James nodded, smiling slightly to himself. At least this way, there was some… semblance of choice in the matter, and it wasn’t just that Q was making himself at home in his face completely without his consent.
“Tomorrow I’ll drive your things over to your flat as soon as you get off your shift.”
He toyed with his fork, then set it aside and just leaned his elbow on the table and watched his dinner companion.
“I believe the bed is still made in the guest room.”
Q hadn’t finished eating yet, and while he supposed it was likely good manners (though no one had ever actually mentioned it to him) to stop eating once the host had stopped, he had no intention of interrupting his meal.
Some days he ate nothing. Some days he was very insistent on finishing everything. Today was one of those days.
“Yes, I imagine it is. No one’s used it, as far as I know.” He took another bite of his curry, then reached for his drink. “Why? Are you thinking of having a guest over?”
“Technological mandala 02″ by Leonardo Ulian (via today and tomorrow)
James watched as Q meticulously categorized the components of the meal, letting his words register separately. He laughed a little, earnestly though he wasn’t sure that the Quartermaster was trying to be funny.
“Maybe I’ll make them for you tomorrow, as I’m reasonably certain that I will be unable to evict you tonight… being that you haven’t packed up and are no doubt full of excuses as why tonight isn’t suitable for your departure. I’ll warn you, though, I am not very artistic.”
He picked up his drink to take another sip, watching Q over the the rim of the glass.
Chuckling at the idea, he shook his head and said, “Enemy pancakes.”
Q blinked at Bond, fork halfway through moving several wayward carrots back to the fold.
“I…well…it has gotten rather late.” He frowned as though this was a new realization, and perhaps consciously it was. “I suppose I didn’t realize how long it would take me to prepare the curry. I should have guessed, especially after you took so long looking over the soaps at the shop.”
He looked down and resumed organizing his plate properly. There was a tomato that just didn’t know its place, so like any good dictator, he stabbed it with his fork and ate it.
“It’s kind of you to offer for me to stay the night though, 007. I accept.” He picked up his drink and took a long definitive sip.
James laughed lightly, as much in appreciation of the fact that Q had attempted to make a joke as that he found what he said funny. He couldn’t quite imagine Q as a child - he rather imagined that he had just emerged from someone’s skull as a fully formed adult rather like the goddess Athena, only notably more petulant, more attuned to electronics, and more concerned about the role of pesticides in agriculture.
Q’s grabbing his hand been a normal gesture, the sort of contact that normal people had. Now that it had lingered a moment, though, Bond was more aware of its weight and coolness. The fact that they were sitting in the dining room and Q’s hand was covering his registered again, though slightly differently.
Still, his smile remained easy as he said, “I will remember that; if there’s ever a time when you seem to be refusing food, I will put smiley faces on your organic pancakes.”
Now the question was how to extract his hand without really drawing attention to it.
Q made the decision easy; he pulled his hand away as he shook his head in response to Bond’s statement and picked up his fork again.
“I can already picture them,” he stated, looking down at his plate to separate out the different vegetables into their own little piles, pulling them away from the rice with very precise movements. He looked up from the onions, annoyed with the way they trailed along the plate.
“You could make them sort of mission-worthy. Eyes and mouth drawn out in maple syrup. Perhaps not smiling. Enemies don’t smile; they’re supposed to frown. Then you could use the strawberry preserves to make quite a nice dollop right in the middle of the forehead.” He nodded decidedly. “Double oh-style pancakes.”
Q’s word choice struck the agent’s humor just right. The description of the Quartermaster’s parents trying to make his food “lively” conjured up images of a cat owner jiggling a toy mouse to try to engage their pet by making the toy seem alive.
He took a sip of his drink, then laughed a little to himself.
Pantomining playing with catnip mouse, he asked, “Lively? What did they do, jiggle it about a bit?”
His tone was teasing, perhaps a little exaggeratedly so. It wasn’t that he thought that Q was daft so much as that he recognized that the tech didn’t really understand jokes. With the exaggerated facial expression, laugh, and hand gesture, he hoped Q would get it. Whether or not he would think it funny was something else entirely.
The quartermaster watched Bond’s hand, but more than that, he watched Bond’s face, watched the man amuse himself. It wasn’t at all unpleasant, and he was pretty certain that the agent wasn’t making fun of him. He still felt the need to clarify, even as his genuine smile showed that, for once, he did get the joke.
“No, no!” He held up his hand, then reached over to put it on Bond’s, holding the other man’s hand down on the table to stop him. “Not like that. They, you know, made it into shapes and bribed me with non-food.” He stopped talking, not wanting to show a time when he was like that.
Alright, fine. To admit that he was still like that.
“It, ah…hmm. It was more like…” His green eyes looked upwards, as though he’d find a way to continue the joke up there. ”It’s more like…” He was quickly losing the train of thought, hand still on Bond’s. “Oh, nevermind. I can’t tell you. I may need to use the technique on you later.”
He hoped that would make 007 smile.
James occasionally thought that he could make a rather amusing book by taking down the many rude one-liners that Q dispensed during their conversations, but he knew that he’d have to be a court stenographer to ever hope to keep up.
He shook his head, “Not all of it. Some of it is really rather good… it just depends on your tastes.”
He leaned forward slightly as he took a sip of his martini, his bright eyes on Q’s pointed face. He didn’t know why, but he had come to enjoy looking at the other man. Part of it was curiosity, figuring out what Q was thinking at any time and how it corresponded to his facial expression.
“Have you ever been outside of England?”
“Of course,” Q scoffed immediately, setting his fork down to reach for his glass. The clinically-named JB 1.0 was rather good, though Q found he wanted there to be some changes to it just so he could modify the name. He thought Bond might find that funny, though when making 007 smile had become any sort of interest for him, he wasn’t sure.
“Took a boat to Ireland one summer with my parents. And of course I’ve been to Scotland. Briefly. It was rather damp. A different damp than here.” He sipped his drink consideringly, then set it down before tapping his finger against the side of the glass. It had nothing to do with the drink. He was just thinking.
“I didn’t eat anything while I was there. Nothing seemed particularly appealing, though my parents did make the attempt to make it seem more…lively than it could have been given credit for.” He picked up his fork again.