Characters: Q, Sherlock, Mycroft, Bond
Warnings/Triggers: language, angst
Pairings: John/Mary (background)
Spoilers: His Last Vow, The Reichenbach Fall, Skyfall
Word Count 2,302
Summary: Q and Sherlock say goodbye. But maybe not forever.
Author's notes: Set in the Trio 'verse.
I'm sorry for my obsessive need to write Sherlock from Q's point of view. I had to get this out of my system, apparently. 90% was written in one sitting. Apologies for any rough patches. Also, apologies for the vague summary, I didn't want to spoil.
Because they are so ingrained in this verse, I'm keeping my Holmes parents my OC ones.
This is relatively angsty, for me. Like, a good eight on the Bard Scale of Angstyness, but probably much lower on a general scale.
Q stepped out of the lift at the Diogenes Club, hitching his bag a little higher on his shoulder, and reaching for his badge. He'd never been to the upper levels before. They had guest quarters there, for members who required a night in safety, or visiting dignitaries too risky to keep in hotels. Or Consulting Detectives being held for murder.
He strode down the hallway, stopping short of the guards in front of the door. He held up his badge.
“I'm here to brief the agent,” he explained.
One of the guards scanned his badge with a device Q had designed, and took a look at the results. He gave a brisk nod and unlocked the door. Q smiled his thanks and stepped into the room.
It was nicely furnished, with a large bed, a small kitchen, and a living room area. Sherlock was sat in a chair, reading.
“Hello, Mr Holmes,” Q said, politely. “I'm the Quartermaster. I'll be explaining the nature of your mission.”
Sherlock stood up and held out a hand. Q stepped forward to shake it. They shook for about two seconds longer than a normal handshake, waiting. Then the security camera light went out, making the room deaf and blind. Q let go of Sherlock's hand, and shoved him hard, so that he stumbled back into his chair.
“You prat,” he said. “You bloody, fucking wanker!”
Sherlock sighed and rolled his eyes. “Don't be childish,” he said.
“Why didn't you ring me?” Q demanded. He hadn't had a chance to see Sherlock since his arrest. Everything started to pour out without him making a decision to voice it. “Why do you never ring me? Why do you always leave me out? My job is gathering information, Sherlock. That's what I do for a living. I am the best in the world at it. I could have found a way to get into Magnussen's house and get something on him. I could have planted a camera; acquired information. He might have confessed to something on camera, or we would have at least realized there were no files there. You've thrown away your life, and you needn't have.”
“Yes, I did,” Sherlock said, calmly. “I had no choice.”
“Because you didn't give yourself one!” Q said. “Because you didn't ask for help when you needed it. You've always had to do it on your own. It's Moriarity all over again. If you had called me in sooner, you would never have had to jump off that building. I'm not just damage control, I can be preventative too. I can help. I could have helped!”
“Sit down, you're being an idiot,” Sherlock said, pointing to a chair opposite. “If you keep yelling, they'll suspect something is amiss.”
Q stood there, panting with anger, unable to think about anything else. Sherlock stood up, and shoved him back, so he landed in the chair. Sherlock sat back down again, and crossed his legs.
“Are you even going to apologize?” Q asked.
“No. I have nothing to apologize for,” Sherlock said. “I did the right thing. Lives were at stake; they aren't any more.”
“It could have been accomplished without sending you to your death in a foreign land,” Q said. “Why don't you trust me?”
“I do,” Sherlock said. “I do trust you.”
“Then why?” Q said. “You're off to your death, soon, you might as well explain it all to me now. Why not let me help?”
“Because you're a pressure point!” Sherlock said, throwing his arms up in the air. “You're just another pressure point. Do you think he didn't know about you? Do you think you weren't in his mind palace--the British Quartermaster? He wanted Mycroft, what if he knew that you were his brother? Our brother? Then, you're just another link in the chain. Another way to get to him. Do you think he didn't know about your little unsanctioned excursion that got the old M killed? Do you think he wasn't responsible for getting her fired? Do you think he wouldn't have used that against you in a heartbeat? Honestly, think Trevelyan. You're nothing but a liability. Just a hazard to the job at hand.”
“I'm your brother,” Q said.
“You are the Quartermaster,” Sherlock said. “You have the world's secrets at your fingertips. You have the ability to get anywhere you want; do anything you want. You are a gold mine. If you had given him a reason--got in his way, created a problem...It's not just me or you at sake, then, it's the world. I may not approve of your being a government drone, but I do understand your importance.”
Q hated that he was right. He hated that it was logical. He hated that he couldn't do anything to fix this.
“You're a fucking bastard,” he said.
“Well, not technically true,” Sherlock said. “Only in the vernacular sense. You're the bastard; I doubt the gypsies who abandoned you were married.”
“I was not abandoned by gypsies,” Q said, automatically.
Sherlock grinned, and laughed. Q rolled his eyes, but chuckled. He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes, feeling exhausted.
“If it's any consolation, you were the first thought both Mycroft and I had,” Sherlock said. “We decided not to risk your life.”
“I'm an adult, I can make my own choices,” Q said.
“I'm your big brother,” Sherlock said. “It's not a role I want or am very good at, but it's what I am. I have a right to protect you.” He shifted in his seat. “Now, stop being selfish, this barely had anything to do with you. It was Mary's life I was trying to save.”
“Yes, by all means, let's save the lying assassin,” Q said.
“She and the baby are important to John,” Sherlock said. “I was saving his life by saving hers. Links in the chain. Besides, she's a former assassin.”
“She tried to kill you.”
“No, she tried to save me.”
“By shooting you.”
Q shook his head. “I work with those sorts every day,” he said. “It's a life. It becomes a life and you don't stop being that person. It's in you, always. It's like being a 'former' drug addict.”
“Oh, here we go,” Sherlock said. “See, I knew you were still angry about that.”
“Of course I am, Sherlock, you voluntarily relapsed,” Q said. “Do you know how long you were sober for? Twelve years. Twelve years, six months, thirteen days. And you reset the counter. For a case.”
“You kept track of my sobriety?” Sherlock said.
“I thought someone should,” Q said, with a shrug. “You don't go to meetings, so you don't get the little medals. I keep a mental tally. I don't make an effort; it's quite easy for me to remember the last day of your addiction. I was there, if you recall. Maybe you don't. I thought it might be good for you to know, someday, that you were that strong. If you had a bad day, it might help. I couldn't do much at the time. I hoped maybe I could help in the future. But again, you didn't ask.”
Sherlock's mouth opened and closed a few times. “You shouldn't have put that much faith in me,” he said. “I'm not worthy of it.”
“I'm your little brother,” Q said. “It's not a role I want, but I am very good at it, and it's what I am. I have a right to believe in you.”
Sherlock nodded, and shifted in his seat again, before standing up and moving around aimlessly. “Right, well, back to my imminent death,” he said. “We only have five minutes left before the cameras will come back on.”
“Right,” Q said. He put his glasses back on, and opened his messenger back. “Here's the file. It should be fairly self-explanatory. Once you're in there, you're on your own. No exfiltration is planned for you.” He handed over a case. “They are giving you a weapon, though. It's programmed to only respond to your handprint. You have to hold it for it to fire. There's also a device that will help you transmit information to us. The instructions are in the file. I won't bother explaining it to you, it's very complicated. You'll understand it. You'll recognize the codes, if you remember anything from our childhood.”
Sherlock nodded, and took the weapon case from him.
“You'll receive the key when you land,” Q said. “I'm afraid we rather think it poor judgement on our parts to give you access to a weapon now.”
“Yes, understandable,” Sherlock said.
“Now, I am not permitted to provide help to you,” Q said. “But, between you and me, I will have our old H.I.A.T.U.S message boards available. Otherwise, I'm afraid there's no way out, once you're in.”
“Yes, I know,” Sherlock said.
Q nodded. He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a small box. “Now, on a more personal note. I've brought you a going away present,” he said.
Sherlock opened it, and took the onyx and pearl cufflink out. “One of Father's,” he said.
“Yes,” Q said. “I thought you might like it. It might bring you luck. If anyone asks, that's simply a memento. It won't register as anything else.”
“And what is it really?” Sherlock asked.
“You'll find out,” Q said. “Use it when you really need it. Press down on the pearl. There's no way out, but maybe we can keep you alive for a bit longer than might be expected. You never know, something may change, and they'll want you back, if you can wait it out.”
Sherlock put it in his pocket. “Thank you.”
A discreet tap on the door made them both assume a more professional pose. It opened, and Mycroft stepped in, shutting the door behind him.
“Two minutes until the cameras are back online,” he said. “Are you ready?”
“Yes,” Sherlock said. “Yes.” He looked to Q. “I believe you and I made a deal once, regarding my eulogy?”
“Oh, yes,” Q said. “I'm to give it. Don't worry, it will be excellent. I've been writing it for years. I was rather sad I didn't get to give it the last time you died, but I wasn't invited to the funeral.”
“There's always a second chance,” Sherlock said, blithely.
“Shall we?” Mycroft said.
“Yes,” Sherlock said.
Q stood and walked to the door with him. “If, somehow, your eulogy isn't required,” he said. “Would you attempt in future to stop dying?”
“Yes,” Sherlock said. “It's really my one goal in life, I don't know why I keep failing it.” He held out a hand. “Thank you for your help. Have a good life. I'm...glad the gypsies sent you to us.”
Q smiled. “Me too,” he said.
He took the hand, but impulsively pulled Sherlock into a hug instead of shaking it. Sherlock tensed up, then relaxed, and hugged back, giving Q's back a few pats.
“Goodbye,” Q said.
Sherlock stepped back. “Goodbye.”
Mycroft put his hand on Q's shoulder, and give it a squeeze. He leaned in, to speak under his breath, “I suspect we'll both need a drink tonight, so do come by. Don't be alone, if you'd rather not be. You're always welcome.”
“I have a few things I'd like to say to you in regards to decisions about my welfare made without my knowledge,” Q said.
“I'll look forward to hearing them,” Mycroft said.
He followed Sherlock out into the corridor, and Q watched them get in the lift, with a final wave goodbye.
“Who moved this? Why was this moved? This has never been here before, this is the third time I've hit it. Put it back! I have been away for less than two hours, and you've renovated the entire department,” Q snapped. “Get it out of my way!”
The Minion Who Usually Wears Blue scuttled in and removed the offending object. Q nodded his thanks. He was aware that he was in foul temper, and it was unfair to take it out on the minions, but he couldn't seem to help himself. He felt angry at the universe, for lack of anywhere better to direct it.
He tapped forcibly on his keyboard. After a few minutes, he noticed 007's reflection in the screen, waiting to be debriefed and wisely doing it quietly. Q held out a hand behind him, palm up. 007 placed the remnants of a gadget in his hand.
“All right, who the hell gave 007 a prototype?” Q demanded.
Half of Q-branch raised nonchalant hands. The rest of the branch looked guilty.
“You have all gone soft in the head,” Q said. He looked down sadly at the smashed gadget. “Did it work, at least?”
“Perfectly,” 007 said. “It worked exactly as described, and doubled as a bludgeon.”
Q glared at him. “I'll put that in the lab notes,” he said. He put the gadget down and held out his other hand behind him. The Minion Who Makes Tea Properly scurried up and put a cup of Earl Grey in it. He needed a truly heroic amount of it today. “I believe I have made it clear that if your equipment is damaged, you'd better be as well.”
007 showed him his arm, where there was a faint gash. “There will be a scar,” he said.
“Next time, I want at least one limb missing,” Q said. “Dismissed.”
“Yes, sir,” 007 said, with a smirk. He turned to go, but turned back, his eyes drawn to the telly on the wall, where the rolling news was constantly going.
Q followed his gaze. “Volume, someone put up the volume,” he said, clicking his fingers.
Minion With the Squint hit the unmute button.
'Miss me? Miss me? Miss me?'
Q gaped at the screen, his stomach going to ice.
“It's everywhere,” one of the minions said. “It's on every channel, every television.”
“Find the source,” Q said. “Find it now. Whoever finds it first gets to play in my virus database.”
Everyone sprung into action.
“What is that?” 007 asked. He'd been dead at the time of Moriarty's reign; he wouldn't recognize the face.
“Nothing good,” Q said.
But he felt his mouth twitch up at the corners. Because it was a second chance. It was a way out.