q: out for three days

Hello, thank you so much for these, you’re brilliant. Prompt: Q used to have a severe stutter as a kid but has since had therapy but it can come back if Q is tired or stressed (like mine!) and he’s terrified of what Bond will think if he hears it. – anon

Hope you like it, my love! Jen.

“And th-th-the fuck th-that’s, s, it,” Q managed, pink all the way to his ears.

Bond, over the headpiece, was palpably amused. “A stutter?”

“I wouldn’t,” R piped up; she was tapped in for background assistance, especially given that Q could barely get words out. “He’s not slept for about three days.”

Bond’s eyeroll was audible. “Go to sleep, Q.”

“N-not until I g-g-,” Q paused, collecting himself. “Get you home. Ha.”

R could hear the laughter bubbling on the edges of Bond’s lips, and intervened swiftly. “So yes, double-oh seven, if you wouldn’t mind getting yourself out of harm’s way and in the direction of an airport, I can then drug Q and eliminate the stutter en route.

“Fuc-c-ck you,” Q managed, cursing the world and everything in it.

The stutter was a bitch. Random and annoying and debilitating, to a degree. Mercifully dormant until in very extreme circumstances – and Bond playing silly buggers in southern India certainly constituted extreme – but all the same, everybody who heard him found it hilarious and/or endearing.

R was the only one who had ever refrained from commentary. She had simply learnt to take over as a voice when Q’s had gone, without Q asking. R had just understood, adapted, and more or less acting as though nothing was unusual.

Q adored her.

“O-on my way,” Bond teased, the lightness audible.

All the same, Q felt something in him flinch slightly. Years of playground bullying and a lot of therapy had brought him almost to the point of freedom, and yet, it still plagued him in front of the one person he wanted to impress more than any other.

“Do that again,” R said, with flippant danger, “and I’ll chop your balls off. This is not something to take the piss out of, he’s your superior office.”

Q loved, loved, loved R.

“Thank you,” he mouthed; R grinned, winked. “B-Bond, status?”

Bond intelligently deigned to not mock any longer. “Nearly there. I’m sorry, Q. It won’t happen again.”

“Good,” Q managed, eyes falling shut; it had been a hell of a long few days.

“Now get your arse home,” R told him, in lieu of Q. “Q’s going to sleep.”

“M’not.”

“… and he will speak to you again when you’re on terra firma,” R insisted, shooting Q a look. “Any problems?”

“The stutter is very endearing,” Bond replied. “Just in case you were wondering. I quite like it.”

“Th-thank you”.

“See you soon, Q.”

Q disconnected the line. “I know,” he told Eve. “Sleep.”

R nodded. “Take the camp bed.”

Q nodded, not trusting his voice to do anything helpful, found the bed in his office, and was asleep within seconds.