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Title: Nothing Gold Can Stay
Author: gwylliondream
Pairing: Bond/Q
Rating: PG
Words: 1,687
Warnings: None
Summary: Eve goes on holiday alone and picks out the perfect Secret Santa gift for Q.
A/N: I wrote Nothing Gold Can Stay for the MI6 Secret Santa 2016. I got Eve drawing Q as a prompt. Thanks so much to my fellow 00Q-sters, my beta and cheer-reader [profile] gilli_ann, and to the wonderful mods of this fun fest!
Disclaimer: I did not create these characters. No disrespect intended. No profit desired, only muses.
Comments: Comments are welcome anytime, thanks so much for reading.



Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


-Robert Frost


It was meant to be a holiday for two.

Eve watched the morning light sneak beneath the window blinds that she had neglected to close the night before. Rays of gold played across the duvet. They hit the mirror and reflected their light across the patterned wallpaper, over the tasteful artwork that decorated her hotel room.

Naked, she pulled one fluffy goose-down pillow into her arms, cradling it like a lover. Christmas was a week away and this was supposed to be a romantic getaway. Instead, Eve had spent the week alone in the suite atop Marina Bay Sands.

Somewhere lovers frolicked on golden beaches. Somewhere a couple spun a web of lust in bed, sweaty slick with lube or spit.

But not here.

Failing to fall back asleep, Eve crawled out of the king-sized bed, following the first rays of sunlight into the ensuite bathroom. She took care of business and pulled her silky robe from the hook on the back of the door.

Slipping the robe on, she knotted the tie at her waist. Stepping back into the bedroom, she regarded the empty bed with a pang of disappointment.

Fate seemed to conspire against Eve. If she aced her exams and had a job offer in hand, the business would burn to the ground the day before she began work. If she accepted the engagement with her first love, he’d decide to elope with a bodybuilder named Troy, two months before the wedding date that they had urged their friends to save. If she qualified to become a field agent, she accidentally shot the first double-oh that came into her sight. If she planned a Christmas getaway as a surprise for her boyfriend of four months, he’d utter a pathetic “It’s not you, it’s me,” excuse before flouncing off into the night, leaving a befuddled waiter holding a plate of Coquille St. Jacques that Eve would never taste.

*

The break-up with Rodney bothered her more than she let on to her friends.

“I’m going on holiday to Singapore alone,” she told Tanner the day before she left.

“Are you sure?” Tanner asked. “We can always reschedule your holiday if you’d rather work through it.”

“You’re just jealous because you’re stuck in London, darling. I hear it’s going to snow by the weekend.”

“Just make sure you don’t leave before tomorrow’s Secret Santa drawing,” Tanner said.

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” Eve assured Tanner, although her thoughts were miles away.

She took the elevator to Q-Branch. She couldn’t leave on holiday without whisking her bestie off for a round or two.

Q was a bit more sympathetic than Tanner.

“I can ruin Rodney’s credit, if you’d like,” he said over drinks in the martini bar they visited every Thursday night after work.

“You’re the best,” Eve said, letting her head fall onto Q’s shoulder.

“Anything for a friend,” Q said as he petted her hair, his fingers catching in her springy curls.

Eve settled for deleting Rodney’s contact information from her mobile. She couldn’t let Q risk getting in trouble for tampering with her ex-boyfriend’s data, although the boffin had been known to tamper at will when it came to helping his cherished friends. She thanked Q for the offer and went home to pack her bag, facing the world with the usual aplomb that her colleagues expected of her.

The next day, Eve made a quick stop at Vauxhall before boarding the plane for Singapore. She’d be lying if she didn’t admit that she considered cancelling the whole thing, but she had earned her time off and she was damn well going to use it before Mallory decided she was too indispensable this close to the year end. She dismissed his concerns with a wave of her hand and reminded him that she’d be back in time for the annual MI6 holiday party. He needn’t know the details of her non-existent love life. After the Secret Santa drawing, she checked out for the day.

As the plane taxied down the runway, Eve reached into her wallet and took out the scrap of paper that displayed the name of the co-worker for whom she was to play Secret Santa. A single letter, scratched out in Tanner’s unmistakable penmanship, graced the centre of the paper.

She smiled and told herself that Tanner wouldn’t have rigged the drawing.

Or maybe he would?

If one good thing came of this holiday, Eve was visiting the right part of the world to get Q a gift that he would rave about. She silently thanked Tanner for the easy pick.

*

The week passed more slowly than Eve would have liked. She could only spend so much time lounging in the sun at the skypark, high above the bay. Each day, she secured her spot just after breakfast when the sun shone its brightest on the infinity pool. The weather in London promised a rainy chill that made Eve shiver when she thought about it. She took her place on her chaise and spent the mornings gazing over the skyscrapers that towered like stalagmites across the water. Only her magazine lay facedown on the empty chaise beside her where her lover should have sunbathed. In the afternoon, she’d browse in the shops that lined the walkways of Bayfront Avenue. Day after day, she followed the same lonely routine. Some holiday—she’d be glad when it was over.

Standing at the window in her robe, Eve found the cord to the blinds and drew them open. The sunlight spilled onto the empty bed. Eve sighed at the reminder at how she had spent her holiday. It seemed a shame to waste the lovely view on herself alone in this exotic land. She’d feel better when she got back to work at MI6.

Outside the window, the equatorial sun baked the sidewalks that crawled through the gardens below. Even in the coolness of the hotel room, Eve felt the warmth emanating through the glass. She gazed across the bay to where the Merlion sprayed a gush of water into the harbour. She had spent an entire week exploring the city so she knew the Merlion stood taller than a storey of the SIS headquarters at Vauxhall cross. From her suite, the half-fish half-lion looked no taller than the bulldog statue M had left to Bond in her will. The tourists wandered around the white sculpture, taking photos and dipping their hands into the cool clear water that spewed from the Merlion’s mouth.

Q’s Secret Santa gift sat atop the windowsill. Boxed and wrapped, the tiny package could ride back to London in Eve’s handbag without raising any red flags at the airport.

Eve brought the package to her nose and closed eyes. She inhaled deeply.

Yellow Gold Tea Buds could be purchased only at the TWG shop in Singapore. It was the most expensive thing Eve bought on her holiday and the most expensive tea in the world. Fifty pounds for a meagre ounce of the tiny gold flakes—it would be a fine gift for a tea-connoisseur like Q.

Of course, Q could buy the extravagant tea himself if Bond would take him on holiday once in a while. Eve opened her eyes and set the box back on the windowsill. Unfortunately, Bond didn’t use many of his days off for travel—his missions took him away from England so often that coming home to Q must seem like a holiday in itself to Bond. And Q hated flying—but even Q had been known to make an exception about travelling by plane since he and Bond became a couple. Eve was sure that Q would love Singapore. She gazed through the window to where Artscience Museum spread its robotic fingers like a blossoming lotus across the bay. It was just the sort of thing that Q would drag Bond out of bed to see.

A sly smile crept across Eve’s lips when she thought about her bestie and the fact that Bond was utterly smitten with him. It wasn’t too far from Singapore that Eve once travelled in Q’s place to help Bond get a handle on Silva before they knew what they were up against. Perhaps Bond and Q would have hooked up sooner if not for Q’s aversion to flying in his early days at MI6.

Truth be told, Eve was a bit jealous of her bestie. Some people were lucky in love, and Q was one of them. He had been given the title of Q for only a few weeks when Bond returned from the dead—all suave and freshly reassigned to the double-oh program. Bond’s charm worked overtime on the new quartermaster.

Poor Q had done the best he could to resist Bond’s advances. Eve knew how difficult it was to thwart Bond’s flirtatiousness. It didn’t surprise her that Q succumbed. Eve had thought for years that she might be the one to seduce Bond into domesticity, but nothing had ever come of it, unless you counted a close shave in Macau. It was there that she first fell in love with this part of the world. Good food, good wine, a certain signature cocktail that tasted of summer cherry and the bite of juniper berries. It seemed the perfect place for a winter getaway. But Eve’s heart was back at MI6. The friends she had made there meant more to her than her fleeing boyfriend of four months. She would settle on admiring Bond’s luscious arse from afar, happy in the knowledge that he doted on Q.

Eve shook her head. Noticing the time, she decided she’d better get packed for her return to London. Singapore was glorious, but with Tanner in charge of the Secret Santa drawing, she knew there would be something special waiting for her under the MI6 Christmas tree.

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