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Title: When the Sky Falls
Author: HawkEyesPrime
Disclaimer: This author does not own any of the characters or locations or even the plot of this story. She does not make any money off this work of fiction.
Summary: Skyfall AU. Ten years ago, Quinn (Q) and James met, fell in love and got married. What neither of them knew was that they both worked for MI6. When James, on a mission to Bolivia, captures a snapshot of his husband chasing a known terrorist over rooftops, confronts him. The resulting fight sent Q fleeing the house and unable to reach James, M sends Q to Istanbul after a missing hard drive.

Read it at My AO3

Part 2



~*~

Three months later

M strode into her house and just as she set down her keys, there was a knock at her window. She reached for her gun as a dark figure entered the room. She relaxed as the figure reached over and turned on the light, and she recognized the slender form, now skinnier than was strictly healthy.

“Where the hell have you been?” she snapped.

Normally light green eyes are dark as he answered, “Enjoying death,” the words are as clipped and posh as they ever were.

“Your husband missed you,” M said calmly.

“How curious,” 003, Quinn Bond nee Mansfield said drily as he stepped into the light, “From the way he reached for his gun last we spoke, I would have thought him relieved to be rid of me.”

“He regrets it.”

“I am not here to argue about whether or not James Bond regrets his last words to me,” Quinn said sharply, “I am here because my mother’s office was recently bombed. And last I heard, the drive was still missing. Thanks for that, by the way. ‘Take the Shot,’ I think you said?”

“That was a judgment call,” M said, tired.

“You should have trusted me!”

“Do you expect me to apologize, Quinn? Because I won’t. Regret is unprofessional.”

Quinn’s lips twitched wryly, “You’re a hard woman, M,” his posture relaxed slightly, “003, reporting for duty.”

M scoffed, “Well you had best get cleaned up. Your tests will be in the morning. And a shower wouldn’t be amiss either.”

“Very well,” Quinn shrugged, “I’ll just go back to my flat and get changed—“

“Oh, you no longer have a flat,” M said as the young man made for the door, “Bond sold it and put your things into storage.”

“James sold my flat?” Quinn paused, wondering why he was surprised.

“Of course he did,” M replied, “It’s standard protocol for when a married agent dies. Their spouse deals with all their effects. Now, don’t you wish you had called?”

Quinn blinked and recovered himself, “Well. I’d best get a hotel, then, shouldn’t I?”

M scoffed as she strode past the younger man for the heart of the house, “Well you certainly are not sleeping here.”

~*~

Alec leaned against wall of the tunnel as he blew a stream of smoke into the air. “I heard that medical is readying a set up to test 003 today,” he said, glancing to the haggard face of his friend. “Are you going to be alright?”

“It’s been three months,” James said reasonably, “it’s not possible to keep functioning one Double-Oh short. Not now.”

Alec sighed, “It means they’re replacing Quinn, though.”

“Quinn won’t mind,” James said ruthlessly, “He knows how things work.”

And that there was why Alec worried about James; it wasn’t the amount of weight he’d lost over the last three months; it was James’ tendency to talk about Quinn in the present tense. It wasn’t healthy and Alec sometimes feared that he’d come home from a mission to find James had eaten his gun. He knew M shared the same worry, it was why she had set an agent to watch James though Alec wondered at the wisdom of setting the same agent who had shot Quinn to keep James alive.

The first few days had been the easiest as well as hardest. Double-Ohs went off the grid all the time, but they always called in within a few weeks. The mingled hope and sorrow in James’ eyes had been the hardest to bear. Then as days became weeks and weeks became months, the hope faded from James’ eyes bit by bit, and the overwhelming grief hit. It was almost as bad as the incident with Vesper, who had reminded both James and Alec of Quinn, only unlike with Vesper, there was no loving husband back home to catch James and soothe away the hurt, though unknowingly. Alec knew that keeping James alive was fast becoming a full time job, especially since he’d become reckless to the point of suicidal.

Alec sighed again and checked his watch as he crushed his cigarette against the wall of the tunnel and flicked it away. He did not feel right, leaving James for a mission at this time, when someone was attacking MI6 and Quinn was being replaced.

“Car should be here now,” he said reluctantly, “Take care of yourself, James.”

James didn’t answer, though he inclined his head in acknowledgement. “Safe travels, Alec.”

~*~

Quinn mourned the loss of Boothroyd. He always allowed Quinn to calm his mind by tinkering with something down in Q Branch. In fact, just before the Istanbul mission, he and Boothroyd had been planning the changes and upgrades to MI6’s network infrastructure. Quinn knew that with Boothroyd dead, there would be a new Quartermaster, and he doubted that the new Q would be as receptive as the previous Q to a Double-Oh making changes to the network or hanging around to play with Q Branch prototypes. He knows intuitively that most of the newer Q Branch members, the young, computer literate boffins from his generation would have an absolute disdain for field agents, thinking them to be little more than brainless blunt instruments or worse, obsolete. Quinn doesn’t hold his breath in hope that the new Q would like him.

As he meets the new Quartermaster in the National Gallery in front of the painting of the Fighting Temeraire, Quinn’s suspicions are confirmed. The new Q is condescending and patronizing to the extreme. Quinn, who knows that he can code better than this brain dead idiot, feels justified in his sarcastic barbs. When he sees the kit he’s being issued, Quinn stifles the urge to snort, and disguises it as a sneeze instead, because God! The moron is issuing him a palm coded Walther and a radio, both of which are merely copies of Boothroyd’s own designs. Age is clearly not an indication of either experience or innovation.

He says nothing of his opinion though, and takes his kit and leaves. When Q commands him imperiously to bring back his equipment, Quinn makes a snap decision. For as long as he is a Double-Oh and this moron is Quartermaster, he’ll take a page out of James and Alec’s book. He’ll destroy the equipment if he can, and if not, he’ll find a way to squirrel it away to play with. Either way, he’ll not make life easy for the pompous ass.

~*~

He didn’t try to remember her name; in fact, he went out of his way to forget it. It was unprofessional of him, he knew, but James didn’t much care that the woman beside him had been facing astronomically high odds of shooting their own agent when M had given the order. He hated her for shooting Quinn when ordered to take the shot. And he hated M for calling Quinn when she couldn’t reach James, hated her for giving the order that cost him Quinn and any hope of reconciliation.

If M had not called for Quinn, then after a day or two, Quinn would have come home for his things, and James would not have let him go until he’d had all his answers. Once they’d cleared the air, James would have pressed Quinn into the sofa and fucked him. They’d have fucked hard and rough with more than a hint of anger toward each other for the lack of trust and they would have learned from each other that their meeting had not been orchestrated. Afterward, they would have made up the way they had in other fights in the past with a long talk and a round of lovemaking, slow and tender.

Then, if they died on a mission later, they would have died knowing that they loved each other. Instead, Quinn had died thinking himself betrayed and unloved. Quinn had died thinking everything he and James had built had been a lie.

James had to learn from M and Boothroyd that the meeting had been unplanned. That the only interference from the two had been to keep them apart in MI6; to make sure they never encountered each other on a mission, that they were never gone too long, and to make sure they didn’t get killed and leave the other behind.

None of that would make up for the fact that Quinn was gone.

To add insult to injury, he now had a babysitter in the form of the woman who had shot Quinn.

And now he was being sent to Macau with the woman who had killed his husband and they were ordered to help the interloper who was replacing Quinn. Unprofessional or no, James was fully prepared to hate him, whoever he was, for no other reason than the fact that he was not Quinn.

The female agent knocked on the door and called in a cheerful voice that made James want to strangle her, “Room service!”

“I didn’t order anything,” a heart wrenchingly familiar voice replied drily as she opened the door, “Not even you.”

James felt his heart leap into his throat at the glimpse of tousled black hair and green eyes. Impossible. Quinn was dead. Surely if he had been alive, Quinn would have called? Quinn knew he was loved, so surely he would have called to let them know he was alive?

Not if, whispered a cruel voice in his mind, he thought he was about to be terminated anyway. If he thought for a single moment he would be killed, if he thought he had been betrayed and his husband had no true feelings for him, Quinn would not have called.

“Oh, don’t be like that,” the woman said, “MI6 sent us to help you.”

“Us?” Quinn asked.

“Us,” James agreed as steadily as he could while falling to pieces inside, and pushed the door open wider and stepped inside the room. “Hello, Quinn.”

Quinn, already pale, turned ashen. A strange emotion flitted briefly through his eyes before he pulled himself back together. “007,” he said in an emotionless voice.

James felt as though he’d been punched in the gut. What were you expecting? The wicked little voice asked inside him, Did you think he would fall into your arms and pepper your face with kisses as if nothing had ever happened? Don’t you remember how you threw him out of the house? No one with even a little bit of self-preservation would react to such treatment with affection.

Quinn’s next words pulled James out of his darkening thoughts, “Your jacket is loose,” he said quietly, “You haven’t been eating enough.”

James gave him a small, brittle smile, “I’ve been in mourning. My husband was shot off the top of a train.”

The two men lapsed into a tense silence.

The woman coughed as the silence stretched, drawing attention to herself. “There’s new information from Q Branch.”

“Oh?” Quinn’s attention shifted from James onto the female agent, leaving James feeling strangely relieved and bereft. “And why isn’t the Quartermaster here?”

“Q’s afraid of flying,” she replied.

Quinn raised a disbelieving eyebrow but did not say anything other than, “Is that so? Well then. What does the Q Branch have for us then?”

~*~

Several hours later, Quinn was tucked into a corner nursing a glass of champagne as he watched James enter. He’d given James the chip he’d lifted off Patrice in Shanghai to cash on the female agent’s advice on grounds that Quinn looked too young to be gambling much less drinking. He rolled his eyes as he listened to James flirt with the support agent. He just had to have married the infamous womanizer, he thought ruefully. Should have married Alec instead. At least he’s more enamored with explosions than women.

Sudden silence in his earwig told him he’d said that out loud. Oops.

“Don’t be jealous, darling,” James suddenly purred, and Quinn knew James well enough to pick out the concealed hurt in his tone, “You know you’re the only one for me.”

“Mind on the task at hand, 007,” he snapped. “Cash the damned chip and see what nibbles on the bait.”

Quinn determinedly did not examine the guilt that swelled in his chest as James said in a more subdued tone, “As you wish.”

Quinn determinedly did not pay attention as James cashed the chip and was approached by a dark, smoky eyed woman. He watched only enough to recognize that the woman’s bodyguards would very likely attack James as soon as he tried to leave. He could not, however, stop watching and listening as James and the woman flirted outrageously at the bar. The longer Quinn watched, the more he understood how it was that women would so happily fall into James’ bed. He knew also, having come to this realization, that if James held out his hand to him, Quinn would fall unhesitatingly into his arms all over again.

Then James dropped his earwig into Quinn’s glass of champagne and he knew that even if James took him back, neither of them would look at the other in the same way ever again. He took a deep breath and released it quietly. Now was not the time for introspection or discussion. At this moment, there was only one priority and that was the mission. Everything else could wait.

~*~

Quinn hates the waiting. But he’s a field agent, and his waits with his laptop open, watching for the signal that James would send in order to be extracted back to England. He pays Eve Moneypenny, the agent who shot him in Istanbul, no mind. His entire attention is on the laptop, on the knowledge that his husband was bedding a woman who was the lover of their target, whomever he was, and that he would soon be in grave danger. Quinn wants desperately to hear James speak to him with love again, every fiber of his being straining to be near James, because if his behavior in the casino was any indication, there was still that chance. Quinn would happily see the world burn to be able to love James and to know that James loved him again.

And then in the middle of the morning, the laptop chimes and a red dot appears on a map. Quinn hisses quietly under his breath as his fingers fly over the keys to get a closer lock on James’ location even as he sends a message to Q for extraction. They’ll meet James at his destination.

~*~

Raoul Silva is captured, and Quinn could almost kick James for taunting the man with the Q Branch’s new radio, a miniaturized a rip-off of Boothroyd’s original. Once Silva is put into isolation, and M is finished baiting him, she orders James and Quinn into the new Q’s office. When the Quartermaster protests, M shouts at him for being a damned fool and to get out of the bloody office and get to work breaking into Silva’s computer because she wanted the information in there yesterday! Quinn laughs openly as he hacks the new Q’s network with ridiculous ease and blacks out the office, giving himself and James complete privacy.

Then things get awkward. James curses quietly as he fiddles with the Quartermaster’s coffeemaker, a great silver monstrosity that makes Quinn want to hack it apart when he realizes that it's a damned Keurig. James finally gets the thing to make some truly god awful coffee and the two settle onto Q’s lumpy sofa. The silence stretched, and Quinn finally took the situation into his own hands.

“I wasn’t spying on you,” he said quietly as he set the mug on the floor beside his feet, “I wouldn’t have even if ordered to. Especially after we married.”

James fiddled with his mug and said just as quietly, “I know. M and Boothroyd told me after you were shot. They didn’t interfere with us except to make sure we never met inside of MI6 and to ensure that we received missions and returned to London only a few hours apart.”

He set the mug on the desk and leaned over to cradle Quinn’s face in his hands. “I’m sorry. You’ll never really believe me about it, but I’m sorry. I love you so much, and when I found out… I shouldn’t have… I was too harsh. I’m sorry. So very, very sorry.”

Quinn brushed his knuckles over the line of James’ jaw and said softly, “You frightened me. I really thought you were going to shoot me right there in the living room. Have you nothing to say about that?”

James leaned forward and pressed their foreheads together and murmured, “I overreacted. I shouldn’t have, but… I am very sorry you know.”

Quinn dropped his hand into his lap. “You… you can’t just say things like that and expect everything to go back to the way things were,” Quinn said. “It doesn’t change that you didn’t trust me. You didn’t stop to let me explain or try to let me know how you came to your conclusion. That is what hurts most, James, that you didn’t trust me.” He pulled back and looked James in the eye and said gently, “You didn’t trust me then, and you still don’t trust me now.”

James dropped his hands onto Quinn’s shoulders and said bluntly, “No. We lied to each other for ten years. It would be hard for us to trust each other after all that. It doesn’t change that I love you. As long as you still love me in turn, we can try again. I am willing to try to rebuild what we had. It won’t ever be the same again because we know now the nature of each other’s work, but we can make it work. Just… No more lies.”

Quinn stared at James for a moment, feeling his pulse flutter. His eyes were so blue and so earnest, and Quinn wondered if there was any other answer he could have given. If he said no, it would be a lie, but James would leave and he’d never see him again. If he said yes…. If he said no, he had everything to loose. If he said yes, he had everything to gain. A new start. And no more lies.

Slowly, Quinn leaned forward and pressed a kiss over James’ right eye. “No more lies,” he murmured against warm skin, “and we can try.”

James grinned boyishly as he pulled Quinn into his lap. “No more lies,” he agreed and brushed light kisses over Quinn’s cheekbones, “Quinn. My dear, lovely Quinn.”

Quinn pressed his nose into James’ neck under his ear and murmured, “I’m sorry I didn’t call to let you know I was still alive.”

“I’m sorry I made you feel as if you couldn’t come home,” James said quietly as he ran his fingers through Quinn’s hair, “In a way, I’m happy to know what you do for a living. I know what you are capable of, and I know what you face out there. I won’t ever stop worrying, but at least I know the type of things you will face in the field.”

Quinn sighed and kissed James on the forehead, then over his eyes, his nose, and murmured, “And you claim you’re not a romantic,” and captured his lips in a slow, chaste, loving kiss.

James chuckled as they parted. “Now if that is sorted, shall we see if Q has found anything on Silva’s computer?”

“He’s an idiot,” Quinn complained but got up anyway, “I’d rather stay here and kiss you than go out there and watch as he botches the job.”

James laughed, “Then we absolutely must go out there and make fun of Q as he proves his ineptitude.”

“Will you tell him about the Komodo Dragon?” Quinn asked, “Please tell me you’re going to tell him how a Komodo Dragon ate your gun! I’ll take a picture to commemorate his aneurysm.”

James stood up and asked bemusedly, “You really don’t like Q, do you?”

Quinn paused and said, “He’s a moronic, pretentious, condescending ass. Just calling him an ass is an insult to all asses. He should shoot himself and let someone more qualified become Quartermaster. Did you see the goddamned radio he gave me? It’s the same one Boothroyd made! Only smaller! He spent thirty minutes lecturing me in the National Gallery about how field agents are all brawn, no brains, and should not be allowed anywhere near Q Branch tech much less into Q Branch itself! As if the bare bones of the kit is of any use! Age is no guarantee of efficiency!”

“And youth,” James rebutted, pulling Quinn close to press a kiss to his forehead, “is no guarantee of innovation. I’m sure given time, he’ll come around to what a Quartermaster really needs to be.”

Quinn huffed, “That’ll be the day.” He pulled away gently to undo the black out protocols and paused. “Did you know?” he said suddenly, “I was the one who wrote these blackout protocols. Boothroyd figured out that if he gave me some coding work, I’d actually get so distracted that I would stay in Medical rather than go haring off the way you and Alec do. A lot of the encryptions on the field personnel files are my work. This new Q probably doesn’t know that before Istanbul, Boothroyd and I were planning out how to update and upgrade the firewalls for MI6’s network.”

Even though all of MI6 knows that 003 and 007 are married by this point, James doesn’t touch him as the black out protocols are lifted. “Everything will be alright,” he said gently.

~*~

Things do not turn out alright. Q manages to allow Silva to hack into MI6, and the virus opens all the doors. Silva escapes and drops a train into the emergency quarters for Q Branch and tries to kill James and Quinn with another under Grand Central Station. With no response from Q Branch, James and Quinn are forced to take M to Skyfall. James drives them in Quinn’s Jaguar, that according to Quinn, had been a wedding present from Boothroyd, which he’d put into storage when Quinn had died. In the backseat, Quinn uses the on-board computer to lay out a trail of breadcrumbs for Silva.

They know without a doubt; this is the end.

~*~

TBC


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