he was walking up to M's office and looked up at the sounds of laughter coming from down the hall, only to see the agent leaning against the front desk, blatantly flirting with the pretty woman sitting behind it. He rushed out of sight, not wanting to be seen nor stomach the evidence that James had moved on. And where one goes, the other follows, so with a sorrowed acceptance, he can only guess that Alec had moved on too.
The only thing that had kept him from crumbling in on himself during these past weeks was the separation between the professional and personal life, divided by a invisible, yet tangible line. He would not nor could not bring himself to cross it, both in a maneuver viewed as self-preservation and avoidance. Despairingly, it was only a matter of time before the line gave way under pressure and the two halves of his life collided.
The collateral damage was devastating.
The sound of heavy breathing and racing footsteps are heard throughout Q branch, all eyes glued to the massive screen that shows a layout schematic of the site 007 and 006 are infiltrating, blinking red dots indicating the agents exact locations. There's an image in the right bottom corner, imagery provided by satellite of the building and the surrounding area.
He's been assigned as their recon operative for this mission they're undertaking in Syria, rescuing important officials that are being held hostage by an exclusive group dealing with weaponry specialized in bioterrorism. This mission is one of crucial significance, in more ways than one, which explains the gathered audience. The partaking cannot and must not go wrong.
Q's eyes flicker down to the list of hostages, eyes tracing over their names.
Davi Varzielas, Age 45....Madalena Varzielas, Age 37...
"Quartermaster!" James shouts over the intercom, making Q snap his eyes back up to the screens. He stiffens his shoulders, ignoring the painful twinge caused by 007's usage of his full title. He has to act professional, now not the time to waste on wounded feelings.
"There's two hallways leading opposite directions, corridors at least 100 yards long with no visual of their end destinations. We need a way and fast, because we’ve got non-friendlies heading in our direction."
His eyes quickly scan over the building layout, looking for the right direction to lead them.
"You'll want to go left, head down the hallway till you reach the end where you'll pass doors that lead to storage room. At the end of the hall will be a ladder that will take you to the second landing. You'll then need to-"
"No," Alec cuts across, taking him back in surprise. "We need to go right. Leading up the stairs could leave us trapped. There's more possible ways to evacuate if we go right."
Alec has never once questioned him in any mission he's done recon for, so he tries to explain things clearly. "Yes, that deduction could be true, but you need-"
"We will reach the hostages by going right," Alec states with finality. "The hostages wouldn't have been moved since we surveyed this place 10 minutes ago."
He huffs angrily, "If you go that way, you might so happen to bump into all the hostages, but if you’ve read the report-"
"The report said there were foreign officials that are being held captive and that we needed to let no one outside of them live to stop future acts of terror from being committed," James speaks up, voice gruff. "No time to waste being cornered."
"So maybe let us handle the important decisions, Quartermaster," Alec sneers out the last word, making Q's jaw tick.
A sound of gunfire and foreign voices yelling echoes across the mic, before cutting off communication for a moment with static.
"What the bloody hell are they doing?" Q asks irritatedly at no one in particular, fingers flying fast over the keyboard in search for alternative routes that could be accessed from the right hallway.
The communication reconnects, heavy footsteps running down what must be the hallway. The sound of doors being slammed open happens as the red dots blink at the end of the right hallway. Another door slam brings with it the sound of muffled noises.
"We've found the hostages," James alerts, the sound probably the kidnapped officials, bound and gagged.
"All of the hos-?" he asks thoroughly.
"Yes all of them," Alec answers annoyed. "Now the bigger concern right now is that there seems to be a bomb that's been placed beside them. The timer reads 2 minutes 26 seconds and counting."
He straightens his shoulders. "Alright you need to get out of there now. Go back into the hallway and take the second door on you're right, this will lead through a tunnel ending up in a large room that has sliding doors on the other side of it. You can escape through those, though careful of non-friendlies posed near it .”
"Socorro.." A female voice is picked up.
Shuffling sounds and taxed grunts can be heard over the mic.
"Ajuda pro favor.." the woman says again, close to a plead.
"What language is she speaking?" James asks, as his intercom picks up the sound of a shot being fired at an unknown assailant.
"Portuguese," one of his analysts calls out.
"She's speaking Portuguese. She's trying to say…," he looks at the analyst who spoke up for translation.
"She's saying 'Help. Please help.'"
He relates it back to the 00 agents.
"We're getting you help alright," Alec grits out as the sound of a punch is thrown. More shots fire in the background.
"Sweetheart" the analysts translates. Q frowns.
"..minha querida.." the female voice slurs, possibly from the drugs used to kidnap her.
Alec voice speaks over his mic, clearly annoyed, "Now what's she saying?"
Q says confusedly, "She's saying "Sweetheart. My sweetheart."
James snorts over his mic, "Don't think her husband will be to thrilled with her flirting, especially at a time like this." But something about it doesn't sit quite right with Q.
"Doce Coracão, onde está o meu querido?" the woman sounds close to tears.
He glances at the analyst in worry, as the minion translates the words. "She says, 'Sweetheart, where is my sweetheart?'"
He frowns for a moment, before a sudden cold spike shoots down his spine and grips his lungs. He turns back to look at the schematics.
"00's. Do you have all the hostages?" he asks frantically.
A grunt sounds over the echo, followed by a close range shot. James voice comes first. "Yes. We've been over this before." Alec curses in the background, clearly miffed by the situation and the incessant questioning. "We have the Portuguese woman and her husband, and we're almost to the exit-"
Q's lungs feel like they've been gripped and squeezed, he begins shakes his head. "No. No. You need to go back." He starts yelling into his mic, "Go back! Go back! You have to get-"
The sound of an explosion echoes over the intercoms, making everyone in the room flinch. The intercom statics again from the impact. All eyes remained glued to bottom half of the screen as satellite imagery picks a large cloud of dust rising in the area, before the sight of flames begin culminating in where once stood a building; all that's left now is broken wood and rubble being slowly devoured by the resulting fire.
"We're out!" James yells over the sound of the burning building, communication back online. "The two packages are secure and we've taken out all enemy fire. Request for retrieval."
Q branch is utterly silent, except for Q's own heavy stuttered breathing, his eyes beginning to water helplessly behind his glasses.
The agents must sense something wrong as James tries repeating himself. "Quartermaster, request for retrieval. We have the hostages."
Q's shoulders begin to slightly stutter, some of the younger techs mirroring him as they try to reign in their emotions.
Alec breaks through the line, clearly irritable and angry, "Quartermaster! We need a fucking retr-"
"Agents," Tanner speaks up somberly through his own headset, silencing their rants. The Chief of Staff swallows thickly, before speaking, "There were three hostages in that building."
Everyone is so quiet, trying to process what just happened in the span of only minutes. Q is biting his lip harshly, casting his eyes away to the side as he tightens his jaw, trying to will himself not to break down.
"We had believed, with reasonable doubt of course, that the third hostage was being kept in the upper floor, accessed by the ladder that was stationed past the storage rooms on the ground floor. We were not a hundred percent certain though and when you communicated that you had retrieved all the hostages we assumed that-" Tanner can't seem to finish. The Chief of Staff clears his throat, straightening his shoulders. "Retrieval will arrive shortly."
The intercommunication lines only pick up the sound of the fire crackling in the background, before they're both turned off completely without another word.
Tanner takes out his head set and walks over to Q, laying a calming hand on the shaking Quartermaster. Moneypenny walks past the techs to appear by his other side, placing a gentle hand over his shaking clenched fist, nails biting into the skin of his palm. Q's glassy eyes remain low, repeatedly reading over the last name on the list of hostages.
…Adaleida Varzielas, age 6.
Q is informed two days later that 006 has put in a request for a reconnaissance transfer, 007's following within the hour.
They're granted the transfer with the his signature, done with a slight tremble of his hand that he tries to ignore, and put under the charge of Mr. Owen Harding, a senior operative whose been with MI6 for well over 30 years; personal feelings aside, Q knows Harding is one of his very best techs and feels the agents will be in more than capable hands.
Nonetheless, he tries not to let a grimace show on his face when he hands Harding the transfer forms.
Chapter 3: I was sincere in my attempt
Thank you all for the amazing response so far! Honestly blown away how well this story is taking off! Thank you and enjoy <3
He sets down second to last box of his belongings on top of his new desk, letting out a sigh of relief as he shakes off the strain in his arms. Eve huffs tiredly beside him as she places the last box, the heavier one she had argued against him to carry, beside the others. She insisted he shouldn't do any heavy lifting while in his condition. He feels equal parts touched and annoyed by her overprotective gesture.
Almost a week after the Syria incident, M had insisted it was a suitable time to move him into his new office on the upper floor. Now past the three month mark, he was starting to form a slight swell in the abdomen region. He agreed candidly it was a favorable opportunity as any to relocate.
"Alright, that should be the last of your essentials," Eve’s hand pats the box. "The mainframe connection was rerouted a few days ago to run through this office, so it should take only a few minutes to set up, and then you'll be able to connect to Q branch directly without any difficulty."
"Thank you Eve," he says grateful to his friend, starting to unload trinkets from his old office to decorate this temporary space. He also pulls out a few files he brought with him to start reviewing for Tanner.
He’s unloading for a few minutes before he takes notice of Eve's eyes on him. She's been watchful over him for the past week after Syria, so he can understand that she feels concerned over him.
"Yes?" he arches an eyebrow at her.
She crosses her arms in front of her, hip leaning against his desk. "Did you sleep alright last night?"
He sighs tiredly, giving her an answer without trying.
"Q," she says exasperatedly. "You need your rest. Becoming an insomniac isn't going to do you or the baby much good."
"I know," he halfheartedly whines.
"Honestly, you don’t need to overstrain yourself-"
"I can't sleep," he voices his problem aloud. He glances at her to see the concern in her gaze, causing him to focus back down at the little figurine he plays with in his hands. "I try to sleep at night, but I just end up having the same nightmare each time."
"What's it about?" she inquires softly.
He sighs out agonized, hands squeezing the trinket. "I dream that I’m in a burning building and I hear a little girl crying. I can see her huddled in the corner of a room, and she keeps calling out for her parents and I want so to reach out and hold her...to save her," he swallows thickly, "but each time I do, the place ruptures into flames. I wake up, sweating and practically feeling to be sick to my stomach. Hell, I've experienced morning physical ailments now then when I was having morning sickness months ago."
"Q...," her use of his name carries sympathy, which he tries to play off his confession nonchalantly, shrugging his shoulders and looking out the vast glass windows of his office that show the bustling London streets below.
Arms wrap around him firmly, Eve's head laying coming to rest on his shoulder.
"It was not your fault darling. You did everything you could to save the hostages, including that little girl. There was a miscommunication and that is no one's fault, expect the people who kidnapped them in the first place, and luckily those bastards are gone for good."
He lets out a heavy sigh, body leaning back into Eve.
"Plus a little birdy told me you sent the Portuguese couple a few vases of flowers, white lilies if what Tanner commented is correct."
He nods, but doesn't add on to her statement. She doesn't inquire further, instead squeezes him closer, placing a kiss on his hair.
"James and Ale-" he stops himself, swallowing down the causal names with a slight grimace. "007 and 006 requested a transfer of reconnaissance right after the incident. I'm off their cases from now on," he admits quietly in the space of his private office.
Eve sighs. "They don't blame you darling, probably just blame themselves more than anything. I can only imagine they are having a difficult time adjusting to the fact they went against your recommendations."
He shakes his head, rolling his lips. "If I only had spoken up about the hostages sooner, it could have-"
"Stop," she reprimands softly. "You did your job, beyond what anyone else could have put forth, and you don't owe anyone an apology. We aren’t superheroes Q, and sadly some things will always go wrong. We just have to try to do the best we can with what we have. "
He takes in her words, trying to let them sink deep into his skin, if only so they could appease the ache that manifests itself in his chest.
She jostles him a bit. "Plus, since when do MI6 agents, let alone 00's, listen to what they're told?" Her voice holds a bit of teasing to it. "You could have told them their were 100 hostages and how to get to each of them, and they would have trashed your idea and done what they do best. Shoot and wing it."
He smiles at the truth in her jesting, because if he was to be honest, getting Alec and James to listen to him and do what he says was like watching the planetary alignment, an occurrence that only took place every 5000 years.
His mood, though lifted a bit, falls short of leaving behind the melancholy atmosphere. A child died and he feels as if he has lost his two lovers entirely, no fault but his own. Not even their basis of a working relationship and eventual friendship could withstand the fallout.
His hand skims over the slight swell of his stomach, eyes drifting down to watch the motion.
He sniffs. "I did what I thought was best Eve, and I stand by my decision. But now everything seems to have gone to shit and I'm scared this is one mess I can't fix," he admits faintly, a disclosure he would make to no one but her.
Eve, the ever gracious and empathic friend, just holds him closer for an immeasurable amount of time after that.
If the next few weeks pass with Q occasionally checking in on James' and Alec's missions, and possibly assisting unnoticeably if they ever end up in tight situations, then nobody has to know about it.
Q rests his hands upon his waist, thumb rubbing absentmindedly on the more prominent bump that seems to have grown there; nothing that a jacket couldn't hide, but since he has a more slim figure, it could be easily distinguished if not covered up.
Today marks an indication that they could finally try to distinguish if the child is a boy or a girl. He can't help feel nervous excitement, no preference of gender overtaking the other. He just desires that the child be healthy and loved.
"Is the doctor always this prone to having his patients wait this long?" Eve asks annoyed, pacing the room. If there's one person more excited to know the gender, its Eve.
He stifles a chuckle that wants to make itself known. Moneypenny is not to be trifled with when she is in one of those moods. "Eve, its only been 7 minutes."
"7 bloody minutes too long," she sends him a look, before glancing up at the overhead clock for the fiftieth time since they arrived. "I swear, if this bloke doesn't show up in two minutes, I'm going to hunt him down and-"
"Ms. Moneypenny," a voice halts Eve's pacing. She turns cautiously to the owner of the voice, who sits in one of the lounge chairs, legs crossed as she glimpses through a lifestyle magazine, not once looking up. "While we all may understand your enthusiasm to find out the gender of the child, I implore you try to compose yourself for the moment before you cause everyone in this room to reach your level of anxiety, especially since some in the room are prone to more severe consequences if they happen to become too stressed."
Eve nods reprimanded, sending him apologetic look before walking over to sit in the open lounge chair, huffing as she collapses in the chair, looking bored with a hand resting under her chin. M looks up from her magazine to side-glimpse at an oblivious Eve, sending him a wink when she catches him looking before returning back to her magazine, a smirk playing on her lips.
Q glances away, trying to hide the smile threatening to make its way on his face with his hand.
Things have most certainly changed over the course of the past month, including some additions to his small family.
He fiddles the sleeves of his sweater, trying to prepare himself. He tentatively lifts up a hand to knock on the opaque glass doors.
"Come in," her voice calls.
He shakes off his nerves and enters the office, letting the door shut soundlessly behind him. M looks up from her paperwork, glasses resting on the bridge of her nose.
"Quartermaster, is there something troubling you?"
He shakes his head. "No ma'am. I'm just wanting to inquire something of you, if I may be allowed to do so."
She takes of her glasses, folds them before setting them on her desk. "Well, as long as the request isn't outlandish, I don't see why I would not allow you to ask."
"Well ma'am, as you know of my…condition, and I've considered this for quite the past month, I was wondering if you would do me the honors of becoming a godmother?"
M pauses for a moment, appraising eyes not giving away anything. "I see. And have you not inquired this of Ms. Moneypenny?"
"I have ma'am, to which she wholeheartedly agreed, though she was surprised too. I do not consider myself religious, but I believe the child should had least be able to decide for his or herself in due time as they grow older. And I acknowledge the truth that having godmothers would be an assurance that the child would have people to rely, if something were to ever happen to me. People whom I look up to and can trust with my life and my child's."
"This is an considerable request to beseech of someone."
"Yes ma'am, it is. I do understand if you would rather not-"
"Of course I'll be one of their godmothers," she scoffs lightly at his suggestion she would reject the idea. "And I'll be most honored to help look after the child, if circumstances were to arise."
He smiles, biting his lip to not be over-exuberant in front of the head of MI6. "Thank you ma'am."
She nods, face still ever calm. "Well if that is all, you are dismissed Quartermaster."
He nods and turns, heading towards the door. Just as he opens it, he looks back to see M has returned to her paperwork, only now he can just make out the small quirk of her lips that wasn't there before.
He cannot help but mirror the expression as he exits her office.
The door opens, startling him from the memory as Dr. Albertson makes his way into the room, shutting the door behind him for privacy. He strides over to the small sink in the room, washing his hands and drying them off with a paper towel.
"My apologies for the delay," the physician walks over to get the ultrasound machine ready. "Seems everyone decided to start a family these days.”
Dr. Albertson takes notice of Q's guests. "Ah good to see you again Ms. Parell." Eve nods in greeting at the cover. "But I don't believe I've met your other friend, Eric."
M lays aside the magazine, standing with Eve as she makes her way over to shake hands with the physician. " Laura Maywell," she supplies easily, allowing a smile to appear.
"Pleased to meet you Ms. Maywell," Dr. Albertson returns the gesture.
"I've asked them to both be godmothers for the child," Q supplies helpfully.
"Well congratulations to you ladies. I'm sure you are just as excited as Eric is to see what the gender is."
Both M and Eve nod as Q hums politely, lifting his shirt helpfully as Dr. Albertson applies the gel. He can't help but squirm a bit self-consciously now that they are extra people in the room for this appointment, though Eve has already attended one, he is showing more this time around.
With the machine turned on, Dr. Albertson presses the wand down, moving around to try to get a clear picture.
"Any complications since our last check-up?" the older man asks conversationally.
"No, nothing that has caused any concern."
"Good, good..." the physician narrows his eyes at the screen, clicking a button on the keyboard a few times, all of them waiting with abated breath. After a few moments, Dr. Albertson turns the screen towards the three of them.
"As you can see, there is the head," pointing at the image. "And there are the arms, and downward we see the legs and..."
He looks at them, searching for the go ahead, to which Q smiles as Eve rests her hand on his shoulder, nodding her head.
"And, with 98% certainty, I can say that you're having a girl Mr. Krenshaw."
Q, someone who always has tried to keep his emotions in check, bar these past months, can't seem to help the way his eyes grow misty at the news, Eve leaning over to hug him close with a delighted grin.
"Guess you're lucky you got two godmothers who can spoil your little girl rotten" she says cheekily.
He chuckles as wipes away the gel on his stomach, thanks to the towel Dr. Albertson handed him thoughtfully.
He stands as Eve helps him into his coat, surprised when M pulls him for a considerably loose hug. He is still for a second before wrapping his arms around M's small frame. They pull back after a moment as she looks at him with something akin to pride.
"Ms. Parell is right. This little girl is going to be the most spoiled child in all of London," M says with a tone of determination in her voice.
He smiles at the older woman, feeling inner elation he couldn't possibly outright explain in words. "I would haven't any other way, ma'am."
"Sir, these reports from the tests done on the new software program seem to be missing a few pages. Do you want us to message the supervisors who oversaw these examinations and inquire if they can send complete copies?” Alice asks from the computer screen, the camera showing she’s currently at her desk, stuck with incomplete paperwork.
Q sets his mug down, leaning forward in his leather office chair to type on his keyboard that has been infused to his newly modified glass desk. "Yes that would be best, though it can be a bit of a hassle with R&D department, we need to make sure we have a thorough progress data before we decide install the software or forgo it."
She nods, head bowed down as she jots down things, most likely making note of which pages are missing.
A few voices can be heard over the microphone, causing Alice to look off the screen at someone, before a few passerby's appear behind her in view of the camera, only from the neck down, and then disappearing as quickly as they came.
"Who was that?" he inquires, not able to recall if they’ve recently received any transfers or new interns lately.
"I think it's just a deliver sir. They're carrying a few cardboard boxes, heading in the direction of your old office."
He frowns, glancing at his watch to see it’s only 11:30 in the morning. His fingers begin typing across the keyboard to pull up information on any deliveries that were scheduled to arrive today.
“Can you see the company’s name?”
Alice frowns confused but looks off screen again, squinting in the direction of the unfamiliar guests.
“Their uniforms are embroidered with the company Parcelforce Worldwide, the red and white one with the cross in the middle and a bit of a globe outline as the logo. Is there something wrong, sir?”
He types the name in the database, sipping his tea slowly as he reads off the screen. “No, no cause for concern, just wanting to check on why the package is being misplaced.”
So far, any packages or mail for him have been given to the front desk to sent up to Eve who in turn delivers them to him, usually accompanied with a smile and a pastry she snuck from the cafeteria (he has cravings he cannot just ignore.) It’s really been that way with all who know, including security detail that drives him to and from work. His “bodyguards” may not have the slightest clue he’s pregnant, but Q is sure M warned them that his safety is the upmost importance and they should not fail at their job, or least they will never find successful employment again.
So help the poor soul that dares to cross the head of MI6.
The layout on screen shows a mail delivery due to arrive from that specific company, though the time stamp on it is incorrect. The package is not supposed to arrive for another 3 hours, well into the afternoon.
He opens a secure line, beginning to send a message to security and the front desk Intel to check on the delivery mix-up when a loud explosion echoes from the computer and shakes the building, right beneath his feet. The computer screen goes black for a brief moment before the connection is back online to show smoke filling the room, Alice looking frightened in front of the camera.
"Sir," she coughs loudly, voice strained from the air.
"What's going on?!" he shouts over the line. His fingers typing rapidly to pull up the feed from security cameras installed in Q branch, systems blaring alarms to alert everyone of the detonation.
The screen brings up another image of the security feed in Q branch, allowing him a good view around the white smoking room as techs stumble into one another, each looking like they’re hacking up a lung. He has no visual on the suspects who delivered the package, another cause for worry.
Quick footsteps approach outside his office as Eve bursts into the room followed by M, Tanner, and more head executives who looked like they just came from a meeting.
“Q what’s going on?” Eve asks.
“A bomb’s gone off in Q Branch. It hasn’t caused any damage of the building except where it was placed in my office was, and even then it was not substantial.”
“My God,” Tanner comments in shock, eyes glued to the feed on his computer.
“Do you have eyes on the bombers?” M asked more composed, only the thinning of her mouth a tell sign of any nerves.
“No,” he turns around with the mobile iPad to project the camera feeds onto a larger screen that is revealed behind a wooden panel in the wall. “I think the blast took them out, but I not sure if-“
“Air ventilation systems detect toxic fumes in sector 10. Enabling automatic lockdown and safety precautions to minimize exposure to outside sectors,” The security system alerts in a computerized voice.
His fingers still, hovering over his iPad as heavy metal doors are shown coming down on Q branch, cutting the people trapped inside off from leaving as they bang against the heavy set door, indecipherable shouts being heard over the microphone. Some look to be coughing up blood, others holding their heads as they painfully and inaudibly yell over the video feed.
“They look like they’re dying” Eve says quietly in disbelief.
That snaps him back into action, typing to pull up the CV feed from his computer onto the projector, connecting back with Alice. He types in security clearance to the mainframe, combing through the data encryptions to get into Q branch’s grid.
“Alice,” he shouts over the other voices. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know,” she coughs painfully. “The smoke, it’s burns my throat..and my head feels horrible. I can’t-“ she coughs again harshly, freckles of blood splattering on her hand.
Everyone in his office watches the screen horrified as people stumble around, eventually collapsing on the ground, twitching until their bodies still. He types quickly, coding as fast as he possibly can to revert the exposure of the poisonous gas.
“Air ventilation systems activating air removal protocol, combined with the replacement of oxygen available,” the computer states.
The sounds of fans are heard over the screen as the shouting dies down, until there’s nothing left.
"Alice?" He asks shakily, watching her sway on the security camera, before she collapses on the ground beside another fallen tech.
“Re-filtration command complete. Air supply of Q branch has 0% detectable toxicity left. Security locks will disengage after appropriate examination and approval by CDC.”
No one on the screen moves.
Chapter 4: Though you could not see beyond your own hurt
I want to apologize for the delay. I have been swamped with huge creative project that took up time for the past 10 months, and the pastmonths were the most difficult and time demanding. I'm sorry for the delay on working on these stories. I had this chapter in particular sitting in my drafts forever and just hadn't had time to write the last little bit. My bad guys, my bad.
Also! I apologize for not responding to messages I received, which were overwhelming positive and demanding more writing. My email in the past usually receives updates from ao3 and recently I received no notifications that I was getting messages so I just assumed people were not following the stories and in the essence moved on (or patiently waiting but not waiting). BOY was I wrong! I'm so sorry about that. I wasn't blatantly trying to ignore everyone. That was just a technology misunderstanding.
Thank you so much for your patience and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
AND GET READY FOR THE CONFRONTATION!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
James takes a sip from his drink, allowing the bitter taste he's grown accustomed to flow down his throat. His eyes swiftly case the place, an upscale bar where Russia's richest and finest come to drink and appease their expensive appetites with some more illegal endeavors, black market drugs.
His suave inspection of the place seems to catch a woman's eyes. Short brown hair and wearing a thin strap silver dress, she's sitting with a two gentleman at a low table, lit dimly by an overhead light. He can read her body language and red-lipped smile to know she wouldn't mind if they slipped away somewhere more private. He also knows she could prove to be a useful informant on how these drugs are being imported and sold. He'd imagine they would withdraw from their current positions and proceed into one of the bar's fancy bathrooms, him fucking her against the full-length mirror as she whispers filthy in his ear where they could continue their rendezvous with more dangerous substances.
But suddenly his mind diverts to a different image; in place of the silver dress, there's a white button up shirt with a loosened black tie. Instead of straight brown hair, it's messy black strands that make him want to pull at them to hear the person moan. Instead of tan sun-kissed skin the woman has, there's pale skin speckled with a few spots that he wants to lick and bite on till there's nothing left but red bruises that will last for days.
Then the soft familiar voice will moan in his ear, "James.."
He snaps out of his thoughts, hand clenching so tightly around his glass, he's surprised it doesn't break. He makes eye contact with the woman again, raising his glass to her with a polite dismissive nod, the woman mirroring his action to acknowledge his wordless decline of her invitation. She goes back to listening to her party as he turns back to the bar, downing his drink in one go.
It's been close to 3 ½ months since Q broke off their relationship, and he's over him. Or at least he should be over the damn boy, because that what he is, a boy. Young, intelligent, bloody gorgeous, but who wants more than what two older 00 agents with blood stained pasts can give him.
He’s not so emotionless to admit that just imagining someone else, young and inexperienced or maybe even too self absorbed, putting their hands on the young man makes him want to strangle everyone in sight.
But he has no right to his possessiveness. Q made it clear that continuing what they had was not worth an ounce of effort. And though both him and Alec may have tried to use their charms on the front desk lady and other MI6 staff to get any information about Q, they've left him alone and not bothered him just as he desired.
Yet, James finds every time he goes out on a mission, working his way to woo a target, he compares them all to him. Do their lips feel as soft as his? Does their skin bruise as easily as his did? Do their minds think as cunning and sharp-witted as his? Does their laughter sound as enthralling as his did in the few moments they caught him off guard? And every damn time he catches himself with these maddening comparisons, he finds himself irritable and retreats to the nearest bar to drink away the memories of two years that seem to be so deeply engrained in his subconscious, with no signs of fading any time soon. Not even the haunting ghost of Vesper had stayed with him this long.
Appears the damn boy broke the famous James Bond good and well.
"О г-н Артур," (Oh Mr. Arthur), Alec's voice purrs his cover in Russian over the radio.
"Да, г-н Аларик??" (Yes, Mr. Alaric?) He answers back easily while waving down the bartender for another drink. He's going to need something stiffer than his usual if moments ago was any clear indication that it's going to be a rough night.
"Кажется, что эти светские имеют внешних поставщиков, которые приносят в незаконном выставки для этих рода мероприятий." (It seems that these socialites have outside suppliers who bring in illegal trade fair for these sort of gatherings.)
James hums. "И тем не менее вы пришли по такой информации, старый дру?" (And however did you come across this information, old friend?)
"Ну некоторые из этих гостей может быть более убедительным, с правой обмен представляет себя." (Well some of these guests can be more persuasive with the right exchange presents itself.) Alec no doubt wearing his trademark smirk.
"Хорошая работа г-н Аларик, но сказать, что вы на самом деле приобрели продукт мы ищем? (A job well done Mr. Alaric, but do tell, have you actually acquired the product we're seeking?)"
Alec sighs out annoyed, making James gain a smirk of his own. “Нет, но я уверен, что я мог бы получить что-то из одного из этих птиц легко. Или, возможно, отожмите ее одной из шеек этот штраф джентльменских, в случае необходимости будет так. (No, but I'm sure I could get something out of one of these birds easily. Or perhaps wring it out of one of these fine gentlemen's necks, if need be so.)"
"Ну удачи с этим, (Well good luck with that)" He comments unhelpfully, turning his attention back to his new more potent drink.
"Prick" Alec appears right beside him, making James full out grin as Alec leans over to order a gin and tonic from the bar.
James slyly looks over Alec’s appearance. "That bird leave you with anything else beside a bit of information and lipstick smudges?"
Alec wipes his thumb across the corner of his mouth, not embarrassed in the slightest by his comment. "If you mean, was she better than the snog and slip of the tongue I've received, then I'm afraid you’ll be surly disappointed." Alec grins at him, downing a complementary shot of pure vodka before drinking from his gin and tonic. "But as I've said before, I'm sure they're plenty of sources here who have much more in-depth information that can be easily coaxed to reveal more than they're believe they are willing to."
James shrugs nonchalantly, twisting around to lean against the bar and continue casing the place.
While he can admit he's turned more to drinking after the estrangement, Alec is the one that turned to sex as a form of release. Maybe it's the poetic idea of screwing different people until he no longer sees the face of their former lover nor hears the voice that used to moan their names with such a reverent tone, the words have clung to their bodies, the echo of them still not yet faded from their ears.
Though, that's not to say that the other agent is taking anything with a pulse to bed every night, but on missions specifically, the other agent volunteers first to seduce the targets. It's destructive in a way, but James can't truly fault him, because he admittedly tried that course of action too in the beginning. But with those distracting comparisons arising, the sex became dull and too often he'd get the target off then wave away their offer of reciprocation, instead preferring to jerk off later in the shower to memories of a lithe body with long limbs under him.
Both of them are too stubborn to admit to the truth that no fucking or drinking will get rid of the memories, not by a long shot.
In retrospect, their cooping skills were shit, but they were doing what they did best with a few extra detours that did not hinder their performance in the field. That is until Syria happened.
James can recall the mission going tits up rapidly, shooting non-friendlies and dragging the hostages out as a bomb slowly ticked down in the background. It was supposed to be in and out assignment, considerably more straightforward than most they’ve been tasked with. But then again, they had been on good terms with who was usually doing reconnaissance before this mission. When they had received their mission report, they skimmed the details and got the gist of it:"rescuing foreign hostages" ,"extremely imperative", blah blah blah. But then saw who exactly was their recon operative, and they had tossed the rest of the information away as if it was on fire.
Yes, they had waved off recommendations provided to them, whether it be because of their wounded pride they wouldn’t own up to or shrewd cockiness that they didn’t need instruction. They hadn’t known at the time what they were missing in between the bullets and the blood, what they had left behind in their haste.
But suddenly Q was yelling in their earpiece, voice frantic, “No. No. You need to go back. Go back! Go back-”, only to be cut off as the explosion occurred.
And when the connection came back online, Q had seized talking. He wouldn't even answer when he and Alec asked for retrieval, just the sounds of shaky breathing being the only form of communication transpiring over the line.
Their confusion and frustration dissipated promptly when Tanner’s voice came on, informing them that they had forgotten a hostage in the building, the one that was now a part of the pile of wreckage, burning in the desert sand. He could remember feeling like he had been punched in the gut, eyes skimming over the ruble with emotions he had thought to have been rid of since childhood.
Alec had ripped out his headset and threw it to the ground, foot crushing it into the dirt before he began spewing out curses in Russian to the black smoked sky. The only other sound was coming from woman they had rescued, sobbing uncontrollably for her sweetheart, not being able to be consoled by the other hostages’ whispered words, lacking in strength as the man himself begin breaking down in the dirt where they kneeled. It was a pathetic and helpless sight, one that made him hold his gun with a death grip till he was sure it would leave an impression on the skin. The sounds of the helicopter arriving for rescue brought no comfort for any of them.
After the following day of complete silence, Alec informed him that he was requesting a transfer for mission recon. James had swallowed down the minuscule feeling of objection, a foolish and useless feeling, and agreed to do the same. Because in conclusion, he knew it would be for the best.
They had slipped up and because of their stubbornness and insistence that they didn't need instruction from the head of Q branch, letting their actions be controlled by their anger, and their blatant refusal to engage Q with polite cooperation, an innocent bystander had died that night and they had finally severed all relations to to their former lover, who probably despised them now. It's been a month and a half since they last spoke to him.
The mission had hit everyone hard, but none more than Alec.
After that, it wasn’t sex with targets that Alec turned as a way to cope, but instead it was killing. Brutal, non-merciful, pulling of the trigger without so much as blinking.
Every mission ensuing after Syria, Alec killed ruthlessly, to the point where an enemy’s face became nothing more than a bloody pulp he had beaten his fists into. M had tried to give him a stern lecture about being cautious and not falling into old habits, but Alec never truly listened. It was a terrible combination of sorts, lust and vengeance, but either option was optimal to the act of destroying himself, an act that Bond swore he’d never let Alec come close to again.
He is brought out of his revere by the movement of Alec bringing his arm up to glance at his Rolex casually.
“I believe our Quar-Harding is late,” Alec sipping casually from his drink. “Think our shenanigans and blasé attitude finally made the old man retire?”
James snorts, gracious enough to ignore the slip-up and instead peeking at his own watch. 45 minutes since the tech should have called, 5 hours since their last communication, and very unlike the older man’s promptness.
“If he’s quit citing these past few weeks, then I do not want to begin to imagine how he’s made it almost half a decade in this profession.”
Alec smirks. “Well if that isn’t the case, then we best try harder. Would be a shame not to have some fun while we’r-“
James’ mobile goes off, monetarily halting their conversation. Only few people had his number, and most, if not all, were connected with MI6. Alec leaned back against the bar, turning on his earpiece to be able to listen and communicate during the call.
“Harding,” James answers smoothly. “We’re currently located in that bar we’ve tracked that popular substance-“
“And you’re a little late calling, aren’t you?” Alec interrupts cheerfully, not being able to surpass an opportunity to tease with the older tech. James only shakes his head fondly. “Hope you aren’t making this a habit."
“006, 007,” Tanner voice cuts through the line, causing both their smiles to drop and their spines to straighten. Tanner only contacts them during a mission if something has gone tits up or someone's cover has been compromised. “We’re recalling all field agents to headquarters.”
“What’s wrong?” James inquires, eyes casting around for any viable threat in the vicinity.
“There’s been an attack at MI6. A bomb was delivered and set off in Q branch only a few hours ago, the source’s whereabouts unknown at this point in tim-”
Alec and him don't even let Tanner finish speaking before rushing out the bar, ignoring all the wide eyes they draw as they shout over the line for transportation from their current location stat, drinks and mission laying abandoned behind them.
That beeping noise coming from the electrocardiograph machine should be considerably annoying, for all intensive purposes, but because of what it signifies, it’s not. Instead, on days like this, it’s a symbol that represents something more haunting than anything else he could describe it as. It’s a reminder of people he failed to protect and who ended up getting hurt. He should be thankful that everyone in the blast was assigned to their own room, otherwise there would be 37 beeping machines, simultaneous high-pitched tones blending together and screaming at him that he failed again.
Though, of course, the small comfort is short lived.
Q sits in a wooden chair, back propped against a pillow, and a wool blanket wrapped around him. He’s been watching the rise and fall of Alice’s chest for the past few hours, her breathing assisted by a machine and cut off from him by a clear plastic cover surrounding the entire bed that hangs from ceiling to floor, an effort of medical to ensure that any possible exposure would not occur.
Medical staff has been able to treat those affected, draining blood from each of his minion’s lungs, and they are hopeful the cocktail of drugs prescribed will return them from their comatose states. But even then, there’s still the matter of dealing with the aftereffects the bomb left behind. Most everyone caught in the blast radius has chemical burns, causing bits of skin to blister or peel away. They’ve been wrapped and treated carefully, but only time will tell if they end up scarring or not.
No matter how hard he tries, his eyes always seem to drift back to burn on Alice’s cheek, like a mournful crack on a porcelain doll’s face.
The door to the room opens, causing him to look up at the visitor.
Eve smiles sadly at him, eyes flitting over towards the occupied bed before closing the door behind her. She comes towards him, kneeling down to lean against him. They remain silent for a tick, both of their gazes focused on the young intern, listening to the steady beep accompanied with the breathing machine’s own melody.
“It’s my fault,” he admits softly, swallowing thickly around the words.
Eve pulls back, looking at him in disbelief. “Q...”
“I thought there was something amiss when the packaged arrive for me in Q branch. I even checked the time stamp.” He bites his lip, worrying the skin there. “When it proved incorrect, I was just starting to send a message when the bomb went off.”
“Darling, it wasn’t your-“
“Eve,” his voice stern but regretful, causing the words of comfort to die on her tongue. “I had time to alert security, I had time to stop it from going off. But all I did was start typing casually that there’s been a mistake in the delivery location, as if I’m some bloody desk clerk at a corporation whose found a typo in the annual projections.”
Eve breaths out, putting her hand across the tops of his, to squeeze gently. “Q, it was not your fault. In fact, you saved everyone. The CDC said that if everyone locked in there had been trapped with a few minutes more of exposure, they would’ve died or experienced far worse chemical burns. You were the only one there who knew how to get the ventilation system working in your favor to help save them.” Eve runs her fingers atop his knuckles. “So you need to realize darling, that everything that goes wrong is not your fault.”
He swallows audibly, casting his eyes down to the floor.
Eve suddenly inhales shakily, making him look up in surprise to her to see with dismay that her eyes are glassy. “You know, if you hadn’t relocated when you did, you’d have been caught in the blast and no one would have been able to rescue you all in time. Did you realize how lucky you are?” Eve hastily wipes the stray tear threatening to fall, sniffing quietly. She looks up to meet his eyes, gripping his hand tightly. “God, if something were to happen to you and my godchild, I’d just fall apart Q.”
His eyes sting as he looks away, trying to swallow down the guilt he's feeling. He’s thankful for the tiny miracle of timing that allowed him to avoid being caught up in the explosion, but it does not help that today still happened, that other people got hurt in his absence.
Eve arms come around him, making him reach up to hold onto her close as well, for stability, for reassurance. He feels her lips kiss his temple, arms rocking him back and forth gently.
A knock on the door makes them look up, not letting go of one another as a nurse leans in through the doorway.
“Sorry to disturb you, but the CDC officials want to have visitors clear out to do thorough checks of the patients.”
Q sighs dejectedly, about to stand up before Eve signals him to remain seated. “If he could just have few more minutes, please?”
The nurse looks ready to say something, but then looks over at the bed, biting her lip. She nods and excuses herself out the door, letting it softly click. Eve rubs his shoulder and stands up to leave as well, petting his hair before allowing him a few last moments with Alice.
He sniffles quietly, allowing his hands to pull the blanket around his shoulders tighter and then rest on his bump, listening to the steady beeping thrum away.
Alec drives without caution in the Aston Martin, speeding down the familiar London streets towards their destination. James and him had gotten a flight back in Russia under an hour after Tanner’s call, landing recently at Heathrow terminal. There had been a car waiting for them, but they refused the idea of driver offered to them, instead hopping in and taking off without so much as a backwards glance.
Alec can feel his hands clenching and unclenching around the wheel as they pass stop signs, refusing to let up off the gas just to follow safety protocols of the road. James, the ever more cautious one if you can believe it, never once protests his reckless driving. They both know now is not the time to give a damn about anything other than the priority of getting to MI6.
God, he feels sick, the shot of vodka from earlier not sitting well at the thought that they're gonna come back to help identity a frail body with glasses-
'No', he shakes his head, forcing his concentration back on the road. 'He's fine, everyone's fine.'
They arrive at headquarters, not even caring to shut off the engine before striding inside, heading into the building where hundreds of workers and people in biohazard suits are running around, while other MI6 agents like themselves are just standing idly, looking lost at the chaos surrounding them.
“009,” James calls out, the familiar face looking at them.
“007, 006. It’s seems ironic how we risk our lives on dangerous missions stationed in war-prone areas and hope to return to something a bit more calm in dreary old London, yet here this all is,” the sturdy built man comments, as a few biohazard suits walk past.
“How exactly did this happen?” Alec asks, casting glances around the place in search of a familiar head of unruly hair, yet spotting none.
“Non-friendlies came in dressed as mail delivery service. Well, they delivered alright, a bomb that went off in Q branch when most of the techs were down there, yet none were able to get out because it was locked down until CDC examined the place.”
James and Alec whip their heads to look at the MI6 agent. “Locked down?”
009 nods. “Apparently the bomb had an unidentified toxic poison leaking out of it and into the entire sector, making the doors engage the secure locking system to prevent exposure to any other areas of the building. Poor buggers were trapped inside the place, I hear practically choking on their own blood.”
Alec curses as James brings a hand up to rub his mouth harshly, looking off in search of Tanner. He spots him talking to a bunch of desk workers, all whom are spouting question after question at the overwhelmed looking Chief of Staff.
They leave 009 without another word, striding over to Tanner who looks both relieved and exhausted by their arrival.
“Where is he?” Alec asks outright, cutting past the bullshit.
“Oh good to see you too, 006 and 007,” Tanner comments tiredly, a noticeable heavy strain etched into the man’s face. “M will want to debrief with you and the other agents, once 004 returns from Prague.”
“Where is he?” He repeats, ignoring Tanner’s spiel.
Tanner sighs. “Where is who, 006? Because if you can’t see, we’re all running around here trying to bring security back up to date after a biochemical bomb went off, not running a missing person’s-”
“Where is Q?” James cuts off Tanner, tone imploring for an immediate answer.
Tanner frowns. “He is down in medical-“ the agents take off down the hall, “but you need to check in with-oh, forget it.”
The Chief of Staff turns to see the same desk workers standing around, looking at him like they’re about to explode with the same questions they’ve been asking for the past 20 minutes.
“Bloody hell,” Tanner rolls his eye.
Eve leans against the wall, outside the room where Q is probably still seated in that uncomfortable looking chair and wearing a grim face. Her heart hurts having to have bared witness to the young Quartermaster in such a state.
She swears, if those damned bastards weren’t dead yet, she could not be blamed if found with her hands around their throats, wanting to kill anyone who dared tried to harm her friend. And forget her hands, because bullet holes would be found in their skulls for coming close to even laying a finger on her godchild.
She lets her head thump back against the wall, closing her eyes as she inhales deeply, refusing to let any more tears spill over a mental image that did not occur. She grits her teeth with renewed determination to find out who committed this act of terror and give them hell to pay.
Rushed footsteps echo down the hall on the titled floor, making Eve and medical staff look in surprise to see two familiar 00 agents heading down the hall like bats out of hell.
Though Eve can’t recollect if there was ever a time those two did anything with ease and caution.
She stands up straight, stepping forward casually to create a barrier between the oncoming speeding trains and the door to the occupied room. She may not be able to take them down, but they’ll have to step over her dead body to get to Q.
“007, 006. What a pleasant surprise,” she comments conversationally. “Shouldn’t you be in a bar somewhere on international business?”
The two agents come to a halt in front of her, looking like their itching for something, gun or drink, she’s not quite able to make the distinction.
“All agents have been recalled,” James comments, eye drifting up and down the hall at the busy hallway. “We'd heard news of a biochemical bomb going off. Any idea where Q is?
She motions towards the door. “He’s in this room,” they step forward, but she steps up to block their path, tsk’ing them to a halt. “But I believe going in there would be unwise decision on your part.”
Alec narrows his eyes at here challengingly. “And why would that be, Miss Moneypenny?”
Instantly her playfulness is gone as Eve eyes narrow, convening a look that could cut through steel. She steps forward, getting right into there space as she speaks lowly to avoid eavesdropping. “Listen here. I never said a word out of term when you three were carrying on your little tryst after hours, but by hell am I going to let you so much as get near Q now.”
The agents frown at the woman’s hostility. “Eve-,” James tries to reason, only to stop short as her gaze cuts to him.
“No James. You think that you both can use him for your personal benefits, whenever you feel like it? You think after all this time you pretend to play the caring lover let alone the concerned acquaintance? He’s not some target that you fuck and leave that very night. You’ve toyed with him for two years and I refuse-“
“Is that what he told you?” Alec's voice disbelieving as he prowls towards her angrily, matching toe to toe. “He told you we used him? Because I recall we were all consenting adults we started this and he’s the one that suddenly ended it.”
“And maybe for good reason,” she whispered fervently, all three falling into a tense silence after.
All three turn to see one of Mallory’s staff, holding a few files with him.
“I apologize for intruding, but Mallory is in need of your assistance as soon as possible.”
For a moment she doesn't respond, only clenches her hands tightly. Then she sighs out grudgingly, shoulders deflating, knowing that she can no longer keep her position as guard. “I’ll be along shortly.”
The man nods, stepping back politely to await for her to accompany him.
James and Alec make their way around her, only to have her hand shoot out to grab James’ shoulder.
“Please,” she whispers softly, all traces of earlier severity disappeared from her features. Her gaze strays to the door, before meet both of their gazes once again. “Just please, don’t hurt him.”
The two agents both frown at the confusing request as Eve lets her hand fall, turning reluctantly to walk down the hall with the awaiting staff member. The agents stand still, watching until the two disappear from sight, before facing the hospital room and reaching for the handle, apprehensive to see what lies behind the closed door.
Q watches the rise and fall of Alice chest solemnly, fingers playing with the fringe of the blanket when the door opens again.
He sighs dejectedly. “Medical kicking us out so soon, Eve?”
She doesn't answer, which causes him frown and look up, only to find himself his eyes widening.
Familiar blue and green eyes are looking back at him with a similar expression, flickering back and forth to the occupied hospital bed and where he is.
Alec and James enter the room silently, a tell sign of the years of training engrained in them. The only sound they make is the soft click of the door being shut, echoing in the room and preceded by the steady beeping of the ECG machine.
“You’re sitting?” Alec asks, confusion and something else coloring his voice.
He blinks and looks down, to verify that yes, he is still sitting, then looks back up and nods wordlessly.
James walks towards him, icy blue eyes staring at him unwaveringly. He stops just a few feet shy of him, hands down by his side, fingers clenching and unclenching. He thinks in the past, James might have come to closer to run his hands over him, checking for any injury. Sadly that time has come and gone, though maybe with good purpose, for a tiny shift in his seat reminds him of the current situation that the two agents have no knowledge of.
James’ voice breaks him from his introspection. “You’re not hurt?”
He shakes his head, hands pulling the blanket tighter around his frame uneasily. “No,” he swallows, trying to clear his throat. “I wasn't in Q branch when the bomb went off.”
An almost inaudible sigh of relief comes from both agents, their frames loosening a fraction. James nods at the statement, glancing over to Alice’s prone form. Q feels the other set of eyes on him, looking to meet Alec’s assessing gaze before dropping to focus on the piece of yarn unraveling from the wool blanket.
He hates this, this feeling as if there’s a vast distance between the three of them that would’ve seemed an unimaginable concept back when they were all tangled up in sweat drenched sheets, his skin burning beneath their insistent touches. The awareness that it's his fault only helps to make his present mood even more somber, his hands gripping the surrounding woolen material fiercely.
Their presence has both startled and confused him. Why have they come to see if he was injured? Why do they care at all if he’s alright? They should hate him after what happened.
He looks up to see they are already looking at him. He clears his throat, willingly to try to make an effort at polite conversation. “I thought you both were on an assignment?”
“We were,” Alec answers, hands settling in his pockets as he steps forward. “But all agents were recalled once news spread of the bombing.”
“It’s an understandable procedure in responding to today’s events,” he comments offhandedly, nodding.
“You weren’t apart of informing other agents?” James asks conversationally.
He shakes. “No. Once CDC cleared Q branch, I’ve been down here, losing track of time.” They remain silent, an action that makes him feel like he has to further explain. “I was talking to Alice when the bombing transpired” he motions towards the bed, his own gaze caught on her still form solemnly. His voice falls to a whisper, “Felt guilty that I wasn’t there.”
“Q-” he turns his head to look at them both, feeling his heart squeeze achingly at the expressions on their faces. They must stall at his own unmasked grief, before the moment is broken by the door opening. They all look at the nurse from earlier popping her head in, the familiar apologetic look on her face.
“I’m sorry again, but it’s time to clear the room.”
He nods in forlorn agreement, only for James to intercede.
“Can’t you give a few more moments?”
The nurse shakes her head regretfully. “I’m sorry sir, but the CDC staff are on tight schedule. I can’t delay them any longer.”
Alec suggests an idea. “Then perhaps suit him in biohazard gear so he can remain in the room?”
It makes something inside him clench at their consideration of him, but then his shoulders tense minutely as the nurse shakes her head. “I can’t do that, specifically because his current condition.”
“Current condition?” James asks with a furrowed brow.
She sighs, obviously begrudged to follow safety protocol, but he recognizes the potential risks as well if he remains in the room and wouldn’t want anything to happen to harm the child. “Yes. It would pose safety risk for him to stay the room during her examination, even if properly suited.
The agents look ready to argue, but he impedes the conversation. “It’s ok. She’s right, I’ll go now.” He moves to stand up slowly, joints aching from remaining seated for so long a period. “Thank you for letting me stay a bit more.”
Hesitatingly he breathes in before dropping the blanket on the chair, Alec’s and James’ eyes snapping down to his bump that presses against his white button up, their faces frowning at the sight.
“I see your finally following our advice and deciding to eat enough to fill out your figure,” Alec comments lightly as James nodding in agreement, making the tension in his shoulders bleed out in disbelief. He even spots the nurse raising an unimpressed eyebrow at the statement.
He’s hit with the fond memories of the two agents trying to constantly feed him, because he was as they said “too damn skinny, you’re gonna break”.
And suddenly he laughs. The chuckling sound sputters out of his mouth before he can process it. Maybe its from the exhaustion of many sleeplessly deprived nights, the guilt and horror from events of today, or the fact that the two highly trained and actually intelligent MI6 agents have deduced that he’s just gotten fat during their absence, but he honestly can’t stop the laughter that spills out of his mouth and causes his whole body to shake with it, breath practically wheezing out that he has to lean on the chair for support.
Alec and James just stand there, faces grow more and more concerned as he continues giggling, until Q feels his eyes begin to water and he chokes on a sudden sob, turning away from them to cover his mouth and shut his eyes against the tears threatening to leak out. His shoulders shake against the effort as he tries to suppress the outright display of this drastic change in emotion.
"Q?" Alec voice ask softly, footsteps nearing him.
He breathes in deeply, straightening up as he blinks his eyes rapidly until he's certain he can contain himself.
"I'm fine," he says, turning to send them as best of a smile as he can muster. "Today just caught me off guard. Damn bloody bastards blowing up my branch."Damn bloody hormones as well.
The nurse is kind enough to leave them for a moment, closing the door gingerly.
Both 00's look at him with sympathy and something he can't discern, making him feel the need to do something before he does something idiotic like throw himself in there arms and beg them to come back.
He looks over Alice and sighs, not even able to keep his voice from sounding despondent. "It's been a long day."
James and Alec look at the prone girl, seeming to take note of how much Q quietly cares for her. "Any clue who could've done this?"
He shakes his head. "No, but I'm sure there's a extensive list of individuals who would be more happy to have been apart of trying to kill us." And apparently succeeding.
God, he's a failure. Couldn't save that little girl, couldn't save his minions, couldn't save anyone, couldn't-
He is startled by the hand that cups his cheek, and wipes the residual wetness from under his right eye. He stares at how close James is, looking at him with such patience and unspoken understanding; Alec stands near him in solidarity. He swallows down the emotions that threaten to manifest in a sob, blinking away any moisture, as James lets his hand fall slowly. Neither however step away.
"'Long list of individuals trying to kill us?,'" James reiterates. "I would say things have changed, but it seems it's business as usual for a Tuesday."
Q snorts, managing to quirk his lips. "Well a bit has changed since we last saw each other. For one, Eve's been feeding me more, quite forcefully I'll add." Not really a lie, since she has.
James and Alec smile, a bit of warmth showing in their eyes. "Well if anything has changed for the better, that would be the best," Alec notes. "You always did look like a twig walking around in a suit."
“Did not," he answers petulantly, but nonetheless huffs a laugh out as the answering grins on the two men's faces grow bigger.
He looks off to the side, pretending to be exasperated. "You two always were so overjoyed to lift me up and show all of MI6 how much of a stick I was."
Alec smirks, while James practically brags. "Like picking a feather up from the ground."
"Unprofessional bastards," he grits out without any heat, making the two of them grin smugly.
"Though now it'll be like picking up one of those heavy fruitcakes that the head of accounting loves to bake so much," James adds conversationally.
"Tell me James, do you think that Q is actually hiding one of Marsh's fruitcakes under that shirt?" Alec comments playfully.
"You daft gits," he tries to look reprimanding and stern with his shoulders raised in defense, but his smiling seems unwilling to cease. "Nothing has changed about either of you. And for your information, I avoid Marsh's fruitcakes like the plague; they smell as vile as they look. The one reason I've filled out quite a bit is because gaining weight is generally considered a requirement when-“ He pauses, horrified as the smile quickly slips off his face. He's said too much.
“When what?” Alec probes good-naturedly.
He looks away and focuses on the burn on Alice's cheek. The crack in the porcelain doll, crack in their plan-
He turns his head slowly and looks at them. They're less than two feet from him, all they would have to do is reach a hand out and touch him. He swallows, looking up to meet both their eyes solemnly.
“Wh-" he sighs, "when you’re trying to supply the vital nutrition needed to carry a child.”
Alec and James face are instantly wiped clean of anything but shock and incredulity, eyes glued to the bump with renewed interest now that the cat’s out of the bag.
James is the first one to step back and if he's been burned, abruptly turning away and looking at the plain patterned walls. Alec follows suit, though he backs away a bit more slowly.
The Russian swallows thickly, before asking, “So we are to guess that you’ve found someone worth your time?”
Now it’s his turn to stare incredulously. The devastated tone in Alec’s voice sends a sharp pain that settles in the center of his chest. How could they ever imagine that he could just end things with them and then find some random individual the next day that would come close to measuring up to even a minuscule of Alec and James, then decide to start a family with said individual? It’s preposterous! It’s insane! It’s-
He swallows down the taste of bile. It’s just what he wanted them to think when he ended their arrangement almost three months ago.
Yet, there in lies an opportunity presented for him to lie again. To officially sever all things with these two men that he loves so profoundly, misses them like pieces of his soul that have been lost to him. They don’t do romance, they don’t need to become parents when they obviously aren’t ready for it. But then he glimpses from Alec’s hurt gaze lowering to the side profile of James’ jaw setting tightly and he knows he can’t do it. He can’t lie anymore. He can’t hurt them more than he’s already done, even as confusing as that idea is to him. They don’t love him, they can’t, but he shouldn’t fault them for their inability to return his affections. He should at least tell them the truth, to perhaps help them part as congenial acquaintances, for the sake of their child, even if it slowly kills him to have them at a distance.
“No” he says truthfully. “I haven’t.” And most likely never will after you two, he wants to add, but refrains from doing so.
They both turn to look back at him, frowning again at his words, gazes scrutinizing him to find any hint of a lie. He wishes he could presses his lips to those furrowed brows until they smooth away, like he used to.
James eyes narrow, blue glaciers honing in his bump, before meeting his eyes point blank. “How far along are you?”
He swallows, trying to steady his breathing. Just get out with it. “Almost 5 months," he answers, hoping his voice doesn't waiver.
If only he could even decipher what his heart does when he sees the pained looks disappear from Alec’s and James’ faces, how their eyes widen and slightly soften at the edges.
“That’s-“ Alec stutters, a vast contrast to the usual suaveness the agent exudes. “That’s our child?”
“Yes,” he nods, swallowing past the slowly forming lump in his throat as his hand coming up to rub absentmindedly on the bump.
Silence, deafening quiet except for the occasionally beep coming from Alice's bedside. Their faces are wiped clean, minds probably trying to grasp at what he's revealed, but that is not what makes him wary. It's what he's come to expect after the silence, what follows with explosions and bloodshed and tears in their line of work. He's waiting for the inevitable, and god does he try not to give into the desire to let himself start shaking.
It takes approximately one minute and 28 seconds before the two spies' faces morph into something that has never truly been directed at him: deadly, reigned-in anger.
"You're almost five months pregnant," James says, voice strained in something resembling a harsh whisper. "And you decided not inform us until now?"
He feels sick with guilt. "Yes, but I-"
"And what would have happened if you had been in Q branch today?" Alec cuts off sharply, taking a step towards him, punching each word like a knife. "What something happened if you lost the child? Would you have still told us? Or would you have denied us that dignity as well?"
He flinches at Alec's acrid accusation, hands clasped tightly on his bump protectively. He knows they wouldn't get physical violent with him, especially when he's pregnant, but self-assurances do nothing to soften the emotional blows. He casts his eyes to the side, hunching his shoulders in an effort to try to make himself appear smaller.
The defensive move does nothing to deter them. James strides towards him. "Were you so disgusted with us that you wanted to spare him or her? Make sure our tainted hands didn't even get to hold our own damn child?!"
He staggers back at the volume, nearly tripping over the chair in the process. He is shaking his head, trying to explain. "No, no that's not it-" .
"Who are you to play judge and jury for us? To take away our right to be fathers?!" James shouts enraged and hurt, so damn hurt.
He opens his mouth and closes it, not knowing what to say. He wants to cry but he knows if he does he won't every be able to stop.
Alec crosses his arms over his chest and sneers at him, actually fucking sneers. "Did you even think about the child? Do you even consider what would be best for the babe? In fact, are you even able to feel emotion for something as important as your own child Q?" James seethes in silent agreement.
He leans back as if he's been slapped, finds himself breathing heavily as if something is crushing against his sternum. It's like being thrown violently back 3 years ago, memories surfacing of having just taken the role of Quartermaster and having to deal with cocky arsed 00 agents who thought he was a robot and couldn't comprehend human emotion. They had come to that false conclusion because in every incident that resulted in collateral damage or the deaths of innocent civilians Q spoke calmly and had kept a straight face. No one had known he would go home and berate himself for hours, working himself into having a near panic attack after each loss, feeling like a complete failure with wetness streaking down his face.
Though he had the best track record of having fewest mishaps compared to previous Q's, it did nothing to deter the rumors of a cold and unfeeling Quartermaster that began to spread like wildfire. He had put on a brave front in the walls of MI6, but inside it had been slowly killing him. Only after an hostage situation that had gone tits up, in which Q's calm demeanor saved an innocent life, did the 00 agents (all of them in fact) and any others who spoke ill of him change their tunes. It gone gotten better to the point of trust and camaraderie and even more intimate relationships with two specific 00s, and now three years later here they are, but still the underlying scar remained.
And now, for Alec and James to bring up such painful memories and insinuate he didn't feel anything, didn't feel love towards his own fucking child?!
"Shut up," he says with such a vicious stinging edge to it, that James and Alec are slightly taken aback, yet their faces remain hard and their postures become stiff.
He clenches his fists tightly that the nails bite into his palms, striding right up into Alec's personal space. "You think that I don't even love my child? The one I've been carrying for four months, three weeks, two days, 21 hours and counting? The one I've been excited to see developmentally progress at every doctor's appointment? The one I've been designing a nursery for in my flat, in a room where I used to house random tech that's come to mean abysmal next this child?" He leans close to the Russian's face and grits out, "You know nothing, so пошел на хуй!"
Alec clenches his jaw at the explicits. Q then turns his head and narrows his eyes at James. "And you think I withheld this from you because I didn't want you to be a father? That I didn't think you worthy of being a goddam parent? Do you think so pathetically little of me? How ironic that you claim me to your judge, when your the one casting criticism upon me, you self righteous little bastard."
He then leans back, stepping out of their spaces to be able to look at both them properly. They still looks back at him dimly veiled rage, but it's been struck down a notch by his words. Oh, but he's not finished yet. "I wasn't thinking of what's best for the child?" He asks disbelievingly, huffing out a laugh that holds absolutely no humor in it. He slaps his hands on his legs. "No, of course I wasn't. My actions were only made to hurt you both, because it's always about you two, right? Always about whatever the hell you want and when you want it.
"I made a goddamn choice!" he shouts abruptly. "This child, our child, is all that I am thinking about, every second of every bloody day! I'm thinking of what's best for the child constantly, especially in our line of work. I made a choice to not tell you, because what do I tell our child when you both come home in body bags. 'Sorry darling in our line work it's just a common thing we've accepted as part of the job so get used it. Sure, you'll grow up without your other fathers for years on end, but at least Queen and country are safe." Yeah that would go brilliantly, just another mental and emotional scar for our child deal with. Or what do I tell our child when you miss important events in their life, miss their recitals or their football matches or even their birthdays? What do I tell myself when one our enemies, whether it's yours, mine, or M16's finds out about our child, about us all playing house like family, and comes after them? What I do console myself with when they hurt or worse we loos-" he stops, unable to even mention the horrible scenario. He takes a shuddering breath, before continuing in a devastated voice, "What do I tell myself if that happens, when I know I could've done something to ensure their safety, but I was too selfish enough to not do anything at all?"
He sees they are at last no longer looking at him, eyes cast down looking both somber and upset as their mouths are pinched tight and the wrinkles on their foreheads are more pronounced by their furrowed brows.
Suddenly, the fight in him is gone and all there is left is only quiet, a tense and hurt silence that digs deep inside of him and makes him feel so exhausted.
He looks at them bleakly, feeling every bit hallowed and scraped out. “I had to make choice to either keep you two or her, and from the moment I learned of her existence, I knew she was always going to come first.” He swallows over the ever-growing lump lodged tightly in his throat, eyes beginning to water, but refusing to spill over. “Always,” he says softly.
He looks away, sighing out shakily before walking around their unmoving forms and opening the door. He goes outside and pulls it shut behind him, then walks down the crowded hallways in silence, trailing away from his two former lovers along with whatever broken piece of himself he left back there.
Finally Geezus Christ! lol Took me forever to write that ending part but here it is! Started it today and then damn it just flowed out into the last part that hurt everyone. Sad but needed to vent.
Thanks for reading and glad to be starting on this again!
пошел на хуй- Russian for fuck you/fuck off
Chapter 5: perhaps you might now see mine
God it's been eons. My apologies. Enjoy!
A heavenly snow fall cascades over the city of London, pedestrians pulling their coats tight around their shivering bodies, feet scurrying to seek warmth and shelter.
Peering into one of the many glowing windows, one would see Q gazing at his own stripped stocking hanging on the mantle, solitary at this time of year. He smiles as he places a new one beside it, a small pink stocking he hand-stitched for the baby. He steps back and rubs his bump beneath the festive sweater he donned, trying to contain the the minuscule shimmer of anticipation that his single apartment will soon not be so lonely anymore.
In the background, holiday themed music being preformed by a lone violin plays from an old record, the current selection hymned to the tune of 'Silent Night.'
He's spending the holidays at home this year, under strict order by M to rest and allow himself a reprieve after the terrorist attack. The break has left him calm yet anxious, a walking contradiction. Even attempting to join in the festiveness doesn't allow the memories and worry for Q branch to stray to far from his mind.
Q sighs, bending over to grasp a red chrome ornament from the box, trailing over to the fair sized pine tree situated in the corner. The young man attempts to locate an empty spot that isn't occupied already by blinking string lights or glimmering tinsel. With a bit of luck he discovers a spot right of the middle, stepping back to admire the tree. He continues this studious procedure, letting the tree come to life with holiday spirt.
When he finally finishes, he wanders to his small kitchen and boils up some hot water, desiring to make himself a spot of tea, his chosen mug decorated with a confetti blend of holly and snowflakes. He takes his steaming drink to his cozy couch, gingerly sitting down with one hand under his bump. Letting the music wash over him, Q sips gingerly from the warm cup.
His nerves have since settled being at home, but his heart still remembers the confrontation with the double Os. It was not how he imagined it would go, not how he wanted it to go at all. The discussion had went tits up as they traded cruel barbs, all of them hurt for one reason or another; but in the end he blames himself, because he let it get this far. He had hurt them terribly so.
He can't get Alec's words out of his mind, the one asking if he even cared about their child. Fingers tracing patterns against his stretched shirt, he thinks how could he not? How could he not love their child, made from pieces of the three of them?
He hates his actions have made the two agents question him, even question himself.
It's like being thrown a few years back in the past, sitting in the same spot on this couch, clutching a mug. Except back then he'd been trying desperately to cope with a hard day of cold biting gossip and dead civilians, choking on sobs that watered down his tea.
Though he had the best track record of having fewest mishaps compared to previous Q's, it did nothing to deter the rumors of a cold and unfeeling Quartermaster that began to spread like wildfire. He had put on a brave front in the walls of MI6, it has slowly began killing him inside, coming home to the weight of the world he had held back, now threatening to crush him. He was not alone at that time however, with Eve, Tanner, and his beloved minions rallying around him like personal body guards, but it wasn't until a bloody mission gone south on their own home front proved to the agents and any doubters just how important it was that Q remain calm.
It came down to a botched hostage operation occurred, 002 pleading for help as her younger brother, who was 17 at the time, bled out from a neck wound in the abandoned building. 002 had been hysterical, running on adrenaline that caused her hands to shake so badly that they were unable to apply the right pressure. Q happened to be closest on sight that evening, having been informed of the situation via emergency phone line after stopping by the market on his one night-off. Medical Evac was stuck in traffic due to a huge pile up on a main road.
It was Q who went into the building filled with gunned down enemy bodies, the smell of metal rust causing his nose twitch in irritation. It was Q who found the sobbing mess of 002 cradling her brother's body, hand smearing the wound but not helping stop the bleeding. It was Q who kneeled down near her, shushed the agent's ramblings softly, moved her hand aside, and then tightly cupped his hand on what appeared to be a knife laceration just shy of his left carotid artery. The brother was still awake at that point, but his gaze was starting to became unfocused, specks of blood beginning to smear his teeth.
"What's his name?" he asked collectedly.
"Arthur," she said, nearly about to loose her cool.
He used his free hand to firmly shake the boy on the shoulder. "Arthur you need to stay awake."
Immediately his words caused 002 to try to move and rock her brother, nearly causing Q's hand to slip. "No, no, no stay awake! Stay Awake! Stay aw-"
"002!" he shouts, making the agent still and look at him with wet, wide eyes. "You need to stay calm. Your brother won't die if you follow my direction. I want you to put your brother down on the ground and tear off a piece of cloth from either my jacket or yours. Use it to help me tie the wound."
She remains silent, not moving until he says strongly, "Now."
The agent sucks in a shaky breath, then reluctantly but slowly puts him down. Q tightens his grip more firmly on the neck wound, trying to will down the queasy feeling in his stomach as wetness soaks his fingers. He hears the sound of fabric tearing and then a hand holds out the cloth to him. He grabs it gratefully and quickly pushes on the wound, directing 002 to carefully lift Arthur's head so he could wrap the cloth around like a scarf and then tie off the loose ends in a solid knot. After he directs her to help carry him out to the street as to ensure evacuation could get to the wounded individual as fast as possible. Within three minutes, Arthur had been loaded on a stretcher and taken immediately to the hospital, 002 riding along in the ambulance.
The next day at work, he had not expected any fanfare, but to his surprise he's greeted by the scene of M and 002 awaiting his arrival. Their presence draws the attention of MI6, techs, agents, and other staff alike stare as 002 comes charging up to him. Q actually takes a startled step back, thinking he's about to be psychically accosted by a trained 00 agent. So it comes to the surprise and shock of many when 002 throws her arms around his neck, strangling- wait no she's hugging him...to death.
"Um, 002 what are you-"
"Thank you," her voice brimming with emotion, as she steps away, her hands still clutching his arms. The spectators continue to stare. "I lost my head last night, my little brother is all I have left. But because you...because you were able to keep composed and collected, able to coach me through my mess of a self, my brother survived. So thank you, thank you."
Q blinks, ignoring the moisture hidden behind his glasses. It's been so long since he's been thanked for anything.
"Yes, I do say your quick action spared an innocent life caught in the line of work," M stands tall, hands poised behind her back, and dare he say pride on her face. "It is a testament that my faith in your capabilities as Quartermaster was not folly. Well done."
That day, a new wave of respect was earned, everyone examining the young Quartermaster differently, with new perspectives. It was the day that work became easier, almost enjoyable, even if the hardship from the field still remained. It was the day that two certain 00 agents stared a bit longer at the lithe man with unruly curls and sharp green eyes, something akin to appreciative interest in their deadly stares.
The record scratches, skipping over the same note over and over, ripping him out of his memories; a memory long passed. But still he wonders, after everything that happened, if there will ever come a day that the two look at him that way again.
A few days later, he's getting to experience the winter chill up close and personal, as the bodyguard Samuel opens the door for him, holding a hand out for him to help him inside the vehicle. The other guard Harold assists with his bag, carrying small packages for the office.
M has deemed it safe, requesting his presence back at headquarters; she can no longer hold off inquiries regarding the bombing. Thus bundled in a cozy jumper, quite form fitting with an extra padded coat over it, paired with a knitted beanie, Q allows the car to escort him through the streets of London. Out the window, he watches passerbyes walking briskly through the slushy roads, internally thankful the interior of the vehicle is suitably heated.
It's a quiet ride, when the bodyguard not driving turns and Q is handled a tin of chamomile tea. He blinks surprised as the gentlemen shares, "When my wife was pregnant with our second, this helped her calm nerves and nausea."
After the explosion at headquarters, the news of his pregnancy has become more widespread. Still contained, but more parties aware of his current condition. Nonetheless he's humbled the bodyguard had been caring about him, "Thank you Harold. I truly appreciate it." He thinks realizes he forgot his manners, digging in his own bag to pull out two wrapped presents. "These two are for you both, just a small gift. Happy Holidays, albeit late."
Accepting the presents, Harold sends him a pleasant nod, Samuel grins in the review mirror. The rest of the ride passes in appreciation of the decorative measure still hanging around London street despite Christmas nearly 5 days past. Soon the grand structure that is MI6 comes into view, and without warning Q can feel his heart begin to race. His breath picks up, and the young man tries to control the tremble encapsulating his limbs.
There was an explosion, it was a bomb. Screams and shouts as techs keeled over, one by one, dropping like flies.
Q can't hear what the rest of Samuel is trying to say, as he pinches his eyes shut, nails digging into his palms.
There was an explosion, it was a bomb. It went off in Q branch, his second home. Grainy images of lungs hacking up blood, alarms blaring in the distance.
"Q!" someone's calling him, but he can't respond because his tongue swells in his mouth, a sting of metallic rust from where he nicked the side.
There was an explosion, it was a bomb. He's too frightened as the place bursts into flames, everyone dying, oh god they're all gone, everyone is gone, and his baby- his sweetheart, where's my sweethe-
"Q!" Hands grasp his face, shocking his eyes open. It's Moneypenny, kneeling in front of him half in the car, looking gravely concerned as Harold, Samuel, and a few other guards peer in anxiously.
Q gasps, trying to suck in deep breaths as his chest heaves. Moneypenny sags in relief, hugging him tightly with his bump, his baby, safe between them. No more bombs, no more explosions. His quivering limbs rise, wrapping around his friend for dear life, burying his face in her shoulder to conceal his open fear. She whispers words of comfort, reassuring him that he's ok and nothing is gonna happen.
After a minute to compose himself, he pulls back, feeling incredibly embarrassed. He pears at the guards while bringing a hand up to cup his flushing face. "I apologize, I don't know what-"
Harold hold his palm up, a kind shake of his head. "You don't have to explain to us sir. It's quite alright."
Still he's left feeling out of sorts, the atmosphere awkward. Thank any deity above that Moneypenny is an expert marksman for spotting those moments and taking them out like a pro. "Ok, well enough dilly-dallying because Christmas the late bastard finally brought us the best gift, our Quartermaster," Moneypenny jests with a mega watt grin.
Q feels his frame loosen and he reciprocates the joy, allowing the guards to help him out of the car and escort him into the building. Samuel is kind enough to carry his bag, though he knows any of the others would offer the same support in a heartbeat.
Attention is on him as he passes, staff delighted to see the return of the quartermaster, but also curiously to see proof of his pregnancy. Luckily his coat is pulled tight around him, and Eve's mean glare fend off any noisy peekers who know what's good for them. The elevator ride consists of Moneypenny probing him about how he spent his holidays and thanking him profusely for the beautiful gift he mailed her. He in turn gushes on the adorable baby onesies she sent him, holiday themed that will surely fit the little princess next year. The light conversation eases any remaining trepidation he'd been shouldering.
By the time walks into the conference room, the meeting about to be called to order, he feels in control again as the members of the room rise to greet him. And promptly he nearly stumbles, surprised to discover that besides the executives of MI6 there are two agents he's very familiar with standing near the wall, postures slouched as they converse lowly to one another. They straighten up at his entrance, assessing him with an unreadable expressions; Q at least notices there isn't any hostility in their stares. In the edge of his peripheral, Moneypenny narrows her eyes at the pair, a twist to her lips.
"Quartermaster, thank you for joining us," M greets him, grasping his hands in a sign of affection, since giving a hug in front of high authority members would be most unbecoming. Q isn't offended in the slightest, squeezing her grasp with what he hopes is a sign of ease. If any are surprised at the warm touch between the Quartermaster and the head of MI6, they politely refrain from commenting on it.
M leans close, whispering under her breath. "Those two devils weaseled their way into this meeting, if they act up so help me not even God will intervene." Q bites his bottom lip, Eve next to him looking down to hide her grin. M then speaks aloud, "If you and Ms. Moneypenny would please be so kind to take your seats, we can begin this meeting."
Q and Eve head to the two empty chairs on the opposite side of the table, stationed in the middle. Q sheds his coat, full well knowing his bump is on display without it. He hangs it on the back of his chair, ignoring two specific pairs of gazes that make him feel like he's being undressed. Tanner, bless him, pulls out his chair for him to sit down.
Once Q is settled, M address the committee. "As we know it's been nearly two weeks since a bomb was detonated in Q branch. Terrorist masqueraded as postal workers and brought an unidentifiable package into the branch. The bomb also contained a toxin that was released during the initial explosion; airborne, fast acting, and highly lethal."
Q drops his eyes to his lap, trying to keep the flashbacks at bay. Moneypenny reach over, holding his hand discreetly under the table.
"So far, no organization or terrorist cell has taken responsibility for this horrific event," M's mouth grim. "I want names, details now."
Tanner hears the cue, clearing his throat. "We examined the remains of the bombers and sadly no dental records could be found because all of them besides one had their teeth removed, and the one not who didn't had a grin that would match any middle class to affluent person who could afford a new set of teeth. Bodies blown to unidentifiable bits and fingerprints melted off due to direct contact with toxin, possibly before setting off the bomb. The only evidence we have they were even there was a surveillance camera capturing their arrival and presence at the check-in desk. Van was stolen a month prior, plates fake. DNA confirms the three were older than 30, mixed heritage but too muddled to define from where. One was diagnosed with anemia."
In the lease of silence, Head of R&D takes over. "We analyzed the chemical makeup of this bomb. Usual ingredients of nitroglycerin, trinitrotoluene, and a slew of other compounds that are found in any homemade explosive. It was hooked to a tin canister, containing the toxin that has the same composition as anthrax, but enhanced genetically. The explosives were relatively small in comparison to most we've encountered, ruined a wall of Q branch, but it was only a means to an end to release the toxin. One irregularity was a foreign material found in the bomb itself, gritty granule substance composed of silicon dioxide, coated in iron oxide."
Q turns his head, perplexed. "Sand?"
The other executives trade similar looks as the woman confirms. "Correct, red sand in fact found in only one location on this earth. In Asia, the foothills of the Middle East."
Mallory appears contemplative. "Well unfortunately MI6 has many friends, allies, and enemies alike there that would love to see us in a vulnerable position."
Q can't help himself to interject. "But it makes no sense. It's easily identifiable substance, a calling card tracing to that specific location. Why commit such an act yet not take credit for it?"
"Perhaps it's a warning?" Moneypenny tentatively suggest. "Of more to come."
Q tries not to pale. Perish the thought.
An aristocratic head of department, speaks up, "Well you said it's in the middle east. Syria's located there isn't it? A new terrorist jihad rising up, attacking British soil-
"Mr. Hargrove," M cuts through the man's rants. "The last thing we need is to go guns blazing because some of people can't differentiate them from every suicide bomber who speaks a foreign language."
Q adds softly, "To start a siege against a group that has faced marginalization because of media, news, and generalizations would be everything we stand against."
"Perhaps that's what they want," a new voice interjects, James nearing the group, hands casually rest in his pockets. "Perhaps they're hoping there's a fearful warmongering arse who falls easily into their trap and starts World War III."
Mr. Hargrove's complexion turns ruddy, steaming yet throughly chastised.
Tanner looks non-pulsed, instead focused on the matter at hand. "You're saying it's someone else. Either gun for hire or being framed as the aggressor?"
"That's the most likely route," Alec adds, sauntering until he's next to James. "But the real question we should be investigating, who were they targeting? MI6? Q branch? Or..." the Russian's stare cutting towards one person in the room.
All eyes in the room drift towards him, titters of discussion breaking out between executives. Tanner and Eve are leaning close from the sides, whispering in a fevered manner precautionary measures and such. But Q remains helplessly trapped in the veteran agents' stares, not able to differentiate if he's imaging the concern he sees, or if it's a fool's hope
M annoyed by the descent into madness, calls the coalition to order. Q breaks the eye contact, facing towards the head of MI6. "So far our intel is limited, but I expect this case to be every department's first priority. I want to know everything, from the bombers' middle names to the store the hardware for this explosive was purchased at. Everything. In the mean time, security will be increased ten fold. No visitors. We also need to rule out there wasn't help provided from the inside to these terrorists. Every employee will be vetted to the highest degree. Q branch is down for the moment as most techs still are recovering in medical, but our Quartermaster should be able to provide assistance from his private office. If no there are further comments, this meeting is adjourned."
Everyone rises, Q more cautiously in his present state. The executives scamper out of the conference room, to make head way on the case while Q grabs his coat, walking towards the door with Eve and Tanner following suit. M approaches him, this time bearing a more open expression. "Quartermaster, if 006's suggestion is correct, I feel it most imperative to up your security detail. Can't allow anything to happen to you or my godchild."
"Whatever you feel is best man," he agrees, holding his coat against his bump. He swallows down the though, trusting M to ensure his safety just as she had promised him when he first revealed his pregnancy to her.
"24 hour security?" Eve inquires.
M ponders. "Well I'm our Quartermaster has plenty of countermeasures in his home..." Q nodding his assent. "For now just here, at least until we can confirm there wasn't a mole residing in our ranks. And of course continue escort to and from your place of residence."
"Who would you like to have put on watch?" Tanner asks, already whipping out his tablet and stylus.
"We'll do it," the four of them startle, having seemingly forgotten the two 00's presence. James and Alec are standing by the door, awaiting the decision; though if going by their posture, they will not allow their volunteering to be objected to.
Eve looks ready to argue before Tanner abruptly adds, "Given you two were the ones to suggest such an idea, I'm inclined to say it wouldn't be the most unagreeable choice."
M's mouth pinches, assessing the two agents as if stripping them apart, piece by piece. "Agents may I remind you that the position dictates steadfast alertness, for I will not tolerate any slip up or foolish behavior that puts the Quartermaster in harm's way. Do you understand?"
"Yes mam," the answer simultaneously, eyes on him as Q feels himself shrink at the attention.
She huff, annoyed. "Very well. You'll start your assignment now. In the mean time, Ms. Moneypenny and Mr. Tanner I require your presence at the moment. Quartermaster you're free to do as you need, though I suggest easing into any investigative work surrounding the explosion. Wouldn't do to have you wind up in medical because of the stress."
"Yes mam," he nods, the three leaving the room with Moneypenny throwing one last glare at the two agents. And then there were three.
Instead of meeting their unwavering stares, he walks heads towards the door, the two agents trailing in his wake. Outside the conference room is a secretary's desk to which he moseys over. "Sandra did Samuel by chance leave my bag here?
The young woman eyes alight. "Yes!," she confirms, leaning down under her desk to heft his bag on top of the flat surface. "Though he did press upon me that you would need assistance to carry it around."
Q rolls his eyes. "Honestly it's barely even a stone. I can-"
A hand reaches from behind him, grabbing ahold of the bag's burgundy straps, lifting it up. "I'll take it," James offers, gracing the secretary with a charming smile. The young woman blushes, thanking the agent for being so courteous. Q barely manages to restrain the eye-roll this time.
However his coat is soon confiscated from his grasp, Alec offering an even more gorgeous grin. "In his state, our Quartermaster shouldn't have to lift a finger."
Sandra readily agrees, while Q sends a strained smile, allowing the two agents to guide him away down the hall. "Honestly become pregnant and suddenly everyone and their nan thinks you're invalid," he mumbles, ignoring the gruff chuckles from behind. Bastards.
There's something captivating about strolling behind the pregnant Quartermaster, donned in a fitted sweater with a beanie hiding his mess of curls. From the back, you can barely deduce the man is pregnant, all the weight having gone to his bump. There are just a few small tells that hint at the pregnancy, such as the slight waddle to the young man's gait, the hand that frequently rubs at his lower back to alleviate some phantom pain, and the other hand hidden from view, probably resting upon his bump.
It's a tantalizing image, one that fills the agents with pride at having been apart of it. Of making a baby. Jesus they're going to be fathers.
What strikes the two veteran agents, is how Q's head dips as if he's innocently peering down at the bump, so sweetly yet naively distracted to the dangerous world lurking around him. It's almost maddening.
The anger from their last discussion has faded, yet at times it sparks up for entirely different reasons. Now it's namely at the idea of some nefarious organization targeting Q.
Soon they come to the elevator, the double doors opening for the three to enter, the two agents flanking either side of the Quartermaster. Q reaches over, his finger hovering over the buttons before he selects the floor for medical. The doors shut, the carriage beginning it's descent in silence. Yet the two agents worry, leaning slightly back to trade inconspicuous glances behind Q.
Why does Q need to go to medical? Is something wrong? Is he feeling alright? Is it something with the baby?
"You need medical attention?" Alec asks, while James glimpses at Q's face that peers up at the decreasing floor numbers.
Q shakes his head. "I'm just going to visit some of the patients down there."
The 00 agents' posture doesn't change, but internally there's relief that courses through their veins. The ding of the elevator signaling their arrival luckily breaks the tense silence.
Q stops by the ward, delivering Christmas presents to his recovering Q branch staff while shadowed by the best of the best of 00 agents. They watch him silently as he greets his minions, their spirits lifting at his presence and their good health. Relieved at the sight of them recovering, Q expresses how thankful they are well and wants to spoil them with a small gift that he hopes will help them with a speedy recovery. It's enlightening to see how personable Q is with each and every person, knows them by name. Every single tech is overjoyed at the revelation of his pregnancy news, delighted at the new addition to their tech family. Though of course with their looming presence in the background, the minions are more than eager to sign nondisclosure agreements.
The last visit is to a single room, familiar as it is disconcerting given the fight occurred there.
"Oh Quartermaster, what splendid news," Alice chimes happily from her bed, propped up against the pillows. The young woman appears much more lively and in better spirits since the last visit.
Despite Alec and James watching the two from the corner of the room, Q cannot seem to contain his relieved grin. "Thank you. Alice, I'm so glad you're ok." They notice when the young man's mood dampers, shifting in his seat on the edge of the bed. "That day, I swear to you I was about to check-"
"Oh hush," she soothes, cradling his slender hand. "It's alright. The doctors informed us how quick you were to filtrate out the poison. You saved us. Please do not carry the guilt that belongs only to those who have caused such harm."
There's the barest quivering of Q's chin as the young man throws aside proper office procedure, bestowing the young tech a tight hug. Alec and James, understanding it isn't there place to insert themselves, can admit they've grown a soft spot for this girl who comforts their Quartermaster, especially when they cannot.
James checks his Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, the time nearing a quarter to 1. "Quartermaster, perhaps it's time for lunch."
Q breaks away from Alice, checking his own plain watch. "Oh, yes you're right. I'm sorry to have to cut this short Alice."
The young woman waves away her concern. "No apologies necessary, you need to eat. But if it's not too much of a hassle, please do come visit us again."
"I will," he promises, departing with his two bodyguards in tow.
Lunch time should be a quiet affiar, just the three of them eating in subdued silence. Unfortunately a pregnant person draws staff members like a moth to a flame. Numerous staff come up to offer their congratulations to Q, inquire about his wellbeing, probe about the any details regarding the baby. The agents watch in clench jaws as Q is overwhelmed, not able to eat any more than a few bites in peace, soup spoon still hovering in the air.
When one of the staff, a brazen upcoming agent, ask if he can feel his bump, the 00's decide they have had enough.
"Excuse me ladies, gentlemen," James stands, managing to keep his face pleasant despite desiring nothing more to unload his gun into the air so that they'll scatter. "The Quartermaster is on a tight schedule and needs to finish his lunch. If you would be so kind to hold off your questions for a later time." Preferably never.
The crowd must realize themselves of their intrusiveness, apologizing as they return back to their tables, meals growing cold.
James ensures everyone is settled before he sits down, scooting in his chair. Alec however keeps his eyes peeled, the stare causing any wandering eyes to right themselves, arm thrown casually around the back of Q's chair. "It seems propriety and courtesy be dammed for some people," he mumbles displeased.
James jaw ticks. "Can't tell which I prefer least, dealing with unruly henchmen or uncouth staff."
The conversation lulls until there's a quiet, "Thank you."
The agents peer over to catch Q's lips giving the barest twitch, as he delicately sips from his spoon, his green eyes focused on his bowl of soup. Alec and James trade a glance, this time one more jubilant as they return to their meals.
The rest of the day passes with Q reviewing the logistical paperwork regarding the explosion in his office. A few times the Quartermaster does dare look up, it's to discover with unconcealed astonishment the agents sitting in their lounge chairs, studiously reviewing the same paperwork while their pens scratch notes in the margins. They are undertaking this threat with the utmost seriousness.
By the time the day is nearly ending, they escort Q down to the underground garage only to greeted by two unknown figures. Postures tense, hands drawn to their holsters, the two agents assess these people for any sign of a threat. Yet Q acknowledges the individuals with cheerful familiarity, as they inquire about his day, taking any of his bags out of courtesy.
"And who are these men?" Alec addresses Q, while still maintaining eye contact with the shorter of the bunch.
The two men straighten, the taller stating, "We're under orders by M to transport the Quartermaster to and from his home."
James frowns, "Really. Trained for combat? Armed?"
Q intervenes on behalf of the nervous looking men. "Agents, these gentlemenm Harold and Samuel, have been with me for months. Yes, they are highly trained and well armed at all times."
Unfortunately the statement does not appease the agents as their glowering expression still remain and unconvinced to change.
Q tugs gently on Harold's sleeve. "Anyways we must be off, traffic in London can become awful in this weather. Good day 007, 006."
The three of them depart, the two agents watching them go, the waddle of Q's steps more noticeable. James and Alec turn on their heels, stride brisk on their way to the head office of MI6, needing to have a little chat with M.
The car rolls to a halt, traffic backed up due to a skidding accident at the corner. Q hesitates for moment, before he speaks up. "I apologize about them, working closely with the agents, I can attest the frequent missions tend to make them a bit paranoid than-"
"It's ok Quartermaster," Harold brushes away his apology. "After the bomb situation targeting Q branch, it's understandable why they are hypervigilant."
"As we all should be," Samuel announces, sending a reassuring glance into the review mirror. "No harm no foul."
Q sags, thankful the 00's behavior didn't cause offense. This whole day has thrown him off kilter, to be so near his former lovers and fathers' of his babe, while being approached by numerous staff, too intrusive at times to ask about his condition. He knows most mean well, but he prefers his privacy intact please and thank you. But it warmed his heart the small gestures James and Alec undertook, fending off the crowd and throwing themselves into the investigation to find out who is responsible for the explosion.
But that leads back to the question, was the bomb meant for him. And if so, who is targeting him?
Being dropped off at his apartment, he locks himself in and collapses on the bed, exhaustion of the day getting the best of him. The fear that plagued him earlier in the day comes rushing back, like boiling water spilling over the rim of a pot that's been left too long on the stove. He has to reassures himself that this apartment is armed with everything needed to take down an army without so much as him having to lift a finger. He curls up in his queen sized lone bed, limbs covering his bump as if to shield his unborn child from the world. His eyes flutter at the movement shifting inside of him, descending into restless dreams.
Morning comes and the fear he was steaped in the previous night has morphed into determination in the light of day, the young Quartermaster ready to protect his child and earn justice for his precious minions by unearthing these bastards to make them dearly wish they had never been born.
Q just manages to fasten the last button of his coat around his protruding bump, making a mental note that he will need to buy a more roomier cover when he hears the specialized knock. He picks up his phone to pull up the camera feed and finds two blond familiar figures awaiting him. Bewildered given the agents perform the knock again, Q waddles over to the door, unlocking the encrypted locks as he takes a deep breath and opens the door.
James and Alec are leaning against the frame, bracketing the entrance while their eyes canvasing along his frame from head to toe.
Feeling a little hot under the wool coat, Q clears his throat. "006, 007. To what do I owe you both the....pleasure?"
Alec grins smugly. "We're here to transport you Quartermaster."
At a loss, Q mouths opens and closes. "I beg your pardon?"
"Ready to go? Any bags today?" James asks lightheartedly, looking around.
Q points towards where they sit on his counter, still trying to understand the change. Alec and James invite themselves in, grabbing his materials. "What happened to Harold and Samuel?
"Oh you didn't hear," Alec comments so innocently. "They received a promotion, too good to pass up."
"Guess you're stuck with little old us," James jests.
Q licks his lips. "But-"
"Now now, no time waste. We must hurry if we wanna beat early morning traffic, especially in this weather."
Q pinches his mouth, knowing the last remark was referring to his departure yesterday. The two already are at the door when he asks, "And what makes you qualified to do this job?"
Immediately biting his tongue, Q feels like he's committed a faux pas when both two agents stop and turn, ever so slowly, faces darkened. Ever the cut to the chase sort of man, James states bluntly, "There is no one more qualified than us to protect you and our unborn child. No one would do what do we to keep you both safe."
Q shuts his mouth, quieted by their blatant honesty. Well, he can't argue at all with that. So he inclines his head and follows them out the door, ensuring the lock slides into place behind them. The ride is quiet, his eyes no longer attracted to the scenery passing by the windows, and instead to the back of the blond haired heads. He remembers he used to rub his fingers through their hair when they were in the throes of passion; he was too nervous to try doing so when not between the sheets. When Alec meets his gaze in the mirror, Q hastily looks away while his hand absentmindedly caressing his bump.
All too soon, the car is pulling into the underground parking garage of MI6, descending into the dark tunnels where-oh no. Fuck all the bravo and confidence Q had this morning seems to have evaporated, his eyes shutting as the all too familiar signs of a panic attack creep up on him.
There was an explosion, it was a bomb. He tries to warn the others, tries to tell them the world will come crashing down around them, in a hailstorm of fire and grief.
"Ok there Quartermaster? Not experiencing any morning sickness I hope?" Alec humors.
There was an explosion, it was a bomb. Feet are running, trying desperately to find an escape, but there is none, the fire racing towards them, black smoke choking them unconsciousness.
"Q?" someone sounds worried, but Q can't answer, mouth fumbling.
There was an explosion, it was a bomb. Those running are hauling survivors, running as fast as they can from the fire but they forgot one, they forgot my sweetheart, WHERE'S MY SWEETHEART!
He gasps, shaken out of his panicking stupor, hurriedly turning his face away from the agents hovering in his now opened door. He brings a hand up to cover his mouth, blinking away moisture lining his eyes. "S-sorry," he stutters out, attempting to compose himself.
"...Q? Q, can you please look us at us?" James ask, his voice uncharacteristically gentle.
Yet Q can't because they'll see he doesn't have it all together, they'll see how weak he is. The two agents who've faced the unimaginable horrors the world has to offer will witness how scared he is.
But a hand lays upon his leg, dragging the Quartermaster closer like he weighs nothing, maneuvering his body to face the two agents. Q doesn't remove his hand, eyes cast downwards as his breathing remains uneven.
"Q, what's wrong?" Alec asks cautiously.
The trio is saved by the click of heels nearing the car, Moneypenny delicately explaining, "It was like that yesterday, think the explosion took a toll on him. Headquarters might be a sensitive trigger."
Q is embarrassed, he wasn't even in the bloody room when the bomb went off; yet he's too shaken to do anything about it. A hand gently pries away his own from his mouth, another tipping his chin up to meet their eyes, emulating strength he wishes he felt.
"Experiencing a traumatic flashback is normal Q, it's nothing to be ashamed of," James comforts, his calloused thumb rubbing against Q's slender knuckles.
"I know it's scary what happened, but we promise, we aren't going to let anything happen to you or the babe," Alec voice unwavering. "No explosions, no bombs, nothing. We promise, we will protect the two of you, with every last drop of our blood."
Moneypenny watches in quiet contemplation at the three of them huddled together, their unborn child between them. While James squeezes his hand, Q shakily inhales, not daring to look away from the spies. He couldn't even if he wanted to, because his heart, body, mind and soul desperately cling to their vows
The week passes gradually with a simplistic routine: escorting Q to MI6, shadowing his every step, researching every lead tied to the bombing, dining with the Quartermaster, fending off invasive staff members, and escorting Q back home. One would imagine their reputations and track records would mean the 00 agents are becoming antsy, itching to return to the field, on another mission.
They'd be dead wrong with a bullet in their skull for good measure.
There is not a force, in heaven or hell, that could get them to leave Q's side. The arrangement between might have ended, but the feelings are still as strong as ever, especially now when he's round with their child, glowing each day they see him. The only time they can be pried away from Q is at night, when they are forced to bid goodbye each evening.
It strikes them, each time they escort Q to and from his residence that they had never seen the place in the two years they were involved. Unlike their own cold, aloof apartment furnished by MI6 without any personal touches, Q's apartment is warm. Warm with colors that contrast as much as they complement each other, mementos strew around the apartment, gathered throughout the young man's life. No pictures of course, but enough touches that make it feel like a home anyone would want to retire to each night.
As they place Q's things upon his dining table, they notice something that makes the ever stable agents' falter. Despite Christmas day has since passed, Q hasn't yet taken down the holiday decorations, including the stockings hanging from the mantle above the fireplace, one large and one small pink crocheted one. Q hangs his jacket on the coat rack, tossing his scarf over when he notices the agents paused, following their line of sight.
"Oh," the Quartermaster exclaims, shrugging with a bit of embarrassment. "I never really decorate during the holidays but this year I thought it would be nice, especially since there'll be a little one running around next year. A bit of practice never hurt."
James swallows thickly, simply commenting, "It looks wonderful Q."
Alec saunters forward, trying to maintain an appearance he's not affected. "I'd say you'd give Mrs. Marsh a run for her money, fruitcake aside."
Q raises an eyebrow, smile playing on his lips. "Well that fruitcake is the stuff of legends...and a few non-edible ingredients."
Two matching gorgeous smiles beam at him, until the three of them are standing there grasping at unreachable words.
"Well, it's best we depart, so you can rest Quartermaster," James comments, him and Alec making their way to the door.
Unbeknownst to the two 00 agents, Q watches them and wishes they'd do the opposite, stay just a little bit longer here with him.
"Trevelyan, Bond." The two men round to look back. "Please, wait just a moment."
James and Alex remain where they are as Q disappears deeper into his apartment. He waddles back to the foyer in where the two linger by the entrance, two envelopes addressed to each of the them in his hand. Q stops before them, hesitating for a moment before holding them out towards them.
"I know it's late, but Merry Christmas," Q says softly.
Alec and James meet each other's eyes before they each take their allotted gift. They open it taking a curious peek at the Quartermaster while he wrings his hands. The moment they open the envelopes and pull out the photo, speechlessness on both their faces. They quickly look up at him, astounded. James gapes, "Is this..."
Q nods, a small smile as he places a hand on his bump. "Our daughter."
Alec's chin trembles, his eyes becoming wet as he holds the ultrasound photo to the light, memorizing every curve and every feature. James has to look up and blink away the ensuing moisture, before he too takes another longing glance at the photo. Two orphans stare at a picture of the family they thought they'd never have.
Alec peers apologetically at the pregnant tech, "Q we-"
"It's ok," softness plain on the young man's face. "I understand. I understand."