“Q! Where is the exit?!”
Alec threw himself into the next room, barricading the door while cursing in Russian. The mission was not going well.
A few days ago he was sent to Calais, infiltrating an underground weapons dealer syndicate with the target to gather as much information as possible. Preferably head of the operation, other location, routes, everything to dismantle it.
He had been able to get the information and thus they would be able to bring them down. But that had been hard work. As it seemed, his dear Quartermaster was not exactly concentrating.
Alec knew the reason. Just before he had been about to depart from headquarters, James Bond, in his name 007, had swaggered back into Q-Branch as if he had never left and like he would every day. The Russian had been surprised, but not more than Q. The poor boffin had looked like a deer in headlights and Alec had pitied the guy a little.
The agent knew that Q had a huge crush on Bond, maybe it run even deeper than that. And the guy had given completely up on him ever returning. Alec knew better of course, but be couldn’t fault him for it. So the Quartermaster was distracted. Especially since James had spent his time since his return constantly in Q-Branch, bugging and distracting Q like it was his new mission. Normally Q would have been able to ignore him, but the guy was still reeling from his return and thus not completely in his mission.
Which was a terrible thing right now because that was the reason his mission was so messed up. His cover had been blown two days in, Q was slow in opening doors for him and getting into the system and his escape routes were nowhere near his normal work. He had to depend on his instincts more than usual. He had never been gladder to be this seasoned and long in this business than now. Since Q had taken over, his missions had become so much easier, since he had always been able to depend on him and Q-Branch but he had never forgotten how to work by himself.
But even his normally exemplary good luck had to run out somehow. He was currently stuck in a room, without a chance to escape and Q was distracted. This was probably the worst case scenario.
“Give me a minute.” Alec heard the pressed voice of his Quartermaster, getting panicked himself.
“I don’t have a minute. If you don’t come up with a plan in the next 20 seconds, I’m gonna be in deep shit.” He retorted angrily.
“You’ll be fine. You’ll get out of this, like always.” The voice of James came through his earpiece. He sounded calm on the surface but Alec had known him for long enough now that he could hear the worry and panic underneath.
Of all times James could have returned, it had to be now. If James could have only waited a few more days. Then he wouldn’t be in this deep.
He could hear Q cursing and he knew it was over. Q never cursed. And when he did, it was a sign that it was hopeless. He had been able to buy himself a few minutes when he had entered this room and barricaded it as best as he could, but that was it. He had known the whole building was a dead end, but it was where the information was. He had been able to send Q all data but that was it. He had clung to the foolish hope that Q and him would have been able to find a way out but alas, it was not to be. He knew it was over.
Alec grinned bitterly, still thinking about a way to get out. But the more he thought about it, the more hopeless his situation was. Maybe he would be able to fight a bunch of them of, but there was no way he would be able to kill this massive army that was on their way to him.
“Hey Q.” Alec suddenly felt calm. He somehow knew that it would end now. What he also knew that he would be tortured and when they would realize that he would not talk or when they would get bored of him, they would kill him. He had always known that this would be his fate. Always knew that he would end up like this. But he had hoped … for a foolish second, that maybe he would be spared.
Alec had never wanted a different ending. To go out in a blaze and glory, that had been something to strife for. But now? He could only feel regret. He had started to hope to be one of the few who could make it to the mandatory retirement age and then … he could have been a father.
Until now the thought of a quite retirement had never crossed his mind and if he had a few minutes to think about it, he had only felt dread. He had never wanted to end like that because he knew he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. But for the last weeks retirement had sounded like a wonderful dream.
He had thought about buying a house close to her. Inviting her to live with him. Enjoying the time he would be able to spend with her and go to her school. Maybe search for a new job close to her. It had sounded so good in his head. But now? It was not meant to be after all.
“006, hold on, extraction is on the way.” The pressed voice came over the coms and Alec laughed a bitter laugh.
“Stop it Q. We both know that it’s too late. Spare yourself the trouble.” He retorted and sighed, a sad smile gracing his face.
There was silence over the coms. The only noise he could hear was the heavy breathing of Q and his furious typing. He was not one to give up after all. Even James was not saying anything and that had to mean something. The guy had always some quip on his lips. He would have liked to hear him one last time. Oh well. There was nothing he could do now except wait.
Alec sighed. Maybe there was something Q would be able to do for him after all.
“Q? You listening?” He asked, voice deceptively calm and serious.
“I am, 006.”
Alec knew that Q would feel guilty for weeks, if not months, especially since he knew that the boffin knew that he could have done a better job today. Yet, he wasn’t angry at him. At all. Not even a little. The two had grown close through the coms as he had always be his handler for all his missions since James left and even before that. He knew that his death would be a terrible one and he didn’t want the boffin to beat himself up too much about it. But he knew that there would be nothing he could do now to prevent this.
“We both know I’m not coming home. At least not without a body bag. So can I ask a favour of you?”
He could hear Q’s breath hitching and his typing faltering. After a few seconds the defeated voice of him returned.
“Of course. Everything you need.” He sounded tired and sad. Alec smiled.
“Last week I did a few changes to my will but I haven’t been able to go to the lawyer. I was too busy. So can you do me the favour of doing it for me? Make sure that everything in the testament will come to fruition?”
He was not lying. He had been thinking those last few months and had realized that there would always be a chance of not returning when he was out on a mission. And that he had never really claimed Mildred as his daughter. He knew that she was his, but nowhere was it stated. So he had worked on the paperwork and a few other changes, but had never had the chance to submit it before he had been send back into the field.
So his testament was still on his desk, just waiting to be sent away.
In it he had declared Mildred to be his sole heir. She would get everything he had ever owned. Alec didn’t want his daughter to ever want for anything, so he had made sure that she would be the only one to get access to it.
When he now thought of his little girl, he felt regret and sadness crawling up his chest. The last months had been the best of his life. He had never felt so alive, so loved and special. He had never thought he could even feel that way. Mildred had been his salvation and happiness. Being her father had been the best thing that could have ever happened to him. He had been blessed every morning when he had woken up to a message of his daughter, and even the blissful week where she came out of her room still sleepy, and every evening when he could say good night to her. The last few months truly had been a wonderful time.
Maybe that was the reason he would now die. Agents like him would never have this pleasure for long. Such happiness and contentment was not meant for people like him. People, who lie, steal, fuck, and kill their way through a mission and do it without a single bit of regret.
But at least he would die knowing what it was like. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.
“Of course,” The choked up answer came through his earpiece and Alec chuckled. “Everything you need.”
“Hey Q?” He had to say this. “Don’t feel bad over me too much, alright? Promise me that.” Q didn’t answer. Oh well. He would get over it.
Alec had one last thing to do. He knew there would be no way out of it but there was one last thing he had to do before he would be gone.
So he fished out his personal cell phone and entered speed dial, ignoring the confused question on his coms. They would have found out sooner or later, so he didn’t really mind.
“Hi. It’s the mailbox of Mildred Hubble. If I’m not answering, then I’m very sorry but I’m probably busy right now. Just leave me a message with your name and maybe number though and I’m sure to call you back as soon as possible. Bye!”
As he predicted, the number send him directly to the answering machine. He knew that Mildred was currently in the middle of class and would not be able to pick up the phone. But being able to hear the voice of his little girl calmed him down and he felt at peace. He was sad that he would not be able to talk to her directly, but maybe it was better this way.
“Hey Mildred. It’s me, your dad.” He ignored the surprised gasp in his other ear. “I know, you’re probably surprised that I’m calling your even though I’m on a mission. It’s just, I wanted to leave you a message one last time.” He breathed in deep to calm himself down. “I also wanted to hear your voice since it’s going to be the last time I hear it. Listen Millie, I’m sorry. I know I promised you that I’m going to visit you on parents’ day, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep it. The mission didn’t end like I had hoped and I’m pretty much stuck. I don’t think I’ll ever get out of this alive, so I thought I should call you because you deserve to know and I just wanted to tell you a few things before I have to go. Things I should have told you earlier, but have been too afraid to tell. So I’m going to do it now.”
He took a deep breath, deciding to tell her everything she deserved to know and he didn’t care if all of Q-Branch heard him.
“Mildred, since you came into my life, I have never ever felt so happy. I have never told you that, but we field agents don’t life a happy life. I had never expected anything and was fine with it. But then one day you arrived at my balcony and it was like the sun had finally decided to break through the clouds and spring had finally come. It sounds cheesy, I know, but that’s how I feel. Talking with you is the highlight of my day and your texts in the morning give me more energy getting up than anything else. You caring for me like you do is nothing I had ever expected and something I didn’t know I needed. So knowing I would come home and you would be waiting for me, it’s like a sweet dream, only it has been my reality. You have made me feel human again. And I haven’t felt human for a long time, if ever. Knowing you and having you for a daughter is the greatest gift I could have ever hoped for and I want to thank you for it. I know I have never said it before because I was afraid and a coward, but I should have told you that every time I had to say goodbye, so I want to say it at least once. I love you.”
Alec supressed his tears. He could hear the footsteps coming closer and someone hammering against the door.
“Good bye Mildred.”
He hung up the phone and took a shuddering breath. Waiting for his end. His coms were suspiciously quiet.
The door to his hiding place broke open and inside came an army of fully armed men, all holding him at gunpoint. The leader, a short man with grey hear and a smug grin on his face entered, staring triumphantly at him. Alec was taken prisoner and hauled into a dark room in the basement. He knew what awaited him and he would bear it with dignity.
“Any last words?” The man asked, motioning for two burly men to come forward.
Alec only grinned smugly at him.
“Do your best.”
On the other side of the English Channel in a classroom of young witches, the phone of one Mildred Hubble blinked inside her bag, indicating that she had a new message.
“You have one (1) missed call.”