The low thrum of a cell phone vibrating on a hard wood surface pierced the silence of the hotel room, pale morning light of London peeking through the drawn curtains. The phone thrummed heavily again, sliding closer to the edge of the night stand as it shook. Just before it toppled off the beveled edge, a hand shot out from under the thick duvet, as quick as a scorpion's tail and snatched the device; retreating under the bedding just as quickly.
A throat cleared hastily as the call was answered. "Bond."
The voice on the other end forwent all greeting, saying the code phrase with a faint Irish lilt. The call disconnected mere seconds later, the message delivered.
James let out a soft expletive and let his head fall back unto the pillow, his phone slipping from lax fingers to fall at his side. A soft and sleepy snuffle came from near his shoulder as the warm body tucked against him shifted.
"Mmm'z ur dayoff" Tony mumbled, rubbing his morning stubble against the broad shoulder beneath him. "… tell 'em to bugger off."
James chuckled, pressing a kiss unto his lover's wild bed head "As much as I'd love to tell M to bugger off my dear, I'd rather not be strung up by my toes, naked, at the Tower of London."
Tony huffed a laugh and raised his head to smile at James. "M wouldn't do that, you're her favourite. Plus, she's more of a toothpicks under the toenails kind of gal."
"I'm her 'favourite' pain in the arse you mean." James barked a laugh. "One day she's going to have me shot."
Tony bit his lip as he laid has hands across James chest and rested his chin on them; his chocolate brown eyes bright with humour. "Yeah, in the arse I bet. She knows that you hate nothing more than sitting at a desk for days on end."
"Ugh" the darker man grimaced. "I'd rather take the toothpicks."
Just then another phone rang, this time classical music piercing the quiet hotel room. Tony groaned loudly, whipping the heavy duvet away from their sleep warm bodies and flopped over dramatically, grasping at his phone and swiping to answer.
"Q" he barked, blinking rapidly in the pale morning light. James sighed and watched the dust motes float in the air as his lover listened silently to whatever message was being relayed.
A spark of irritation ran through him. Tony was right, this was their day off. The first one they'd been able to have together for weeks. MI-6 had kept him running ragged for the past month with three missions in as many weeks. Granted they'd all been cut and dry but the travelling in between had kept him away from London and his lover for far too long in his opinion.
As his lover and genius partner grunted answers to whatever he was hearing, james began to press soft kisses along the man's neck and jaw line. Tony huffed silently but didn't move away, tilting his head to give James better access.
As the head of Q Branch, Tony was privy to more information than he was but James didn't mind. Stepping into the shoes of 007 and becoming the latest "Bond" was already a trip and a half but he'd done it to protect his country and by extension the world.
He'd been planning to go career in the RAF when he'd been shot down in enemy territory. After a few weeks of torture escape and making his way out of the burning desert, he'd scouted as a potential double-o. now he was a man with a license to kill for queen and country.
Tony hung up the phone and let the phone from his fingers as he moaned, his lover's mouth on his neck driving him crazy.
"I… " he gasped, squirming helplessly under the other man's expert ministrations. "There's a situation. We need… ah fuck…. We need to go in."
James let one hand caress his lover's taut stomach, reaching further to palm Tony's erection. "Surely we have enough time for a quickie."
Tony gasped, arching into the touch. His generous mouth spread into a wide and wicked smile, his eyes sparking with mischievous humour.
"We can if we do it in the shower. We'd have to grab a quick coffee though. I'll call ahead and place an order for room service. It should be here by the time we're ready."
James made a show of thinking on the matter before grinning and rolling out of bed with a whoop. He leaned back to steal a peck from Tony's mouth before making his way to the en suite bath.
"Excellent, love. That's why you're the man with the plan."
"Too right" Tony agreed as he followed close behind.
just a reminder. everyone is british in this. unless they are from another country and that is said explicitly. thank you. this has a public service announcement.
James exited the elevator, adjusting his cuffs as he made his way down the long and empty hallway. The taste of hotel coffee and Tony's kisses lingered on his lips and he absently licked them with a small, smug smirk. Their joint shower had proved very satisfying and made the rushed breakfast of mediocre coffee and hot buttered scones while they dressed worth it. He gave a surreptitious glance at the nearest camera, not wanting anyone watching to see him smiling like a lovesick clown in MI6 headquarters.
The door to his 'office' opened and the redhead at the secretary's desk looked up with a shrewd glance.
"M's looking for you." She greeted with a sharp look him while holding his messages aloft for him to take. "She's called three times for the morning already."
"And a good morning to you too Miss Moneypenny." He rolled his eyes and gave her a wide and smarmy grin, taking the offered messages and flipping through them one by one. "And how has your day been going so far? Mine? Well… I was actually enjoying a rare day off thanks for asking."
She gave him an unimpressed glare. "You're not the only one who was thinking of having a bit of a lay in today. At least you weren't called in to office at three in the morning."
James frowned, slipping the messages into his jacket pocket. That was a concern.
"Ah… I see."
They shared a knowing look and he took in the faint signs of fatigue on her face, expertly covered by her flawless makeup. If he hadn't known Moneypenny as long as he had and if they hadn't grown to be such close friends and colleagues, he would never have seen the subtle signs she was giving off.
She was concerned about something. Whatever it was that had gotten her out of bed and into the office in the wee hours of the morning. Had gotten both him and Q called in on their day off. Thatwhat ever it was that had M wanting to see him ASAP.
Finally, he nodded to her and she exhaled slowly and turned back to her computer. He'd let her know what he could. Depending on how much of a potential cluster fuck he was walking into.
M's secretary waved him in without a word, a harried look on his face as he spoke softly and urgently on the phone. James took a fortifying breath and knocked sharply on the door. A kurt 'Enter' had him stepping through and closing the massive double doors behind him.
M's desk was a gigantic glass monstrosity that Tony gushed smugly about on occasion. Smoky smart glass with everything from secure server and communications hub, bomb resistant- shatter proof glass and secret access panel that opened up to reveal the entrance to a secret bunker and escape hatch.
As it stood, M was the most protected woman in the United Kingdom. While she sat at that desk of course. Shrewd brown eyes stared at him as he took the offered seat.
"Mum" he bowed his head slightly.
"007." She tapped one lacquered red nail on a slim red file on her desk. There were multiple stamps and blacked out words on the cover alone and that did not bode well for the contents. "Sorry about calling you in on your day off. It couldn't be helped."
James figured as much. M wasn't much for standing on ceremony with her agents. She was very forward and direct and he liked that about her. It was a welcome change to some of the right bastards who'd been his CO over the years. She was unapologetic yet knew how and when to ask forgiveness.
Her white grey hair was secured in a graceful knot at the back of her head, pinned with a vintage silver and pearl hairclip shaped like a dragon. It went well with her charcoal suit and red shoes and lips.
She slid the slim folder over the desk towards him, watching carefully as he picked it up and flipped it open. James felt his mouth fall open as he read what little information the file held.
"This is verified?" he blinked up at his boss. She'd gone to stand near her office windows, looking out unto the Thames in deep thought. She turned back to face him.
"Verified by two independent sources. Agents died to get that information to us. Too many in my book. But the information is here and it's ours to act upon."
Her face was serious as she walked back to her desk and sat down.
"Hydra has done it. After all these years. They've taken Pym's work to its final solution. They've completed Project U.L.T.R.O.N."
James took one last look at the meagre information in the file and handed it back to his boss. American Scientist Hank Pym had disappeared over five years ago from a research facility in Siberia. He'd been all but exiled there after too many mad schemes and experiments had black balled him in the eyes of most reputable scientific community and most military R&D departments.
He'd finally found a place deep in the Russian styx, funded by some two-bit terrorist group. No government had taken the group seriously and had laughed off Pym's attempts at science. One of the projects had been a fledgling AI that he'd tried to pass off as a weapons system.
No one had been interested. Well, almost no one.
It seemed that Hydra had been very interested in what Pym was plying. No one had known it at the time though. Most people had written the man off as dead from drinking himself to death or frozen to death in some Siberian snow bank. Turns out he'd been working in a Hydra lab all this time. Willingly or unwillingly was still to be determined.
Now that ULTRON's existence was confirmed, it was only a matter of time until Hydra deployed their shiny new weapon on the world.
"The mission?" he sat forward in his chair.
M sat back in hers. "We have a lead on where ULTRON may be installed. A a very small window to find and access it. I want you to find ULTRON. Find Pym. Bring them both in. If you can't bring them in. Take them out."
James nodded, plans and contingencies already sprouting in the back of his mind. "On it, Mum."
"James" M called to him just as he reached the door.
He turned back to face her. "Mum?"
"The Americans and the Russians are also looking into this. I don't want either Pym or ULTRON falling into foreign hands."
He nodded solemnly before leaving the office.
Q Branch was a hive of activity, men and woman in lab coats and overalls bustling this way and that, crowding around half finished and hideously complicated looking machines and gadgets.
On a raised platform near a bank of large monitors, Q stood like a composer to some futuristic orchestra. He cut a fine form in his pressed grey slacks, white shirt and thin wool maroon jumper. James knew from experience who soft that jumper was to the touch, how snug the slacks fit against against Tony's arse and thighs as he bent over to reach for something, how crisp white the starched shirt looked against the olive skin of his chest.
He felt a warm curl of smug satisfaction deep in his gut that he was privileged with such intimate knowledge. To most of the world, MI6's Q was a charismatic, genius engineer and inventor, one of the smarted men of his time and the brain behind the 00's various gadgets. To James though, he was just Tony, the awkward anime geek who binged on Downton Abbey and had trust and intimacy issues a mile wide.
But that was at home. Here they were Bond and Q. Professional in every way.
"007" The brunette grinned and waved him forward. "Just the agent I was looking for. Come, come this way. I've got so many goodies to show you. It's like Christmas in July."
He guides him to one of the large multi-touch tables which lights up under his ministrations. "As usual, we have the basic 00 package ready for you. Astin Martin, fully kitted out with all the goodies and our brand new reflector stealth shielding. Usual watch with laser cutter and high tensile wire which can take up to three times your body weight. "
He gestured to another table. There was a tasteful men's ring, a diamond set in platinum or so it seemed.
"Giving me a ring, Q." James joked. "Seems a bit presumptuous of you."
Q's laugh was loud and carefree. "As if, 007." he countered, giving James a sneaky look from the corner of his eye. "If I ever give you a ring, you'll know exactly what it means."
They share a brief smile, Tony's eyes showing the warmth and love that his face could not, would not show at the work place.
"The band is titanium alloy, the jewel is a new synthesis that the boys in the lab have been working on. Cuts through anything like a hot knife through butter. Twist the setting until is clicks and it becomes a timed explosive."
He demonstrated the mechanism before handing it over. It fit perfectly, as usual and James suppressed a chuckle. Trust Q to know all of his measurements. There was the usual programmable holographic face net capsule, an electronic master pass key that worked on most electronic and password secured locks .
There was a bulletproof phone, guaranteed not to go the way most Bond owned phone went. James grimaced under Q's glare 'o' death. Granted he'd lost his phone in some pretty spectacular ways in the past.
"Say Hello to FRIDAY" Q handed him the phone as if presenting the grand prize in a game show. "She's a pocket AI I installed into the phone. She's a right savage beaut. Can hack almost anything you could come up against and communicate seamlessly with most satellites in orbit."
Brown eyes shone as the brunette's voice dropped low.
"You can pretty much go anywhere in the world and we would be able to find you."
James swallowed heavily at the words left unsaid. "Good to know"
Q grinned and reached over to pick up a small carbonite case. It was matte black and ridged for a better grip. It looked like a high end glasses case.
James grinned in return. "OK I'll bite. What's in the case?"
"It's not about what's inside…" The genius huffed. "It's about what it's made off."
He took out a small device from his pocket and pressed a small button. Suddenly the solid black case in his hand fell apart into a fine glittering black dust which fell through his fingers and unto the table.
James gaped openly before spreading into a gleeful grin.
"Nanodust. You got them to work? That's Brilliant."
Q nodded excitedly. "Thanks. Finally. That's the other reason you have FIRDAY. She controls the dust to form any shape you need. She has a few presets like key, knife, wire but she can get them to do simple tasks like open a door, block a camera lens or even bring you small objects."
He ran his fingers through the dust and encouraged James to do the same. The dust was slippery and shone dully as it slipped off his fingers easily. James was very impressed. another press of a button and the dust molded itself back into the original case form.
"… And if push comes to shove, they can make a crude targeted explosive."
And there was the Tony he knew and loved.
He looked down at the phone to hide the no doubt fond expression on his face and saw the startup graphic flash across the screen. A thumb print prompt appeared and he placed his finger on the small square. After scanning, the welcome screen blossomed to life.
[Hello 007] the phone said in a soft Irish accent. [I'm your girl FRIDAY and after studying your mission files and field reports, I have a built a basic understanding of your tactics and strategic thinking. I look forward to assisting you on the field and expanding my database to be of better help.]
James blinked, nonplussed for a moment. "Thank you FRIDAY. I look forward to working with you too."
He quirked an eyebrow at Q. "My ... gal Friday?"
The brunette laughed, "Yeah, I figured you'd need someone to keep up with you and your reckless behaviour. She's like a mix of M, Moneypenny and me. Someone who will have your back out there in the big bad world."
James felt his heart twist at the subtle concern in his lover's words. Granted, he had someone to come home to, someone to live for but in the end he served Queen and Country and with that came certain dangers.
They both knew that any one of his missions could end in his death, whether it be by enemy fire or self-sacrifice. Q just wanted to hedge the bets in their favour. This way, there was a way he could be out in the field with his lover… in some small way. The sentiment warmed James' heart.
"Thanks Q" He nodded, flipping through the various apps installed on the phone. "Can she help with writing field reports?"
Before Q could speak the phone piped up [Sorry Boss, but from reading your previous field reports, I'm going to need an upgraded decryption algorithm to deal with your chicken scratch.]
"Chicken Scratch?" James gave the phone an affronted look while Q gaffawed at his side before muttering a dark "Cheeky."
The brunette faked at wiping a tear away as he caught his breath.
"Less than five minutes and she has your number already 007." he gasped, pressing a hand to his chest as he grinned, " This is going to be epic, I can tell already."
James gave him a withering look as FRIDAY chirped in his hand.
"I think that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"
And he had to admit, deep in his heart of hearts, it probably was.
Part 3 - The Mission
James snuck along the empty corridor, keeping to the cold stone walls of the castle.
'What is it with bad guys and castles anyway?' he grumped to himself, favouring his left side as he slinked along on booted feet. He was still recovering from the fight he'd gotten into in Madripor, the first stop on his mission.
Analytics had determined that the smuggler's paradise island state would be the most likely place for Hydra to begin finding new clients for their newly acquired Weapon of Mass Destruction.
Q had scoffed quietly at the very idea. The new black market existed in the deep web, he'd mused, ULTRON won't be in some briefcase ready to change hands. On the other hand, Hydra was full of tricky bastards. They may have it on a fucking external hard-drive for all we know.
And he'd been right, on both accounts. Ironically. Hydra had been fielding bids from various shadowy buyers on the dark web while ULTRON was being kept in a red box. One of the most secure storage devices known to the spy community. Rumour was that the box was keyed to Pym's voice and heart beat and both program and scientist came as a package deal.
The search in crowded and dangerous streets of Madripor had eventually led James to the outskirts of the rural African nation of Wakanda. There, in the thick jungle, where he'd met up with a sexy Russian KGB agent code named Black Widow, who'd at first tried to seduce him and when that failed, tried to kill him.
She'd gone by the name Natasha but he highly doubted that it was real. Not that it mattered anyway because her title as one of the KGB's deadliest assets was all that James was concerned with.
He'd barely made it out of that particular altercation, picking up a couple of cracked ribs along the way. In their brief exchange in the hotel bar where she'd first approached him, he'd been able to suss out that she was also after ULTRON. Apparently the Russians had been pissed off that such a powerful weapon had been smuggled out of Siberia from right under their noses.
He'd only managed to get away from the redhead and her killer thighs when they'd stumbled upon a party of fierce looking African warrior women. It had then been every spy for themselves as the war party descended on them both yelling about Wakanda in Xhosi. He'd scarpered, losing his pursuers in the thick African wilds.
Next he'd been sent to Stutgart, Germany where he'd run into his American Counter parts. At least what seemed to be his counterparts from America. The pair of them were strange and nothing like he knew his American spy brethren to be.
The first man, Rogers was huge, built like a brick shit house and way too earnest for the spy game. In fact, James was almost sure that his name really was Rogers and not some convenient alias. He'd felt almost sorry for the man until he met his partner and most likely handler.
Barnes was the spy, that much was sure. Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know came to mind when thinking about Barnes. He had a level head on his shoulders that seemed to temper Roger's righteousness, with sharp eyes and excellent knife work. It was only when they ran into a Hydra cell that the reason the men were paired together became evident.
Rogers was a powerhouse of speed, strength and stamina. James had actually gaped in amazement at seeing the man in action before Hydra gunfire and FRIDAY's irate buzzing had brought him back to his senses. Barnes had worked in tandem with the large blonde to devastating effect. It was a thing of beauty to watch and James was sure that Tony would have been in his glee studying the battle dynamic between both men.
In the end, though, they were after a different prize. The leader of Hydra, Johann Schmidt AKA the Red Skull. Rogers seemed to have some kind of deeply felt vendetta against the man and Barnes just seemed to straight up hate the bastard. They'd been able to pass on some vital information though.
Now he was in the small nation of Sokovia, skulking through a Hydra held castle and trying not to get caught and shot. He'd been able to avoid most of the guards although some of them had already been incapacitated. Most were garroted but some showed signs of the same knife work the Black Widow had tried to use on him in Africa.
So… they were working with a full house.
Rogers and Barnes were tearing their way through another part of the castle, drawing Hydra's attention like the wonderful decoys they'd proven to be. Thank God for Americans and their need to charge in the front door, making a ruckus. Let their vengeance driven mission against the Red Skull provide cover for his search for Pym and ULTRON.
The door to the lab was ajar by the time he got there, the two guards dead and dragged to slump against the wall. Inside, the Widow was making quick work of the scientists and remaining guards. It was chaos as they fell one by one before her knife and pistol. Pym was huddled against the far door, trying to open it and escape.
He'd aged much in the five years since his disappearance, his hair was shockingly white and his face wrinkled from stress. Suddenly the door opened behind him and he fell through, crumpling to the ground at the feet of Schmidt himself.
The Red Skull's face was stern, abnormally red from an accident with one of Hydra's failed experiments years ago that had given him the chemical peel from Hell. His grey eyes were striking with the lack of eyebrows or eyelashes, his mouth a thin line of disapproval.
He grabbed Pym's collar and yanked the man roughly behind him with a snarl. Then it was Red Skull vs Black Widow: Battle Royale.
Seconds later, with a yell of All American Righteous Anger, Rogers barreled into the room, Barnes at his back and it was a free for all. James shook his head at all the drama and quietly backed out of the room unnoticed. He had to see a man about a box.
He found the doctor stumbling about one of the lower levels long abandoned in the chaos, and braced him against the wall.
"Doctor Pym I presume?" he gave a grim smile, "Let's talk ULTRON shall we?"
Pym was surprisingly talkative, FRIDAY happily recording all of the man's confessions as he babbled helplessly. More than enough information for the analysts back home to data-mine to their hearts content. Apparently Pym had been integral to a lot of Hydra's plots in recent years.
After the man had wound down and was sobbing softly, slumped against his restraints; James grabbed the red box and placed it front of the scientist. Placing his phone on top of the case, he pressed his palms against the table on either side of the box and leaned over to stare at the captive man.
"Now Doctor… Let's get down to it if you please."
Immediately Pym stopped trembling and straightened in his seat, his face turning stern as his eyes sharpened. He settled back into the wooden chair James had tied him too, his gaze warily shifting around the small stone room they were in. He slowly shook his head in refusal and James gave a small, highly put upon sigh.
"Ok… the hard way then."
Suddenly Pym's gaze was drawn beyond James shoulder and his eyes widened with fear. For a split second, the hairs rose at the back of James' neck and pain exploded at the base of his skull. Everything went black.
He wakes up hogtied and in pain, his ribs competing with his skull for who hurt more. He tested his shoulders and wrists, seeing how much lee-way he had. Not much. The Black Widow certainly knew her way around a knot or two.
He glanced around the room, spotting his phone on the floor nearby. "Friday girl… you with me?"
The phone beeped and the screen lit up. "I'm still here boss."
James grinned. "Good Girl." He wriggled his wrists, surprising a grimace as the thin rope rubbed his skin raw. "can you remotely activate the laser in my watch. I think I can just angle it to cut this bonds."
"Sure can do Boss…" the phone replied, "… just be careful. You don't want laser off something valuable. Something tells me that Q would be very upset with the both of us if that happened."
"Tell me about it." James barked a laugh. "How long have I been out?"
"About ten minutes. The Black Widow worked fast. She got you secured then took off with Pym and the Box. I'm tracking them en route out of the castle. If you hurry, you may be able to catch them at the outer ramparts."
"Let's do this then."
It was tricky and he came way to close to harming himself but between them they got him free. Rubbing his sored wrists and twitching his nose at the smell of singed arm hair, he did a quick inventory of gadgets and smirked.
Either the Widow was getting sloppy or she really underestimated Q's gear.
Swiping up Friday and tucking her into his coat, he checked the door. It was locked and the locking mechanism seemed to be melted to slag by some kind of localized heat source.
He glanced at the tiny high windows then back at the door. He couldn't use the watch laser again so soon, it needed time to recharge.
"Ring it is then." he huffed to himself, slipping the simple band and jewel off his finger. Even though the jewel proved sharp enough the score the metal and wood deeply, it would take entirely too long to free himself that way.
Twisting the diamond in its setting until he heard it click, he set the ring against the melted lock and hurried to the other side of the room, pulling the thick wooden table as a blast shield.
The controlled explosion took out half the door with a muffled whump, ripping is half off its hinges and sending splinters flying. The corridor beyond was deserted. All of the fighting long gone.
He quickly made his way up to the main level, FRIDAY directing him up and out of the building. He took out any Hydra he came across but mostly they were stragglers, the last of the group to evacuate.
In the midst of searching the deserted courtyard for a vehicle to steal, he encountered a bruised and bloody Rogers and Barnes.
"Still looking for Pym?" Rogers asked, his blue eyes bright with concern for James.
"Still looking for Schmidt?" Rhodey countered, taking in the Roger's bloody knuckles and tightened jaw. Barnes had a head wound that was bleeding sluggishly.
"The rat bastard went after the redhead with the box." he growled darkly, "Lost him in the goddamned snow."
James pulled FRIDAY from his pocket, on her screen the tracking signal he'd placed on the box blinked steadily as he showed it to the other men.
"How about a little inter agency co-operation?"
Barnes grin looked like Death come calling. "Wha'dya say Stevie? You wanna be a team player?"
Blue eyes glinted like steel. "Fuck yeah."
They soon found a vehicle. Except…
"What the actual fuck?" James frowned. "Is that from fucking World War Two?"
It was a kind of half truck, half tank monstrosity with wheels to the front and large tracks making up the rear. It was old and worn and had probably been in use since the 40s.
Friday made an odd chirping sound. "I can't hack that Boss. I would even know where to start."
"That's a-ok" Rogers grinned, running ahead, "I know how to hot wire this baby. We'll be on our way in no time."
The experience was surreal but the blonde was right in the end. They made good time, rattling down the icy road in a war relic and soon catching up with Schmidt, in mid pursuit of Pym and the Widow.
Using the gun carriage's mounted gun, Barnes sot the tires out of both vehicles, sending both parties into a wild spin. The chase ended in a snow bank with the Widow pulling the now wounded scientist from the wreck.
Barnes pulled out his sniper rifle and took up position. James turned to him, "Pym cannot leave this clearing alive."
Barnes nodded and took aim with his rifle, picking off the rest of Schmidt's guards one by one. Rogers was already running towards the Red Skull's downed vehicle, trusting his partner to provide enough cover.
James made a beeline for the KGB agent at her quarry as the stumbled through the snowy embankment. Pym was bleeding, leaving a trail of blood as he was yanked along.
He finally caught up to the two, the Widow having found herself in sudden open territory. She yanked Pym to stand before her, knife at his neck as she used him as a human shield.
"You won't kill him, Mr. Bond." She taunted James, her red lips twisting into a smirked, "You need him to open the this."
She raised the box in her other hand slightly, the handle of the case hanging daintily from her curled fingers. "If Pym dies… ULTRON is lost… to all of us."
Her lips stretched into a cold smile. "What would your precious MI6 say to that. 007?"
James gave a mirthless chuckle, tilting his head in a mockery of deep thought.
"I think they'd say… Good riddance to bad rubbish actually."
The Widow's eyes widened in surprise for a moment as James dove into a nearby snow bank, shouting to Friday to trigger the nano-dust she'd managed to seeped into the seams of the red box back at the castle.
That had always been the endgame. ULTRON would never end up in anyone's hands.
The red head screamed and dropped the burnt and cracked box, stumbling back as she hugged her burnt hand to her chest. Pym staggered with her, his face going slack as blood gurgled from the bullet wound through his throat.
Good old Barnes. Dead shot in a pinch.
The Black Widow, realizing that her leverage was now dead weight, shoved the body away and dove over a nearby snow bank.
A yell from Rogers had James spinning around, gun raised. Schmidt had Rogers in a bear hug, his mouth frozen in the rictus of a snarl. Roger's yelled out again as Schmidt's arms tightened, throwing his head back as he struggled; blood spotting his lips and chin..
With Barnes' line of sight fucked up, not being able to take out Schmidt without taking out Rogers as well. James burst into a run, priming his watch as he grew closer.
He jumped unto Schmidt's back just as the watch finished priming and pressed the mechanism against the other man's temple just in time for a pressurized pulse to be released.
Red Skull grunted, his arms loosening as his eyes rolled back and he slumped to the ground, unconscious. Rogers fell to his knees next to the slumped form, coughing heavily as he braced his arms against his barrel chest.
Barnes was skidding his way down the incline, running up to them both with his rifle trained on the unconsious form between them.
"Is he dead?" he growled, quickly glancing between Schmidt and Rogers.
"No. Just unconscious…"
James sat back unto the frozen ground and sighed.
"… I figured if anyone deserved to take the bastard out, it'd be you. In return for everything you've done for me."
He gestured back to where Pym's body lay just as it had fallen, his blood turning the snow around him red. The burnt remnants of the red box lay a few feet away, still smoking. The Widow had disappeared.
Barnes looked at Pym as well before turning back to the blond. "Stevie? It's up to you. It's always been up to you."
Rogers looked up at his partner for a long moment before looking back at Schmidt. His blue eyes were dull and exhausted, his shoulders slumped as he braced his chest carefully. Finally he looked off into the snow and slowly stood, Barnes bracing him with a steady arm.
He looked back at the man laying at his feet and blinked slowly. "Kill him."
"You sure?" Barnes asked, even as he nodded and raised his rifle. "Folks back home are mighty interested in what this fucker has to say."
Rogers sneered and spit blood unto Schmidt's jacket.
"This dog has nothing to say."
A shot rang out.
Then another, echoing across the frozen plain.
"I've read your report. I've also read the report the Americans were gracious enough to forward over to us… heavily redacted of course. Good Job on your assistance in taking down a major international terrorist by the way."
"Thank you Mum."
M leaned back in her chair with a frown. Her eyes sharp and piercing as she spoke once again.
"Was there really no way to recover ULTRON or Pym?"
James took a sip from his brandy, meeting her eyes directly. "No, Mum."
She searched his face for a few moments before her red kips curled into a smile.
She slid the files in front of her off to the side of the desk.
"Nice work 007. Keep it up. Dismissed."
James nodded, draining the rest of his drink and standing. He set the glass next to its brethren on the small trolley bar and made his way to the door.
"Oh… 007…" M called to him. "I've scheduled you for some downtime. Two weeks."
James nodded once again, Wondering what he was going to do with all that free time. "Thank you mum."
Oh… and 007…" she was smiling smugly at him now and that never boded well, "I'm making other members of staff take their vacation time as well. We can't have our mission critical staff burning out can't we? You should look into that."
"Mum?" James was confused. It took a few seconds for her words to make sense and he gave her a grateful look. "Thank you Mum."
M's face grew stern once again though her eyes shone with humour. "Get out of my office Bond."
Part four - Coming Home
James pulled the Aston Martin into the gravel driveway, tucking it next to Tony's cherry red Audi A9. The vintage convertible gleamed in the country sunlight, with exquisite chrome details and all original features as close to off the factory floor as Tony could get it.
It was ironic how a man how loved technology so much, loathed to install any such devices in his car. It was just the kind of quandary his lover presented from day to day and James loved how he was never bored.
He grabbed his duffel bag from the back seat and strolled around the side of the mid-sized country Manse. The property had been held Tony's mother's family name for generations and had passed down to him after his father disowned him as a teen.
By then Tony had been safely ensconced in uni at the time and his mother's family had come forward to see after the boy. He'd swiftly become Antonio Carbonell, leaving Anthony Stark far behind him.
It was a two story building with charming features and moss growing up the walls. The small garden was vibrant and slightly wild, the old caretaker only passing once in a while to check on the residence and its grounds.
The back door was open, the dulcet strains of the Three Tenors floating through the air along with the rich smell of authentic Italian cooking.
[Good Afternoon James] a voice came from above his head. He looked up like he always did and smiled.
"Hello JARVIS" he replied, dropping his duffel nearby and toeing off his shoes. "It's been a while since we've been back. How have you been?"
The AI took a moment before responding. [Very well thank you. I am well to spending extended periods of time on my own here at the house, though I do experience intermittent periods of time where I 'miss' Sir's presence as well as your own.]
"I… I've missed you too JARVIS." James blinked up at the nearest hidden camera, a warm feeling blooming in his chest as he smiled. "Maybe you can get Tony to Install you on his phone like how I have FRIDAY. Then you won't have to be on your own all the time anymore."
[I must admit that I have been hesitant to accept Sir's offers in the past, to expand beyond my initial parameters; but FRIDAY has been very open about sharing her experiences with me. Without revealing any classified information of course.]
James nodded in understanding. Tony had just graduated from university when his mother had passed away. JARVIS was a result of those dark and tumultuous months of grief afterwards. The crude AI had grown from a couple of beat up servers in a rundown loft to the dynamic self-learning programme that was wired into almost every inch of Tony's house.
"I'm glad you and FRIDAY are getting along so well" he said, pulling off his gloves and shrugging off his jacket, hanging it on a nearby hook. "She's young still and could use a big brother like you."
[Thank you James] the AI responded warmly, [I shall endeavor to do my best.]
Tony was waiting for him in the kitchen, the makings of homemade pasta on the counter, delicious smelling tomato sauce bubbling on the stove. Tony was tasting the sauce, nodding to himself as he swayed to the music.
James smiled at the sight of his lover in faded jeans and a rumpled white shirt. He slipped his arms around the other man's waist and kissed the back of his neck in greeting.
"Honey, I'm home"
Tony chuckled softly, leaning his head forward to give James better access to his neck.
"I heard you and Jay taking in the hall. I'm glad he's comfortable talking to you. I know he gets lonely sometimes. I keep asking him if he wants to be uploaded to a device like FRIDAY but he never takes me up on it. I think he's afraid of being out in the bigger world. He's always just been at the house, you know."
The brunette sounded worried and James was quick to comfort him. "You should ask him again. He's been talking to FRIDAY and she's been sharing data with him. He just may change his mind about spreading his wings."
Tony turned in his arms and wrapped his own arms around James' neck, pulling him in for a kiss. "Baby boy has the entire world wide web and access to several top secret satellites… which he thinks I know nothing about…" brown eyes gave the nearest camera a mock glare, "… I'm not sure if he can spread his wings any further."
James laughed and pressed his face into his lover's neck, sucking gently at the skin just behind Tony's ear, treasuring the low breathy moan that the action always pulled from his lover.
"I think it's more about him being with you than just being out there." he murmured, kissing his way down Tony's shoulder; his fingers pulling the collar of the shirt to expose more and more skin.
Tony's hands framed the back of his head and pulled him up for a deep and hungry kiss. "I fucking love how you seem to know us both so well."
James grinned, pulling back in order to quirk an eyebrow at the brunette. "That's why they made the double-o, luv. My keen understanding of the human condition." he shrugged up at the ceiling, "Pardon me JARVIS… I should say the human and computational condition."
[Much appreciated] the AI replied as Tony huffed and gently pushed James away, turning back to his pot.
"Flattery will get you everywhere James Bond" he tutted, adding some more herbs to the sauce, "… but heaven help you if I burn this sauce for snogging."
He pointed towards the door to the hallway. "Go take a bath, get changed and squared away. By the time you come down, everything should be ready and you can help set the table."
"Sir, yes Sir" James saluted, dodging a quick jab made with a wooden spoon.
Lunch was sumptuous, as always when Tony broke out one of his grandmother's recipes. James had whipped up a quick fresh salad from the small kitchen garden and Tony opened a bottle of wine.
They washed wares side by side, moving in comfortable silence as they passed dishes between the two of them. Soon enough, the chores were done and rest of the afternoon was spent together with James catching up on his reading while Tony binged on Downton Abbey and Attack on Titan.
James handled dinner, a simple salmon dish paired with white wine with fruit tart for dessert. They talked about simple things, leaving work back in London with their professional lives. It was something he'd never thought he would have.
The life of a Double-o was usually one of solitude and fraught with danger. Previous agents who'd filled the famous shoes had often been unlucky in love, their love interests either not being able to handle the secrecy or, heaven forbid, being used against their loved ones by an enemy.
Not that Tony couldn't handle himself. He was head of Q branch and one of the smartest men on the planet. Not to mention he was a bad ass mother fucker with any weapon placed in his hands. But there was still a small part of James that worried that something would happen, that one of his enemies would learn about Tony and hurt him to get at James.
He'd learned to live with that fear. Learned to function in spite of it. He knew that Tony also felt the same way, that he had his own concerns and fears about his line of work. About seeing James go out mission after mission, risking his life for queen and country.
They'd talked about it a few times, letting each other know the truth about what they were feeling. They may work for an organization that thrived on secrecy but their relationship would not have lasted this long without open and honest communication.
They watched a movie on the couch, tucked against each other. Some generic shoot-em up explosion fest that had James falling asleep on himself as Tony mumbled bitterly about the gadgets and plot holes.
It was so domestic, so normal that once in a while it threw James for a loop how much he appreciated it. Not that he didn't love being 007. One had to have a certain addiction to adrenaline and living on the edge to be a double -o and he had more than a passing fancy for fucking up the bad guy's shit. It was something he'd discussed with many therapists and psycological evaluators over his career. He knew what kind of man he was… what kind of agent he was.
What surprised him was how much he appreciated quiet afternoons together with Tony, doing things normal couple did. He drew the line at having double dates with other normal couples and the like but the quiet evenings at home were a welcome change to the break neck speed at which his life usually raced by.
The familiarity, the comfort, the way he'd come to see Tony's house as home; his London flat just a place to keep his things.
It was late when Tony pulled him up to bed, both undressing in the dark between kisses. James took his time re-acquainting his hands and lips with his lover's body, suddenly extremely grateful to M for forcing them both into this two week vacation. He knew just what he wanted to do for the next two weeks.
Slowly and steadily he drew the most wanton noises from his lover, working his body over until Tony was begging him to just fuck him already. James promptly obliged, preparing his lover properly and eventually thrusting deep into that tight, wet heat.
They rocked together, with heated kisses and wandering hands; falling into an all too familiar and all too satisfying rhythm.
"I love you so fucking much." Tony gasped as he came, his body shuddering in James' arms. He pressed open mouthed kisses to lover's temple, pulling the darker man down for a sloppy kiss.
James bucked his hips faster, losing himself in all that was Tony as he thrust harder, deeper. His vision whited out as he came, Tony's hands strong and steady on his back as he moaned his release.
"I love you too, Tones" James whispered into the brunette's wild curls as they came down afterwards. He quickly took care of the clean-up, returning to the bed and tucking close to his lover under the covers.
Tony wasted no time in stretching out along James' side, his head resting on a broad shoulder. He hummed as he got comfortable. "This is nice. I missed this."
"Me too" James smiled to himself in the darkness. "I didn’t think M had it in her to give both of us a whole two weeks leave at the same time."
Tony barked a laugh, "I told you that you're her favourite."
He poked James lightly in his side and cackled when the other man made a noise and squirmed away. "Besides, you played a part in not only taking down a dangerous Hydra cell, you also prevented a potentially devastating WMD and its inventor from falling into enemy hands. Not to mention you worked with the Americans to put a cap in the arse of the OG Hydra himself, the Red bloody Skull. M probably thought it was Christmas come early."
The darker man chuckled before sighing, "I couldn't have done it without Friday and all of the cool gadgets my favourite Q provided for me."
"Wanker" Tony blushed and buried his face in James' neck. "I'm the only Q you've ever known."
"Doesn't mean you're not my favourite." The agent tightened his hold on his lover briefly, bringing him closer. "The nanodust was truly inspired and that exploding ring got me out of a truly tight spot."
"And my girl FRIDAY…." He grinned at the memory. "She saved my life a dozen times over Tones. Thank you."
"That's… that's good. Well done her." Tony's voice was a bit shaky as he sat up a bit, his brown eyes luminous in the dim light. The pure emotion in them took James breath away and left the man with no choice but to kiss his lover senseless.
By the time he pulled away, they were both breathless and ready for a second round.
"I do have a few suggestions though… you know… for future missions"
Wide brown eyes blinked up at him curiously. "Hmmm?"
"I was thinking along the line of a pair of jam trousers."
James shrugged, keeping his expression earnest in the face of Tony's confusion.
"Maybe a watch that turns into a hamster? A hat that turns into a subbuteo table?"
The shocked silence in the bed lasted only seconds before Tony was on top of him with an indignant shout. James laughed wriggling as he tried to keep his wrathful lover from reaching his ticklish spots.
"See if I ever make cool stuff for you again, you git!" Tony shrieked as he went straight for James' weak spots. "Jam trousers my perfect arse."
That set James off into another peal of laughter, curling into himself as quick, deft fingers found his exposed sides. When Tony finally subsided in his attack James slumped unto the bed, panting weakly from the onslaught.
Tony straddled his hips, smirking victoriously as he looked down at his fallen opponent. He threaded his fingers through his lover's pinning his hands to the bed.
"And now that I have you Mr. Bond…" he smiled wickedly at his lover, rocking his hips in a slow and sensual circle, "What am I going to do with you?"
James narrowed his eyes, testing the hold Tony had on him. It would be exceptionally easy to break out of it and he knew that that was Tony's intention. This was all in good fun and would stop the moment either one of them felt too uncomfortable. He trusted Tony just as the other man trusted him.
He smirked, cocking an eyebrow at the brunette. "You won't get anything from me, Goldencock."
Tony broke character as he cackled, almost falling unto James chest at the super villain name. By the time he'd finally caught his breath enough to fall back into the role play, his brown eyes still shone with suppressed mirth.
"You've proven highly susceptible to my interrogation techniques 007. This is just the beginning of what I intend to do to you."
James bucked gently against the hold, his hardening cock rubbing against the crack of his lover's ass deliciously.
"What do you want me to do?"
Tony leaned in for a hot and dirty kiss, biting gently at James' full lips before leaning back. There was such a naughty expression on his face that James' breath caught in his throat.
Tony grinned wide and wicked, one hand reaching down to grasp his lover's cock, pumping the shaft steadily until it was rock hard and leaking. His voice was low and dangerous, his eyes dark with desire.
"Why, Mr. Bond … I want you to cum."