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Precious Time

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James Bond was dying. The irony was that it wasn't a bullet or a knife or even an explosion that was killing him. It was his own body, slowly and surely, very, very painfully killing him.

James had been diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma and given a few years to live at most. The sheer irony of him collapsing in Q branch just a few short months after James had retired his double-0 status and become a logistics and strategy consultant was something that amused him these days. It was either be amused or cry his heart out and James didn't think he had the energy to cry anymore.

Q, his brilliant Q hadn't taken the news very well. The man was never very good at expressing his feelings or dealing with them for that matter. James just wanted Q to stay with him, help him through the endless rounds of chemotherapy and surgeries to help extend his life just a little bit more since it was inconceivable that James Bond 007 would go down without a fight, even if the enemy was his own failing body. But Q was never around these days.

Q was always busy, which was fair, James supposed. Just because James was dying didn't mean the rest of the world ground to a halt. There were always villains to kill and tyrants to stop and Q was very important to MI6. James knew that, he just wished he could have some time with his love to hold him close and smell his fresh, alive smell that always made James feel safe and loved.

In the beginning, James used to wander down to Q branch in between his treatments just to be near Q but now he was just too tired and in too much pain to even think of moving from his bed. James supposed this was the end, or close to it. He knew in his bones that after two years of constant fighting he was finally losing the battle to live. It would only be a few more weeks if not days before he left this world and his Q.

James hoped that Q would show up before that so he could hold him close one last time. As if the thought had conjured the man Q came bursting into the room, all messy dark hair and excited hazel green eyes.

“James, James, I figured it out. I figured out how to cure your cancer.” Q exclaimed coming to sit down in the chair next to James and grabbing his hand, practically bouncing in his seat with excitement.

“That's great love. I'm happy you figured it out. It's just….” James faltered.

“No. No, James. It will work, I'm sure it will. It worked on the test subjects. It will work for you.” Q insisted holding on to James’ hand a little tighter.

“Q,” James began, but the man just shook his head repeatedly a slightly mad look in his eyes.

James covered Q's hand in his own with some difficulty, he barely had the energy to move these days.

“No, James. I will fix this. I will fix you.” Q insisted refusing to look James in the eye.

“Q, love, look at me, please,” James said voice hoarse and broken from disuse and illness.

Q finally managed to meet the blonde's eyes and James managed a tired smile for the younger man.

“I love you. But it's a little too late to fix me I'm afraid. It is a great thing you have done for the world but just a bit too late for me.” James said squeezing gently on the work-calloused hand in his.

Q vehemently shook his head.

“It can't, it can't be too late. I spent every spare minute on it, James. I did everything as fast as humanly possible. I pushed for human trials so much M nearly had me sanctioned. It can't be too late for you, please.” Q pleaded his voice broken by the tears he refused to shed.

“I'm so sorry my love, my Q. I'm sorry I'm leaving you like this,” James said sadly pulling on the hand he was holding with all his strength, which wasn't much these days.

Q went willingly enough, carefully wrapping himself around the dying man, mindful of all the wires and needles attached to James until they were lying together in the bed.

“I-I'm sorry.” Q stuttered making James turn and press his dry chapped lips to the younger man's gently.

“Don't be sorry, love. You did the best you could. You did what you do best, try to fix things.” James said comfortingly.

“But I could have been here for you instead. Been there through what can't have been a very pleasant time. Instead, I spent it all on a worthless cure.” Q cried, tears running down his face.

“Not worthless, never worthless, Q. It didn't work for me but it will work for millions of people in years to come and they will thank you for it, even if they don't know your name.” James said holding the other man as close as his failing strength would allow.

“Don't leave me, please James. I'm not ready to be alone again.” Q pleaded burying his tear-streaked face in James’ neck.

“I'm sorry my love. I would if I could.” James said softly his own eyes streaming with tears he had long denied.

They lay together quietly for a time until Q felt the life leave the beloved body of his lover.

As the machines screamed their alarm Q sobbed his heartbreak out into James’ unmoving chest refusing to be moved by any of the medical staff or even Eve as he mourned the loss he was nowhere near ready to handle.