- *No Site Warnings Apply
- Canon Divergence
7 July 2009
Tony was finding that out he was enjoying London as a tourist. He liked being able to do what he wanted pretty much most of the time. The job interviews ran the gamut of things that Tony did from fieldwork to analysis, to variations thereof. He was glad, though, that no one had offered him another job that he was not qualified for. The attention that he was getting back home was a little more than Tony was used to. He knew that places had been trying to get him away from NCIS for years, but he had never paid too close attention. He was like the prize child who was being allowed to pick between mom and dad for who he lived with, and the winner was going to have crowing rights for years.
The little cafe that Tony had found after his interview with Mycroft Holmes had been a favorite place for Tony to go and get lunch—and twice breakfast—during his trip over into London. The extra time afforded to him from leaving early had allowed a few places to vie for him that had left him a little bereft on what he wanted to do. He liked the jobs, but that part of him that liked a challenge liked the two very odd offers that he had gotten so far. Nothing was jumping out at him at the moment. Tony was really going to make sure that he had taken in all of the offers that were going to be proposed to him before he made a decision on where he wanted to go to work.
“Here you go,” the waiter said as he settled Tony’s dessert and latte down in front of him. Tony noted again how blue the man’s eyes were. He was older than most of the other waiters at places like this, but all that told Tony was that he liked doing the job and didn’t want to move up.
Tony looked at the cake and decided it was almost too pretty to eat. Just not quite pretty enough to stop him from eating it. “Thank you.”
“Enjoy and let me know if you need anything at all.”
“I will.” Tony grabbed the fork from the plate and scraped off just a little bit of strawberry glaze that was drizzled on top of the cake and on the plate as well. Tony let the taste of that fill his mouth. It made it water.
“Oh, I’m sorry the last piece of that was just given out,” Tony heard his waiter tell someone. Tony took his time looking around to see who it was. He was pretty sure that the cake was worth fighting over. The younger man who had a look of betrayal on his face at his cake being gone was pretty. Tony assessed him like he did every person he came across in situations where he might not have the upper hand, but all he saw was a man who was upset that his favorite cake was gone. He screamed civilian, so Tony was more than willing to flirt if the man wanted to go that route.
Tony turned in his seat to look at the roadway that was up ahead, at the far end of the street but also facing the younger man. He was very pretty, the kind of pretty that turned heads, male and female. The younger man looked up at him and narrowed his eyes as he saw that Tony had the cake in hand and was eating it. Tony felt a little bit of rush at the look. This young man was young in body only. The eyes on him were very, very aware of everything. It wasn’t like the victims that Tony had worked with over the years, old before their time because of what they had seen. There was something familiar about his eyes, but Tony couldn’t place exactly what. The younger man picked up his teapot and walked over to Tony’s table before setting it down. Everything that the younger man had with him was moved in a similar fashion, just not one at a time like the tea.
“Can I help you?” Tony said with a smile on his lips when the younger man finally took a seat at the chair closest to Tony. Tony had wanted a two-person table, but those had been full. There had been a single three-person table open, so he had taken it instead.
“You looked lonely, and since you felt the need to rub that you got the last piece of cake in my face, I figured that I would just make it easier on you.”
Tony couldn’t place the accent except for the fact that the diction was posh; he was unable to detect if it was a fake accent or a real one. Which was strange as he usually could, no matter the language. He was rather intrigued by his new table mate.
“Well, I don’t share so don’t think that puppy dog eyes will get you any part of this. I might even lick the plate when I am done.”
The laughter from the younger man was short and full of life, like someone who knew how short like was and embraced it. Tony watched as the camera that was on the street post above the younger man turn to look at them instead of the street. Tony figured that Mycroft had been keeping a close eye on Tony and was now trying to figure out the man that was with him. Tony looked around, seeing that a lot of the cameras that were in view were on them. Tony was almost a little upset that the man’s life was going to be under watch because Mycroft was a paranoid man.
Tony looked back at his table mate, about to introduce himself and try and make up a reason to go inside when he saw that the man had a tablet in hand and his eyes darted up to the camera that had first moved. It was just seconds later that it moved back to the position that it should be in. Tony didn’t even try and hide the fact that he was checking the others as they all went back.
“He’ll have to find another way to drop some eaves on us,” the younger man said. He gave Tony a wicked grin before leaning his chin on his hand on the table. Tony felt the man’s eyes on him, raking him up and down before he sat back and crossed his left leg over his right. Tony noticed his pants at that point. The colors were lurid but seemed to fit the man. Tony had taken in the cut of the pants, the expense of them, but that was it when he had assessed the man.
“You know the man who did that?” Tony wasn’t going to say his name. This could be a ploy, seeing Tony dropped off at the club in the car that Mycroft had sent for him. Tony could play the spy game.
“It’s a game between him and me.”
A fresh pot of tea was set down on the table by the waiter as well as a different dessert that Tony did not remember the other man ordering. Tony could smell the tea before the tea cozy was laid down on top of it to help keep it warm. Tony frowned before looking at the waiter. Where the younger man wasn’t armed, Tony had spotted that right away, he now saw the fact that the waiter was armed. Bodyguard, he assumed for the man across from him.
“Tanner, Moneypenny, and I played cards to figure out who was going to be the one to offer to you, Agent DiNozzo, I won. You can call me Q.”
“Q?” Tony asked.
The waiter sat down at the table, getting comfortable but as he did, Tony saw that he was angled too close to Q.
“Well my name has been fully redacted, so I’m sure that even if I said it, you would be unable to find out anything about me. Except for the death of my parents when I was a child and the awards that I won before I was killed in a drunk driving accident that burned my body beyond recognition, and they had to rely on dental records to ID me. Mycroft and I play a game. He won the first round, but he made a bet that you would make me before I sat down. I said you wouldn’t until the moment that I wanted you to.”
Tony looked at Q and then at his bodyguard before he relaxed in his seat. He started to eat his cake again, and he made the decision that he was going to lick the plate clean. Just to be an ass.
“So, who are you?” Tony tried to remember the name Moneypenny or Tanner from anything that he received for the job offers over in London, but it wasn’t ringing a bell.
“My former boss was Olivia Mansfield.”
That name Tony did know, but he had to wonder why she was former and not current. The look on Q’s face and then the way that the bodyguard’s body stiffened when the name was mentioned told Tony that it was something that was a little deeper than just parting ways. He had remembered the attack on the MI6 building from the news. It had upped the terror alert a little for several agency buildings in the United States, but nothing had come of it, and then the culprit had been killed while trying to take him into custody according to the reports.
Tony felt a little like shark bait and that Merlin had set him up for the ambushes when he had done so at the airport. Tony wasn’t sure that he liked the feeling at all. Q could have killed him and Tony would never have seen it coming, and that was a shock. Tony watched as Q typed a few things on the tablet that was now cradled in his lap before he looked at the ice-blue eyed bodyguard. Tony had been around a person like this man, but Ziva David had nothing on this man. Tony felt unsafe with the man but not like he had with Ziva. This man was calm and controlled, and if shit hit the fan, he would be able to protect Tony and Q with no issue.
“So you want to make a pitch for MI6?” Tony asked. He looked at the bodyguard and then back at Q. “Why you?”
“Because I want you in my department, not lost in upper management on the track to becoming someone like Tanner. While I adore Tanner, your brain is needed where the action is.”
“Why not you?” Tony asked, looking at the bodyguard.
“Your knee injury would put you out as a candidate for people like me. Lower field agent under the control of Q-Branch, yes. Me? No.”
“You don’t pull punches, do you?”
“Coddling gets agents killed.” The bodyguard leaned forward with a look on his face that told Tony that he was used to everyone swooning for him. The swagger, the way that he carried himself—this was someone who knew they were good at what they did. Whatever that was. Tony could see the seducer and the manipulator in him. Something that Ziva wished she was as good at as him. “Bond. James Bond.”
Tony shook the man’s hand, feeling the squeeze to show that he was strong but not stupid and hurting Tony. It was a test. Tony gave back as good as he got and it made Bond smile.
“Put your prick away,” Q said, and he shoved Bond back into his seat. There was no heat to the words, no anger or jealousy, just a bit of verbal sparring between the two. Bond turned his head to look at Q, giving him a very fond look.
If told to tell one thing that was a chink in Bond’s armor, typically Tony would have answered Q. There was something though about Q that told Tony that he might not be a significant threat physically, he was a powerhouse mentally. Tony had learned to be scared of geeks and nerds when they were crossed. Bond was keeping an eye on everything, but Q, Tony was pretty sure, had the better eyes on everything else.
Tony looked at the cameras and saw that none were out of place again.
“Don’t worry, Old Sourpuss is not going to be spying on you right now.”
“I dare you to say that to his face.” Q was grinning as he said it.
Tony watched as Bond reached across the table for a sugar packet before he poured himself a cup of tea, letting the pouring of the tea mix the sugar up before he took a drink. The look on the man’s face said that he liked the drink but preferred something else.
“James!” a man called out from behind Tony. His accent was unmistakable Israeli, and it made Tony freeze. He knew the threat against him. He knew why he had come to London early. Tony lowered his head to finish off his cake and hoped that the man didn’t see him. The accent was too fresh, too strong for him to be anybody but an Israeli national. That by itself was nothing, it wasn’t like everyone who was from that country was looking for him. But for him to know Bond by name, that meant intelligence.
“Aryeh,” Bond said as he stood up to shake hands with the man, keeping the man from getting too close to the table, and therefore too close to Q.
“I see you here with your boy, and I think that I would like to finally meet the Quartermaster of MI6.”
Tony looked up at Q. While MI6’s hierarchy was not the greatest for being known, when one worked for law enforcement, one knew the players. He figured that Q was some low man on the upper management totem pole for the technical branches of MI6, but this was something different. To be the head of the technical departments was outstanding for his age.
Aryeh slipped into a language that was not Hebrew but also nothing that Tony could recognize off of the top of his head. Q did though as his eyes widened and he started to type something on his tablet with a frantic rush. Tony sat up straighter. He still had his knives on him, hidden well.
“Give me your hand,” Q said, and he walked around the table. Tony gave over his hand, and Q flipped it overlaid it on the screen of his tablet. Tony watched his hand get scanned and then Q was pulling a gun free of the bag he was carrying. It was checked, loaded, and a bullet set into the chamber before Q handed it over, butt end first. Bond and Aryeh were still talking, their tones low and hurried, but like they were debating a heated basketball game or something close to that.
“What’s going on?”
“Aryeh is a friend of James’s from Mossad. He’s a firm supporter in doing right so when he realized that the other two members of his team recognized you and were going to kill you, he sought out James, only to find James with you already. They are not acting on current orders, and so all he can do is contain what is going on and hope that the team being sent to take them in does so with little fanfare. Seems that your leaving NCIS and the reasons for doing so are a stain on Mossad, and many blame you while they should be blaming their former head, David. Our car is around the block.”
“Why did you scan my hand?”
“I have seen too many of my agents get shot by their own gun, which they lost previously in the fight. So, I made sure that only those who I allow can fire weapons that I make. Go ahead and sight it.”
Tony raised up the gun, and the three red lights turned green as soon as he had his palm across it.
“With the guns that I send out with my agents, I make sure there is a code set that they can override, in case of skin injury and such. It’s a Morse code signal with slight pulls on the trigger but not full fires.”
“That’s kind of cool.” Tony smiled as he slipped the gun into his pocket after flipping on the safety. The fact that Q was carrying the weapon around in a case in his bag told Tony a lot more about the life of James Bond and Q than he had picked up already.
The conversation between the two spies didn’t move into a new language and it sort of died off with Bond giving Aryeh a nod before turning around to face Q.
“Don’t even say it,” Bond said through slightly gritted teeth.
“I told you he was a trouble magnet,” Q said, and Bond roughly reached out and grabbed him to turn him around. Tony said nothing but he moved quick enough to get close to Q while keeping Bond at his back. “Looks like you get the big tour of MI6 as well as the pitch from Moneypenny, Tanner, and I think that Mallory is back today.”
“Who is Mallory?”
“Our new boss,” Bond said. The tone was careful in its delivery, but there was something else behind it.
“At least I get the full treatment. I’m sure that not many of your potential recruits get protection from the Quartermaster and one of his Agents.”
“Guard dog is more like it,” Q said. The tone of his words was fond, and there was something deeper behind it.
While Tony had seen no outward signs of affection between the two, their words back and forth and the underlying tone told him that there was something more than just a relationship, there was trust. Trust was something that was hard to come by in the world of spies, Tony knew that just from sometimes working with them.
The car that Bond directed Tony towards with touches to the back of Tony’s shoulders depending on which way he needed to angle himself, was a beauty. Tony could tell that it might look like a standard sedan, but it was not. It was well cared for and spoke of a lot of love.
Tony grabbed the handle above the door as soon as Bond had the car moving forward. He saw a car coming around the corner heading towards them and watched as Aryeh ducked for cover to make sure that he wasn’t shot at. Tony hoped that Aryeh didn’t lose his life over coming out to protect Tony. Tony would have to tell Morrow about this, and the FBI back home. He was probably going to end up with a CIA escort for the rest of his trip in London. He really didn’t want that.
“Trouble magnet, huh?” Bond asked. He looked into the rearview mirror at Q who was typing on a laptop that he pulled out of somewhere. Tony had not even noticed that.
“He’s the other kind. He doesn’t go looking for trouble; it just finds him.”
Bond’s eyes didn’t stray from the road often, mostly to look back at Q like he thought the younger man was going to get hurt. “Hold on.”
Bond turned the wheel sharply, and the tires protested, but they whipped around the corner, and Tony heard the thud of a bullet ripping through the metal into the trunk instead of their car.
“006, and 009 en-route. They will intercept. PM has given them leave to interact on our soil. Mallory would also like Agent DiNozzo to join us at MI6.” Q was typing away, and Tony turned back to look at the people who were after them. He watched as the lights all changed as soon as they were through them. Q had to have hacked those systems. Or he already had a way into them.
The rest of the trip was quiet, with a heavily armored car joining them and cutting their followers off. Tony assumed that was 006 and 009, whoever they were.
“007, R is expecting us at the Mud Gate.”
“Mud Gate?” Tony asked.
“Q has changed the names of all of the doors that lead in and out of the building. Each one is from a different series that he reads or watches. The elevators have names as well. The one that leads directly to Q-branch is TARDIS.”
“Okay, that one I get.”
The ride was silent the rest of the way to MI6 except for the clack of keys behind him. Tony tried not to think about the fact that his luck really was the worst. He was enjoying London and getting to see what he wanted to see. Tony watched Bond beside him and then the tunnel as they entered an alley that turned into a tunnel that had a sign on it for no entry. As soon as the car got close, the wall opened up, and it shut behind them when they slipped through. Tony figured it was something like the poles that retreated into the ground when emergency vehicles got close and came back up on the other side to help them get through high traffic areas.
The tunnel was mostly dark with a little bit of overhead lighting that did little with the speed they were moving. Bond stopped the car with expediency.
“You know I had a former coworker tell me that combat driving was what she was good at, and yet, you did far better than her.”
“There is a difference between agents who need to prove they are better and those that can barely try and still do better than most. Agent DiNozzo, welcome to MI6.” Q got out of the car and walked over to a wall. Tony could barely see him, then the lights came on and they were in a garage of some kind.
“Q, the Israel Diplomat is on the phone with Mallory. He requests you to join him,” a woman said as she exited an elevator.
“Bond, take our visitor to the gun range. Show him a few things but do not blow up my branch.” Q stared at Bond until Bond nodded his head. Q turned on his heel and exited the garage area and took the stairs instead of the elevator. Tony turned to Bond.
“His pitch would involve speeches about the great good you could do. How you can help in real time the agents that are abroad. Me? I’m going to show you cool toys and show you how we have fun but also protect each other.”
“They are not toys!” Q yelled from the doorway as he popped his head back inside.
“And why would I care about protecting each other?” Tony asked.
“Because while Q might have read your file. I read you. I’m smarter than a lot of people think that I am. I didn’t fool Q for a second. I also know that agents with my level of intelligence rarely live for long. The old M learned how to handle me, and the new one will too.”
“You know I’ve been at a job offer recently where someone mentioned that having more than one trouble magnet on a team wasn’t a good idea.”
“Excuse me, Sir,” the woman said as she stepped up and handed over a case of some kind to Bond before she smiled at Tony. “The entire agent division that we have are trouble makers, Sir.”
“Tony DiNozzo, R. R, Tony. She is Q’s second in command.”
“Thank you, dear, for the toys,” Bond said with a smile that would have melted a lesser woman.
“Get out of here, you cad. Make your moon eyes at Q where they belong.”
“Beautiful women deserved to be told how beautiful they are,” Tony said, matching Bond’s smile at her. R laughed and leaned over to kiss Tony’s cheek. She brushed at what Tony assumed was lipstick.
“I’ll go on a date with you on one condition.”
“What’s that?” Tony asked. The date could be fun. Something with no strings just a fun night out with a woman who would keep Tony on his toes.
“You have to make Bond blush before I get off of work in three hours.” R waggled her eyebrows at Tony before she made her way to where the car they had been in was. Tony watched as she took pictures and made notes on her tablet. Probably marking things for repair. The glass had not broken, even after a few bullets had gone into it. Went through the glass yes but the glass had stayed whole. It was an excellent design, and Tony knew it was out of his range to even learn how to make. Tony was good at what he was good at. Still, he could appreciate good things when he knew they were well made. The minds that were here in Q-Branch were astounding to Tony as he walked with Bond through the halls to the gun range.
Tony wasn’t sure how long that he and Bond shot in the gun range, but two techs from Q-Branch brought down more guns for Bond to test. There were sheets of paper for each one on what Q wanted it tested for. Tony watched him working on a troublesome gun for at least an hour. He made notations and messed with the gun, something in the mechanism inside. It was exciting to watch. Bond knew guns well, and he knew the guns he was using.
“I thought that it was weird that there was no more word on Agent DiNozzo and his visit here. I couldn’t get R to tell me anything but that.”
The man that was standing there was imposing in a way that all bosses were, but he looked like he wasn’t an asshole like some. He looked like he could be, but he was also kind when it was needed.
“He hates politicians,” Bond said as he pulled his ear muffs off.
“I hate them too, but all that means is that I know how to work them. The good thing is that the position that Q has for Agent DiNozzo will have him meeting with nearly no politicians.”
“So you’ve come around to Q’s view on him?”
“Q made me understand his view on things, and I agree that more agents coming home is better than fewer agents coming home. So what are you doing down here?”
“Bond is trying to show me his expert aim in all things as well as seduce me with everything but his, what did Q call it? His prick? Though I am sure that it’s a very nice prick.”
The blush was there, just a little, and Tony was sure that R was watching. He hoped that she was. A date would be fun with no string attached and knowing that there was nothing but the date. It would perk him up for at least a little while.
“The day is nearly done, and I have been in contact with a man named Morrow. He’s glad that you have agreed to an escort when you are around London for the remaining days that you are here. Tonight, it will be whoever goes with you on your date with R.”
Tony laughed as the man smiled. Tony assumed it was Mallory. He nodded his head to Mallory and then looked at Bond. The man was still kind of blushing.
“Q knows good pubs. We can buy the place out and relax but have fun as well. We can work on who you want watching you as you go about your other interviews and meetings.” Bond settled the last few guns into the cases and started to stack those cases into one of three different piles. Tony hadn’t figured out which pile was what exactly.
Tony was looking forward to an evening of being allowed to be himself, even if he was so very far from home and still so unsure of exactly where life was going to take him. No one place was better than any other at the moment, and he would have a few things to add to his lists. When he got home.