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Thank God For Tea

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When the doors open and Bond comes sauntering in the underground basement like he never left, Q, in great understatement, is surprised. “ Bond? What are you doing here?” He stands up from his favorite rolling chair, and in his haste spills the cup of steaming Earl Grey he had just made for himself on the front of his shirt, making him gasp as Bond moves forward in action.

“I’m okay! I’m okay!” he exclaims even as he desperately paws at his shirt, curving his body as much as he can away from it.

“No, you’re bloody not.”

Bond fights the hands trying unsuccessfully to pull the white, now stained fabric, clinging to Q’s front and without further ado, takes ahold of the shirt, unbuttoning it and quickly opening it before Q could even properly react.

“ Wh...You…! 007!” he stammers, blushing furiously as Bond untucks his shirt and proceeds to push it back his shoulders. Quite late in action but determined to preserve his dignity, Q tries to take a step back, lifting his hands to Bond’s tensed forearms.

“Stop!” he shrieks. “ What do you think --!”

“ You could get 2nd degree burns if you let that thing stay on longer.” came Bond’s smooth baritone, calm despite the hurried motions of his hands just a few seconds past.

When Q could only look at him with his mouth agape, Bond takes this as an invitation, which it is not, to continue his previous assault.

Bond got his shirt and suit jacket just over his upper arms, making it hard for him to move without making a fool of himself, so he lets it proceed until they were completely off, praying with every breath that it would soon be over with.

“So…” he begins, awkward with only his tie properly over his torso while Bond bundles his clothes and puts them away on the table in quick motions. “ Do you regularly disrobe your friends at the first sign of spilled tea?”

Bond scoffs at him before settling on his familiar smirk. “ I’ve done more for less, and they’re not even my friends.” he replies coolly, crouching then to have a closer look at Q’s belly to inspect it with callous roughened fingers.

The combination of Bond’s playful words and the sudden view of a very blond head below as he looked down at the proceedings served to give him an almost out of body experience, his body standing still in shock as his mind begun to question his life and how it contrived to come at this very moment.

Giving Q’s stomach a pat, Bond straightens looking satisfied. “ The skin will be sensitive and red for a little while, but you should be okay.”

“ I could have told you that myself.” Q snaps and then deflates, moving to slump against his cluttered table, trying not to be self-conscious about his state of undress. It’s unreal how fast things had come to this when minutes before he’d been alone in his basement and trying not to miss the exact man that’s now fussing over him.

In a small voice, he asks again. “ What are you doing here, Bond?”

Because he doesn’t understand. He does not and cannot think of any reason why Bond would be here, concerned for him, touching him, and making him relive the mess of emotions that he’s been trying-- and failing to -- get over with the past two weeks.

He’s not delusional. It’s not like he’d ever truly believed that he had a chance with Bond, but when he heard from Mallory how Bond had thrown away his gun, a palm-coded Walther PPK, and swept Madeleine away from the scene, and after he’d experienced days of waiting for Bond to report back only to learn from Moneypenny how she received the ill-bearing text stating how MI6 didn’t need him anymore, Q had felt a wrenching feeling in his chest and a coldness in his stomach. He thought he would never see the man again beyond the computer screens because of the smart blood that he had planned on deactivating anyway, not as he had been flesh and blood and talking to Q. He felt completely cut off, never even looked back on as Bond went hand-in-hand with Madeleine to an adventure he was no longer a part of.

And yet the man is here, and it hurts all over again, anticipating a second painful goodbye after a last favor for Bond. He had the man’s restored Aston Martin after all,

“ Reporting for duty.” Bond replies with a rueful smile. Q’s head snaps up, his eyes wide beneath his glasses.

“ W-what?” to his horror, he found his voice shaking. “ What about Ms. Swann?” He does not know what Bond must think of the unexpected gravity of his reaction but it must have bothered the other man enough that he feels the warm fingers of Bond’s one hand closing on the cooling skin of his arm where a splash managed to get to, tingling under Bond’s attention more than the tea ever warranted.

Q shakes his head as if to clear it, for truly, nothing makes sense to him right at that very moment. “ But I thought...I thought you loved her? The way you looked at her…”

At this, Bond barks out a laugh that Q did not expect and his thumb, which had been making soothing, swiping motions on his skin presses harder, stopping and for the first time noticed for its sudden lack of movement.

“The way that I look at her. God, Q!” Bond runs his right hand over his face, clearly agitated, his lines deepening with the rise of his emotions.

“...Yes?: Q asks quietly, floundering internally, uncertain at the situation he found himself in.

Bond, in a move fitting a man of his rare occupation, tugs at Q’s tie with unconscious but well-controlled force that Q can feel to his very bones as his neck is pulled and his face brought closer.

“ If I look at her like I love her….” Bond says softly, closely, intimately, his breath over Q’s mouth, his protruding lower lip brushing shyly over Q’s red ones. Q is unable to breathe. “ Then I must look at you like I worship you.”

Q gasps finally, air feeling rough in his throat during the first few seconds of its re-entrance, only adding to the sudden overflow of emotions he finds himself with as Bond presses closer that the shape of his mouth fit perfectly with the curve of Q’s, his hand sliding heatedly up to Q’s nape while the other lands on his thin waist.

It is not a demanding kiss, and Q is gratified for that because he is unsure of his ability to answer back in kind, frozen and reeling and basking for the moment at the pressure of contact and intent.

There is a flick of tongue, a touch of wetness, and Bond is backing away. Q finds himself with a fine tremor and clutching with both of his hands the sides of Bond’s suit jacket thus ruining it for decent company. Bond ought not to be angry with him as it is completely and utterly his fault.

“ Q?” Bond asks. There is a bit of uncertainty in his voice, hidden in the soft lilt of his tone and the spasm of his hands that tightened for just a moment.

“ I really, really hate you.” Q says, chuckling shakily, his voice never gaining the ground to become steady throughout the whole affair. Horrific really, but it cannot be helped. “ I really, really, really hate you, Bond.”

Bond’s hold becomes bolder, pressing against Q’s flesh, gaining foothold. “ Yeah?”

This time, it’s Q who steps closer, wrapping his arms tentatively around the solidness of Bond’s…’ James’ ‘ he supposes he can call him James now,..frame and his face on the nook of his neck and shoulder, not caring about the slightly awkward way that his glasses is pressing on his nose.

“What are you doing here, Bond?” he asks again.

Bond’s body molds into him, impossibly closer and incredibly warm. He feels lips against his temple. “ I can’t leave you behind.”

Q heaves a sigh of relief.

---

It takes some time for Q to truly believe that Bond is back for him--well him and MI6, but the latter is more something he can understand. It takes him putting on a new shirt and Bond taking him away from the office, because he cannot simply continue on his work day like Bond isn’t back. He signed an early leave form, not that Mallory would actually punish him with a suspension or something if he didn’t. As a matter of fact, it is more than usual that he works too much that he gets threatened with forced time off that he does not have to think twice as Bond walks him out the door.

Q doesn’t know where to go. They could eat dinner but he’s not sure if he can handle such a public space right away, but inviting Bond over to his flat seemed too forward even with the recent turn of events. The choice is taken out his hands, however, by Bond bringing him to the park, buying cheap but authentic Indian takeaway from an out-of-the-way restaurant that Q feels cheated he never knew of before, and sitting him down to talk.

Well, supposedly that’s what’s going to happen but Bond remains mum as he eats his food in small, graceful bites that should not have been possible on something that costs less than 10 pounds. Q thinks for a while, ending up with something that’s been bothering him even before Bond even came back.

“ You said MI6 did not need you anymore.”

“ It doesn’t.” is Bond’s short reply.

Q frowns on his food. “ The 00 program is back you know.” While the whole debacle and chaos over combined intelligence and Spectre did help in proving the relevance of of the 00s, Q made sure that it was not a fluke, using his considerable power over technology to present to their benefactors and to the people in power just how useless all the gadgets were without the discerning eye of a well-trained agent. Even with Bond gone, Q couldn’t bear the thought of the agent thinking that he was no longer needed that he tried to prove it otherwise even without the promise that the man will return.

Bond sighs and side glances at Q, catching his eye before resolutely turning his gaze back ahead of him. “ There are a dozen or more well-trained agents that are good spies and morally flexible enough to be given a license to kill. Younger ones, too. Mi6 doesn’t need me to be 007 as long as there is a 007.”

That is probably the most honest he’s heard Bond talk about his insecurity in his chosen profession, what with the confident smirks, the lengthy strides, and just the way he fills any room in MI6 like he belongs there. Q can’t help gaping.

“ I’m the one who needs MI6.” he continues in a much quieter voice when Q does not interrupt. “ I tried leaving with Madeleine thinking I could put it all behind the way she wishes she could leave behind the life her father left her. But I just can’t.”

At this, Bond places his food carton on his lap, gingerly taking Q’s right hand that’s been idle on the bench, long stopped from reaching for his own food. “ Distance do make the heart fonder, you know?” Q’s heart jumps a little harder than he expects, making him gasp a little. “ MI6 is chaos but it is mine to make.”

Bond chuckles as he moves closer, leaning to Q’s ear. “ I never thought I’d miss your voice as much as I did. “ He draws away, a fond smile on his face. “ I keep on talking to you in my head. One time I was having sex with Madeleine and I almost moaned your name to tell you to keep telling me what to do.”

“ Bond!” Q says, scandalized and blushing to the roots of his hair. He splutters, his mind sure that he should be making a dry comment, but he’s coming up empty.

Bond leans in and kisses him.

“ I didn’t plan on telling you, not right away. But you left me no choice.”

“ ...Right.” Q says weakly. “ Well, I didn’t plan on telling you ever, but you left me no choice.”

Bond laughs out loud and Q startles, rarely hearing the man be so openly...happy. He feels his own mouth twitch and he’s chuckling with him..

“Thank god for tea then.” Bond mutters, picking up his carton and starting to eat again.

“Thank god for tea.” Q agrees.