For as smoothly as MI6 runs, sometimes it’s inevitable that there will be a hiccup at some point. The maintenance crew jokes that the building likes to wait until they turn their backs before breaking something else.
Well, tonight it’s the heat. Really, that wouldn’t be an issue, except that it’s December and Q-branch isn’t known to be a cozy place. The enormous room and high ceilings aren’t conducive to helping the heating bill. Not to mention Q-branch is always kept slightly cooler because of all the computers and tech running at all hours. Best to keep the machinery at lower temperatures for the non-stop work they must do.
Without the heat, Q-branch turns into a freezer box. Q sticks it out and must say he’s rather proud of his staff for willing to grin and bear the cold, despite the fact that he can tell their fine motor movements are becoming clumsier as the dropping temperatures sink into their hands. Q himself is not immune. His fingers feel like blunt sausages on the keyboard.
“Go home, everyone. Take your laptops in case work arises. No use staying here if no one can type properly.”
Q doesn’t imagine the quiet sighs of relief and slumped, relaxed shoulders of his coworkers. He appreciates that they were willing to hold out until officially released.
He himself manages to stick out the cold for another thirty minutes before even he has to admit he’s incapable of coding with his usual speed and dexterity. Rather then heading home, Q heads for deeper within MI6.
A well known open secret is that 00-agents have a jacuzzi in their locker rooms. No surprise that the agents who face death daily for Queen, country, and money are cosseted at MI6 with luxurious furnishings. In order to keep the envy down amongst those not privileged with these perks, the 00-agents’ locker rooms are kept behind specific keycard access doors,ot to mention fitted out with fingerprint scanners. Ironic that MI6 is so serious about security for their deadliest top agents.
Luckily Q figured his way around both security measures two weeks into being hired here. It’s best to know the layout of all the various nooks and crannies of this workplace just in case. A good thing that near all employees have gone home during this freeze-out. Q easily swipes his master keycard and a simple tapping on a program on his phone allows him to get around the finger scan. He re-arms it once he’s inside the locker room.
The interior is a posh bathroom and living room combined. The lockers are the only thing that can justify the name. The flooring is polished wood with enormous rugs that make Q’s feet sink a few inches into the ground. First is the foyer with recliners and couches situated in circles, three flat screen TVs mounted on the walls. Moving through the impeccably clean area (housekeeping’s job without a doubt), Q heads towards the tiled showers and bathroom stalls.
Quickly he strips down in the bathroom area, laying out his clothes neatly on a bench. He may be going for an illicit soak, but he still needs to look presentable when he sneaks out again. The steam wafting from the hot tub has him shivering in anticipation.
What he completely misses is that he’s been tailed by one very particular00-agent. One that is known to be Q’s shadow when said agent is on home soil.
“Q, why am I not surprised you got in here?”
Q nearly cracks his skull on the edge of the hot tub as he rather ungracefully trips into it out of surprise. A crash of water echoes as he bangs his knees and shins on the bench and bruises his fingers trying to catch himself. When he surfaces he wipes the water out of his eyes, heart pounding.
One 007 agent named James Bond is standing at the threshold between the bathroom and the foyer, playfully eyeing Q. Today’s outfit is casual civilian clothes instead of bespoke suits for a mission. James seems entirely unconcerned that he scared Q right into the hot tub or that he saw him naked from behind. The thought really doesn’t bother Q as much as it probably should.
“James - what are you doing here?” The smirk that alights on James’ face has Q rolling his eyes. “Why are you still here? What with this place being an ice box at the moment.”
James doesn’t answer, instead pulling off the hoodie he’s wearing. Q’s skin buzzes as James unties his tennis shoes.
“I didn’t see you in Q-branch so I made the next logical step as to where you might have gone. Looks like I was right. Thought I’d provide you with some company.” James pauses his hands at the hem of shirt. “I’m not wrong in assuming that, am I?”
A vigorous head shake from Q has James smiling again in amusement.
“Excellent. The perfect time for bonding between coworkers.”