Chapter 1: Was Moneypenny Responsible For These Cover Names?
“December in the Alps,” Q grumbled. “Why can’t villains ever choose somewhere warm and fun?”
“This very particular villain enjoys participating in the Gay Ski Week in Arosa, darling,” James murmured as they maneuvered their luggage through the train station. “And we need to be established well before that happens in January. Besides, I thought you’d jump at the chance to play boyfriends out in the open.”
“I’m here because you need my skills to get the information from his computer system and I can’t do it remotely. I’m not here to play boyfriends...”
Q broke off as James crowded him against a column and kissed him breathless, making little pleased sounds against his throat as Q gasped after.
“I am going to take every opportunity to handle you in public that I can squeeze from this operation, before we must go home and back into hiding, Q. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Q breathed, holding on to the backs of James’ arms for support. “God yes.”
James practically purred as he nuzzled under Q’s ear. “Good. The we should go ahead and meet the house agent who arranged the rental, shouldn’t we?”
Q restrained a little whine even as he let his fingers clutch in protest, and knew James caught the tiny sound that did escape. His lover growled against Q’s fast-beating pulse point before stepping back and carefully straightening both of their clothing.
“You’ll be the death of me,” he muttered, letting two fingertips touch Q’s slightly swollen mouth before turning away to gather up their luggage again.
“We’re meant to be having a difficulty in our relationship, I thought,” Q managed to say.
James gave him a smoldering look that made his knees little weak. “Not in bed.”
Outside, James offered his hand to the woman holding the sign with their cover names. “Wolfram Abernathy and Leonard Wilfrington.”
“Leonard P Wilfrington, the third,” Q added primly.
“Now Leo...” James started.
“Now Wolfie...” Q mocked sweetly.
James sighed and offered a weak smile to the staring house agent. “It’s definitely time for a holiday.”
She cleared her throat and gestured them to her vehicle.
The chalet they had rented for the foreseeable future was right next door to the one belonging to their target, well within range of Q’s equipment. He wouldn’t be in residence for a few weeks yet, but that gave ‘Wolf’ and ‘Leo’ plenty of time to become known in the friendly little community.
Once inside, James did a quick walkthrough for threats and then put away their belongings while Q did a full sweep for electronics and set up his equipment.
He was just opening his mouth to say that everything was finished when he was lifted from his chair and deposited on the bed and James was removing his clothes with an unseemly speed.
Q laughed breathlessly and then moaned as James took him into his mouth. “Wait! I...” He scrabbled at the bed linens, not having any idea where there might be lubricant and unwilling to move away from James’ talented mouth anyway.
But James held his hips down and used his mouth to bring him to a fast climax, ruthlessly, nipping little love bites along his hip after until Q was tugging at James’ hair to get him to come up into reciprocation range. James moved away only far enough to flip Q onto his stomach, spreading his thighs and tracing down his backside.
“I’ve got you, Q,” he murmured. “I will always take care of you. And tonight is just for us.”
Q moaned a sound of helpless agreement and gave himself into his lover’s hands altogether.
Chapter 2: Into The Fray
James skis and Q frequents cafes to establish their covers in Arosa, and finally their target arrives! But who has the better intel?
James had already headed out to ski early that morning, leaving Q curled under the fluffy covers. He’d integrated easily into the skiing community and had gotten into the habit of meeting some of them first thing most days, eager to get at the fresh snow on the slopes.
Q didn’t ski, refused to try to learn, and he limited the time he spent waiting for James by the fire in the main lodge. He didn’t particularly enjoy being hit on repeatedly as some male version of a snow bunny — it affected his concentration on what work he could accomplish discreetly on his laptop through a remote connection.
So most mornings, he took the opportunity to laze about in bed before indulging in a leisurely bath and then perhaps heading into town in the sturdy little VW Golf that “Wolfie” referred to as their “putt-putt.”
While James, as Wolfram, had made quick inroads into the skiers and other active winter sports enthusiasts, Q had cultivated his contacts in the cafés and boutique shops in town. He was amused to think how shocked his techs in Q branch would be to see their quartermaster gossiping for hours in a coffeehouse or chatting with the town florist while playing around with flower arranging. But then, most of them had been recruited from the technical side of things and not the darker corners of InfoSec.
Their target, Marten Harlberg, had finally arrived late last night and Q was deeply ambivalent about it. On the one hand, it was delightful to play house with James 24/7, even if they did have to snipe at each other in public. But even that was fun, if he were to admit it. Playing Leo, the somewhat easily intimidated arm candy (with a bit of a spiteful tongue), to James’ business-brusque but horny-on-main Wolfram was turning out to be better than a real vacation. On the other hand, he’d already had several ideas for field tech that he’d need his full workshop to build.
Today, Q was at the supermarket, his intel having informed him that groceries were Harlberg’s usual first stop once he was back in town.
He had no real plan, just observation, but as he was browsing the the produce section and keeping a discreet distance from Harlberg, his cell phone rang.
“Leo, darling,” James drawled. “Are you out and about yet?”
“Just at the supermarket, love. Getting what we need for our anniversary dinner tonight.” Q smiled shyly at Harlberg as he moved past him to examine the selection of fresh fruit. He could practically hear James’ eyebrow rise through the phone as he used the code phrase they’d agreed on and suppressed the urge to cackle. James had thought he’d get the better intel among the skiers.
“Oh? I see. Well, what if I had already made plans? Would you be devastated, darling?”
“Wolfie, it’s our anniversary!” Q glanced around guiltily and lowered his voice as if embarrassed. “I was going to make something special...”
“No, no, give me just a moment,” Q heard James say to someone else, and then he was back. “Well, look, there’s this particular evening ski run I’ve been invited to. Can we have a special dinner tomorrow?”
Q let his shoulders slump. “Yes, of course,” he murmured. “Tomorrow would be fine.” He kept his glee off his face; thank any god for a competent and quick-on-the-uptake double-oh as a partner in intrigue!
“Oh excellent, ta then, love!” James rang off briskly and Q bit his lip as he let his phone slip back into his pocket. Glancing up, he briefly met Harlberg’s interested gaze and looked away again hurriedly.
“Love never runs a smooth course,” Harlberg murmured and Q made himself look up, wide-eyed.
“Oh no, Wolfie, I mean Wolfram, is really good to me! I just...didn’t know there’d be something more important...” He let himself trail off, then smile wistfully. “Anyway, he’ll be sure to leave tomorrow evening clear.” He gathered up some fruit and smiled brightly at Harlberg, noting the predatory interest there.
“What were you planning to make for this unappreciative boyfriend of yours?”
“Well, I’m not really much of a cook,” Q admitted, “but there are a couple of dishes that I’ve worked very hard on. I’m quite proud of my lasagna!” He beamed at Harlberg and pretended not to notice when the man shuffled closer.
“Just started shopping?” At Q’s nod, Harlberg smiled. “Well, I’ve never made lasagna. Why don’t you guide me through the store and point out the ingredients, and tell me your tips and tricks, hmmm? It sounds like a lovely thing to try.”
Q chattered brightly as they shopped, and waved a friendly goodbye outside the supermarket, affecting not to notice Harlberg’s classic Monteverdi coupe following as he drove off.
He faked surprise and then laughter as Harlberg parked near his car at the chalets. “Well neighbour, I suppose you should just come knock if you run into any trouble with the lasagna!” he called.
“What are the chances, I wonder?” Harlberg agreed with a smirk and waved as he strode toward his front door.
Q grinned to himself and went inside, fingers itching to start the monitoring equipment they’d planted weeks ago.
Chapter 3: Sorry, M, We’ll Need An Extension
The mission requires re-evaluation :)
Q was curled up on the sofa in front of the wood stove when James got back, quite late, that evening. His laptop was out, but his fingers were still on the keys as he looked over at James.
“Good moonlight skiing?” he asked, a little too innocently.
James’ eyes narrowed as he tugged off his gloves and hung up his coat and hat. “It was worth a shot to see if Harlberg would show up. I take it, from your increasingly smug expression, that you had better luck after seeing him in the supermarket? The neglected boyfriend thing worked?”
Q grinned. “He asked me over to show him how to make lasagna properly.”
James felt his eyebrows rise and then he burst out laughing. “You’re a terror in the field, love, I’m glad you’re not an agent. We’d never survive being shown up all the time. Let me get a drink and then I want to hear all about your day.”
Q smirked. “You’d do better with a paracetamol and an ice pack, old man.”
“Old man...” James strode over towards the sofa and Q scrambled off it, laughing and keeping it between them.
James bared his teeth and vaulted the thing, snatching Q around the waist as he tried to flee. They tumbled to the soft rug and James pinned Q’s hands over his head, pressing his weight along the rest of him. “Sex before gloating?”
Q arched up against him. “Yes,” he agreed on a gasp.
“So tell me what you’ve discovered,” James murmured, rubbing a soothing hand over the small of Q’s back.
Q snorted against the bed linens and turned over to face him. “I’ve discovered we were given bad intel.”
James frowned. “What do you mean?”
“He doesn’t know a thing, James. He’s the wrong target.”
“Mmm. Not that I’m doubting you...”
“...but how do you know?”
“When he asked me over to make lasagna together this afternoon, we had a long talk. Well, I listened, sweetly and with wide, interested, eyes, and he talked.”
James’ eyebrows rose, threatening to tangle in his hairline. “...sweetly...”
I know you’ve at least attended a seminar in this, James, because I gave it. It’s called social engineering these days - people want to talk, they want to show off what they know, or they want sympathy and understanding for what they endure.”
“It’s not a new concept.”
“No, but it’s been refined and codified by the hacker community. There’s an art to it, James, that doesn’t rely on a gun or hand-to-hand combat.”
“All right, all right.” James was secretly delighted when Q triggered his competency kink, but he tried to put on a doubtful face. “So this has been a wasted trip?”
Q gave him a soft smile and James marveled at the relaxation and ease in his face and body. “Hardly wasted. The next step up in the organization is Marten’s boss. He’s the one we desperately need access to.”
“Marten told me he actually borrows this chalet from his boss just for these couple of weeks. Then his employer shows up and is in residence through spring and into summer.”
James grinned widely. “So if we just hang about...”
Q stretched and wriggled enticingly. “I’ve already requested an extension of our mission and it’s been approved.”
With a low laugh, James pulled him over to straddle his hips. “You are incredible, Q. Do you think it would be out of character for our cover identities to get married while we’re here?”
“Yes.” Then Q beamed. “But let’s do it anyway.”