The streets of London were silent on Christmas Day.
Author: Chestnut NOLA
Fandom: James Bond
Relationship(s): James Bond & Q
Genre: Character Study
Word Count: 1,277
The streets of London were silent on Christmas Day. James felt the silence to his core. It resonated with the emptiness inside of him. It blanketed the guilt that had started as a small spark in his chest and had become, over time, an all-consuming fire. A fire that was still there, searing in his heart.
There was no snow on Christmas Day in London and James was not surprised at the drizzle and drab that greeted him on the drive into town. The silent streets were disturbed by only the metronome of the wipers on the windshield and the hum of the DB5’s engine. The car sounds vibrated through his burning chest. The darkness and drab of London night lighted by the cheery street lamps and fairy lights that reflected off the water drops on the glass in front of him.
It was fitting, he supposed, the silence possessed by the holiday glimmer.
A day that was special to most but not him, not for years, until now.
The silence was like the judgment in Madeline’s celestial blue eyes, with questions always just under the surface that James refused to answer.
Six months was all that it took. Six months of the pleasure of her company, the pleasure of her presence in his life and bed. Six months of the silence of France and a life he’d thought he wanted. It hadn’t been enough. She hadn’t been enough, though he’d tried since he’d chosen her.
Chosen to not be alone anymore.
He was meant to be alone. He knew that now, except perhaps there was one person he needed and had let go. A friend, he’d never realized he had until it was gone.
Q, whose real name he still didn’t know.
James had missed his companionship and the questioning in Q’s green eyes had not been left unanswered. Q seemed to know all the answers James could never voice.
Even when James had left Q and the work behind, Q seemed to just recognize something James hadn’t ever disclosed within himself. The need to trust, the need to be useful for something greater than himself and Madeline with all her questions had never understood that James couldn’t change.
And in the end, he didn’t really want to, not even for her.
James now recognized that need and understood that Q was aware of it, even if he never spoke the words out loud.
Would he be accepted back? James didn’t know. Q, and perhaps Moneypenny could smooth the way for him with M but that would entail using them both as he had in the past. As tools and nothing more. It had taken six months for James to realize that Q and even Moneypenny were his friends.
He’d had friends with whom he’d discarded without a second thought.
James didn’t have any illusions on how Moneypenny saw him but he was confident he could smooth his way with her over time and get back what he’d lost with her. She was a woman, after all, who understood men could be completely obtuse when it came to expressing or acknowledging their feelings.
Q, James wasn’t so sure about.
Q, who kept his inner self as private as James but was willing to trust James to do what was right. James had no idea how Q could be so trusting but he had from the moment of their first meeting.
It had been remarkable now that James had had six months to think on it. Six months to feel the burning guilt in his chest on how he’d left Q, once more using him for his own ends without any protest from the man who’d become his friend.
A friend in a less than the traditional vein, perhaps but a true friend nonetheless.
Anticipation without expectation was the mantra that James rolled around in his head as he gripped the wheel tighter under gloved fingers to turn down Q’s street.
James didn’t know Q’s real name but he did know where he lived. There had been many decoys in the days and months he’d followed his Quartermaster home from the office when he was between missions. The MI6 car and driver never seeing the Double-O agent stalking his charge, curious about the man he trusted. Not recognizing at the time he had completely trusted Q since the beginning.
Perhaps, he’d been waiting or wanting to see what Q’s intentions were. Perhaps James would have been relieved to find Q was what he expected and not to be trusted at all.
He’d not found that to be the case in all the times he’d followed the Quartermaster from work and around town. The decoy houses and flats had been good but not good enough to fool James Bond for one second.
Q’s real home was the house with the cats.
A three-story Victorian townhome in the London neighborhood of Notting Hill. A bright pink stucco façade proudly sitting in the center of a row of similarly colored homes bordering the private cast iron fenced park in the middle of the square.
Once James had found it, he’d lurked for months on and off watching Q.
He should have been more self-aware that his stalking was a reflection of the distrust he’d had within himself for accepting Q’s loyalty so unquestioningly. Only now after months away did James understand what was really going on.
He’d made a friend and hadn’t even realized it.
He parked the DB5 on the street a few doors down from his target’s abode. It occurred to him, sitting under the Christmas lights of the houses that it was possibly not a good idea to drop in on Christmas evening.
Q might not even be home.
Q’s lights were on even with the lateness of the hour. All of them including the large Christmas tree in the front window, shining down and reflecting off the puddles on the nighttime silent street.
He had to be home, James considered. He’d driven nonstop from France, Q just had to be home. James needed to see him, to talk to him, to apologize and ask for a second chance if that was required.
James just didn’t know if Q would accept atonement from him and the not knowing was unacceptable.
The car door slamming and the crunch of his shoes on the concrete were jarring after the silence of the drive. It made him hyperaware. He was the stranger here in this place. A place he didn’t belong but would like to one day be accepted as part of the scenery.
He passed through the short iron gate that was more decorative than a deterrent to unwanted guests, up the few stairs, and rang the doorbell.
A shadow passed over the peephole in the door and the quickness of Q coming to the door sent a lance of nerves trembling through James’ chest dousing the fire of guilt still burning there.
Locks were released and the door opened framing Q in his pajamas with a slight smile on his face and a fat ginger cat in his arms. The sight of him, slight, bespectacled, and dressed for bed made James’ lips twitch in remembrance of their first meeting at the National Gallery.
Q was such a welcome sight, cat and all.
Q’s smile widened a truly welcoming grin that James hadn’t truly expected but was relieved to see. “You’re back.”
“I hope to be.”
James hadn’t even finished the rough rumble of words that came out before Q stepped back beckoning as best he could with the large feline in his arms for James to come in.
A/N: Written for the Forever Angst: Profilers for Christmas 2018 Advent Calendar