Unlike Eve, who sing-songs how terribly sweet it is for whoever-it-is behind his back, or Tanner who nods and tries to look distant and wise-like as he tells the giggling interns of a story from the past, Q eyes the box suspiciously. Everything about the box simply screams ‘trap!’ in his eyes, however delicious it smells.
He has at least identified seven out of twelve pastries based on scent alone, when Tanner says, unnecessarily loudly over the typing sound of the keyboards, “Would’ve never thought Bond is the sentimental type,” to which Q replies flatly “He isn’t,” then swipes the bomb detector over the front side of the box, just in case.
The second box arrives on his desk during lunch, around the few minutes he’s gone to the bathroom, wrapped in brown paper-bag of a fancy French restaurant Q often visits when the urge to eat human food strikes.
From the look of it, Q guesses either Cassoulet or Coq-au-vin. A half-full glass of red wine, already iced, rests beside the box, a little further from a neat silver set of cutlery.
Jason, one of his minions, who is munching quite happily on his smoked-salmon sandwich (“Food aren’t allowed in the lab, Jason, throw it away”), stops by his desk, blinks, and stares. He blinks twice, thrice, rubs his eyes a bit, swallows the sandwich whole in an entirely disgusting manner Q almost forgets of the lunch – his lunch, he supposes – which is the sole attention of his minions, now pouring into the room as one.
Because Q is a brilliant not-so-evil overlord, he gives them an unimpressed look, lets his eyebrow do the talking.
Eventually they leave after throwing him both curious and knowing looks over their shoulders.
Laura, who Q considers as his second-in-command, simply for the sake of sheer awesomeness she possesses on making good coffees, snatches the bomb detector away before he can reach it. Q makes grabby-hands toward the stick and looks longingly at the poison taster equipments she locks under her table.
“You will eat,” Laura says, nudging the box with the tip of her chopstick. “Also, the next time Bond walks through that door, you will play nice, and say thank you.”
Q does not pout, but it’s a close thing. He spins his chair instead, stretches his arms above his head, and bemoans the ridiculous aspect that is James sodding Bond buying him pastries and lunches.
No matter how long he spends hours of analyzing – it doesn’t sit right with him; doesn’t fit Bond’s profile. His file never says anything about Bond buying colleagues presents, he tells Laura that much.
Frighteningly – as she is almost on the same level of frightening as Eve is – the corner of her lips curls into a pleasant smirk. She is almost as beautiful as she was before the MI6 headquarter was blown to bits and scarred the side of her face, permanently.
“Maybe he’s not trying to be friendly,” she replies casually, setting the food in front of him with the grace of a pro. “At least not in a way that your mind is providing you,” she finishes, lets the suggestive grin on her face be seen then strolls off into the opposite direction with another knowing look.
Q still doesn’t get it, at all.
Days later, when Bond checks in to return his undoubtedly irrecoverable equipments – which, despite having known of the condition for a while, what with the staying overnights during said mission, still makes him want to claw at something, preferably Bond’s ridiculously pretty eyes – Q finally gets it.
“If buying me lunch is your way of asking forgiveness in lieu of real words, Bond,” Q says, picks the burnt silencer delicately up to his face, watches it rattle and die to pieces on his lap. He glares. “Then I suggest you stop.”
Or he thinks he does anyway. Laura’s disappointed face tells him otherwise.
Bond, however, looks amused as the sky is bright-blue and clear. Q takes a look outside the building through the bullet-proof window. It isn’t.
“You are approaching this the wrong way,” Q continues, gestures at Minion #34 to clean the mess that used to be a gun, or what is left of it anyway. “While I am very lenient and famously known as a genius, equipments such as these need delicacy. Delicacy requires patience.”
Bond is definitely amused, whether the sky is clear or not. “Something which you apparently lack today.”
Q’s glare intensifies tenfold. He wonders if he can truly melt ice with the way he is glaring at Bond right now. That’d be all sorts of fantastic.
“Next time, please kindly return your equipment in one piece. I’d rather have that than ‘anonymous’ expensive lunch boxes.” He emphasises the word ‘anonymous’ for good measures, then returns to his report without sparing Bond another look.
There is a minute of silence, where Q focuses on the rough outlines of his brand new laser contacts design, and Bond thinking. Bond is a loud thinker, Q thinks. So loud, Q can hear it through the buzzing of his head.
“Is there something?” he asks, snappish. The smirk Bond gives him is bright, charming, and so utterly mischievous, Q thinks, for a moment, that he just gets caught in a trap he doesn’t know, somehow. “No.” Bond says simply.
He leaves the room in long graceful strides that reminds Q of a panther.
Q needs to stop watching Discovery Channel.
When Bond checks in a few weeks later, the office is in frenzy – as in, post-apocalypse-wrecked-out-situation kind of frenzy.
Minion #69, a poor man who was being used as a lab rat for some sort of a sex-induced-pill, thus the number, is fanning a body that is Q’s second in command, Laura, who has passed out behind Q’s desk. The rest of his minions are gathering personal belongings lurking about their tables while trying to figure out how to escape the building without stepping over the alarm, which would eventually result in a lockdown of the Q Branch.
The new M is nowhere near as scary as the previous one, the one who hired Q after he ‘accidentally’ got caught hacking into their servers, but he is almost as paranoid. Apparently he doesn’t find their recurring mental-breakdown slash habit of running away when an incident that might cause another explosion amusing. Q does.
Not that he’s going to say that aloud.
Being the brilliant glorious overlord he is, Q takes his mug, fills it with coffee, then proceeds to make sure it doesn’t smell or taste as shitty as it actually is before forcing the mug near Laura’s nose.
There is a total of three seconds of deep sniffing until Laura’s eyes snap open, puts the coffee on the table, and – “Dear lord, we are going to die!”
Sighing, Q perches on the edge of his table, stares. “Mind filling me in?” Jason is making disturbing noises in the background, almost like he’s – “Has someone converted Jason into catholic?” because yes, that is definitely a bible in Jason’s hands, and no, that is not two magnetic poles brought together by coincidences but a real cross, complete with a very animated Jesus Christ on top.
Q definitely doesn’t delusion himself when the scaredy-cat Cecile, Minion #23, actually goes within a hundred radiuses near the armoury, then.
At least now he knows it’s a serious matter.
Calmly – or as calm as one can be at these kinds of situations, although he honestly doesn’t know what the situation truly is – Q sips the horrible so-called edible drink of a coffee, then asks whether they need to lockdown the entire floor in an earthquake situation or first-class terrorisms.
And, if it’s the latter, whether they need to take the big guns out of the armoury or trick the terrorisms into believing they have all fled the building by crowding the basement.
“O-oh g-god, n-n-no, this is worse!” screams Minion #35, whose face hidden behind the flipped table he totally uses as a defence-fort, but the stammering recognized by Q’s amazing senses. If possible, the frown on Q’s face is so – deep, his head hurts with it. “What is worse than MI6’s Tech Division attacked by terrorists?”
Like he’s been waiting for that question all along (and Q can imagine it clearly in his head; Bond waiting right outside the door, listening to all the clusterfuck that is Q Branch, lurks around the corner when Q comes and sticks a recorder into his hair, one way or another; listens until the big question is asked), Bond walks in.
Bond being stared at is not a rare occurrence – he is attractive enough, Q supposes – though this time they stare for an entirely different reason. It’s not even the suit, torn and bloodied, as it usually is after missions, but Bond never – he never goes straight to Q Branch looking literally like shit. It’s not his style.
So the suit is probably the third reason why they are staring. The second is Bond’s expression, slightly feral (he needs to do more research on whether werewolves are real or not once more), grinning the grin of a Cheshire Cat, practically radiating happiness just by walking. It’s unsettling.
It’s basically the most terrifying three minutes of Q’s life.
“Oh god,” Q says, feeling his strength leaving out of his body, his beloved mug close to falling apart should he loses his soul in the process of watching Bond waltz – and it is a waltz – toward him.
When Bond holds out his hands, all six equipments perfectly unscathed, Q decides “It is the end of the world.”
After Bond’s twelfth round of bringing his equipments all safe and looking like they’re barely touched, Q is more than frustrated.
Half of his staff is still having panic attack somewhere, in the darkest corner of the medical, so he is not exaggerating. Bond always looks smug when he returns, always says something that makes Q’s brain short-circuits only due to how flirtatious, in the crossing-the-line sort of way, it sounds.
More so, the deserts. Tiramisu. Scones. A goddamned crème Brule wrapped in shiny red wrappers, every time he returns. It’s disorienting, so much, to the point where Q doesn’t know what to do, before finally decides to – not put an end, he’s not sure it’s what he truly wants – settle it. The thing going around between them. Whatever it is.
Ugh, he’s already sick in the stomach from thinking of it.
Not from the butterfly-thing, whatever nonsense humanity spoke of, in his stomach, obviously.
So he sits Bond down on his chair while he leans casually on the table.
“You’ve been returning your equipments in one piece,” Q starts carefully, ignoring the eavesdropping faces his minions have but try to hide. “And you’ve been giving me lunch. Breakfast. Deserts.” Bond doesn’t say, simply looks at Q under his eyelashes, lips curling into a smug smirk.
Q’s eyes narrow. “Your weird behaviour for the past few months has drawn me into two conclusions: either you want a new car,” Bond looks mildly offended. “Or you want to court me.”
The smug smirk turns into a wide full-force charming grin, and if Q is a lesser man, he would’ve thought that Bond is going to laugh.
“And Eve says I’m old-fashioned,” mutters Bond under his breath. Q rolls his eyes in exasperation, then snaps, “Do you want to or not? Which one is it?”
Bond sighs quietly, but it sounds more amused than fond, so Q takes it as a yes. Definitely a yes, when Bond stands and settles himself comfortably between his legs, fingers pressing into Q’s hips.
"Yes, I want,” Bond says, leans closer as if he wants to kiss, and murmurs, “Would you like to go out with me, Q?”
“Yes,” replies Q immediately. “But I don’t put out, or kiss, on first date.”
Bond’s grin turns challenging, like he doesn’t believe him. He says, either way, “Fair enough,” before leaning back and straightens Q’s tie.
He still brings Q’s lunch, after, and occasionally takes Q to dinner. His newfound ego-boost probably has something to do with the fact that Q, in fact, put out after their first date.
He surprisingly doesn’t mind.