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Sodium Chloride (NaCl)

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Bond is, apparently, very quietly superstitious.

Honestly, Q might have never noticed if the agent hadn't unintentionally knocked over a glass jar containing salt while brazenly perusing through Q's workstation – for the umpteenth time against all orders not to. Again.

The blond-haired man had been poking and prodding at various "clutter," as he called it, when he couldn't find an immediate way to weaponize said item outside of hurling it. For all intents and purposes, he was portraying a sulky, bored child forced to tag along on Mum's shopping trip. In reality, the man was a deadly OO-Agent projecting a desperate wish for something, anything, abroad to go to shit so that he could be untethered from MI6's HQ and finally be allowed to get back to doing what he did best.

Bond had been idly picking up dented cans, rubbing at their maligned bodies with a solitary thumb. He picked at rusted tins with a furrowed brow, tilted glass jars with twisted lips, and politely demanded to know what contents the tinted bottles held and what uses they provided.

Q, mind focused on assembling a rather delicate piece of tech for potential future use in the field, had absentmindedly responded to each question with only the barest hint of palpable annoyance rounding each word with every passing second. He didn't understand why Bond was there, of all places, nor why he had yet to toss the distracting agent out.

"And this?" Bond held up a clear mason jar in one broad palm, calloused fingers cradling the wide base as he lifted it and inspected the fine white granules within.

A smile tugged at his pink lips; really, the boffin couldn't resist.

"Ah, yes," he lifted his shaggy-haired head and adjusted his glasses by grabbing at the thick, plastic rim with his right hand. "That would be a chemical compound consisting of an ionic assembly of cations and anions."

"What can you do with it?" The agent twisted and turned the jar as the fluorescent lights above refracted through the thick glass. His sharp blue eyes cut to the side, pinning Q with his gaze as he patiently awaited the reply.

Q could just barely suppress a grin as he blithely intoned, "It has many varied uses, including but not limited to dyeing and bleaching, relieving stings, disinfection, removing stains." He dragged out the last word with a pointed, raised brow. He pushed his wheeled stool away from his disassembled project, stood with a back-popping grunt, and strode over the few steps to Bond's side. "But this one, in particular, is very special to me." He watched as Bond's formerly placid expression subtly shifted to intrigued. Suitably hooked on Q's words, the boffin deliberately reached forward and plucked the jar from Bond's blunt fingers with his own slender ones. "This one is used to season my poached eggs. It's salt, OO7."

The wry smile that had been slowly lifting half of Bond's rugged face slipped away but didn't entirely leave his vibrant eyes. While the agent now suitably looked unimpressed, he did seem amused at having been led on and even offered a barely perceivable dip of his head, conceding an invisible point in the Quartermaster's favor.

"Fair play, Q," he rumbled as he turned back to the counter to continue his rifling. However, a misstep or overreach resulted in an identical mason jar being tipped over. Apparently, the lid had not been tightened adequately since its last use and had easily popped off and allowed the white crystals to spill forth like a puddle. "Let me guess," Bond sighed as he neatly lifted the knocked-over jar, "A weaponized form of sugar made of lies and deceit?"

"Bloody ha," Q quipped with a roll of his hazel eyes. "No, that's just more salt, fortunately for us all, you bloody oaf, and not the cyanide powder set just three jars down."

Bond's muscled body had stiffened at the words, coming to a minute stutter-stop that bunched his broad shoulders with visible tension. Just as quickly as the apparent stress flowed in, it ebbed away as he eased his shoulders down from his ears and smoothly schooled his tight expression. Q, for a flutter of a moment, realized that calling OO7 an "oaf" to his face probably wasn't the wisest choice of words, but the man had been steadily working on the boffin's last nerve for the better part of an hour. However, the look that he tossed in Q's direction was undoubtedly not anger or annoyance, but rather one that Q would have deigned to call worry on any other humanoid other than the notoriously cool OO7.

Q did suppose that being that close to knocking over a jar full of cyanide powder in an otherwise confined space would be cause for alarm, but that didn't seem to be where Bond's eyes were settling on. The icy irises were trained on the white pile of sodium chloride.

"More salt?"

"Yes," Q drawled as he moved toward a sink in the corner of the room to wet a paper towel. "As I've mentioned, salt has many uses, so therefore we'd have more than one container-" He cut himself off as he turned back in time to see Bond had pinched a small amount of the fine granules and tossed it over his left shoulder. Q furrowed his brow as the agent proceeded to swipe the worst of the mess into his palm before disposing of it in an open bin.

How peculiar, Q had thought before thrusting the damp paper towel into Bond's outstretched hand. He rubbed his wet fingers against the dry corduroy of his trousers, allowing them to absorb the water as they had undoubtedly taken in worse in his course of experimentation before he turned back to his abandoned project.

Bond had quickly and effectively cleaned up his mess, but his eyes no longer held the amused spark he had a moment before. Instead, he looked pensive and lost in thought.

"If you're quite done making a mess of my station, OO7?" Q prompted with only the barest hint of concern tainting the words.

The agent offered the Quartermaster a succinct nod of farewell before exiting.

After that, Q began to pay attention and realized he noticed all sorts of little quirks from James Bond.