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Written by: Hawkeyesprime
Fandom: Skyfall
Title: On Wings of Steele (Or the One Where 00Q is Literally a Job Title)
Disclaimer: The author does not own the characters or locations depicted in this story. She does not make any money off this work of fiction.
Summary: Ten years ago, two boys joined MI6. The youngest died, the elder survived. James Bond faces his greatest challenge yet, a former Double-0 who not only has skills to put Silva to shame, but wears also the new Quartermaster's face.
Note: This is not going to be written in a very linear fashion. Sorry.



Prologue

~*~

“Take the damned shot,” Q, then R, remembers the steel in M’s voice as he stands at attention behind the Quartermaster, his mentor. He remembers the way her eyes dimmed and her shoulder slumped at the quiet words that follow the ringing of a gunshot.

“Agent down.”

~*~

A prerecorded message:

M sits down in front of the camera, face stern. The overhead lights of Q branch make her pearls sparkle.

“I do not doubt that you will receive this message one day, Quentin. It is the inevitability of time. I hope when you do, that you have become the Quartermaster. You must remember that I died as I lived, for Queen and Country. I was proud of you when you became a Double-O, and know that I will be proud of you when you become Quartermaster as well. I will never stop being proud of you, my Grandson.”

Q closed his eyes and breathed deeply through his nose and exhaled through his mouth. No mention of Quillan. The original recording had likely been discarded and this new one made to account for the fact that she only had one grandchild left. Olivia Mansfield was a practical woman like that.

~*~

Before all of that, he remembers when he was five years younger and there was Major Boothroyd’s voice in his ear, telling him to rendezvous with 008 on the outskirts of Dubai.

He remembers how 008 had grinned at him before they got into separate helicopters, every line on his face identical to his own. They were meant for different destinations after this mission and that had saved his life when insurgents fired missiles at them. He survived because 008 and taken control and maneuvered the helicopter between the missile and his transport. He remembers screaming for his brother as the explosion blinded him.

That explosion which had cost him his sight, his brother and his status as a field agent had also opened the way to his present. He has lost all of his family and holds the position that he will always consider to be rightfully his mentor’s.

“Good luck, 007,” he says crisply as he hands over the case containing a gun, a small radio and papers. “Do try to bring the equipment back in one piece this time.”

“Of course, Q,” 007 smiles, cold and smug, in response, and strides away.

~*~

Q remembers his last visit to Medical, and how M had looked equal parts happy and sad when she tells him she will arrange for him to take the field proficiency tests and that if he wasn’t maintaining his old skills, he should start right away. He knows his restored vision reminds her of the youngest of her grandsons (Quillan, 008, dead in Dubai with no body to bring home). He looks her in the eye and tells her he’ll be ready for the tests in one month’s time and knows his Grandmother’s heart will break if he passes them and dies in the field. But he will take that chance, because no matter how good he was with technology, he is a field agent, and he has spent five years chafing at the bit in Q Branch.

~*~

M had always been larger than life, even when he was just a child, and she was prone to offering him sweets and an affectionate smile. He’s no longer a child, and even though he stands taller than her now, he has always felt like a child beside her. Hers was a strong personality, one that dwarfed everyone and everything.

It wasn’t right that M looked so small, lying on the floor of the ruined chapel at Skyfall, cradled in the arms of 007, who wept like a child who had just lost his mother.

He turns away but does not allow his tears to fall. His Grandmother would never forgive him for the sentiment.

~*~

He remembers smashing a cup behind the closed doors of Boothroyd’s office, now his, after a meeting with Mallory, now M.

He has passed all his tests. His is cleared to work in the field. But only in extreme need. Double-O Quartermaster. Classified to the highest level, not even the Double-Os are to know.

He wants his Grandmother. Now more than ever he wants her crisp, sharp voice to hound him into obedience, telling him to be proud of his abilities.

His computer beeps. There is an email waiting for him. He knows what is it, a prerecorded message.

~*~

“Q branch do you have a visual on the mark?”

Q’s fingers fly over the keys near as he replies, “We have him on camera 007. There is an alley thirty meters to your left.”

Q watches as Bond dashes through the crowded streets, and frowns as the facial recognition picks someone out of the crowd who is neither Bond nor the mark. He sends a text to Tanner and sends the footage to R to be looked over.

“It’s a dead end,” Bond growls.

The doors behind Q open and Tanner walks in, followed by one of the Q Branch interns.

“Over the wall, 007. If you manage it in the next five minutes you will intercept the mark in six.”

“Wonderful,” Bond grunts as he takes a running leap.

“Q?” R stands behind him, a careful distance away. She holds two printouts in her hands; one a photo of Q, and the other a photo showing a man, the lines of his face mirroring the Quartermaster’s despite the scarring.

Distantly, he hears Bond grunt as he lands on the other side of the wall.

“There’s no doubt, sir,” R is saying, “It’s the former 008.”

In the periphery of his vision, Q sees Tanner, who had been in MI6 long enough to know his history, tense, his face blank. With the recent track record of supposedly dead Agents coming back to life, he was right to be wary. And there is only one other person who held a Double-O status and looks like Q.

“Quillan…” Q breathes the name of his brother for the first time in years, a cold, ugly knot forming in his belly.

“Q?” Bond says, his voice faintly concerned.

And Quentin Steele suddenly understands how Olivia Mansfield must have felt when faced with Raoul Silva, how Bond had felt faced with Vesper Lynd. Because his brother is alive but unlike Bond who came back when England needed her agents, Quillan had stayed away.

“Cut across the car park on your right, 007, and you should walk right into the mark,” Q says, thankful his voice doesn’t waver.

“Understood.” There is a moment of silence as Q watches Bond cross the car park on the CCTV footage. Bon pauses briefly to look around and presumably sees the mark at the same time Q does.

“Bond.”

“I see him.”

Q watches the scuffle quietly and once the mak has been subdued, Bond speaks again, “Target acquired. Extract please.”

“Well done, 007. The extraction team will be at your location in five minutes..”

Then the world explodes in a wash of heat and screaming. Q can only think, Quillan…

~*~

TBC



Chapter 1

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