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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.
Quick Note: Changed the Prologue. Yay.
Note: This story is not going to be written in a very linear fashion. Sorry.

Chapter 1: A Will of Steele



~*~

In the thirteen months that came after what was coming to be known as the Silva Incident, Q found himself accompanying a Double-O into the field no less than three times, and he knew that the tone had been set for any future missions. The Double-Os were well and truly convinced that their Quartermaster had a fragile constitution and absolutely must be coddled and protected at all costs. The problem with this was that the new M only ever sent the Quartermaster out when his particular skills were needed and the constant presence of the Double-Os was simply not conducive to getting work done. Thankfully, 002 seemed to be the only sane one of the group and not inclined to smother him in unwanted protection. Still, Q was a professional and took advantage of the time that 006 and 007 spent seducing their marks to suit up and get on with the second layer of the mission.

~*~

Alec Trevalyn glanced over the heads of the crowd toward his old friend, feeling his gut twist at the sight of James Bond flirting with a busty brunette. It was not easy to be a favorite son to the previous M, and the undercover operation he had run several years ago had strained his relationships with many people in MI6. James still couldn’t look him in the eye, and the only ones who treated him normally after the mission had ended had been the Quartermaster, Tanner, and M. It hurt, knowing that he was no longer trusted simply because of the actions he had taken during the mission. Hadn’t he done exactly what he had been told to do? He’d even dropped everything to return to England at the previous M’s behest to protect the new Quartermaster.

Not that Q wanted his protection. The new Quartermaster much preferred 002 to all of them even though it was blatantly obvious that he favored Bond. Q never went into the field without 002.

Alec turns his head and meets the eyes of the new Quartermaster, who watches him with cool, calculating eyes, and Alec is sure that he is nowhere near as fragile as the other Double-Os and a good chunk of MI6 seem to think he is. The new Quartermaster reminds Alec of a boy he had tested for Double-O status nine years ago. The boy had died during extraction from a mission in Dubai only five years past, and tonight, hair brushed with gel so the unruly mop is tamed and wearing sophisticated wire framed glasses and a charcoal Armani suit (Alec doesn’t need to get close to know that the jacket was tailored to hide a gun. He’d seen Q put on the holster before donning the jacket earlier.), the similarity is more striking than ever, and Alec is sure that those two, the dead Double-O and their new Quartermaster were brothers. There is no other reason for the physical similarities.

The Quartermaster raises a sardonic eyebrow and vanishes into the crowd. 002 appears from somewhere in the crowd, a willowy figure in red, and she follows the Quartermaster into the next room.

~*~

Q opens his eyes to silence and darkness. He takes a slow, shallow breath, testing the air on his tongue, tasting dust and heat. There is something on his legs, no pain, just pressure. So pinned, not crushed. Good. Very good. He flexes several muscles in his legs to see how pinned he is.

There is a quiet grinding something shifts above him and feels a small shower of dust and plaster falling onto his face. The pressure on his legs increases to the edge of pain. Q sighs. He can’t move or the unstable debris will collapse and crush him. Not so good.

He feels in his pocket and draws out his phone, running his fingers over the unblemished screen and turns it on. No connection. Well. He hardly expected much.

Q puts the useless phone into his pocket and closed his eyes. He smiled grimly into the dark. At least he’s not tied up. That would have been a nightmare to get out of with his legs pinned.

~*~

002 was relatively new to the Double-O program, but she had been a part of MI6 long enough to remember the Steele brothers. She knew that one had died in Dubai and the other had vanished into the depths of Q Branch. She had been only slightly surprised to walk into Q branch after the Silva Incident to meet with the new Quartermaster to find the remaining Steele brother walking 004 through his mission.

Since then, she had learned that the Quartermaster’s youthful features and slender build had given her fellow Double-Os the idea that he was innocent and fragile and needed protecting, much to his sometimes amusement and dismay. She knew he was attached to Bond; in thirteen months, 007 had gotten the best gadgets, been scolded the most out of all the Double-Os for recklessness, and was almost constantly in the Quartermaster’s office when not on duty.

But 002 was the Quartermaster’s favorite by far. She knew his history and did not smother him with unnecessary protection. She returned her equipment in the same condition as when they were issued to her and spoke with the Quartermaster without patronizing him and sparred with him at full strength. In return, Q took her with him as his support on missions and allowed her to hide out in his flat or his office when the quiet became overwhelming. There was no doubt that she was his favorite.

“Quartermaster,” she said, “When should I escort you back?”

“One hour, 002,” Q said calmly, folding his glasses and handing them to her. “If I do not reappear in one hour, proceed to the mark’s suite to apprehend him.”

“Yes sir.”

Q nodded briefly and disappeared down the hall.

002 looked at the glasses in her hand and was faintly amused to realize that they were plain, unmagnified glass. Apparently his eyes had recovered, and he’d told no one about it except perhaps his own direct superiors. She wondered how long it would be before the Quartermaster’s past exploits as a field agent came up in conversation. It would be quite the spectacle. She smiled to herself as she slipped Q’s glasses into a hidden pocket in her skirt and returned to the party.

The Quartermaster would be just fine.

~*~

MI6 had never seen Double-Os wrap up their missions quite so quickly. Normally, missions that would take days stretched into weeks, missions lasting weeks would turn into months, mostly due to the penchant of Double-Os falling off the grid. And apparently, a young, almost fragile Quartermaster being trapped under the wreckage of a bombed MI6 was one way to get missions wrapped in record time and every damned Double-O in England hours after.

“It rained last night. God, Q branch is at the bottom of the building, in the basement. What if the water didn’t drain? What if it’s flooded? What if Q is pinned and the basement is flooded by the rain? He could be drowning as we speak!”

Of course, the downside was that Mallory was now dealing with nine trained killers, each more deadly than the last, and all of them chafing at the bit to take a bite out of whomever had endangered their precious Quartermaster. And that was when they were not trying to kill him for not pulling Q out of the wreckage quickly enough for their tastes. He wasn’t sure what was more frightening, dealing with arrogant, angry Double-Os, or realizing that the Quartermaster was the only one who could actually control and soothe said Double-Os.

“M,” 002 said, “Has the Quartermaster contacted anyone?”

“Again, no.” Mallory sighed. Really. How did Q put up with them?

~*~

When Q opened his eyes again, the little grotto formed by the debris was damp and faintly cold. He pushed himself into a seated position, and was satisfied when the debris did not shift, though his legs were still pinned. Apparently it had been raining. Q grimaced, thanking whatever powers were out there that it had not rained enough to raise the water level very significantly and that apparently the drainage system was working. There was no more dust in the air, though if the damp grit under his hands were any indication, the rain had washed it all out of the air. He quickly ran his fingers over the surrounding rock—that is if you can call chunks of broken brick and concrete rock—and found a trickle of water close to his head. It took a bit of doing, but Q was able to contort his body to place his mouth on the trickle.

The water was metallic and dusty, and Q grimaced but drank what he could before laying back down. He’d need several shots because God only knew what sort of contaminants were in the water, but he’d done worse to survive.

And he would survive. He would. And once he was out, he was going to track down the person who set the explosives and then he was going to ruin them.

~*~

002 was crouched behind the dividing wall separating the kitchen from sitting room in the penthouse suite, waiting for the mark to arrive. She fully expected a man who looked like the Quartermaster, but was decidedly not, as Q did not have burns on his hands and covering half his face stroll in. What she did not expect was the limp form of the Quartermaster, suit rumbled and hair disheveled once more, being dragged in behind him by two goons. The youth’s head lolled as he was dumped unceremoniously into a chair and his wrists handcuffed behind his back.

She frowned and caught a glimpse of the Quartermaster’s eyes, slightly unfocused and squinting, before the mop of hair obscured them. Well, this was bad. This was very, very bad. Where were 006 and 007? She was going to need them to get the Quartermaster out safely.

“Frankly, I consider myself disappointed,” the Q look-alike said in gravely tones (002 realized that this was likely because of damaged vocal chords), “I cannot imagine that you would have fallen so far, Quentin. Once, it would have been impossible to sneak up on you. You’ve fallen a long way from the youngest recruited Double-O in MI6 history.”

“Then you will continue to be disappointed, Quillan,” Q’s posh diction was slightly slurred, much to the alarm of the hidden Double-O, “for falling for such a simple trick.”

His voice was suddenly clear and the Quartermaster was instantly on his feet, and two high kicks were all it took to disable the two goons. In the meantime, something in his watch had cut the chain on the handcuffs, and Q had his hands free. Quillan backed away, face blank.

The Quartermaster smirked, arrogant and dangerous as he smoothed down his hair and adjusted the fall of his suit, “Apparently strip searches are for lesser beings and not former Double-Os. Dear me, Quillan, you have completely forgotten who is more dangerous between us. Come out, 002.”

002 smiled and pulled out her berretta and took aim as she stood up from behind the low dividing wall. The former 008 looked slightly panicked at her appearance, 002 noted with some satisfaction.

The door was kicked in and 006 and 007 made their tardy appearance.

“006 and 007. How kind of you to join us. You are late,” Q snapped.

The two tardy agents have the sense to look abashed, and then they see the mark. 006’s eyes widen and his hands loosen around the grip of his gun though he doesn’t quite drop it. On the other hand, 007 stops breathing when he takes in the similarities between the Quartermaster and the mark. Q clears his throat meaningfully, and the two men snap their attention back to the task at hand.

~*~

Q opens his eyes to shouting. Thin beams of light are slanting down through tiny holes and dust in drifting through the air again. A bit of concrete is moved, and he can see a bit of sky. More debris is moved and a face fills the range of his vision. Backlit by the sun, Q cannot tell who his rescuer is, even when he moves his hand to block the sun from his eyes.

“Quartermaster?” the person says, and Q breathes a sigh of relief.

“002,” he says as calmly as he can while cold and hungry, “My legs are pinned.”

“Understood sir,” she moves back slightly and shouts at the rescuers.

It takes a while for them to dig him out. Q is patient though, because he would rather not loose his ability to walk. When his legs are freed, he is hauled out of the rubble by 007, and the Double-Os are suddenly around him, clamoring for attention. Q is tired and hungry, and has developed a headache that the children in grown men and women’s bodies are not helping. He closes his eyes and drops to the ground like a puppet with its strings cut. The Double-Os get louder in their worry, but Q determinedly keeps his eyes closed and his breathing even and shallow. 002, Godsend that she is, silences them and has them carry him to a waiting medical team.

Q falls into true sleep knowing he is safe, surrounded by nine of the most deadly people in MI6.

~*~

TBC


Prologue
Chapter 2
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