This moment could not be any more perfect for Bill Tanner right now. He’s finally away from the ill-weathered city of London – not that he hated London, it’s just that it’s always foggy and he couldn’t see anything at those times – and now lying on a beach in Tahiti, the place he’s been dreaming of since his long-distance friend, Phil Coulson, kept going on and on and on about how magical the city was.
But, that’s not all. It’s also because his boss and long-time crush, Gareth Mallory, was lying on the same beach beside him.
It all started at Halloween, when Gareth – it’s Mallory, damn it – casually invited him to have a vacation with him to Tahiti on a memo, like it was something he would ask everyone. Butterflies swarmed his stomach in a wild frenzy as a giddy feeling started to seep over him. He didn’t even realize he was skipping a little bit until Q saw him in the hallway.
“Are you okay, Tanner?” the Quartermaster asked with a confused frown on his face.
A deep red invaded Tanner’s neck and cheeks. “Of course I’m okay, Quartermaster,” he responded. “Shouldn’t you be in your office, Q?” he added.
Now it was Q’s turn to blush. Then, Tanner noticed the mess of his hair, the angry red bruises on his neck, just the dishevelled state of Q that wasn’t him at all. It actually looks like he’s been… oh. OH.
“Well, I won’t be in your way,” Tanner said before making way for Q to return to his office, and most likely James Bond, as well.
He didn’t know how, but he could feel Gareth’s – how many times do I have to remind you, Tanner? It’s Mallory! – stare burning through his side. He immediately felt self-conscious and turns around to look at Gareth – I’m done reminding you, Tanner – and spoke up. “Enjoying the view, Sir?” he asked, just to see if he could get a reaction out of Gareth.
“Well, with a view like that…” the other man trailed off. “it’s hard not to enjoy it.”
Bill immediately blushed and didn’t push more on the subject. He wasn’t even sure if it was him Gareth was talking about. He was snapped out of his stupor when the sound of fabric rustling hit his ears. “Sir?” he asked immediately.
“Yes, Bill?” Gareth asked again, not sure what the Chief of Staff was enquiring.
The sound of his first name that escaped Gareth’s mouth was already enough to make the younger man shudder. Words left his brain and he was rendered stammering in front of his boss, something he has never done in his entire life. One hell of a good job to hide your feelings, Tanner. I told you not to go, but you never listen to me, do you? He silently relieved himself as words came back for his support. “Where are you going, Sir?” he enquired.
“It’s almost midnight,” Gareth answered. “Might as well get some sleep.”
“You’re not gonna watch the fireworks?” Bill returned, realising immediately that he has invited his crush to something that has a high chance of ending with a kiss. And he didn’t regret it at all.
Gareth made a face that said he was really contemplating on whether to go to bed or stay with Tanner and watch the fireworks. Finally, he gave in to the temptation of kissing the full lips that Bill had that he was attracted to for years. “Fine,” Gareth accepted. “Can’t hurt to stay up late for one night, right?”
To say that the next thing Bill did surprised him would be the understatement of the year. Bill held his hand out, as if to offer it to him. In fact, maybe he was. He silently prayed that Bill was and took it.
When they finally came out to the shore, there was only one minute more before 2014 came. Bill decided it was now or never. He had to speak up now before the moment is over. “Actually, I have something-” he and Gareth both said in unison, making them both erupt in laughter. At 30 seconds left, Gareth finally spoke up. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” he said.
Counting could be heard from the crowd right after Gareth finished his sentence.
Bill was rendered speechless when Gareth put his lips on his own. His arms went straight to Gareth’s neck while Gareth’s soon found his waist. They kissed and kissed and kissed, even when the need for air became greater than the need to attach themselves to each other.
It wasn’t the need to breathe that made them break apart, but rather the voice of one James Bond came to his ears. “M, Tanner, never thought I’d see you two here,” Bond said in an unusual gleeful tone with his right arm slowly wounding around Q’s waist, who was also there.
“Well, we all have to take a break once in a while,” was Gareth’s answer. It shocked Bill to see a laid-back version of him. But, with his friends and Gareth there for New Year’s Eve, it wouldn’t be too horrible to say that it was a perfect moment. For all of them.