There was no Q at the front of the room working with a running commentary, often droll, on everything relevant and irrelevant to whatever he was doing at that particular moment.
Title: The Nest
Author: Chestnut NOLA
Fandom: James Bond (Craig Movies)
Relationship: James Bond/Q
Genre: Humor, Pre-Slash
Word Count: 997
“Where’s Q?” James asked, surprising a jump out of R with his low tone.
Her frown made him smirk for a second, before disquiet sliced through his chest seeing how tired she looked under the garish screen light in front of her. R, ever the most well put together member of Q-Branch, looked wilted. Her normally lovely graying sable hair was escaping its pins, and her face was bleached of color with blots of darkness around her eyes. Even her crisp conservative skirt suit had seen better hours with tea stains on the cuffs and a runner in her black hosiery.
“Here to return your equipment, 007?” she sighed, turning in her chair with an expectant, but tired, eyebrow raised.
“Ah, no…” James replied, backpedaling. “I was hoping to talk to Q for a moment. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, it’s just been a long few days.” She rubbed her eyes, and it was so unlike her that the relaxation James had felt wash over him when he entered Q-Branch, his safe and currently favorite place to be, abandoned him.
His guard no longer down, he realized that the normal bustle of MI6’s tech haven was abnormally quiet with only a few Q- Branch minions clicking and clacking on their key boards. There was no Q at the front of the room working with a running commentary, often droll, on everything relevant and irrelevant to whatever he was doing at that particular moment.
“R… where’s Q?”
James let himself into Q’s small flat, juggling the bags in his arms as he turned off the alarm code and pocketed the key R had given him. The flat was dark, the drawn shades barely allowing any of London’s dreary light into the colorful space. It was quiet, surprising really, since he’d not made any effort to be stealthful. It took him no more than a few strides to find the kitchen. He left the bags on the counter before moving through the gloom of the living room, down a small hall, hunting for his friend.
For all that they were work colleagues, James knew he was forging a close friendship with Q. He still had trepidation about it, even after six months of working together. Their professional relationship had quickly segued into a friendlier one, even if James pissed Q off on a regular basis by not returning his equipment in pristine condition, if at all. James was comfortable around Q, trusted him, and enjoyed spending time outside of work with the boffin when he was off mission. James figured, Q was just as cautious about where they were headed as he was, but it seemed neither of them were willing to stop the closeness that was growing between them.
The bedroom was just as dark and quietly morbid as the living room had been. Q’s cats laid in amongst the maroon colored bedclothes, their eyes were glittering in the low light, watching the stranger invading their territory. The only part of Q to be seen was a hint of his inky black locks; otherwise, the only indication he was present was the lump of his body and the occasional muffled sniffle.
“Q?” James asked sitting next to the lump.
The only answer he got was another sniffle and the clearing of a throat.
Flicking on the bedside light, avoiding the mountain of tissues on the table’s surface, James rubbed a hand through the mess of Q’s hair. It was greasy from sickness, sticking up in all directions. “Q?”
Still not receiving an answer, James pulled the blankets down enough to reveal Q’s face.
Grimacing at the exposure, Q croaked, “Let me sleep, James.”
His friend was a pathetic sight, his skin pasty with his nose and the top of his lips bright red and chapped, likely from the excessive use of tissues. Q’s normally bright green eyes were mere slits of color, the weight of his eyelids and the light of the bedside lamp seemingly too much for him.
James placed the back of his hand on Q’s forehead, relieved to find his friend’s temperature felt normal.
“You’re just going to keep bothering me aren’t you?”
“Q, you don’t seem surprised to see me.” James smiled, unable to help himself. Q’s formal diction was as sharp as ever, despite not being on the top of his game.
Eyes closed, Q replied, “R, texted me.”
“Only you, Q would bring tech to bed when you’re sick,” he chuckled at seeing the phone emerge from Q’s nest, still clutched in a long fingered hand. “You look like death.”
“Why, thank you, 007. It’s always lovely when you state the bleeding obvious,” Q rasped, pulling the covers back over his head.
“Come on, you need a shower,” James snorted. “I don’t know how your cats can stand the smell of you at the moment.”
“Don’t you think, I would’ve if I had the energy,” Q squawked in response to James pulling the nest of blankets off his slim form, scattering the cats off the bed. “There’s not much point, if I can’t change the bloody sheets!”
James found the petulance and sass adorable, which probably wasn’t a good sign in the big scheme of keeping their relationship platonic in the foreseeable future.
Shaking his head, he replied with a grin, “Q, I’ll freshen up your nest. Have a shower and some of the soup. After that, I’ll leave you to your misery.”
“Fine!” Q huffed. James was glad to see he was steady on his feet shuffling into the bath. “If I find out who brought this plague into Q-Branch, they’re getting fired. Hand sanitizer, definitely installation of hand sanitizer stations at the doors…”
James grimaced, hearing the hacking phlegm and spit that followed, Q’s ranting. He’d not intended to stay, but Q obviously needed someone to look after him. Besides, James mused, Q’s bed head was going to be magnificent in the morning and that was a sight he couldn’t miss.