“I just thought you might go pay a visit,” his mother suggested.
“Me?” Q asked, aghast. “Pay a visit?”
“He must be starved for proper gentleman company, now that he’s settled in so far from London–”
“I am far from proper gentleman company.”
“–and perhaps if you befriended him he could introduce you to some nice heiresses.”
“Heiresses?” Q repeated, baffled and horrified. “What in the world would I do with heiresses?” (x)
Today’s fanfiction recommendation is a lovely historical AU set in the James Bond/Skyfall fandom.
The Courtship of Mr. Bond by marlowe_tops is set in Regency England and is actually more of a Pride and Prejudice AU, when you get right down to it. Q is the eldest brother and breadwinner of the Boothroyd household, with a mother and several sisters of marriageable age to provide for. He works as an engineer, inventing and fixing mechanical items for his neighbors. When a Commander Bond, unmarried and formerly of the Navy, moves into a neighboring estate, Q’s sister Georgiana sets her sights on him as a potential husband—but as Q chaperones Georgiana’s visits to Mr. Bond, the good Commander seems far more interested in Q than in his sister.
The main thing I loved about this story—besides the excellent writing—was its impressive commitment to historical accuracy in the way it portrayed Q and Bond’s burgeoning relationship. Although it’s obvious to the reader that Q is developing romantic feelings for Bond, the character himself is totally oblivious, just as a bookish, antisocial young homebody would be. He doesn’t even consider the possibility that he could be falling in love until he does some research into Plato and realizes that, at some point in history, men and men could be together that way. They also seriously discussed the scandal and societal trouble that two men would encounter if they did choose to live together as Regency era “confirmed bachelors”. This was a nice change from a lot of historically-set AUs, where the author doesn’t really take into account the way the setting might affect the characters’ relationship and development.
Plenty of attention was also given to the details of the Bond canon; most notably, the surname Boothroyd, which marlowe_tops attributes to her Q’s family, belonged to the Q that preceded Ben Whishaw’s Skyfall character. In this story that Boothroyd was Q’s father, and Q’s engineering was inspired by his father’s work.
The only thing that I didn’t like about this fic was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it ended quite happily, but I thought the last few lines were a little trite, and that the story would have really benefited from a final chapter or epilogue exploring Q and Bond’s relationship a little further. All in all, however, measuring those two hundred words against the rest of the story, that is a pretty minor complaint.
The Courtship of Mr. Bond is about 30k words and is a delightful way to spend an hour or two. If you’re interested, you can find the fic here at AO3.