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A Witching Happiness

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Mildred Hubble was not a normal girl. Not in the case of clothing or looks or personality. No, she was not normal because she was a witch. And she went to a school for witches. But even there she was not considered normal.

You see, Mildred didn’t come from a witching family. She was the first one with magical powers. That made her special.

Even if she didn’t think so.

But she got used to it. She didn’t mind being the odd one out. Heck, she didn’t even mind being called the “worst witch”. It was just something she had to get used to.

What bothered her however were the mean pranks of her classmate Ethel Hallow. Mildred didn’t understand what the girl had against her and normally didn’t mind the mean comments from the blonde girl, but this time it hurt. Ethel had manipulated her family tree, which they made in art and who showed them all their known family members.

Ethel knew that Mildred had never gotten the chance to meet her father, that she didn’t even know what he had looked like and had manipulated it and made Mildred believe that her spell-science teacher Mr. Rowan-Webb had been her grandfather. She had gotten her hopes up just to find out that it was not true.

Miss Mould had comforted her the next day when she had shown her how much her tree had grown and how it didn’t matter if she was from a witching family. Mildred had felt better.

The next day the girls were busy grooming their trees and getting the ready to plant them outside. Mildred was the last one in the classroom admiring her tree and smiling at her mum and grandmother. She was about to turn away and leave but something didn’t add up.

The young witch looked up and her mouth fell open. There! The branch next to her mum had sprouted another green ancestor ball!

Mildred tried to look at it properly but they were so high up, she couldn’t see the person inside clearly. But wait. What did that mean?

Her familiar cat Tabby sat next to her looking confused up to his mistress.

The person inside the ball was next to the one from her mother. It was not a family member she recognised and Mildred did not have a big family. But if this person was not from her maternal family side, then this meant …

“Tabby!” She exclaimed, ecstatic over her newfound knowledge, “Do you know what this means? This means he’s from my paternal side, maybe even my dad!”

The young witch scooped her cat up and cuddled him happily while bouncing around.

“I’ve gotta tell Maud and Enid! They’re gonna freak!” She said, letting her cat down gently and running outside, searching for her best friends.

Shortly after they ran back into the classroom, looking up at Mildred’s family tree.

“Wow! You were right! There really is another person up there!” Enid said, starring up in wonder.

“Maybe your spell yesterday really worked after all! That is bats!” Maud looked at the tree.

Mildred grinned, absolute happiness blooming in her chest. “Come one! Help me get the tree down here! I can’t see him from so far away!”

The girl transferred the family tree from the desk to the ground and Mildred finally got her first good look at him. It was a man with strong features. Short blond hair, piercing blue eyes, strong jaw. He looked weathered but had an easy smirk on his face. All in all he was attractive in a rugged way.

“So,” Enid started, looking unsure at her best friend who couldn’t stop starring at the man, “is this your dad?”

After a few moments Mildred choked out: “Possibly?”

“Well,” Maud said after a while, “You certainly look more like your mum.”

The three girls stared at each other when they suddenly heard footsteps – the heavy footsteps from a teacher. After a tense second the three bolted.

~~~~

In the evening the girls met up in Mildred’s room, talking about the development of the day.

“So what are you gonna do now?” Enid asked the red-haired girl. Mildred shrugged.

“I don’t know. I mean,” She played a little with her pajamas, “I told my mum that I would look for him later and that was a maybe. But I didn’t expect the later to be, you know, now.”

Maud nibbled on a cookie. “But you wanted to find him for so long now. You finally have the chance. Why not use it?”

Mildred stroked her cat Tabby who enjoyed it immensely. Finally she righted herself and grinned at her friends, a determined look in her eyes.

“You know what?” She started, “You’re right. I finally got the chance to find him. So I should take it. I’m gonna find my dad!”

Her best friends smiled at her. “And we’ll help you!” They both exclaimed. Mildred hugged them happily.

~~~~

The next day found all three of them in the library, searching for a way to make the person on the family tree either talk or at least tell them their name. They went there as soon as it was lunch and they were done with eating not wanting to waste a single second.

“Are we sure we can find a spell that will help us?” Enid asked after she put back the fourth book.

“We have to. There has to be something!” Maud countered and pulled the next book out.

After a few moments Mildred broke the silence. “There!”

The other two girls threw their books aside and ran to their friend who showed them a magic spell designed for the family tree. “It makes them talk!” She exclaimed and the girls grinned at each other before they sprinted back to the art classroom.

There, all sitting in a row, the trees were still waiting to be planted outside, but the ground was still not prepared for them. So the three girls dragged the Hubble family tree in front of a desk and placed the open book before them.

“Are you sure this is gonna work?” Maud asked, “I mean, no offense, but you’re not really the best witch.”

“I know,” Mildred said with forced calmness, “But I have to try.” She looked at her friends and they smiled at her encouragingly. Then they grabbed each other’s hands and closed their eyes, Maud and Enid channeling their magic to increase Mildreds. Mildred began to chant.

“Through time and space, inside this frame,

State your voice and tell me my father’s name.”

The two girls joined the chanting, hoping with all their power that it would work, for their friend’s sake.

They opened their eyes and let go of each other, waiting with halted breath for the outcome. When nothing was said their shoulders sagged in disappointment and the friends were about to console Mildred, when the man inside the ball started to speak.

“Don’t look so disappointed!” He said with a deep baritone voice and the girls stared at him in disbelief.

“It worked!” Mildred exclaimed happily, hugging her best friends.

“Well yeah. I don’t know what exactly, but if you say so then yes. It did.” The man answered.

Now Mildred began to be nervous. She looked at Enid and Maud and they shoved her forward, giving her an encouraging smile.

Mildred nodded and turned to the tree. “Sir, I’m searching for my father. Obviously it’s either you or at least someone closely related to him. So … can you tell me … your name?”

The girl with the braids got nervous the more she talked and in the end her voice was barely above a whisper.

The man regarded her curiously.

“I certainly can give you my name but … if you’re really my daughter, then you should think really hard about wanting to meet me.”

Mildred got more confused with every word. “Why? Why shouldn’t I want to meet you?”

The man shrugged. “I can’t tell you this, but just know that it will not be easy. You’re still interested?

Mildred nodded. The man sighed. “Oh well, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.”

He smiled at her. “My name is Alec Trevelyan.”

~~~~

Later in the evening the girls were again in Mildred’s room sharing a plate of cookies. Mildred was contemplating the adventures of today.

“What do you think?” Enid asked. Mildred knew what she meant but honestly? She had no idea.

“I don’t know,” she answered truthfully, “I mean, I’ve always wanted to meet him and now he says that I shouldn’t. But I don’t know why.”

“Let’s think rationally. Why should Millie not meet him? Is there a good reason for it?” Maud asked.

“He could be really far away?” Enid said, “He could have not ended on good terms with Millie’s mum?”

“Or maybe …” Maud looked scared to her best friend, “He has a family already?”

Silence. Mildred didn’t meet her friend’s eyes and nibbled at a cookie.

“But I still want to meet him,” Mildred whispered after a while, still not meeting her friend’s eyes.

They smiled at her. “Then you should.” Maud said and hugged her. “You’ll find him.”

“And we will help you.” Enid added and hugged her, too. Mildred smiled at her friends

“Mildred Hubble! Are you having a party?” Ah, the loving voice of Miss Hardbroom.

Enid and Maud scrambled from the bed and hid away.

“No Miss Hardbroom!” Mildred answered, trying to think of an excuse, “I was just … practising.”

Enid started giggling, trying hard to supress it and failing spectacularly. Mildred and Maud stared with clear panic in their eyes. Before they dissolved into laughter, too.

~~~~

Two weeks later and the three young witches spend their late afternoon in Mildred’s room, all bend over a blubbering cauldron.

“Okay,” Mildred said, holding out a hand and a knife in the other. “It says that for the tracking spell to work it has either to be something which belongs personally to the person we’re searching for or the blood of a close relative. Seeing as we don’t have anything from his possessions, it has to be a bit of my blood, right?”

The girls nodded but looked nervous at the knife in Mildred’s hand.

Mildred breathed in and started to cut into her palm, letting a few drops escape her blood vessels.

“Millie, are you sure about that?” Maud asked for the 8th time.

The three girls had researched and had found a tracking spell and spent the last few weeks preparing. The plan was that starting tomorrow it would be two weeks of vacation. Mildred was to use them and search for her father. And in doing so they decided for this spell. It would lead her to him and would also clear the question, if this person was really her father.

The potion and spell would only work if it was the blood of a close relative. It had to be a sibling, child or parent; otherwise it would lead to nothing.

And now the time had come. Tomorrow would be the last day before holidays. Mildred had packed already. The plan was to first return home, passing a time where her mother wouldn’t be, pack another bag with necessities and then start the search for her father with her broom.

Mildred looked at her two friends with determination in her eyes, breathed in deep and let a few drops of her blood fall into the cauldron.

Then she closed her eyes and concentrated, starting to chant.

“Oh magic of mine, search for my father and don’t let me sway,

Be like a needle in a compass and lead the way.”

Mildred repeated the spell, concentrating harder, then looked up. The cauldron bubbled dangerously and the girl was already dreading a disappointment, when all liquid suddenly vanished from the vessel and they heard a strange sound. Like two objects meeting each other.

The three girls looked inside and Mildred grabbed the object, inspecting it. It was a watch. But instead of a clock face and pointers, it had one floating needle inside, always pointing in one direction. Mildred turned it a few times, but it didn’t sway from its destination.

The three girls grinned triumphantly at each other.

“Mildred!” Maud exclaimed, “You did it!”

The girl in question could only nod in amazement before she was tightly hugged by her friends.

~~~~

The next day Mildred was a nervous wreck, she couldn’t wait to get home. When she was finally able to leave, her friends wished her good luck and told her to not give up. They even had a surprise for her.

They had charmed her backpack, so that she could put more things inside and even hide her broom! Mildred thanked them and promised to give her best.

Mildred flew home on her broom. When she arrived she put her things away, changed clothes, grabbed all money she had saved up and packed her bags with all necessities like water, food, clothes, a tent.

In the end she stood on the balcony, backpack on der back, broom in the other, her compass on her wrist, ready to start her search.

Mildred knew that she should wait for her mother to come home, but she was scared of what she would say. So she had written her a letter and left it on the table, hoping for her mother to find it.

“Okay Tabby,” she talked to her familiar, “I know it could be dangerous, but I can’t take you with me. You have to stay here and be a comfort to mum while I’m away, okay?”

The tabby cat meowed unhappily, cuddling up to his mistress. Mildred smiled and stroked him behind the ears. “I know. But you need to stay here. I can’t take you with me, okay? I’m gonna be fine.”

The grey cat meowed again, looking reproachfully up at the young witch and she shook her head. “I have to do this by myself, you know that. I can’t take you with me. I can’t take care of you while I’m traveling, okay? Mum knows what to do, so you’ll stay here and let yourself be spoiled by mum, okay?”

Tabby was still meowing unhappily but seemed to have finally accepted his fate. He meowed sadly at her and Mildred took him in her arms, cuddling him.

“It’s gonna be okay. I’m gonna be back soon, if not in a few days then at the end of vacation the latest. You know I have to get back to Cackle’s, don’t you?”

Finally Mildred put her cat down, magiced her broom to hover so she could sit down and glanced for one last time back to her living room.

“It’s alright, I’m gonna be back soon.” She whispered more to herself than anything else. Finally she flew away, waving at her cat that meowed sadly after her. Mildred waved at her cat and slowly made her way to the distance, following the needle.

“Don’t worry,” She whispered, “I’m gonna find you, dad.”

Just as Mildred flew out into the sky Julie Hubbles entered the elevator to her flat, now knowing that her only daughter had left her to search for her father while explaining everything in a letter.

Chapter Text

It has been two days and Mildred was still following the trail. She had spent the last night in the forest and had used a public bathroom this morning to wash her face and brush her teeth. She wasn’t really worried about something happening to her, but she really hoped that she would be able to find him soon. Slowly but surely it was wearing on her, spending all day on a broom.

The weirdest thing was that the needle seemed to change every few hours. It seemed like her father was changing directions and going all across the country. Mildred was getting worried that maybe she had botched the spell up after all and that her compass did not work.

But still, Mildred hoped for the best and continued to follow the needle.

After another few hours she finally arrived in a city in the north of England. She hadn’t been able to look up which city it was, but she was probably somewhere around Liverpool. If this wasn’t Liverpool. Mildred just hoped that, wherever her father was, he had finally decided to stay for a bit, wherever he was, so that she could finally locate him. She was really getting tired chasing him around the country.

Just yesterday she had followed him from London to Brighton. And the day before she flew over Glasgow, before he had changed directions and decided to go to Manhattan. It was really getting on her nerves.

But at long last he must have decided to stay here, at least for a bit.

Mildred stared at her compass, showing her to the right direction.

She was flying over the Liverpool Cathedral and then over the St. George Hall, when her needle wobbled and changed again. Mildred let out a frustrated sigh. Really? Again?

She hoped that at least he would be staying in the city and not moving out again. What was wrong with Liverpool anyway? It is a nice city … she thought. She didn’t actually know that much about Liverpool. She had never visited.

But from what she heard it was a perfectly lovely city!

The young witch followed her trail, which lead her all across the city again. After a while the needle stabilized itself and … finally!
It seemed like her father had at last decided where he wanted to stay. About time!

Mildred was getting tired herself, so she was really glad to have a clue at long last. She pushed her broom one last time to speed up, feeling giddy and nervous. Would her father like her? Would he be terribly surprised? Would he … accept her?

Mildred slowed down. Now she was getting worried. She hadn’t thought about that. What if her father didn’t want anything to do with her? What if he didn’t care about her? Did he really have a place for a daughter in his life? Mildred didn’t know and honestly? She was not sure if she was ready for the answer.

But in the end she took a deep breath and decided that it didn’t matter now. “I got this far already. I’m not gonna leave without some answers.” She said to herself, mostly to give herself courage. So she continued her journey.

It finally ended when she was led to a hotel at the top. Mildred’s chin fell down when she saw where she was. Her compass had led her right to … the Hilton luxury hotel. And the compass was directing her to a penthouse.

Well … this was unexpected.

Mildred had thought that her father was a plumber, a normal middle class man. A normal person who never would even be able to book a room at a Hilton hotel, let alone a penthouse!

But … but maybe there was an explanation for that! Maybe he had won a trip to Liverpool with a night in a Hilton room! That must be it! There was no way her father was some rich millionaire, right?

With that though she landed on the balcony right in front of it and hid her broom. She had already decided that she would like to meet him first, get to know him better. And if they clicked and he wanted to be involved in her life, she would tell him that she was a witch. Right. No need to overwhelm the poor man, right?

Well, ‘poor’ was something she still had to find out. But okay. No more stalling!

Mildred took a deep breath and pulled the balcony doors and … they were closed.

“Right,” Mildred mumbled after an awkward second. “No need to worry, Mildred, you are a witch. This should be easy.”

Yes, this should be easy … if she could only remember the right spell again …

Mildred was so nervous that her brain seemed to draw a blank now. But finally she grabbed her cheeks and pulled, forcing herself to concentrate.

She closed her eyes and held her hand out to the closed doors and began to chant.

“Glassy mirrors, marble floor,

Turn this handle, open the door.”

With a whush sound the doors finally swung open. Mildred took another deep breath, pulled her backpack closer and entered the room.

The first thing she realized was how warm it was. She shuddered and rubbed her arms. Mildred hadn’t even realized how cold she was until she entered the warm room. But it wasn’t so surprising. She had been flying all day without much protection. Only her scarf and her jacket. And it was evening now. They have been quite chilly lately.

The young witch looked around in awe. The room had high ceilings, modern furniture and an amazing view to the waterpark. Everything was high quality and it seemed like this room alone was bigger than the small flat she shared with her mother. But she could see that the suite had a few more rooms. She didn’t want to know how those looked.

Mildred put her bag down and decided to walk around. Everything looked so expensive and frankly, she was a bit scared to even touch anything, in fear of breaking it. She knew how clumsy she was and her ability to mess things up. But that didn’t mean she didn’t look.

There was a giant couch which looked very comfortable with a glass table in front of a giant flat screen TV. At the other end of the room was a mini bar, filled with liquids and brands she had never heard of. …. And would probably never been able to drink, even if she were legal.

She knew that her mother didn’t drink much alcohol, and even if she did, it was mostly cheap stuff, things they could afford, and only on very special occasions.

Mildred looked up and her mouth fell open. The room had a chandelier! A fricking chandelier! With glass pearls and glitter and all the other fancy stuff! She had always wanted to have one but it was always something she thought of as only rich people got to have!

It was amazing! Even if her dad had only won this trip and only got to experience it once, Mildred knew that normally she would have never been able to even enter such a place and see it from the inside. So she was kind of glad that she had decided to search for her father this time around.

“Who are you?”

Mildred whipped around. And for the first time saw the face of the man she knew to be her father.

He must have been in the bedroom before and must have heard her. On the threshold to the living room stood a big man. Muscular with a handsome face with a strong jaw, blond hair and the same eyes she saw on the person from her family tree.

The young witch stared at him, drinking him in, comparing him mentally to her. She had inherited his nose. And his ears. The eyebrows must have come from her mother. Same as the lips. Her body statue must have also come from her mum, she was quite small and light, nowhere near as heavy build and muscular as him. He had a few wrinkles on his face and a scar on the right side next to his eyebrow. She wondered where he got it.

Mildred could have stared at him for quite a while longer, but the man seemed to be getting impatient. He repeated the question, looked her up and down and got a threatening step closer to her.

“Who are you and how the bloody hell did you get in here?”

His voice was deeper than she remembered it to be. The man in the family tree didn’t have quite that much of a baritone voice, did he? She couldn’t really remember right now. But what she did know however was that he did not sound half a friendly as the guy from the tree. To be honest, this man scared her a bit. Oh who was he kidding, he was really scary! He didn’t look one bit friendly and seemed to think about how to dispose of her body! Why did she think it would be a good idea to search for her father again? It sounded really stupid to her now!

“I … ahm …. I”, Mildred stuttered, still overwhelmed to be finally face to face with the man she had dreamed of meeting for years. And this man wanted answers. Right. He wanted to know how she got into the room. What to tell him? She couldn’t really tell him that she flew up with her broom and then, when she realized the door was locked, she spelled it open! The man would think her crazy!

So a lie! Quick!

“I … used the fire escape to get up.” She ‘explained’. It sounded more like a question than anything else. “And then the balcony door was open, so I just went inside.”

The man raised an eyebrow at her answer and looked dubiously at her. He didn’t really seem to believe her and honestly? Mildred’s ability to lie was terrible right now. She knew that normally she was better at it. But her brain seemed to be drawing one blank after another.

Mildred threw him an unsure smile, hoping that he would let it pass and would he just please stop staring at her like that? He was scarring her!

“And who are you?” He asked, no less threatening than before. Now he began to circle her like a lion would his prey. And that was exactly how Mildred was feeling right now. Like a cornered animal in front of a dangerous predator.

“I’m Mildred, Sir, Mildred Hubble.”

The witch held her breath and stared at him, hoping with her every being that the name would be familiar to him. That it would spark recognition in his eyes, even a little bit. But alas, nothing.

His eyes held the same cold and untrustful look it held all evening since he laid eyes upon her. Mildred was really starting to regret this.

Mildred finally began to take the rest of him in. He wore dark dress pants and a white dress shirt with a matching dark tie, from the looks of it tailored to perfection and expensive. The shoes were leather, black and looked equally expensive like the rest of his clothes. What were they called again? Right. Oxfords.
His wardrobe looked like it cost more than all possessions she and her mother had in their apartment combined!

So Mildred was wrong. Her father really was some rich bigshot. And with a sinking heart she realized, maybe she wouldn’t fit in with him after all. If this guy was so rich, would he even want to have anything to do with a daughter like her? The exact opposite of normal, living in a small home where her mother struggled to make ends meet every month? Would he even want her?

But she was no coward! She came this far already and she would ask him. If he didn’t want her after all, then she would stop. She knew she would be disappointed for a while, but she would get over it. No worries.

So she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, opened her eyes again and smiled shyly at him.

“You are Alec Trevelyan, right?” She asked and she could see him tense just for a fraction. She wondered why.

The man’s eyes narrowed and he spoke again, voice deeper and sounding more dangerous than before.

“How do you know that and why are you here?”

Mildred continued to smile at him, but averted her eyes now. She played with her fingers and the hem of her jacket.

“I’ve been searching for you for a while now. You don’t know me but my mum has told me a bit about you. And after all this time I just wanted to meet you. I’ve been doing a lot of searching and digging to find you and trust me, it wasn’t easy! You’ve been travelling a lot and it drove me quite mad because I just never seem to be able to catch you.”

Mildred finally looked up. She didn’t know what it was but the man finally didn’t look so cold and distrustful anymore. He still had that guarded wall around him, but he was not so tense any more like a few moments ago.

But he had his arms folded and motioned her to continue.

“My mum, like I said, told me a bit about you. You spent quite a bit of time together many years ago. Her name was Julie Hubble and you were a couple for a while.”

Whatever it was Mildred expected, it was not … nothing. There was still no sign of recognition in his eyes, no sign of him realizing who she was or even a hint of him remembering who her mother was.

Mildred’s shoulders dropped. If he was reacting like this, not caring at all, then how high was the possibility of him wanting to be part of her life? Was her trip hopeless after all? Maybe she really should have just let it go. If only she weren’t so curious. If only she didn’t were so desperate to find out if someone in her family were magic. If only … she didn’t get her hopes up. It amounted to nothing after all.

But … at least now she could put an end to this … foolish hoping.

“I’ve been searching for you because … I’m your daughter.”

Chapter Text

Alec Trevelyan, or better known as 006, had certainly not been expecting this when he decided to take the mission. But here he was.

A few days ago he had accepted a high chase throughout the country to find the head of a Russian drug smuggling ring. It had been a long tiring hunt, but he had him finally cornered here in Liverpool. If everything went according to plan he would be able to bring him down in two days’ time.

In the meantime he wanted to research a bit more and maybe take a small breather. Q branch had booked him a penthouse suite in a luxury hotel and he wanted to get his money’s worth. What he didn’t expect however was the little surprise in the living room.

Alec Trevelyan didn’t have had an easy live. Orphaned at twelve and left alone to fend for himself in cold Russia before coming to England and being recruited and working his way up the ladder until he reached double 0 status and then finding out what really happened to his parents.

It had been a shock to find out that England, the very country he had been risking his live for for so long, was responsible for betraying his parents, leading ultimately to their death, and he wanted revenge.

It hadn’t been long since he found out but he had started planning already, but he was long away from being able to put his plans into action. So he still had to play the self-sacrificing agent for as long as possible. And that included taking high risk missions.

But he had always been a patient man. A few years were nothing.

What he didn’t expect however was for this huge surprise.

When he had arrived in his suite, he had started unpacking in the bedroom, thinking of maybe going to the bar down and maybe searching for a dinner date and a bed partner for the night. He had wanted a little relief.

He had been surprised when he had heard steps inside the suite. They were coming from the living room. That had been strange as he did a sweep through the suite and there had been no cameras, no bugs and especially no humans.

He hadn’t heard the front door being opened, so the person must have been inside the room when he arrived. Or, and his brain supplied him that this was just not possible, they came through the balcony. But then there would be the question on how they got up.

So now the question was who it could be. Maybe another agent being sent as back up? Very unlikely as he had reported no problems and everything going according to plan. One of his contacts regarding this mission? Again, unlikely. They would have left him a message and told him to meet up with them. Or, and this was the possibility he thought had the highest chance of being true, someone from the people he pursued got wind of him and were now trying to kill him. Very likely.

But then they were probably not very good at their job if they had sent someone so amateur and obvious to him. Because the agent could hear how they moved outside and how they were everything but silent and inconspicuous.

Alec grabbed a gun and readied it, opening the door a smidge and looking outside, wanting to check the person out and assessing them before he did anything.

As soon as he saw the person he did a double take.

Well, he was certainly not expecting that.

The person in question was no more than a little girl, wearing simple cheap jeans and a glaring jacket with a really hideous black grey striped scarf. She wore her dark red hair in two braids and hid them under a garish bean. The girl herself was small, thin and had an open face. He could see her emotions on them so clearly. A mix of wonderment, surprise but also fear and nervousness. Her backpack was abandoned at the opened balcony door.

Alec relaxed. It didn’t matter what he expected. He was pretty sure that this little girl would not be able to do him any harm. She looked way too innocent for that. And even though he knew that he should never judge someone solely on their looks, he trusted his instincts pretty well and they were screaming at him to let her go and be nice and that she was a harmless civilian.

So yes, he let his guard down a bit, but not much. He put his gun behind him so he could grab it at any time and then decided to talk to her. Would be easier to get that out of the way.

When he spoke to her she whipped around and stared at him in a way, he couldn’t really describe. It was like he was something she was longing for, something she had been waiting for for a long time. She stared at him like she wanted to memorise his features. Which was ridiculous. He had never in his life even met the girl. It didn’t mean it did not make him uncomfortable. It was strange, really. Because no one had ever looked at him like that.

When she told him how she got into the room he didn’t believe one word she said. The girl was a terrible liar. Another proof that she was not here to harm him. But he let this one go. He wanted to know other things.

When she told him her name, she sounded almost hopeful, but he couldn’t understand why. He almost felt bad when her shoulder’s dropped, clear disappointment in her eyes.

But this soon vanished and his walls came up again, body tensing and getting ready for a fight, when she asked him if he really was Alec Trevelyan. Not many people knew that name. And those who knew he knew, too. So for this girl to know it, it must have been a leak. He didn’t know what to expect, but he was ready for a fight. That girl might seem harmless, but looks can indeed deceive.

When he asked her how she knew his name, he relaxed a bit because she started to talk like a waterfall, everything just streaming out of her and there was just something so disarming to her. It was really hard to believe that she was one of the people who wanted to harm him. He knew she shouldn’t, but he calmed down just the tiniest bit.

When she told him her mother’s name, he searched his brain frantically for it because there was just the slightest jiggle in his head. But he just couldn’t remember where he had heard it before.

And then she dropped this bomb on him.

“I’ve been searching for you because … I’m your daughter.”

~~~~

When he said he had wanted to search for Dinner Company he had certainly not meant a prepubescent girl. But here he was, sitting opposite to a young lady clearly nervous and avoiding eye contact at all cost.

Alec was normally great at conversation and small talk, but honestly, he was still so shocked and confused over her statement that his brain was still reeling.

What he would like to do was turn back the time and maybe never getting out of bed. Because this still didn’t make any sense to him.

He had a daughter? Really? Since when? And why? Why didn`t he knew about it earlier? And how did this even happen? He had been careful all his life. Something like this should definitely not have happened.

But that would explain why the name ‘Julie Hubble’ sounded so familiar to him. A long time ago he had gotten close to her because one of her co-workers had connections to a big crime syndicate and he needed to get closer to that person. She had been a nice woman, a little naïve, but otherwise very pleasant and one of his more enjoyable marks. Still, he was pretty sure that he had been careful.

So a child should not have happened!

Then why was this girl here, after all this years, claiming to be his daughter?

Alec did the quick math in his head and yes, she would even fit into the timeframe of when it happened.

The agent stared at her from across the table. He had ordered room service and they sat opposite of each other on the dining table. He had drawn the chair for her, served her dinner and poured her a glass of juice, all gentlemanlike like he normally did but this time it happened on auto pilot. He hadn’t even really realised what he did and barely saw her confused stare when he had pulled out the chair for her. Only when they were sitting did he come back to himself and really looked at her.

The girl was more or less playing with her food, just shoving it around with occasionally taking a bite. She didn’t even seem to realize what she was eating; only doing it for appearance and politeness sake. She shouldn’t have bothered. Because he didn’t feel like eating either. But he was just as polite and shoved a little food down as best as he could. The meal felt very awkward.

Finally he dropped the fork, startling her out of her head. He threw her a small smile which she countered. She shoved one last bite into her mouth before too, dropping the cutlery and shoving the plate away from her.

Alec stood up and cleared the table, waving away when the girl, ‘Mildred’ his brain supplied, was about to help. While his back was turned and he was sure that the girl was not looking, he put his and the girl’s fork inside a separate bag and put them on the tray, ready for pick up. The room service was coming really fast cleared it, Alec making sure that the bag was on it, ready for testing.

Even though he had no way of not believing her, he was still an agent. And as such he wanted real hard proof. So now the only thing he had to do now was waiting.

He motioned for her to sit on the spacious couch and the girl sat as far away as possible from him, making herself small in the corner. She still wouldn’t meet his eyes.

So he decided on a little bit of small talk.

“Mildred, right?” He started and the girl flinched. The Russian tried to keep his voice soothing and calm, as if he would talk to a crime victim he had just saved. After a while it seemed to work and the girl calmed down. She nodded hesitantly.

“So, how’s your mother?” He asked. He reckoned that maybe starting with a topic they both knew about would be easier.

“She’s fine. Doing good.” Mildred answered, playing with her shirt.

Alec smiled at her, even though she wouldn’t even look at him. “And what is she currently doing?” He continued to ask.

“She’s working in a restaurant as a waitress, but she’s currently doing her art degree at the local college,” Mildred answered. A small smile stole itself onto her face and Alec’s breath got caught at how much it changed her whole demeanour. Even this small of a detail changed the sullen look and replaced it with a warm sun. Alec could feel something unfamiliar warm stir inside him, but he pushed it aside.

“Really? That’s great! I remember that she had always wanted to study art in college. She never could stop talking about it.” He said, still smiling at her.

At that she finally turned to look at her. There was a spark in her eyes and her whole face was glowing. Still shy but looking way happier now she asked him: “Really? What was she like? When you were younger I mean?”

The agent leaned back and thought for a moment. “Well, she was a really happy person. Always smiling and easily scatter-brained. She was very easy to distract and more often than not she would do something completely different from where we started. She was naïve, too. And way too trusting.”

Alec smiled as he remembered. “There was one time we had a date in a park and she just wouldn’t show up. As I was on my way back home I saw her sitting at the side of the road drawing a cat lying in the sun.” He chuckled. “She didn’t forget our date, she just got distracted.”

Mildred giggled and it was such a warm sight that Alec threw her one of his rare real smiles.

Wanting to hear more of it, he continued: “And there was a time where she was at a part time job. She was giving out free tissues to people walking by with an attached flyer. What she didn’t realize however was how the same guy walked by her at least six times and she always gave him a package. She didn’t even realize it was always the same guy.”

At that Mildred outright laughed and after a while Alec joined it. There was something strange about her. Something that made it so easy for him to open up to. He didn’t know what it was but it was not unpleasant.

“That sounds like her,” Mildred said and grinned at him, all sign of nervousness or insecurity gone. Now she was all smiles and laughter. “There was one time when …”

The two spend the rest of the evening exchanging stories and anecdotes about their time with one Julie Hubble until she left their stories altogether and Alec coaxed out her own funny adventures of her life out of her. The agent told a few of his own, but he had to be careful so not to tell her the real circumstances as they were classified. Which got harder the further the evening went on.

It was certainly not how he imagined his evening to go, but honestly? It was a lot more relaxing than he had thought.

~~~~

A few hours later there was a knock on the door. Alec looked through the peephole to make sure it was not someone he had to be careful of. But it was just the same Service boy from earlier. So he opened the door and accepted the envelope. After he closed the door again, he fingered it nervously.

“What is it?” Mildred asked.

Alec turned around and smiled at her, now a little guarded again. “It’s the test results.”

Mildred’s eyebrows rose upwards. “Test results? For what?” She asked and now he felt bad. He had taken these without asking her. And after spending all evening with her he felt bad for it. But he still owed her the truth.

“I was sceptical when you told me that I was your father. So … I contacted someone and send him both our forks with DNA samples on it to get them tested … to make sure they matched. These are the results.”

“Oh,” Mildred only said, something akin like disappointment flashing through her eyes. There was a tense silence between them before she forced a smile back on her face. “Well,” she said with false cheer, “What’s the result?”

Alec opened the envelope and grabbed the papers. He hesitated.

What if they were negative and Mildred wasn’t his daughter? It would be sad for Mildred because she would have to continue her search but ultimately it would be better this way. Alec led a dangerous life and everyone close to him would be in constant danger.

But what if Mildred was his daughter? Could he life with that? Putting her at risk constantly? Could he really care for her like a real father should? Would he even be able to? His job was demanding and with everything going on …

Yet somehow the thought of not being the father put a damper on him. Even though he knew logically the best chance the girl had would be if he wouldn’t be the father. But another, bigger part of him, already started to feel the disappointment if he really wouldn’t be the father.

No time to dawdle. He took a deep breath and pulled the papers out and scanned the content. His worldview shattered.

“And?” The nervous voice of Mildred asked him.

He turned to her and threw her a shaky smile.

“The test came back positive. You really are my daughter. And I’m your father.”

Mildred stared at him with her mouth open, speechless. She looked just as scared as he felt.

Yet, it also felt like a heavy burden was taken from his shoulders and he felt lighter than he had in years.

Chapter Text

After the revelation that they were indeed father and daughter it descended into an awkward silence where they were both stuck in their own thoughts.

It ended when Alec decided that it was late and that they both should go to sleep. He had asked her where she would stay and Mildred didn’t have an answer for that. He then offered her to stay the night and to take the bedroom.

Mildred had refused, stating that she was the guest here and that she was way smaller than him and that the couch would be more than enough for her.

Alec however had argued that she was a woman and a guest and that he would feel bad if she would not take the bed and that it was common manners to offer it to her.

Mildred then had argued that she wasn’t really a paying guest here and that she was really fine with the couch.

And so it went back and forth until Mildred just sat down and refused to stand up. The man had finally relented and had pulled out extra blankets he had found in the closet. He had offered her the bathroom first, told her to take as long as she wanted, brought her a couple of extra towels and Mildred, for the first time in two days, could barely contain her glee in having a bit of normal civilisation back.

She normally didn’t need long in the shower but this one was so fancy that she just couldn’t resist playing around a bit. Who knew when she would get this kind of luxury again, if ever? So she played with the different settings, the waterfall mode, the colours and everything she could discover. When her skin finally started to wrinkle she decided it was time to get out.

After drying her hair and brushing her teeth as well as changing into her pyjamas she re-entered the living room where she found Alec reading the DNA results again.

“The bathroom’s free. You can go now.” Mildred said and his head whipped around. He threw her a soft smile and grabbed his bag of toiletries, closing the door behind him.

Mildred, curious as she was, read those results herself, still in disbelief that it was really true. She had been disappointed and maybe a little angry that he had went behind her back for this test, but honestly? She could understand him. She too would probably be suspicious if someone just came out saying they were the child of this and them. Still, she wished he would have asked her.

After a few minutes Alec came out of the bathroom and stood there, a little helpless. Mildred smiled at him and wished him a good night, pulling the blankets up to her chin and turning around. She could hear him returning it and closing the bedroom door.

Mildred laid on the couch and couldn’t sleep, repeating the day in her head. She had been through a rollercoaster of emotions today and now that she finally had her answer, she was still so confused, not knowing what to do and how to feel. She wished Tabby would be here with her. He would be able to calm her down.

Mildred closed her eyes and after a long while she fell into a deep slumber, not hearing that Alec had entered the living room and went to the minibar to help himself to the bottle of vodka and then going to the balcony, nursing the bottle and trying to think.

~~~~ 

The next day found them still in this awkward atmosphere of not knowing how to act with each other. After breakfast Alec had told her that he still had a job later and that he would probably be gone for the whole day.

“But we could have dinner together,” he offered with a smile and Mildred nodded.

“Sure, that sounds nice.” She answered, realising that he really must be for business here after all.

“So what do you plan on doing all day?” He asked her and Mildred shrugged.

“I don’t know. Maybe sightseeing? I’ve never been to Liverpool before. Maybe check out a few attractions.” She said, not really knowing what to say. Alec grinned at her.

“Well, if it’s like that, I’ll tell the reception to give you a second key so you can enter again.” He replied, already thinking about phoning down. Mildred only nodded.

After breakfast Alec got dressed in a dark grey suit and Mildred packed her bag, thinking about flying to the places and looking from the sky might be even a better idea than taking the bus. Her broom had the disguising spell on it after all and she wouldn’t have a problem with everyone seeing her.

“You ready?” The man asked and Mildred shouldered her bag and zipped up her jacket.

“Ready.” She answered.

He held the door open for her and pressed the button to go down. When they reached the ground Alec walked with her to the reception and questioned a second key for “Mildred Trevelyan”.

Mildred felt weird being called that but it was a good feeling. She smiled and thus barely missed the disappointed look on the young receptionist’s lady. She couldn’t really understand why she was so disappointed but oh well.

After that they separated. He had entered a fancy car which was waiting for him at the entrance, asking her if he should drive her somewhere. Mildred declined and waited until he was out of sights before she vanished into an alley, grabbing her broom and making sure no one saw her and ascended into the sky.

~~~~

Mildred spent the whole morning and early afternoon in the sky, flying from one sightseeing place to another. Honestly? She was a little giddy. She had finally met her dad and he was such a cool guy. He was nice and she kind of liked him. When they had talked yesterday she had felt an instant connection. Even though she hadn’t found anything that made it seem obvious that they were related, she just felt like he was family. It was similar to how she felt with her mum, only different. She was really looking forward to talking to him a little more.

Okay, there had been moments where it had been awkward, but she was sure those came from them just not knowing each other. She was sure that after spending a little more time together they would get along great. So she really was looking forward to getting to know him better.

It was late afternoon when she was flying over the riverbanks of river Mersey when she suddenly spotted her father, and wasn’t that strange, how fast she associated this man as her dad, running along the streets after another man. They seem to have been running for a while now when suddenly there was a car and the unknown man jumped inside, driving away.

Alec stopped and looked around frantically before spotting a car parking at the side of the road. He seemed to fumble with the door before it opened and a few seconds later it kick-started and he drove in full speed after the other one.

Mildred had stared in open confusion at the scene before deciding that she wanted to know what was going on and followed her father from the air with her broom.

What she witnessed made her jaw drop. It looked like a car chase scene right out of an action movie! They both drove recklessly, fast and without regard for anything else. They were even faster than her!

Mildred could barely keep up, especially with all those turns and shortcuts through those small alleys! There were a few times where she lost sight of them but in the end she depended on her dad-compass to lead her back to him.

After a while she landed in front of a warehouse in an abandoned industry park. She looked around and spotted the two cars involved in the chase, but no one was inside anymore.

Mildred stared at the building in front of her, hesitating, but finally taking a deep breath and entering.

“Hello?” She asked, her voice quivering. There was no answer. Mildred sneaked further inside, using her compass and looking around in fear. The building really gave her the creeps!

Suddenly she smelt something metallic. The young witch looked around and jumped back. In front of her laid a body. Mildred wanted to go to him and asked him if he was alright, but something inside her stopped her. She soon realized that he was dead. Her body froze. Her breathing was coming in harsh pants and she shivered. She wanted to go back!

Mildred was scared. But something inside her nudged her to move forward, so she did. On her way she met other dead bodies, each and every single one making her feel colder and more scared than before and still she did not stop.

She realized that her father was somewhere down in the basement and Mildred just really didn’t want to go down there and see what might be. But she just couldn’t stop now!

The girl slid down the stairs, trying to make as little noise as possible. After going through a dark corridor with flickering light, which was just something straight out of a horror movie, wasn’t it, she was met with bars. On the other side laid the unconscious body of Alec Trevelyan.

Mildred felt a cold stab in a heart and panic rising up her throat. She rattled the bars, hoping that he would wake up.

“Alec! Alec!” She called, but to no avail. After several tries, another word forced itself out of her throat.

“Dad! Dad! Wake up!” She called, over and over again, and finally, his body was moving.

Alec Trevelyan was finally regaining consciousness and opened his eyes. After a few groggy minutes he snapped back to reality and what he saw made his blood run cold.

“Mildred! What the hell are you doing here?” He asked, panic rising up his throat.

Mildred had tears in her eyes. “Finally! I was getting scared!” She said in lieu of an answer.

The man stood up and after a few seconds he was more or less back to his old self. He came up to her while she tried to rattle the lock.

“It’s no use.” He told her, “But more importantly, how did you find me and why did you follow me?”

“I saw you chasing a man and after you got into the car chase I flew after you.” She finally answered absent-mindedly, still rattling on the lock.

“Flew? Mildred, what are you talking about?” Alec was even more confused than before.

“That’s not important right now. We have to get you out of here.” She retorted and stepped back, her hands hovering over the lock, not even realizing that she was currently exposing herself to him as she began to chant.

“Bars of steel and hard as rock,

Release this man, open the lock.”

With a click it fell to the ground and the door opened. Alec stared at her in confusion, absolute speechless. Mildred didn’t seem to realize and just grabbed his hand.

“Come one!” She called and urged him forward. However, she didn’t get far as the door to the basement opened after a few steps and suddenly there were three bulky men behind a lankier one.

Mildred could see that his eyebrow rose before she was shoved behind the large back of the man she just released and there were four gun shots, followed by the droppings of bodies.

Heavy silence. Mildred wanted to step aside but the harsh voice of Alec stopped her. “Don’t look!” He ordered and something in his voice made her obey.

He must have realized how he sounded because he turned an apologetic glance back towards her and grabbed her hand and led her towards a different door, one she hadn’t seen before.

He tapped against an ear piece in his ear she hadn’t seen before and talked aloud to it. She didn’t really understand anything about it. Just something about “Mission accomplished”, “clean up” and “all information secure and on its way”. With no word was she mentioned. After that he tapped against it again and then there was silence.

They finally arrived outside and Mildred looked around, confused. There were no cars around or anything else.

“I should call us a taxi.” Alec finally said after a lot of heavy silence. Mildred wasn’t so sure if she could let herself stuffed into a car right now.

“I could fly us back,” she retorted and Alec turned to her in confusion. She didn’t look at him and grabbed the broom in her bag, deactivating the invisibility spell so he could see her as it hovered and she sat down. His eyebrows climbed even higher as he regarded her sitting on it.

Mildred awkwardly patted the free space next to her. “You could fly back with me?” She offered, an insecure smile on her face. Her secret was out already, no point in screwing around. “And then we could … talk?”

At that the man finally composed himself and nodded, sitting next to her on her broom copying her method. As he sat on it like it was a chair and not so that the shaft was between his legs he slipped around until he found a more or less comfortable position.

“I always thought you would sit different on a flying broom,” he said, trying to find a way to hold on. “You know, like between your legs? Not like a high stool?”

Mildred giggled and shook her head. “That’s just the movies. In real life we sit like that. But honestly? I’ve never tried it differently. I’ve just copied the others.”

“Right …” Alec murmured and grabbed the handle harder as they finally ascended. Mildred smiled back at him shyly and made sure to activate the invisibility spell on the broom and flew back to their hotel.

Chapter Text

The whole flight they were silent, both thinking after their own revelations.

When they landed in an alley not far from the hotel and Mildred hid the broom back inside her bag Alec regarded her curiously. Mildred followed after him into the hotel where they bypassed the reception and drove back up to their suite. When they entered he motioned for her to sit down on the couch and offered her something to drink. She agreed to water while he grabbed the bottle of straight vodka.

They sat on the couch in silence, no one really willing to start.

Finally Mildred breathed in and told him: “I think I’m the more obvious one, so I’m gonna start.” She took a deep breath and played with the hem of her shirt. “I’m a witch.”

After a few tense seconds she looked up and she saw the guarded look of her father who motioned for her to continue. So she did. She told him her story from the beginning. On how when she was small there had been moments, when strange thing around her happened, how one day her friend Maud had crashed into her on her balcony and how she realized that she was a witch. Her entrance exam and her admittance to Miss Cackle’s academy for witches after she had somehow saved the school from the evil Agatha Cackle. Her adventures and how she met her other best friend Enid and all their adventures after, how desperate she was to find out if she came from a witching family because she was the only and first one to have ever come from a non-witching family and how it made her feel, what had happened to her and finally how she found his face on her family tree. How she worked to find him and how she finally did. She ended her tale and finally turned around to look at him.

Alec had barely said a word, but with every passing sentence he lost the tension in his shoulders, laughed out loud when Mildred told him of the funnier ones of her adventures and raised disapproving eyebrows when he heard how she was sometimes treated. In the end he smiled at her, shaking his head good naturedly.

“Well, that answers a lot of my questions,” he replied. “Like how you knew my name when only a handful of people do and how you found me and entered my suite.”

His smile turned sombre. “I guess it’s my turn now.” So he did. And she could barely believe her ears. So fantastic was his tale. How he came to England and entered the military after he was orphaned, how he worked his way up until he became part of MI6 and then he hesitated. But he sighed and said that even though this was highly classified and way above her clearance, he shot her a playful wink at that, making her giggle, it would be only fair to tell her the truth. So he told her of the double 0 program, how he gained his status as 006 and his license to kill. He told her how the missions took him around the world, never giving him much time to rest, not like he wanted to, and how he always put his life on the line.

He ended his tale and averted his eyes, not knowing how Mildred, his daughter, would react to it. “So I guess that makes me just a murderer for hire after all.” He admitted with a kind of self-loathing he had never felt before. He felt bitter and unworthy and stared in disgust at his hands. In his eyes they were tainted with blood. So much blood that they were coloured black. He realized that he wouldn’t be worthy of the innocent and amazing girl next to him. A girl so special, she belonged into another world. A girl so special he didn’t deserve to hold her with his blood stained hands or even look at.

Alec was afraid of her reaction, so he avoided looking at her. A few seconds past and Alec was sure that Mildred would be disgusted with him, probably planning on flying back and forgetting their meeting after all, when small soft hands covered his.

Surprised he looked up and stared into the soft face of his daughter. Mildred looked at him, her eyes shining with unshed tears and giving him such a warm smile that he felt his breath stop and at the same time warmth spreading inside him. Something he had never felt before.

“I don’t think you are a cold-blooded murderer.” She said and glided next to him, her should touching his arm. She still looked at him and held his hands.

When Alec didn’t answer she explained: “Well, maybe you kill people, but it’s not like this is all you do, right?” As the agent still refused to say anything Mildred shrugged her shoulders. “Your missions aren’t just killing people. They are more about information gathering, saving innocent people and preventing bad guys from hurting the civilians, right?”

Mildred threw him another smile. “So you take the most dangerous missions, but not to hurt people but to save them. I think that’s awesome.” She grinned at him. “I think that even makes you some kind of hero, don’t you think?”

The Russian stared at her dumbfounded. He had never thought about it that way. Sure, in a way this was true, but he had always thought about all the bodies he left on his way, making it so slippery and dark that he couldn’t see the ground anymore. He only thought about how killing a person didn’t even make him flinch anymore, he saw it as just another part of the job. Just another thing he had to do. He had only thought of all the wounds he had suffered all his life, all the pain, all the loss. How he sometimes woke up in the middle of the night sweating, heart pounding and adrenaline cursing through his veins. How he would wake up at the slightest sound because he had to expect an enemy attack at all times. How missions were the only times where he really felt something. How his feelings had stopped existing. How he drank more than he should just to forget his life and worries and everything happening to him. And finally, how lonely he was.

How, every time he left the plane and saw happy faces around him, reuniting with families and loved ones, but no one waiting for him and how every time he left the airport another part of his heart splintered. How his apartment was in the best part of London, penthouse with an amazing view but utterly lonely and void of life. How it looked straight out of a luxury magazine, all furniture high class and expensive but without any warmth. How his rooms were plenty but with no familiar or personal touch, no pictures, no mementos, nothing. It looked exactly like it did when MI6 had first moved him in and had designed it for him.

He didn’t know how to tell her that the last 24 hours with her had held more warmth and more emotions and having her next to him this hotel suite felt more like home than anything else he ever possessed.

He didn’t know how to tell her that he already regarded her as his daughter, as something so precious and special and that he would love to share his cold apartment with her, letting her decorate it like she wanted and finally turning this cold place into a real home.

But at the same time he felt like it would be selfish. He was egoistical, greedy and selfish by nature but something about her wanted to make him be different. He wanted to be a person she could be proud of. Someone she could call her father wholeheartedly and say it with gleaming eyes. Yet his job was dangerous. It put everyone at risk that would be close to him, making them a prime target for revenge. He didn’t want anything to happen to her. She didn’t deserve it. She deserved better.

Yet he hesitated to tell her this. He didn’t want to tell her that it really would be better for all parties involved if they would just stay as far away from him as possible. That they would be saver this way. That they wouldn’t have to worry about enemies coming after and trying to hurt them. That he was just a monster who had sold his body to England.

It was his job to use his body as a shield and weapon to the country. It didn’t matter what they wanted, he had to give it. Be it a soldier, a diplomat, a spear or a whore, what the country needed he would be. It wouldn’t be fair to involve this small family.

Yet he couldn’t stop imagining how it would be like. To come home to Mildred, smiling at him and waiting until they could eat, watching movies together or just sitting together. A normal domestic life. He didn’t know how it worked, he never really had one, but that didn’t stop him from imagining it.

Mildred didn’t realize the plight her father was in and just continued to talk: “I think that’s awesome what you’re doing. I mean, it must take a lot of courage and knowledge to pull this off, right? So I think you’re awesome.” She grinned at him.

Alec, finally out of his dark thoughts, smiled at her. “And you don’t have any concerns about it? I have quite a few enemies and there is always the possibility that they could find out about you and go after you.” He asked, still not really believing that she would just accept him like this.

Mildred shrugged her shoulders. “Well, I’m sure it’s not gonna be easy, but honestly? I don’t really think it’s going to be that bad. I mean, I’m not exactly normal either.” She smiled at him. “And that makes it kind of handy, don’t you think? You seem to be really worried about me getting hurt.”

Alec sighed. “Yes I do. You might not really understand it but I really do have a dangerous life. It’s impossible to plan, I’m never home and worst of all, it’s unpredictable. You can never know what might happen next. That is not something you really need to be a family.”

But Mildred only sighed. “So what? I’m at school most of the time anyway. I only really come home for vacation. So it’s not like we would be able to see each other often even if you had a desk job. And I’m not something you call normal either. I mean, I’m a witch! I do witchy things!”

She was now waving with her hands around to prove her point. “Like flying on a broom stick and playing witch ball with my friends. Brewing potions and wearing pointy hats and turning things into animals and back or charming people into things. It’s not like I’m sitting around totally helpless, too.”

Alec looked at her waving around and trying to prove her point. He realized that she really wanted to make this work. And honestly? He wanted it, too, but he was scared. He was scared of getting attached and then suddenly losing her. Like everything else in his life. Yet she made him want to try. His mind was raging a war with his heart. His mind screaming at him that it would be a terrible idea, that he would just drag innocent people down with him and getting everyone hurt. Yet his heart was urging him to try. To be selfish and greedy and hold onto her, the little girl made of warmth and sunshine which had melted his walls in such a short time, telling him to finally let someone in, to ease the pain and finally chase away the loneliness he had felt since he had lost his parents.

And finally, to prove his nagging fear wrong and prove to himself that he would be a better father than his was to him. To prove everyone, but most importantly to himself, that he was capable and not like him and that he could do it.

“What’s ‘witchball’?” He asked her instead in hopes of giving himself just a bit more time to think.

Mildred paused but sighed. “It’s a game. A mix between volleyball and basketball, but we play it without touching the ball.” She explained.

Alec’s eyebrows rose. “How do you play it without touching the ball?” He asked incredulously and Mildred threw him a pointed look. “Right. Forget I asked. Magic.”

Mildred shook her head. “You’re changing the subject.” She countered and grabbed his hands again, squeezing them. He squeezed back despite his better judgement.

“You’re scared that something might happen to me. But you forgot that I’m not completely defenceless. I have my magic. If someone tries to hurt me, I can turn him into a mouse. Or a frog. Or a pig. And I’m not afraid of either of those animals. And if you’re so worried about me, wouldn’t it be better to keep an eye on me, just to make sure?” She explained and looked at him imploringly. “Why don’t you give us a chance?”

Alec couldn’t answer. He knew she was right. Yet he was still afraid. But his heart was winning. His resistance was crumbling and he knew she had won. And he saw that she realized that she had won.

Finally he nodded. And was awarded with the brightest and widest smile yet.

“I don’t know what it’s like,” he whispered. “I don’t know what it’s like to have a daughter.”

Mildred’s smile softened and she hugged him. Alec hesitatingly laid his arms around her before he gave in and pressed her close to his body, burying his nose in her hair and just breathing.

Mildred whispered: “I don’t know either.” She hugged him harder. “What it’s like to have a father.”

They just sat there, enjoying the closeness and feeling how all the puzzle pieces finally seemed to click.

“But,” Mildred continued, “We’re going to find out together, okay?”

Alec took a deep breath and nodded.

Chapter Text

“You really turned her into a pig?”

Mildred rolled her eyes and shoved another fork of noodles inside her mouth. Her father grinned at her with sparkling eyes and after swallowing she sighed.

“It was an accident! I didn’t do it on purpose.” She countered, “Also, I couldn’t return her fully and she was stuck with a pig’s nose and as retaliation she turned me into a frog and threw me out of the window into the pond.”

At that her father lost every bit of humour in his face and his eyes narrowed. Mildred hurriedly continued: “But thanks to that I found Mr. Rowan-Webb and he helped me get into the castle. And Maud and Enid captured Ethel and forced her to reveal what she did and turn me back. I also could help Mr. Rowan-Webb and save him from the life of a frog. So it’s fine, really.”

The agent didn’t really look convinced, but he let the topic go.

Mildred and her father had finally decided to go out to eat after they had revealed their pasts and beings to each other to talk and get to know each other. And because there were no more secrets between them the meal became a pleasant conversation instead of the stilted conversation from the day before.

He had been asking a lot about her life a Cackle’s what is was like to be a witch (“It’s amazing dad!”), how she found out about it (“Maud crashed into me when I was standing on the balcony.”) and how she was fairing. He seemed really interested and asked a lot of questions.

Mildred in turn asked her share of questions, too, but they weren’t always answered, often she got half-answers or short and clipped ones with the sentence: “Sorry, it’s classified.”

In a way she understood but it didn’t mean she wasn’t disappointed that she couldn’t get to know her father as well as he could her. But she guessed there were just things she was not supposed to know. It was a real pity. But that didn’t change the fact that she loved absolutely every second of spending time with her father.

They finished their meals in pleasant conversation and then decided to take a short walk around the city, enjoying the evening breeze.

Mildred was starting to get cold however, shuddering and hugging herself in an attempt to stay warm when she suddenly felt something being wrapped around her. It was her father’s suit jacket. He smiled at her.

“You’re dressed way too lightly in this weather and will catch a cold. Did you forget your coat in the room?” He asked and Mildred nodded.

“I didn’t expect it to be this cold. I normally only need it when I’m flying on my broom and don’t have my witching cloak to keep me warm.” She answered.

“Don’t you have another one or did you leave it at home?”

Mildred shrugged. “It’s the only one I have. I don’t really need a second one.”

When she looked up at him she saw him looking at her incredulously and frowning.

“Well, seems like we’ll have to go shopping tomorrow.” He replied in a no-nonsense tone which didn’t leave room for argument.

Mildred shook her head hastily. “Dad! You really don’t have to. I’m fine with the one I have and When I’m at school I have my cloak. No need to buy me that stuff.”

But Alec didn’t listen to her arguments and just decided that they would stay a day longer and spend it shopping for clothes.

“I didn’t have that chance clothing you when you were younger, so just let me enjoy it, okay?” He retorted with a smile and Mildred couldn’t resist.

“Fine,” she relented and remembering the wardrobe she had seen until now from him she hastily added: “But no unnecessary splurging! I don’t really need anything and I don’t want you to waste too much money on me, okay?”

Alec grumbled but nodded. Mildred threw him a relieved smile.

After their little tour they got ready for bed and Mildred was giddy. She couldn’t wait to get to spend the whole day with her father.

~~~~

The next day she soon realised that she had a completely different view from him about the ‘unnecessary splurging’ and on the definition of ‘too much money’.

Alec Trevelyan put one clothing article after the other into her arms with price tags which made her cry internally. But every time she tried to protest he would just shush her and tell her to try this on or that, that she would need them and he had the money after all. Mildred was not happy but couldn’t really win.

In the end she ended with so many bags full of clothing that she was sure it was more than she had in her closet and combined more expensive than the cost of their whole living room. As much as she liked the new clothes, it was really just too much. But Alec just turned deaf every time she tried telling him so.

In the end she gave up and stared sorrowfully at the small mountain of bags while sitting outside at a small restaurant with a stunning view of the Mersey River. Mildred poked at her food and sulked.

“Come one Mildred, it’s not so bad. You get a whole new wardrobe and I get the pleasure of dressing you up. It’s not all day I have the opportunity to do that with my own daughter, especially since I didn’t had the opportunity when you were a baby.” Alec tried to console her but Mildred just shot him a withering glare.

“Yeah. Who knows what you would have put me into if you had.” She muttered, stabbing her piece of fish harder than intended. She sighed. “Sorry, that was mean. I didn’t mean it like that,” She explained, “It’s just, it’s so much money you used. Mum and I have always been tight and couldn’t afford much. And now you just bought me a whole new wardrobe on a whim which cost more than all of our furniture combined as if it were nothing. It just makes me feel … mad I guess that you can throw it out like that while I had to be careful with spending all my life.”

Mildred looked up and was met with a sad smile from her father. “Yeah, you’re right. This is nothing for me. The life of a spy is dangerous and unpredictable, but it pays extremely well. That’s why I can afford all these things like they’re nothing. But,” And now he had that glitter back in his eyes, “I never had anything or anyone to really spend it for. For what? I didn’t have family until two days ago, my social life consists of fellow spies and MI6 workers, I spend more time in hotels and planes than in my own apartment and no real time for a hobby. So I have money but nothing to waste it on. So,” He threw her a sheepish smile, “It’s the first time I really had the opportunity for it I guess. And Maybe I overdid it but hey, can you really fault me for that?”

Mildred smiled and shrugged, going back to her fish and chips. She had thought about it after their talk yesterday. That he really must have been lonely. It was sad but Mildred could understand to a certain extent.

“Well, I’m gonna have a really hard time flying all of that stuff back on my broomstick.” She joked, trying to lift the heavy atmosphere which had descended upon them.

Alec laughed. “Yeah, you might. Or” and now he was grinning back boyishly at her, “I could drive you back to your place. That way I can talk to your mother and maybe convince her to let you stay with me for a little while longer.”

Mildred beamed. “That’s a great idea!”

They both grinned at each other and then changed the conversation back to other topics.

The young witch knew that there was no way that her parents were ever going to get back together but she just hoped that they would get along and maybe her mother would let her stay with him for longer periods of time so that she would get to know him.

“Speaking of which,” Her father asked her suddenly, “Does your mother know where you are?”

Mildred froze. “Well … yes …. But actually no?” It sounded more like a question instead of an answer. Alec raised an eyebrow and send her a reproachful look.

“And that means?” He asked.

Mildred squirmed. “Well, I left her a letter explaining where I would be going, which was searching for you, but I didn’t tell her where exactly I was.”

Alec sighed. “Was it because you forgot or because you didn’t know where you would be headed? You told me about how I pretty much made you chasee me around the country. So I doubt that you knew where exactly you were heading, right?”

The young witch avoided eye contact but nodded. The agent sighed. “Why didn’t you call her or at least send her a message? She must be worried sick by now.”

The girl shrugged. “I don’t have a phone and I forgot my magic mirror credit card at home.”

“Your what?”

Mildred grinned. “My magic mirror credit. It’s a magic card which you hold into a mirror. And then you can talk to another person by appearing on the closest mirroring surface to them. It’s pretty awesome.”

Alec sighed. “Right. I don’t really understand it but that’s not important right now.” He looked at her the tiniest bit accusingly. “That still doesn’t explain why you don’t have a phone. What happened to it? I’m pretty sure you have one. Everyone does.”

Mildred shrugged her shoulders. “I had one but in my first year Miss Hardbroom vanished it on my first day because I was talking to my mum on it and she found me and told me that such ‘devices’ were not allowed at school. And I haven’t gotten it back since.”

Alec stared at her. “And what have you been using this far when you were at home and going somewhere?”

The girl poked at her chips. “Mum has lent me her old ones until we have enough money for a new one.”

The spy sighed. “Okay. That’s it. We’re going to buy you a new one right after.”

Mildred’s head snapped up. “What? But that’s too much! The clothes were already too much but a new phone? That’s crazy!”

“You’re also getting a new Laptop since you told me you didn’t have one and I’m sure as hell won’t let you go back without a way to contact me.” Alec countered, letting no room for arguments.

Mildred protested all the way to the shop but the spy wouldn’t even hear a word of it. In the end Mildred ended up with a brand new phone and phone case, enough credit on it to last her at least two years and a new notebook. She had protested fiercely and drew the line at a brand new laptop, telling her father that she wouldn’t be using it much anyway since she would be at Cackle’s most of the year.

In the end they settled for a middle ground with the notebook and her father told her that he would take it to a friend who would install the needed protection and safety measures before returning it to her. Mildred begrudgingly relented.

She wanted to call her mother, only to remember that she didn’t know her mothers’ number. Alec only sighed and told her that tomorrow they would drive back and he would go with her personally to meet her to explain and talk to her. Mildred was already looking forward to it.

The rest of the day was spent walking around the city sightseeing and enjoying one last walk alongside the river and talking about what their life’s are like and what they would like to do now.

When Mildred laid on the couch that night ready for sleep, she felt giddy. Just a few more hours and her parents would finally get to meet each other again. Mildred really hoped that all would go well like she had always imagined. That night she slept with a smile.

~~~~

The next morning they threw their things in the trunk of a really fancy car Mildred didn’t recognize but was pretty sure cost a fortune and her broom and backpack in the back.

Alec had wanted to fly by plane but Mildred didn’t bring her passport, not that she had one, she had never really left the country, they didn’t have the money for that, or her ID with her and she had never been on a plane for all her life. Alec knew he could have pulled a few strings, but in the end decided against it, fearing that it might be too dangerous for Mildred after all if she was found out before he would be able to prepare proper safety measures for her.

So the car it was.

Mildred couldn’t stop talking about her mother, she could barely sit still while they drove through the country. Alec indulged her and listened with a smile, already thinking on how to impress and get back in her good graces so she would be lenient with them.

They had both decided that they would keep Alec’s occupation a secret for as long as possible to keep her save. Even though Mildred was not happy with it, but she understood to a certain degree.

After what felt like forever they finally pulled into the parking lot next to their apartment complex and grabbing all of Mildred’s new things. They were drawing a lot of attention with the fancy car and Alec’s imposing figure and clothing which just screamed money, but Mildred was so nervous and giddy that she didn’t even realize, more busy with dragging her father up the elevator to their home.

They finally stood in front of their door and Mildred rang the doorbell, hopping nervously from one leg to the other. The door opened and Julie Hubble stood there, her smile turning from bright to a confused one before being hugged by her daughter.

“Mum!” Mildred exclaimed happily, “Look who I found! It’s dad!”

Julie tried to smile and contain her daughter’s happiness but her smile was shadowed by questioning eyes and frowns and something else.

After a while Mildred had still not stopped hugging the life out of her mother Alec put a hand on her shoulder and pulled her back softly.

“Mildred, let her breathe for a second, okay?” His tone not hiding his amusement at all. His smile turned softer when he turned to her. “Hello Julie. I haven’t seen you for a long time.”

The mother just smiled defeated. “Hello Dave.”

They both stared at each other, not knowing what to say. Mildred waiting with bated breath.

“Julie? Who is that at the door?”

Behind the older woman a man arrived. He was shorter than Alec in height and frame, he was slightly stout, his head was starting to bald with brown hair, but he had a friendly face and a pleasant voice.

Julie was now looking from one man to the other while Alec raised an eyebrow and subtly pushed Mildred behind him while assessing him as danger to his daughter or not.

“Oh,” He said, seeing the young child and her father and unconsciously withering at the cold stare he was receiving from said man.

Julie had calmed down and smiled at all people present. “Mildred, love? I’d like you to meet someone”

Mildred came from behind her father but still standing behind him. Her mother smiled encouragingly at her. “This is Alvin Wemble.” She smiled sheepishly. “We’ve been seeing each other for a while now.” She then turned to him. “Alvin? This is Mildred, my daughter.” She finally turned to Alec, her smile turning shaky. “And this is Dave-“

“Alec.” The agent interrupted her. “Alec Trevelyan. I’m Mildred’s father.” He held his hand out staring right at him without ever losing his easy smile or his cold glare and the other man gave him a handshake, returning his stare uneasily before hastily dropping it.

Mildred’s mouth fell open in surprise. She stared at her mother, then at the man next to her and then to her father. An awkward silence had settled over all four of them.

“Oh.” Mildred only retorted. “Well, this is awkward.”

Chapter Text

The strange atmosphere was interrupted by a very loud meow and a happy tabby cat cuddling up to his mistress.

“Tabby!” Mildred exclaimed and picked the feline up, cuddling him lovingly. She turned to her father with a big grin. “Dad! This this Tabby!” She introduced them and Alec’s stare melted into a softer tone.

“Hi Tabby.” He greeted the cat, let him sniff on his fingers and after given a curious look and a soft head butt, he was stroking her between her ears. The familiar was purring in content.

Finally Julie caught herself and invited everyone in, Alec following them last and waving away his daughter as she was about to help with the bags.

Finally arriving in the small living room Mildred put her cat down, who protested after being not given enough affection after all those days separated and grabbed her bags, bringing them into her room and putting everything away, followed by her trusted feline.

Mildred hurried up and promised herself to fold them correctly later but she really wanted to be back in the living room before something happened.

Tabby meowed unhappily from her feet and Mildred, never really being able to deny her furry companion, picked him up again, petting him lovingly while being quiet and hoping to maybe hear a bit of conversation. Unfortunately it was way too quiet so they were either not speaking loud enough or they were still starring at each other in awkward silence.

The young witch sighed and turned to Tabby. “Let’s just hope they all get along, right? If the day ends without dad beating the other man up, I’m counting it as a win.” No, she did not miss the mistrustful and cold stare her dad had thrown at the other man, she knew what she saw. And what she saw was her father ready for murder should he be anything but pleasant.

Mildred took a deep breath and returned to the living room, where they were all holding an awkward stare down, her father clearly winning.

“Mildred love!” Her mother jumped up in fake enthusiasm when she saw her walking back in, grabbing her arm and leading her away. “Could you just help me with something?” She asked but they were already half across the hall and on their way to her mother’s bedroom.

When they arrived, her mother closed the door behind her and turned to her daughter, panic clear in her eyes.

“What is going on?!” She demanded to know, her voice loosing every bit of the fake sweetness from a few seconds before. “Why is he here? And where the hell have you been the last few days?! Do you have any idea how worried I was?”

Mildred just stammered: “Well … I left you a letter?”

Julie sighed and threw her head back in frustration. “A letter which explained next to nothing! So out with it! What did you do?”

Mildred shrugged practically hiding behind Tabby. “I told you, didn’t I? The family tree revealed something and I thought it would be a good opportunity to go and find dad. I mean, I don’t know him but I really wanted to and I now finally had the opportunity. So I took it. Enid and Maud helped me out a little and then I just followed the trail.”

She looked imploringly at her mother. “I didn’t do it to spite you or make you angry, it’s just, I didn’t know how to tell you. I really didn’t do it to hurt you, I promise. I just wanted to find and get to know him. So please don’t be angry.”

Julie relaxed after every word from her daughter. She smiled in defeat at her and was about to say something, when Mildred interrupted her.

“And he’s really amazing! We get along great and he’s so nice and listens to me and he’s really funny and he’s always interested in what I have to say, even if it’s just word vomit. He even …” She made herself small again and avoided to look at her mother, “He even knows about my magic. And he’s fine with it. He doesn’t have a problem or anything.”

Mildred refused to look at her mother and Tabby meowed unhappily, butting her head and rubbing all up to her in an attempt to cheer her up.

Julie tensed up when she heard her daughter but calmed down fast. She held Mildred’s cheek and smiled at her. The young witch looked up hopefully.

“Well, if you’re singing such high praises of him, he can’t be all bad, can he?”

Mildred nodded. “He’s amazing!”

Julie sighed and brought her daughter into a hug. “Oh well, not how I imagined to see him again, but it’s not like we can change it now, can’t we. So let’s get back out before they rip each other to shreds.” The mother thought for a moment. “Or better before Dave, I mean Alec, rips Alvin to shreds.” She turned reproachfully back to her daughter. “You really have to explain this to me how Dave became Alec.”

Mildred nodded hastily, secretly hoping that her father would take over this part, because she was terrible at lying to her mother.

They arrived back at the living room, still intact, thank god, but something must have happened, because her father looked quite relaxed and a little smug, and she was sure no one but her could see that, he was that good but she thought that she knew him pretty well by now, and her mother’s boyfriend looked … scared for lack of better wording. He certainly tried to hide it, it was just … not very good. Mildred kind of wanted to know what they had been talking about.

After a few seconds Julie clapped her hands together. “So, who wants to eat something?” She raised her hand and looked around hopefully. Mildred’s hand shot in the air in an attempt to be solitary to her mother. Her father had an amused smile playing around his lips before raising his and before Alvin could do it as well Julie smiled and vanished into the kitchen, leaving her alone to play host. Thanks a lot mum!

She forced herself to smile and asked them if they wanted to drink anything, trying to be a good host and hoped that they would have everything they would want at hand.

Her father merely asked her for a glass of water while Alvin asked for a cup of tea. Mildred nodded and released her familiar back to the ground, where he walked over to the agent and jumped into his lap, demanding to be petted. Alec smiled at that and stroked him softly behind his ears while Tabby purred.

Mildred fetched the drinks and hesitated at the door, but soon realized that her mother really needed to be alone right now. So she returned and offered Alvin his tea while she grinned at her father spoiled her feline with pets.

“You look like some kind of bad spy movie villain dad,” Mildred said and Alec looked at her in mock offense.

“Excuse you? I am not!” He retorted and they shared a smile, the inside joke known to no one but them.

Mildred sat between them on the couch and tried to engage the other man in small talk, but it wasn’t really working. He only let out short or one word answers and it really wasn’t doing anything for her. Her father wasn’t a big help either. He was silent the whole time and seemed to be really engrossed petting her familiar, but Mildred knew exactly that he was listening to every word.

She sighed in relief when her mother announced that the casserole was done and if she could please prepare the table. Mildred almost jumped up of happiness to finally leave this behind but refrained from doing so.

Alec let go of Tabby and followed her, offering his help. Mildred smiled and told him where everything was and together they were done quickly and waiting for her mother to bring the dish out.

When they all sat down, the awkwardness just wouldn’t lift! Mildred really wanted to bang her head against something. She knew it would have been awkward, but she didn’t expect it to be so terrible.

“So,” Julie finally interrupted the silence and Mildred could have hugged her. “Alec.” And she put real emphasis into this word. That didn’t sound good. “What are you doing?” She asked.

The Russian turned to her and threw her a charming smile, making the man next to her stiffen awkwardly. “I’m currently working for the Government.” He answered.

“Oh,” Julie exclaimed, a bit of surprise colouring her voice, “That’s quite the career change.” She turned to Alvin. “You know, when we met he was training to be a plumber.” She smiled lovingly at him and he seemed to relax. She turned back to Alec. “I thought you would still be doing that. You know, Alvin here is a salesman.” She smiled happily at him and he seemed to relax visibly.

Alec only chuckled and shook his head. “No. That didn’t really work out.”

“And what do you do in the government?” She continued to ask.

‘Chasing bad guys in awesome car chases.’ Rushed through Mildred’s head, ‘Catching heads of criminal organisations. Destroying and preventing terrorist attacks. Saving the country.’

“Oh,” Alec continued in a light tone, “Nothing spectacular. I have kind of a diplomatic job where I travel a lot.”

Mildred almost choked on her food but could barely control herself after her father tapped her food lightly in warning with his. She still couldn’t supress her grin though and hid it by hastily shoving another fork into her mouth.

“So,” Alec continued, “How did you two meet?”

“Oh well –“

“That was actually –“

The couple smiled at each other and turned to the other two, holding hands. Mildred raised an eyebrow at them.

“We met at a park actually.” Julie said and then turning to her daughter, a slight flush colouring her cheeks.

“Well, I was walking through it and her sheet, where she was drawing on, was flying away in my direction. I caught it and we started talking and get to know each other.” Alvin explained and they both looked at each other dreamily.

“Yes. It was like fate had brought us together.” Julie added, not breaking eye contact.

Mildred and Alec looked at each other in silent communication and Mildred only shrugged.

After another very awkward minute for the father-daughter duo where the other duo was staring at each other dreamily, Alvin turned to Alec and asked him.

“Well, how did you two meet? I heard you were absent from her life until now. So how come you two met?” He asked, Mildred stiffening.

But Alec didn’t let the jab disturb him and he sent the other only an easy grin. “You’re right. I actually didn’t know Mildred existed until a few days ago. I just found her one day after she broke into my hotel room.”

Mildred rolled her eyes. “It wasn’t like I wanted to steal anything from you.”

Her father raised his eyebrow. “I know. Doesn’t change the fact that you climbed the fire staircase and came into the suite through the balcony.”

The two continued to bicker good heartedly while the other two looked at them in confusion.

“Speaking of which,” Mildred replied, turning back to her mother and rubbing her cheek sheepishly, “I actually wanted to ask if I could spent the rest of the holidays with dad.” She looked up hopefully at her mother while she was gaping back at her in confusion.

“What?” She asked.

Mildred’s stare turned begging. “Please? I still have the rest of the week and next week off from school and dad said I could stay with him in London. And I’ve only been to London one time when I was small. So please?”

Julie sat back tiredly. “Well, I had hoped to see you again after so long at school and I had hoped that you and Alvin could get to know each other better. Mildred, another time, okay?”

Mildred looked at her mother desperately, thinking about how her father could get downtime after a mission and how he never knew how long they normally lasted. “Please mum! I know we haven’t seen each other for a while but Dad lives even farther away and I’ve never even gotten to see his apartment. And I can barely remember the last time we went to London. Can I just go this time? I promise I’ll be good.”

Julie was still torn. She had hoped that Alvin could be a father figure in her life. She hadn’t expected for her actual father to come back exactly now. Sure, she could understand Mildred’s wish to get to know her father, but she was actually not so sure about that. Especially since a lot of things seemed to have changed. But on the other hand, the two seemed to really have clicked. She could see it in the easy way they talked to each other and how casually they were about everything, playful banter as if they had known each other for a long while now. Soft touches that spoke of familiarity and already they had inside jokes that went right over her head. But still, she had really hoped that it would work with Alvin. She was about to deny her daughter’s wish, when he interrupted her.

“Why don’t we make a compromise?” Alec asked. Everyone turned to him, Mildred’s hopeful eyes begging him to convince her mother. He smiled at her reassuringly.

“How about Mildred stays here for the rest of the week? It’s still quite a few days and next week she can come visit me. And she can go back to school from my place out. She can even bring Tabby. My place has nothing against pets.” He explained his idea and turned to look at them all expectantly. ‘And I can clean my apartment, hide the weapons and make my alcohol stash inaccessible.’ He thought but didn’t say out loud.

Mildred was all for it. That way she could spend time with both of them. She turned hopeful eyes to her mother which she saw visibly crumbling. The older Hubble sighed.

“Oh fine. Yes, you can stay next week with your father.”

Mildred squealed in happiness.

Chapter Text

Alec Trevelyan was on a mission. One unlike everything he had ever done. One so specific and with so little information that even he, a seasoned double oh agent with countless life threatening missions under his belt, many who were considered absolutely impossible and suicide, had doubts if he could make it. The most important mission of his life until now.

Preparing his apartment for the arrival of his daughter.

Now don’t get him wrong. Alec didn’t live in some kind of shithole and had to clean it up, neither did he live in a weapon factory surrounded by guns and bombs and everything else that could destroy (that was not completely true. He did have a lot of weapons in his apartment, but not enough for a factory), neither did he live in a vodka distillery (even though he sometimes wished he did). No. His apartment was just really … bare.

Alec never had seen sense in decorating it or making it homey if he didn’t feel like it. He also spent more time away from it than not. He was more familiar with hotel rooms and wherever he normally slept while on missions. And if it would be too personal and someone broke into the house, it could get dangerous.

So in the end it looked exactly the same as when he bought it two years ago. Sterile, right out of a magazine and without a real personal touch.

Now however he regretted never really putting much thought to it.

His whole apartment was high class, in pretty much the best part of London, a penthouse with an amazing view, his furniture was all soft, modern, the best woods, luxury incarnate. But it was all so … empty. It didn’t feel like anything at all. He didn’t feel anything when he came home. He didn’t have pets, he didn’t have the time to care for them, and he didn’t even have plants, they were sure to die and wither with how often he wasn’t here to care for them.

The Russian had never really cared for it. Why? It’s not like he had anyone to impress now. His conquests were either enjoyed in their own homes or he would pay for a hotel room. He never brought them home. He didn’t have friends, his busy life preventing him from that, merely acquaintances, and they were all work related because they were all fellow double-0’s.

The only one he was even remotely close to was James. And he didn’t really care how his apartment looked. His didn’t look much different. And if they weren’t busy getting drunk, they were busy getting their clothes off of each other and then they didn’t really care where they are or how it looked like. (No, they were not a couple, it was purely for stress release) And even that had been a while because Alec was pretty sure James was currently enjoying himself god knows where with his newest conquest.

Not that Alec even believed for one second that his ‘retirement’ was permanent. He knew James. Had known him longer than anyone else. James was not one to leave England behind without proper incentive and that psychologist? No way. Honestly, he had been in hysterics when he had found out that his best friend had left with a shrink. No way that this would last. He wasn’t even angry with him that he had stopped their arrangement, it had even made it easier for Alec to plan his secret evil plan and would have made it easier to break all connections.

Then he had met Mildred Hubble and all his evil ideas and plans to defect and turn rogue had flown straight out the window. Because no way he could do this to her and leave her behind just after they met.

Which brings us to his current dilemma. Preparing his apartment.

Mildred and him had called every day since he left her behind with her mother and she was texting him constantly. Which he would normally find really annoying but from his daughter it was just cute and he loved it. Because it meant she wanted him in her life. She wanted him to be her father. She wanted him to be part of her family. And he never had that.

Contrary to popular belief it wasn’t the action and the luxury life double-0’s craved most, but normalcy. Stability. Every double-oh secretly wished for it. Family. Warmth. Loyalty that was given to them freely and if they had it, they would return it hundredfold. That was the problem with recruiting so many orphans. They had them bound to a country that raised them and in return gave them a home - albeit a cold one full of killing and lies – after they’d gone for an age without one. But they also ran the very real risk of losing them to someone who could give them the real thing. A true home full of warmth and happiness, no matter how fleeting and they would fight tooth and nail to keep and protect it.

Alec hadn’t had one since his parents had died in that cold small hut. He had shut his heart out to protect himself and not let himself lull into a wrong security.

But now he had Mildred. Mildred whom he hadn’t known for longer than a week. Mildred, who with one simple text made him feel more and happier than he had felt for all his life. He had felt the instant connection between them even before he really knew she was his daughter and it grew with every second he got to spend with her. It was the kind of warmth he knew from fairy tales and stories, but which had been withheld from him all his life long. Alec had found himself aware that he was standing under Mildred’s sun, safe. Perhaps not in the conventional way, with its implications of a lack of violence and bloodshed, but safe in the sense that there was solid ground beneath his feet, a fixed point from which he could always orient himself, without fail. And he’d wanted that for so long without really understanding what it was he wanted that he knew he would rip the still beating heart out of anyone who tried to take it away from him.

When he had brought Mildred back home, he had entered the small apartment full of cheap and old furniture and had felt a warmth and happiness pouring out of every bit of concrete and he knew it was the kind of place where you were glad to get home to after a long day. And he knew it was because it was of the people living inside. A small family full of love for each other. It was the complete opposite to his place. He had at first felt like an outsider but Mildred had pulled him right in and at the end of the night it had been hard for him to leave. He had wanted to grab Mildred and bring her back to London. The only thing preventing him from doing so was the knowledge that she would soon return to him.

Now he could barely wait for her to visit him and maybe, maybe she could turn this cold place into something resembling a home, too.

But when he had looked around the morning after he came back to London, he had panicked. He had guest rooms, yes, but they were not rooms suited for a girl living with him. He had wished he would have been able to call a designer right away, but he had to return to headquarters for debriefing first.

When he had been there he had tried to look as normal as possible and he knew that he had mostly succeeded, but for the trained eye of the chief of staff he had known for so long. He had given him the weirdest look when he was even more impatient than usual and even weirder looks when he had caught him smiling at his phone because Mildred had sent him another stupid selfie with her cat.

However, he was pretty sure he had shocked the whole room when he had announced that he would take some much needed vacation time and wouldn’t be available until the end of next week. Double-0’s didn’t take vacation time. Hell, they didn’t even like to take downtime, regardless how long and cruel the mission had be. They were normally forced to take them. He had almost thought he had now put the head of MI6 into a cardiac arrest with how still he got and how he gaped when he had been presented with the request. But oh well.

So now he was stuck at home looking through several luxuries furniture houses that would be able to turn one of his guestrooms into a proper pre-teen bedroom. Honestly, he didn’t really know what exactly Mildred would prefer and he was sorely tempted to just wait for her to arrive and let her choose. But that would be kind of pathetic. He also knew that Mildred would flip if she saw the prices of those rooms they presented and would refuse either way. So there was that. If he wanted her to have a nice room, he had to do it himself and let her decorate it how she liked when she was there.

In the end he chose a queen sized box spring bed and matching wardrobe and study table as well as several bookshelves. He called an interior designer to design the rest of the room within the week and the furniture to arrive on the next day. It cost quite a bit, but well, he had the money and wasn’t using it for anything after all. He ended up screwing the attractive female in his living room but well, that wasn’t something so unusual.

The rest of the week he made sure all safety measures were taken, that all his weapons were concealed and hopefully impossible for his daughter, or her cat, to find and his apartment cleaned. He made sure that not even a speck of dust remained and that his fridge was well stocked and his alcohol hidden away. He even bought stuff for the cat. He knew that Tabby would be coming with her and he didn’t know if Mildred would bring all of his things or not, so just to make sure he bought everything. From cat toilet to toys and everything in between.

In the end he was sure he had overdone it with his obsessive cleaning and everything. But he couldn’t help it. His daughter was visiting! He had missed her for every day he couldn’t be with her and honestly? He was scared when the week was over and she had to go back to school. Then she would be at a boarding school at a place he didn’t have a fast way of entering if something were to happen and Mildred couldn’t even call that often anymore because these old witches had something against normal technology. That meant there was no way of hacking inside surveillance systems and checking up on her.

Sure, he knew she would be fine. It wasn’t like it would be her first time. But it would be the first time for him. Now knowing that he had someone to come home to and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to reach that easily, not just because of his job, but because of everything else, too, it just didn’t sit well with him.

Alec laid the Notebook on her desk and sighed. He had asked Q to upgrade it and give it the best possible security system. He had earned a few suspicious looks, but after bribing him with a lot of sweets and tea, he had complied and after less than an hour he could take it home with him.

Alec had sat down over the weekend and worked on a list of things he could visit with her and a way to show her around. He just didn’t know if she would be willing to go with it or if she would prefer to just sit at home watching movies. Honestly? He wouldn’t mind either of those things. Sitting at home watching kids’ movies with her sounded great in his book, too, something he never would have thought of saying, but he had hoped that they could get a little bit of bonding together.

Mildred had written him on Saturday that she would arrive by broom. Alec had offered to drive back and just bring her here or even pay for her train ticket and pick her up from the train station, it would not bother him in the slightest, because he was sure that she would have a lot of packages, but the young witch had refused. She said that she had a broom for a reason and she didn’t want to bother him like that.

He had asked her where she would land and where he should pick her up and was met with confused silence until he remembered that he had a balcony. Since then he had been panicking if his balcony was save from prying eyes and save for landing. It was. He was just paranoid.

After spending his weekend evenings in bars and spending the nights elsewhere, just not at home, Monday finally arrived and he found himself checking the balcony and the sky every few seconds. No Mildred yet.

He did everything to distract himself. Cleaning, cooking, watching television, nothing helped. He even checked four times if he had sent her the correct address – he had.

Finally he spotted a small figure landing on his balcony, her broom full of caskets and bags, Tabby’s head poking out of the one on her back and meowing unhappily and Mildred, fully dressed in black coat and witch hat over normal every day clothes, a very strange mixture, dismounting carefully.

Alec almost threw the door open with his enthusiasm and returned the wide grin his daughter threw at him.

“Hi dad!” She greeted him and her voice was full of happiness like she was genuinely happy to see him, which he knew was wholeheartedly the case. Warmth blossomed in his chest just from hearing those simple words.

She entered his living room, looking around in amazement and dropping her stuff on the ground. Which he just cleaned. And he didn’t care.

Mildred turned around, smiled up at him widely and opened her arm for a hug which he happily returned.

“Hi Millie.” He whispered against her hair, pressing her close to him, dropping a kiss on it and just breathing in her calming scent. Already it felt his apartment was warming up.

“Welcome home.”

Chapter Text

Mildred was getting impatient. She knew it, her mother knew it, her cat knew it, hell, even her mum’s new boyfriend knew it. It has just been two days since she had to say goodbye to her father and already she wanted to pack her bags and fly to London. But no. She had promised that she would be a good girl and spend the whole week with her mother because then she would not see her for a while.

And when she thought about it like that, she understood it. Mildred knew that she should treasure the time she had with her and stock up on memories with her and everything. It was just … she just got to know her dad. And now she had to wait until she could see him again. It was hard for her, okay?

Unfortunately that meant that she didn’t develop the deep and meaningful relationship with Alvin. She knew he was nice and that he really liked and cared for her mother and she was happy for them, it was just hard to compare him to her real father. It was not like Mildred was intentionally cruel or didn’t show any interest at all when it came to her mother’s new boyfriend, it was just … he was not her dad. And knowing what he did and what he was capable off and just the sheer novelty, it was a pretty one-sided comparison. There was just no way someone like him could measure up to a secret spy. And Mildred felt bad for it. She gave her best to be nice and to get along with him, really, but she was often distracted because she had been writing with her father or she was busy calling and talking to him instead of hanging out with her maybe future stepdad.

Mildred had the feeling that she was unintentionally hurting her mother this way, but she just didn’t know how to explain it to her. She knew she needed to talk to her about it soon, because she wanted, no needed her parents to get along.

Mildred sighed. She had just finished a call with her dad and he had ordered her to sleep since it was getting so late, but she couldn’t sleep. She didn’t know how to address this problem to her mother and make her understand that she was indeed happy for her. It was just a bad time for her to try and there was just no comparison to Alec.

The young witch had talked with her father about it and he had just told her that she should voice her concerns with her mother and the two should try to understand each other’s position. And Mildred knew that he was right. Really. It was just … hard to bring it up.

So the next day after Alvin had gone home and Mildred was in her pyjamas, she waited for her mother to come out of the bathroom. She had prepared tea and had Tabby in her arms, enjoying a few cuddles with him.

When her mother came out, Julie immediately realized, what it was about and sighed. She joined her daughter on their couch and accepted the mug of warm tea. They were both silent, not knowing how to start.

In the end it was Mildred who broke it. “You aren’t happy with dad, are you?”

Julie cradled her mug and stared forlornly into her tea. “It’s not that.” She replied. “I am happy for you that you finally found him. Which,” She grinned at her daughter in mock outrage, “We really have to talk about another time, what with the whole search without even informing me. But that’s not it actually. Your father and I, we broke up rather abruptly and I thought I might never want to see him again. When I found I was having you … well, I knew I might have been able to contact him, at least I think, I’m not so sure now actually, but it was pride that prevented me. I didn’t want him in my life. I told myself that he would have been a terrible father and that he wouldn’t care for you and that he would just make you sad. And that we would be better off without him. I admit that I was selfish. I didn’t want him in my life purely out of spite.” Julie sighed. “In retrospect I realize how cruel it was. He had a daughter he didn’t even know about. And in the last few days I realized how wrong I was. I realized what I took from him. What I did to him. And I was angry. Not at him, no, but at myself. I felt foolish, disappointed even for thinking for even one second that he wouldn’t be a wonderful father.”

Julie smiled warmly at her daughter. “I saw it, you know? The connection between you two. You had a banter going on as if you’d known each other all your life. And you looked so happy. You were smiling all evening, talking and already sharing inside jokes I have no idea of.” Her smile turned a little sad. “I especially realized how protective he already was of you. Remember when Alvin appeared behind me?” Mildred nodded. “He immediately shoved you behind him, shielding you as if he were the enemy – don’t look at me like that, I know you realized it, too – and I was so surprised.” And now she was laughing. “Especially because I’m sure Alvin wouldn’t be able to do anything to him. I mean,” Now she was laughing, “Have you seen his arms? Your father is pure muscle. I’m sure he could bench press me without breaking a sweat.”

Mildred wasn’t even sure of it, she knew it. He wasn’t an agent for nothing.

Her mother continued. “What I want to say is, I’m not angry at you or don’t like him or anything like that, I’m just disappointed at myself, that I’ve robbed you of this bond for so long. That I took the opportunity from him to have this happiness, earlier. And I admit,” Her voice turned more playful now, “I’m a little disappointed, that we have such a bad timing. I introduce you to my new boyfriend the second you find your dad? Of course poor Alvin cannot keep up.”

Both were silent for a few moments, before Mildred cuddled up to her mother, still holding Tabby. “Don’ worry mum.” She said. “It’s alright. No one is really angry at you. I don’t really get it with the pride thing, but I get that you’re disappointed in yourself. I forgive you.”

Julie smiled and brought her daughter in for a hug. “Thanks sweetheart. I really did feel bad when I saw you two. And I wish I could reverse time and undo it, but I don’t think that’s possible.”

Mildred shook her head. “It has already happened and it’s fine. I have him now, don’t I?” Julie laughed and nodded.

“Oh yes. And I hate to admit it, but he’s even more attractive than he was when I met him.” Mildred giggled. Then she turned serious again. “I’m sorry I didn’t try hard enough with Alvin. He’s really nice and he makes you happy. And that’s the most important thing for me. I’ll try harder with him.” Julie smiled. “That’s all I need to hear.” She pressed a kiss onto her temple and turned playful again.

“Now, tell me how you two met and how you two got so close together.”

Mildred smiled and explained. From the family tree to the compass and her search, to meeting him and the confirmation per DNA testing and that he found out about her magic. That and the next part she had to edit heavily as promised. So her mother thought she had followed him and appeared because his car broke down and he took a ride with her instead of Mildred saving him and him killing four people in front of her. She still shuddered when she thought of the warehouse.

And the heavy shopping tour and her father’s desire to spoil her rotten.

Julie had laughed at that and told her to enjoy but not to get used to it and to not try and use him. Mildred just nodded. In the end Julie understood how the two came to be so close, even if she didn’t know about the whole spy thing. The rest of the week they had spent happily together, enjoying each other for as much as possible before the separation. And Mildred did her best to get to know Alvin better and try to befriend him. Because she knew that he made her mother happy. And this was more than enough reason for her to try and get along with him. He wasn’t that bad, really. He was really nice. But she just wasn’t ready for him to know about her magic. So that was still a secret between Julie, Mildred and Alec.

But she still couldn’t wait until she could go. She had refused her father’s offer of driving her back or paying for her train ticket and had accepted her want to fly there herself. He had send her the address and Mildred and Julie had looked it up, whistling impressed when they realized where it lay exactly and how much this all must have cost.

“Well,” Julie said after their research, “At least I did something right and got you a really rich father.” Mildred just rolled her eyes at that.

The morning of her departure was spent with fussing of her mother, packing her bags last minute and making sure that she had everything not only for a week but also for her term at Cackle’s. In the end her mother finally let her go after another tirade of how she should be careful, to try and stay out of trouble and to call her anytime. Mildred gave all the wanted answers and after a final hug and kiss she ascended into the sky from the balcony, waving happily at her while watching her getting smaller with every second. Finally she turned around and spurned her broom on to fly faster on her way to London.

~~~~~

London was awesome! And London with her dad! Indescribable. When Mildred first arrived and got a first look at her dad’s apartment, she was speechless with her mouth dropped down. She had seen such a luxurious apartment only on TV and in magazines, but to see her father living in one was amazing. Her room alone was almost as big as her apartment with her mum. Let alone the rest of it.

But that wasn’t all of it. Being with her dad was great. They had quickly developed a routine and worked around each other and live together as if they had known each other for her whole life. He had always funny stories to tell, he always listened to her and his knowledge of the world was amazing!

They were out visiting London sights every day and he knew so much about it, she didn’t need a tour guide. And it wasn’t just the usual stuff you could find on the internet but small, interesting and funny anecdotes, too. For example how he knew that there were at least two cars in the Thames because he drove it in himself on a car chase and the other another agent he was quite close to. Or how the Raven's presence in the Tower of London led to the creation of Greenwich observatory. Simple things like that and it was amazing.

What her father had also started was giving her manner lessons. Because “everyone should know the basics” As he said and now their mornings were filled with him explaining her which fork was for which dish and the tricks (“if you’re nervous, just remember from the outside to the inside.”) or the right way to eat (“If you’re at dinner with the queen or other nobles, never take a bite before the most important person on the table.” “Why would I ever get to eat with nobles or the queen?” “You never know kotyonok, you never know.”)

What was the most fun for her however were the dancing lessons. She had once mentioned how her mother and her had loved to watch “Dancing with the Stars” and wished to be able to learn it themselves but they never had the chance. So in the evening Alec had pushed the coffee table aside and took her hand leading her into the first steps into an easy waltz. Every day she learned the steps to a different kind of dance, be it Cha Cha Cha or Foxtrott or even Paso Doble. The most fun however was the Vienna Waltz, where he twirled her around the living room, both laughing out loud in the end. She loved it.

So when the morning came for her to fly back to Cackle’s they were both loath to let go of each other. Mildred had a really hard time. One the one hand, she could go back to learning magic and see her friends again (they had an avid discussion if Mildred was allowed to tell them about her dad’s job, Alec was vehemently forbidding it, but after much talking he had finally relented with a sigh. “Oh well,” He had said, more to himself than anyone else, “It’s not like half the world doesn’t know that James is a spy, since he introduces himself with his full name every time he is somewhere.” He had rolled his eyes and mumbled: “Bloody bastard doesn’t even bother to use an alias.”) on the other hand she wouldn’t get to see her father. A father she had developed a really close bond with and she hated the thought of already leaving him.

But school was school and in the end she dressed in her school uniform and loaded her broom. When she came out of the room, ready to get flying, her father had looked at her with such a proud but sad expression, that she for one second thought about not leaving. That she could just stay here. But the thought left her quickly again and in the end they stood together on the balcony, Mildred once again refusing to let her dad drive her to at least the mountain, ready to say goodbye.

Her father put her cloak around her and hugged her tightly, Mildred reciprocating it with all her might. They stood together for a while, just breathing in each other’s familiar scent before finally letting go of each other. He put her witch head on her head and smiled sadly at her.

“You look beautiful and I’m very proud of you.”

His words meant more to her than anything else right now and she did her best not to cry.

“You should go.” He said finally and Mildred nodded, mounting her broom.

“I’ll call you as often as I can.” She promised him and he nodded, smiling at her. “I’ll see you at the end of term, if not earlier, okay?!” He grinned, as if he couldn’t wait for it. “And promise you’ll be careful on your missions, yeah?” The agent laughed. “I’ll try.” When she threw him a pout he sighed. “I really am trying, myshko, okay? But you be careful, too. Or I’ll come to your school and give you a piece of my mind.” Mildred giggled and hugged him again.

“I love you dad.” She replied, not knowing what it meant to her father while he hugged her harder.

After another few minutes of hugging, Mildred finally mounted her broom and was slowly rising into the air, waving wildly at him.

“Bye dad! Be careful, okay? I see you after end of term! I love you!” She shouted from the air and grinned brightly at him. Finally she was far enough away that she couldn’t see him anymore and she turned around, getting herself ready for a speedy return to Cackle’s.

Mildred couldn’t wait to tell her friends all about her father.

Chapter Text

Mildred could see the castle in the distance and grinned. It had been a longer flight than usual what with flying all from London but she didn’t mind. She was stilly happy from the morning and what was a few more hours of flight when she just came from the best vacation of her lifetime?

When she was flying over the forest, she spotted two other witches on their brooms, immediately recognizing them.

“Enid! Maud!” She shouted and her two best friends turned around, grinning when they saw her. “Well met!” She said, putting her hand on her forehead and nodding her head. The typical witches greeting.

“Mildred! Well met!” Maud replied, waving at her.

“Well met! How was it?” Enid immediately asked, grinning at her.

“It was awesome!” Mildred answered, when she finally caught up to the two other witches. “I have so much to tell you guys, you are not gonna believe it!”

They grinned at each other and continued to fly to their school.

When they landed, they bombarded her with questions.

“So you found him?” What’s he like?” “What did you guys do?”

Mildred laughed. “Calm down. I’m gonna tell you, don’t worry.”

“Mildred Hubble. Enid Nightshade. Maud Spellbody.” All three girls paled when they heard the voice of the deputy headmistress and their potions teacher. “I can see that you are well rested from your holidays.” She grinned at them, a dangerous glint in her eyes. “That means you are ready for hard lessons.”

The girls turned to her shuddering. Their grins fell.

“So prepare for me to be harder on you, since you will need it, especially if I look at your grades.” With that dark foreboding she snapped her finger and teleported away.

The three young witches looked at each other uncomfortably.

“Well that was reassuring.” Enid regarded, staring at the place where Miss Hardbroom was just a moment ago.

Mildred sighed. “Well, not much we can change now.” She looked at the other two. “Anyway, before we are tortured with potions, let’s put our stuff away. I have so much to tell you and it’s not really for everyone to listen to.”

The others smiled at her and together they made their way up to their respective rooms. On their way they greeted their other friends from class and those girls a grade under them. Mildred waved at Clarice and Beatrix who had just arrived and spotted them.

When they put their stuff away, Mildred waved them into her room, making sure no one was around who could listen and closed the door.

“And? Tell us! Don’t keep us in suspense!” Enid asked as the girls sat down on Mildred’s bed.

Mildred had the hugest smile on her face. “He is awesome!” She exclaimed, squealing a bit.

Her two friends grinned at her. Mildred continued. “He is really great. Such a nice guy. He knows so much and is pretty much good at everything. And you’ll never guess what his job is.”

She looked expectantly at her friends who just stared at each other before shrugging.

“Is he famous?” Enid asked. Mildred laughed and shook her head. “Not really.”

“Is he some kind of scientist?” Maud asked and Mildred shook her head again.

After she just earned two confused looks from her friends she beckoned them closer and the two listened eagerly.

“He’s a spy.” Mildred whispered waiting for a reaction of the other witches.

“A spy?!” Maud exclaimed in disbelief.

“Shhhh!” Mildred immediately hushed her. “Not so loud!”

“Sorry.”

Enid had a massive grin on her face. “You have to tell us more!” She immediately demanded and Mildred sighed.

“My dad works for MI6.” She answered.

“What is that?” Maud asked and Mildred stared at the two in confusion. “What do you mean ‘What is that’? Don’t tell me you don’t know what MI6 is?”

The two witches shook their heads and Mildred sighed. “It’s part of the secret service in England.” She gave the two a short explanation and the two nodded.

“That’s amazing! And your father works for them?”

Mildred nodded and proceeded to tell them how she met her father and how it all worked out. She told them about her search, her break in into the hotel room, how they met and how she witnessed the car chase and saving him while he was imprisoned. She faltered as she skipped over the death of her father’s capturers and how they escaped via broom and their talk. The girls were horrified when they heard about it and hugged her when Mildred started to tremble at the memory of the dead bodies. She told them about the next day they spend together and the girls laughed when Mildred told them how outraged she was over how much her father was spending on her and ignoring her protests. They pitied her when she explained how awkward the evening was with her mother’s new boyfriend and they were happy for her when she retold them the week they spent together and how she already had her own room in her father’s apartment.

In the end they hugged her tightly telling her how happy they were for her and that she deserved being happy.

“Although,” Mildred added, “I’m still a little disappointed that I still don’t know where my magic comes from.”

“What do you mean?” Maud asked, “Is there no one on his side with magic?”

Mildred sighed. “I wish. I asked him about it and he just said that if there had been magic in his family, he had never realized it. Because neither his father nor his mother had shown any sign of it.”

She played with her new necklace thinking over their talk and coming up with nothing.

“What’s that?” Enid asked, pointing at the small silver pendant she was playing with.

Mildred smiled when her friends looked at it. “It’s my babushka’s.” She explained and was met with confused stares. She explained: “My dad gave it to me one evening. Before his parents died his mother gave it to him as a good luck charm. He had it ever since. And then he gave it to me. He said I would need it more than he did, especially with how accident prone I seem to be.”

“That’s really sweet of him.” Maud replied, taking a closer look.

Then chain was silver and the pendant was an elongated ornate around one centimetre long with a diamond inserted in the middle.

“It’s really beautiful.” Enid said and Mildred grinned. The dark haired witch looked back at Mildred’s face. “But why are you calling her babushka?”

Mildred shrugged. “It seemed easier, you know?” She leaned back on her bed. “My dad and his family are originally from Russia and dad’s first language is Russian. Even though,” She laughed at that, “You wouldn’t believe it because he has not one bit of an accent in it.”

Maud’s mouth fell open. “So you’re half Russian?” She asked in disbelief and Mildred laughed. “It appears so.”

“What else did you do with your dad?” Enid asked eagerly.

“Well, my dad knows a lot of things and when we weren’t running around London, we were at home.” Mildred frowned. “He gave me manner lessons.”

“Manner lessons?” The two witches asked in disbelief. “For what? You’re well-mannered!” Maud asked in almost outrage and Mildred shook her head, sitting up again.

“Well, he is not some royal blue blood guy either, but he told me that for a lot of missions he needed to infiltrate or attend some high class social event. And there he could not afford to stand out. So to blend in he had to behave just like them.” She shrugged. “And that included manners.” She grinned. “Apparently criminal syndicate leaders expect the same manners and behaviour as you would in a social event with nobles and the queen herself.” She rolled her eyes. “So every meal we spent at home he prepared the table as if we were in some fine restaurant with multiple forks and knives and explained to me which to use for which meal, how to sit which glass is for which drink. When I told him that the probability of me ever attending a dinner with high society or the queen was pretty low he just laughed at me and told me it was better safe than sorry.”

Enid grinned. “So? Do you know which fork to use for which dish now?” Mildred groaned but nodded. “He made me memorize them all until I could name them when he showed them to me just to tell me that there was a simple trick.” The girls waited for her answer with baited breath. “Just go from outside to the inside. After every meal take the fork next to the one you just used. So that meant what he taught me was pretty much useless when he could have just told me that from the beginning.”

The girls laughed. “Well, at least you know it now.” Enid replied after she had calmed down.

Mildred grinned. “Yeah. But do you wanna know what lessons were the most fun?” The two shook their heads, waiting for her answer.

“Dancing.” She replied, earning confused looks from the other two. “Dancing?” They repeated and Mildred nodded. “I told him how mum and I used to watch ‘Dancing with the stars’ together and how mum always wanted to learn how to dance. And me too. So every evening he gave me dancing lessons.” Mildred leaned back and closed her eyes, a dreamy smile appearing on her face. “It was amazing and so much fun. Although” She added laughing, “I stepped on his feet so often I’m surprised he could walk the next day.”

“Really? That sounds awesome.” Enid said. “What was your favourite one?”

Mildred thought for a moment and replied: “The Vienna waltz, definitely.”

“Why?” Maud asked and Mildred shrugged. “Honestly? I don’t know. But it was fun because once you got the steps down the twirling around the room was great.”

The girls spent the rest of the afternoon together, asking each other questions about their vacations. Enid had been on holiday in Spain with her parents, enjoying the beach and Maud had been visiting her grandmother in the South of England. As much as they had enjoyed their vacations, they had still clearly missed each other.

In the evening they sat together with their other friends from school, asking them about their vacation and talk about their upcoming schedule.

“One thing I definitely didn’t miss at home was the food at Cackle’s.” Mildred said, staring unenthusiastically at her soup. She had made sure Miss Tapioca or the other teachers were not around when she said it and sighed.

“Cheer up Mildred. It’s not that bad.” Maud said. “You’ll get used to it soon enough again.”

Mildred sighed before eating another mouthful of soup and dunking her bread in it before she bit into it. “Yeah, I know. But when you had two weeks of either home cooking or expensive restaurants, you can get a little spoiled.”

Enid laughed. “Oh yeah, I know that feeling.” She said and also sighed when she looked in disdain at her plate of soup.

Other than their less than enthusiastic approach to food they spent their meal in companionable small talk.

Mildred decided to retire early to bed, her two friend knowing it was because she wanted to talk to her father.

When she was in her room she made sure that she was alone and opened the notebook, waiting impatiently until she could open the video chat. She smiled happily when she saw her father on the screen.

“Hi dad!” She greeted and waved at him happily.

“Hello Mildred. And hello Tabby.” He added when her familiar sneaked onto the bed, demanding cuddles.

Mildred laughed and took her cat into her arms petting him lovingly.

“How was your first day at school?” Alec asked, smiling at her.

Mildred shrugged. “Well, we didn’t really have school today. We all just arrived. School really starts tomorrow. But I got to meet all my friends again!”

She then proceeded to tell him what had happened and what she told her friends. They talked all evening long and Mildred was yawning but trying her best to supress it, not wanting to end the call just yet.

“It’s getting late and you seem tired myshko. Time for you to sleep.” Her father told her softly and Mildred wanted to deny his claims but another yawn betrayed her.

“Fine,” She replied reluctantly. “Can we talk again tomorrow?”

The agent hesitated before he sighed. “I’ll be in Macao tomorrow on a mission, so I don’t think so.” At the crestfallen look of his daughter he added: “But we can still text. I’ll have my phone with me and even though I won’t be able to answer right away, we can at least stay in contact. ‘Kay?”

Mildred sighed. “Okay. But you have to write to me as often as possible!”

Alec laughed and nodded. “Promise.”

“Okay,” Mildred said, hesitating to end the call but realizing that it was indeed getting late. “Good night dad. Promise me you’ll be careful out there and come back soon, yeah?”

His smile softened. “I promise I’ll be careful.”

She nodded. “Bye dad. I love you.”

She waved at him as her father answered. “Good night kotyonok. Sleep well.”

Mildred ended the call and went to sleep with a smile on her face, worrying a bit over her father but knowing that he’ll be back soon and already looking forward to the next time they would be able to talk.

Chapter Text

“Hurry up and open the door!”

Alec Trevelyan was not having a good day. The reason was because his mission was starting to become way more tedious than he anticipated. Even with his usual pendant for ending them in a rather … loud fashion, this was just ridiculous. Someone had given him bad intel and now he had to improvise the whole mission, jumping from one point to the other, creating exploding distractions to keep himself from getting discovered and killed.

“I’m in the system. Go straight and when you’re at the window, use the fire escape to get to the roof. Extraction is four minutes away.” The ever calm voice of Q sounded in his ear while he let out a frustrated sigh. He really hated it when missions didn’t go like he wanted them to.

“Three men on the other side of the door. 006, get ready. I’m opening it in three … two … one.”

The door sprang inside and Alec immediately began firing. Three dead bodies hit the ground and the agent was rushing through the hall, intending on reaching the window, when behind him gunshots started. He ducked behind a pillar and cursed loudly in Russian. It really was starting to get on his nerves. In the end he threw a grenade in their direction and in the last second jumped outside and climbed up the ladder to reach the roof.

When he was finally inside the helicopter, he relaxed. The mission had been bloody bollocks and nothing could convince him of the opposite. His equipment hadn’t worked like it should, the intel was bad, it was like every single step he had planned had been was known to the enemy. If he wouldn’t know Q as well as he did, he would have thought someone would have done this on purpose. But as it was, it was simply bad luck.

Alec sighed. Well, considering that it felt like he had used up every bit of luck for the rest of his life when his daughter entered it, a few bad missions were a really small price to pay.

Speaking of which, he hadn’t had the chance to read her text this morning.

He grabbed his phone and unlocked it, smiling as he saw the blinking of a new message. It said simply ‘be careful!’. A simple sentence. But to him it meant so much more.

The agent sighed and leaned back. He should write her that he was done and would be arriving in London tomorrow. He was pretty sure that she would like to know everything. With a small pang however he reminded himself that yes, his daughter was allowed to know of his job but telling her what those missions entailed? Not so much. Even though he would have liked to tell her about it, as he realized that he absolutely hated lying to her. But alas, it could not be.

Maybe it was better that way. He knew her enough that he was sure she would not hate him or anything, but he was still hesitating. He didn’t want her to be disillusioned from the world any more than she already was.

Alec closed his eyes. Well, he could think about it later. He first had to get home and maybe sleep for a while. After that he was sure to get a reprimanding for his actions, since he could still see the embassy burning behind him. It wasn’t like he had another choice but he was pretty sure his boss wouldn’t like that thought and he could listen to a few hours of nagging. Maybe he should get drunk first before going inside. That was actually a good idea.

A few hours later he finally arrived at Heathrow and was outside the plane. It send a small pang through his chest when he saw others reuniting with their loved ones and no one waiting for him. How much he would love for his daughter to be one of those waving and waiting impatiently for their families and friends. He knew that Mildred was at school however and as much as he would have liked her to be here, it wouldn’t be a good idea.

So he arrived at home and after a quick shower he fell into bed and was asleep in seconds.

The next morning he dragged himself out of bed, ready for the day to be over already. He knew what expected him at MI6. A dressing down and lots of paperwork he had no motivation to do. Seriously, who even let field agents do paperwork? They were in the field for a reason!

So after another quick shower he stood in front of his bathroom mirror, still naked with a towel around his hips and shaving his stubble with a cut throat razor. He was halfway through and was about to get to the next cut when he jumped back, cursing in loud Russian.

“Hi dad!” The bright grin of his daughter greeted him in the mirror.

Alec looked around in confusion and then looked back into the mirror. His daughter was sitting in a dark wooden room, wearing her school uniform and smiling widely at him. He sighed.

“Mildred! What are you doing? Where are you and what is that?”

Mildred laughed. “It’s the magic mirror. I’m in the mirror room.” She explained to him how he had told her that he was back in London yesterday but hadn’t answered her text this morning and how she had wanted to see him. “This is the magic mirror. We have these cards with credit on it. It’s like a phone flat rate. We use this to call home because apparently we don’t really use phones in the magical world and I don’t see you in pixels. I call you from my side and I appear on a mirroring surface closest and clearest to you. But I think I told you that already.” The young witch explained.

The agent sighed. “You could have at least warned me first. As you see, I’m not really dressed for a call.”

Finally Mildred seemed to realize what exactly her father was doing and where he was and her grin fell. “Oops. Want me to call later?”

Alec laughed and shook his head. “Nah, it’s alright. I get it though. I should have answered or at least looked at my phone. You’re right. We haven’t really seen each other for a while.”

Mildred smiled softly before she frowned. “Wait. Why are you still showering? It’s already lunch time here.”

Alec shrugged and continued to shave in the next mirror. “I came back pretty late and haven’t slept for longer than three hours a night for almost two weeks. So I was merely catching up on it.”

Mildred immediately looked a mix between worried and apologetic. “Sorry, didn’t mean to be insensitive.”

“Oh it‘s all right. You had no way of knowing.” He replied, doing a last cut before cleaning the razor.

“How did it go anyway?” Mildred asked. Alec smiled at her apologetic.

“You know I can’t tell you any details. It’s classified.”

Mildred sighed. “I know. I’m just worried. You told me you’d be back after one week, two max. And you came back after three. Of course I ask myself what went wrong and if you’re alright.”

“I know,” Alec placated her, “I know you’re worried and I’m happy you are. But you have to trust me that I can do my job and will come back safely, okay?”

Mildred smiled sadly but nodded.

“I’ll try.” They stared at each other before Alec grabbed a towel and began to clean his face.

“By the way,” Mildred continued, looking sheepishly to the side, “I might have blown up the potions lab today.”

Alec stopped in his tracks and turned with a frown back to her. “You did what?”

Mildred grinned in embarrassment. “I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear! It’s just, I was kind of absent minded and I kind of ended up mixing my slime of a slug with my eye of newt.”

The agent stared at her in disbelief.

“I didn’t know it would end up in an explosion, I swear! Otherwise I would have been more careful!” Mildred hastily retorted.

After a few heavy seconds of silence, where the Russian stared at his daughter fidgeting and evading eye contact, he started laughing. Mildred stared at him in confusion.

“What’s so funny?” She asked.

Alec just chuckled and answered good naturedly: “Well, at least I know now that you are indeed my daughter.” At the questioning face of his daughter he explained: “I blew up the French embassy on my mission.”

“You did WHAT?”

Alec just continued to laugh. “Yeah. A mix between bad intel, bad luck and last minute resort.”

After a few seconds of stunned silence, Mildred burst out laughing. Alec joined right in.

“Well,” Mildred continued after she had calmed down a little, “At least I know now where I’ve got my pendant for blowing stuff up.”

“Yeah, sorry about that.” He apologised without really meaning it.

After a few minutes Mildred turned sombre. “Unfortunately that will not go over as an apology and I’ve got detention with Miss Hardbroom.”

Alec winced in sympathy. “Isn’t Miss Hardbroom the teacher with a stick up her butt?” He asked with a frown and Mildred snorted.

“I don’t remember telling you that and I’ll never say it but yes. That’s her.” She said, smiling in
amusement.

“Well, then my condolences.” He replied, smiling at her. “But if it makes you feel better, I’m about to go the MI6 where I’m going to be reprimanded for blowing up the embassy and a few other explosions. Then I’m going to be scolded by the technical department for losing all my equipment and then I’m going to be forced to fill out all the paperwork.”

Mildred winced. “That doesn’t sound nice, either. How did you lose all their equipment?”

Alec shrugged. “I used the gun as a boomerang after I ran out of bullets, only it didn’t return like I planned. The other things went down in the explosion like the rest of them.”

Mildred giggled. “At least your job wasn’t boring.”

Alec sighed. “Yes, it was rather eventful. Though I would have liked it to be less so.”

A few minutes passed and Mildred sighed. “I should get back. Lunch break is almost over.”

Her father smiled. “What do you have next?”

“Chanting.” Mildred replied. A smile spread on her face: “It’s actually not as boring as I thought it was. It can be pretty amazing, but I still think it’s pretty old fashioned.” She shrugged. “I would like to do a bit of more modern witching, but it seems like they’re not the biggest fan of it here.”

The Russian raised his eyebrow in question. “Why not? If it’s so old fashioned, a few modern twists might make it even more effective.” Mildred shrugged.

“I don’t know. It’s just the way it is. I mean, I don’t mind and it’s cool either way. I just wish they would be a bit more open minded about it.”

“Well, it’s often the same with those executives. They are often set in their ways and really don’t like change. It’s sad but it’s just the way it is. I guess it’s the same everywhere. Even in the magical world.”

Mildred nodded. “Yeah. A few weeks ago I had this big debate here at school if wizards should be allowed to take up chanting and witches use staffs and wands.” And so Alec listened to her tale of how a wizard sneaked into the school to meet a famous chanter who was giving a performance and tried to get her help in convincing his grandfather, the great wizard, to let him take chanting lessons and how she got the approval of using her staff, something that was only allowed for wizards.

“Good for you for convincing him.” Alec said, worried but also proud of his little daughter for accomplishing such a big step towards equality.

“Thanks dad.” Mildred grinned proudly at him. “And it’s great that Olli can come in the evening for chanting lessons. He taught me a lot out other witching/wizards customs I didn’t know about.”

Alec narrowed his eyes. “Wait, I thought he would get chanting lessons at his school. You know, an all-boys school not affiliated with yours?”

Mildred shook her head. “No. Wizard schools don’t have chanting teachers, since it’s considered a witch thing. So he comes to our school in the evenings.”

“Is that so?” Alec was not happy. He had been glad when he heard that she was going to an all-girls school. But as it seemed, not all boys were gone from her life.

“Milie! Hurry up or we’ll be late!”

A voice sounded and someone pounded on the door at Mildred’s side. His daughter stared at him apologetically. “Sorry dad. I really have to go now.”

Alec smiled and nodded. “I know. I should get ready, too. You know, get the scolding behind me.”

His daughter giggled. “You’re right. And I should go before I get another detention.” She sighed dejectedly.

Alec laughed. “You know what? We can cheer ourselves up knowing that the other is going through the same trouble.”

Mildred laughed. “Like a weird father-daughter bonding?”

Warmth blossomed at her words while he grinned. “Exactly. We’re going through the same and we’re both getting out stronger, right?”

She laughed and nodded. Then she stood up. “Then I should get going. By dad. I love you.” She grinned. “And have fun getting scolded.”

The agent just rolled his eyes good naturedly. “You too. Have fun with detention.”

Mildred laughed and smiled before she waved. Then she turned her hand and made a wiping motion and mumbling “banished be.” And the reflection returned to his mirror.

Alec sighed and smiled. His mood had improved drastically after their talk and even the looming reprimand wasn’t so bad anymore. So he shook his head and got dressed in one of his best suits.

Well, if his daughter was facing the beast that was her teacher without fear, he could face the head of MI6, too. And he knew already that the mountain of paperwork would not be so dreadful anymore in the knowledge that his daughter would be doing the same.

Alec closed the door and left his apartment with a big smile. It was the beginning of a good day.

Chapter Text

Mildred left the magic mirror room humming and almost skipping her way to class.

“Talk went well?” Enid asked as she joined her friend. Maud stood next to her, eagerly waiting for an answer. Mildred laughed and nodded.

“Yeah. Although,” She added with a sheepish grin, “My dad just came out of the shower and was busy shaving. Maybe it wasn’t the best moment to call. But,” Her smile was back in full force, “I was able to talk to him. He’s fine and everything went well. No problems on his side.”

“That’s great Millie. So you can talk more regularly now, right?” Maud asked and Mildred nodded.

“Yeah. At least I hope so. He’s probably in a bit of downtime after a mission but they should at least give him a few days to rest.” She frowned. “But I don’t have any experience how this works. So it might as well be that they tell him he’s in downtime but call him away soon after.”

“But at least you have him for today.” Maud reassured her best friend and Mildred smiled again.

“Yeah. At least for today he’s not going anywhere.” She laughed. At the puzzled expressions of her friends she explained. “My dad is going to get a reprimanding and then he’ll be stuck behind the desk doing paperwork all day.”

“Why?” Enid asked in confusion.

Mildred grinned and motioned come closer so no one would be able to overhear them. Her two friends stuck their heads together and Mildred whispered with glee clearly in her voice.

“My dad blew up the French embassy.”

“He did WHAT?” Maud and Enid exclaimed in shock at the same time.

“Shhh!” Mildred shushed them, looking around and hoping no one heard them. But except a few curious looks from people a little farther away, no one reacted.

“No one’s supposed to know that! That’s classified!”

Immediately her two friends looked guilty. “Sorry,” Maud apologized right away, followed by Enid. “Yeah. We didn’t mean to be this loud.”

Mildred calmed down when she realized that no one was coming closer and asking her what was wrong. Relieved, she replied: “It’s okay. No harm done.”

The three resumed their way to the chanting classroom.

“So, what’s gonna happen to your dad now?” At the two confused looks Enid explained, “I mean, blowing up a building is already not good, but blowing up an embassy? That sounds really bad. Is he gonna be okay?”

Mildred mulled that question over in her head. “It’s gonna be alright. He’ll be okay.”

At the unbelieving stares she explained: “I mean, he told me that he’ll only get a few reprimands and is going to be stuck doing paperwork the rest of the day. So it can’t be that bad. And from what I heard it’s not the first time something like this has happened. And dad didn’t seem to be overly worried when we talked. So I’m gonna trust him on this.”

Enid raised an impressed eyebrow. “Wow. He must be either really good at his job, knows the right people or he must be really high on the ladder.”

“What do you mean?” Maud asked.

“Well,” Enid retorted, “If you do so much damage such as this and get away with it with just a slap to the wrist, you have to be really good or really influential. There’s no way they would otherwise come out scot free. I mean, look at Ethel. At how much she does and gets away with without so much as a punishment just because of her family name.”

Mildred mulled that over. “I don’t know actually.” Maud and Enid waited for her to explain. She just shrugged. “I mean that dad never really did go deep into it. He always says it’s classified and that I know too much as it is already. He always says it’s better if I don’t know too much.” She sighed. “Which I don’t really get actually. I mean, I know he’s some kind of spy and I already gathered that he must be someone really important because he’s always flying around the globe on sometimes really long missions and he has a really good pay check.” She shrugged. “Trust me. You don’t get this much money for doing something simple. I have my own room in his apartment and I’m sure my bed alone cost more than everything mum owns combined.” Now she was pouting. “I’m still sad that he just wouldn’t trust me enough to tell me what all those missions are about. I know they are dangerous and I want to at least know what I’m worrying about instead of just assuming. But he never tells me.”

The girls looked at her in sympathy. “I don’t think he’s doing this because he doesn’t trust you or to be mean to you.” Maud said and Mildred looked at her in defeat.

“Then why?” She asked.

Maud shrugged. “I think it’s more because he wants to protect you.”

“Protect her? Of what? It’s not like Mildred is going to join him on those missions or that she would be able to do anything from Cackle’s” Enid exclaimed in disbelief.

Maud shook her head. “That’s not what I’m talking about. I think he does this because he’s afraid that if you have too much information, someone’s going to find out and hurt you.” She shrugged. “I can’t imagine that a man like him doesn’t have enemies. And remember that you are his daughter. He loves you and wants you to be safe. So the less you know the less the possibility of someone finding out.”

Mildred mulled it over in her head and sighed. “You are right. It’s probably because of that. But it still doesn’t make me feel good knowing that he’s off somewhere in the world and who knows what might happen to him and I don’t even know it.”

“I get it Millie, but maybe you should just trust him on this. He’s your father and wouldn’t want you to worry. I’m sure he told you to just believe in him that he’ll come back.” Maud reassured her and was finally able to coax a smile out of her.

“I know. You’re right. I really should trust him more on this. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

Enid threw an arm over her shoulder and walked with her along the hallway.

“Just look at the bright sight. He’s your dad and that means he’s already old. He didn’t go far in the game by being reckless, did he?” Enid reassured her and Mildred nodded.

“Yeah. He must be doing something right after all.” She said in good humour and added: “Well, at least I’m not the only one being punished today.”

At the confused expressions of her friend, she rolled her eyes and explained: “Remember? I blew up the potions lab today, so I’m going to be in detention this evening. And I’m sure that at that time dad will be stuck at his desk doing paperwork. So we’re both being punished at the same time.”

The other two girls grinned at the memory and burst out laughing. “You really are father and daughter.” Enid said and with a bright grin they finally entered the chanting classroom, ready for their next lesson.

~~~~

Mildred entered the chat and waited for her father to pick up. A few weeks had passed and the life at Cackle’s continued.

There was one question she wanted to ask her father, but she doubted that she would be able to get a positive answer to it. Still, it was worth trying.

Finally her dad appeared on the screen, smiling brightly at her.

“Mildred! How are you?”

The young witch returned the smile and waved at him happily. “I’m great. Nothing’s happened until now and I was able to avoid detention since the explosion.”

Her father laughed. “Well, that’s good. At least one of you could spare themselves of another reprimand."

Mildred’s grin dimmed. “How was Marokko?” She asked. In the few weeks since her detention with Miss Hardbroom, her father had been sent all over the globe. This was his fifth mission he returned from in less than two months.

Alec shrugged from the other side of the screen. He was currently lounging on the couch nursing a glass of what Mildred was sure was definitely not water.

“It wasn’t so bad. Blew up a building and lost my equipment. Pretty much standard.”

Mildred rolled her eyes in exasperation. “That’s not what I’m asking about and you know it.”

Alec sighed and his eyes softened. “Nothing, really. Only a few scratches. No broken bones and no other wound either.”

“Really?” Mildred asked, mild disbelief colouring her voice. “You are not lying to me, are you? Do remember that your definition of scratches is a different one for the rest of the world.”

Now it was Alec’s time to roll his eyes. “No myshko. I’m not lying to you. The mission did have its hiccups, but I got out of it without problems and I’m not hurt in any way except scratches.”

Mildred breathed in relief. She smiled weakly at him. Well, he couldn’t really blame her for worrying, could he? The mission before the last one he got out with a concussion, a few broken rips and internal bleeding. He had greeted her from the medical ward after he had made sure that no one would be listening in or even knowing that he was awake, drugged up on painkillers but still greeting her as if nothing was wrong and telling her that those were just small wounds. Mildred had almost had a heart attack when she had found out why he had been there and not at home and that he had been about to leave and sneak out of the hospital. Mildred had yelled at him until he had relented and stayed. So no, she didn’t trust him at all when he told her that he was fine.

“Well that’s great. At least you seem to be well enough to be at home again. No special surprises from the hospital.” She teased good naturedly.

Alec rolled his eyes again. “Kotyonok, that was one time. Can you please let it go?”

Mildred raised her eyebrow at that. “You know bloody well that I can’t and I won’t. I’m going to hold your desire to downplay your wounds against you for the rest of my life.”

The Russian sighed. “Oh well. Nothing we can change now.” He smiled at her.

“Different topic other than my stellar track record of fulfilled missions you don’t really care about, how’s school? Anyone bothering you? We haven’t been able to talk for a few days.” He asked, smiling softly at her.

Mildred replied with one of her own small smiles. “Not really. Everything’s still great and no one is bothering me.” ‘Much’ She thought secretly and her mind switched for a short while to Ethel and her mean and demeaning comments, not seldom in front of the whole class and how no one seemed to deem it fit to punish her for her bullying. Oh well, she had given up on anyone holding that girl accountable to anything she ever did. Probably because her parents were so famous.

“Oh oh. I know that smile. Come one. What’s bothering you?” Her father’s tome had turned soft and worried and he sat up and even set the glass aside. Mildred smiled at the display of worry and only shook her head.

“It’s nothing special, really.” She said but the agent would hear nothing of it.

“Come one. Spit it out. It can’t be that bad.” He prodded and Mildred laughed but shook her head.

The agent raised an eyebrow at that. “Okay, what did you do? You know I’m not going to be angry at you, right? I blow up things often enough that I’m sure my boss is getting grey hairs already and what I do is on a more global and expensive scale.”

He frowned. “Did you do some kind of crime? Do I have to bail you out somewhere? How high is the bail? I can deposit the money for it right away.”

That startled a laugh out of her. “No dad,” She replied after a few minutes and after she had calmed down. “I’m not in some prison and I didn’t do anything to get a criminal record. I promise. It’s really not that bad.”

That didn’t seem to comfort him at all, so Mildred decided to just go with it.

“I know you’re busy and that your job is classified and all but … well,” Mildred hesitated but Alec just smiled at her, “It’s career day the day after tomorrow and all parents are coming to talk about their jobs. And I know you can’t really talk about your job, but I thought you could maybe talk about MI6. Mum already said that she would be coming and even though they might not be interested because it’s not some kind of magical job, MI6 sounds really awesome and,” Mildred got quieter, “I could show you my school and I haven’t seen you in a while and I just miss you.”

The agent’s shoulders dropped and Mildred already knew what the answer would be.

“I’m sorry myshko. But I can’t” Before Mildred could say anything, he added. “Not because I don’t want to or because of the clearance. Believe me. I would love to visit you and let you show me around and especially talk to some of your teachers.” Mildred giggled at that. She knew his opinion on some of them. “But I can’t. I have a new mission and I’m flying out on that day in the morning.”

“What?!” Mildred protested in disbelief, “But you just came back! Why are they sending you out again?!”

Alec sighed. “It’s one no one can do except one of us. And I’m the only one available right now. So I’m going out again.”

Mildred’s shoulder’s sagged. She was starting to get used to it. Didn’t mean she had to like it. She threw him a tired smile.

“Okay. Then at least promise me you’re going to come to parents’ day next month. Okay? I’m not letting you get out of meeting my friends and school this easily.”

Alec laughed then nodded. “Of course. I’d love to come to parents’ day. I’m going to take the day off and clear my schedule. Don’t worry.” He grinned predatorily. “And I’m especially looking forward to meeting your teachers. I’m sure I can say a few words to them.”

Mildred laughed. “Okay.”

They talked a bit longer after that before her father ordered her to go to sleep.

“Good night Kotyonok. Sleep well.” He said his good byes and Mildred waved tiredly at him, not being able to supress a yawn.

“Good night dad. I love you and be careful, okay? Remember your promise about parents’ day.”

Alec nodded and replied in a soft voice. “I will. Go to sleep now, yeah?”

They ended their call and Mildred was asleep in minutes.

Chapter Text

“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.”

Chapter Text

Mildred had a good morning. It was Friday, that meant that she had a whole weekend in front of her. They had two hours of potions this morning and Mildred’s potion had turned out fine without anything exploding. She had no complaints from Miss Hardbroom and Ethel had gotten a new broom from home, too busy bragging about it to bully her. Except a jip at her mother’s not existing wealth. Mildred hadn’t let it bother her because she knew that her mother may not be rich but her father all the more so.

When Ethel had started her teasing, she had just shared a secret smile with her friends and ignored her for the rest of the lesson.

And in the afternoon they would have Spell-Science with Mr. Rowan-Webb. And she had always liked him and had fun in his lessons. So she counted the day as a good one.

Mildred and her friends had just left the potions lab, getting ready for lunch. She risked a look at her phone, making sure that no one saw her and was out of sight thanks to her friends covering her. She frowned in confusion when she saw that she had a missed call. Especially after she clicked on it and realized that it was from her father.

Strange. She knew her father was in France right now on a mission. And he always made sure to never call her when he was gone for ‘business’. So for him to call her … that had to mean something must have happened, right?

Cold dread filled her body and her face fell. What if something had happened to him?

“Mildred? Are you alright?” The concerned question from her friend Maud brought her out of her head and she looked up, blinking in confusion.

“What?” She asked, not really realizing how worried she had looked.

“She means what’s wrong? You look worried. Is everything alright?” Enid clarified and Mildred shook her head.

“My dad called.” Mildred explained and her friends frowned.

“He never calls when he’s away, does he?” Enid asked and Mildred shook her head.

“No. He told me he would try to avoid calling me because he could never know who might be listening in and it would be safer for me to either only text or wait until he’s back.” She explained.

“Then why would he call now? Did something happen maybe” Maud asked and Mildred shook her head.

“That’s what I have to find out. He left me a message on the answering machine. I’m gonna go up to my room, okay?” She said, nodding to her friends and without waiting for a response she hurried up, making sure to close the door behind her.

She sat down on the bed, cuddling Tabby who head butted her hand, asking for scratches she gave him happily and listened to the message.

With every word more of her insides turned to ice. Her whole world started to shatter and she could only hear a buzz in her head, unable to think. She felt like she couldn’t breathe, her throat clogging up while she could only stare at the phone gaping while slowly tears fell down her cheeks. She felt lost, her head empty, she couldn’t think.

“Mildred? Everything alright? Open up please!”

Mildred didn’t know how long she had been sitting there, just staring and crying. Numb she stood up and opened the door.

As soon as the other two girls saw her, they gasped and entered the room, closing the door behind them and hugging Mildred. As soon as she could feel their arms around her, Mildred broke. Sobs and tears fell down her face freely, her chest hurt and she just lost herself. She clung to her friend, who clung back, not willing to let her go.

After a few minutes they had manoeuvred her onto her bed, waiting for Mildred to calm down. Finally she choked out what the message said. It had been a good bye. Her father not thinking he could make it and apologizing.

Mildred could barely string two sentences together but somehow her friends were able to understand her. They just held her, not knowing what else to tell her and trying their best to only be there for her.

Mildred cried her eyes out, not wanting to spend another moment there. It felt like her world had ended. She had never felt like that. So sad and hurt, it was like it had consumed her completely and she was lost in darkness.

Suddenly Tabby weaselled his way into her arms, meowing unhappily and dropping something into her lap. Mildred sniffed and held it up before breaking into another set of tears. It was the compass that showed her the way to her father. Now it would be useless.

“He’s still alive!”

Mildred flinched and stared at Enid, not comprehending what she just said. But Enid was engrossed in the compass, grabbing and examining it. The dark haired witch then stared imploringly at her grieving friend.

“The needle! It’s not broken and still shows the way. That means he’s still alive wherever he is!” Enid’s eyes begged her to understand. And slowly but surely Mildred came out of it, starting to understand what this meant.

“I have to find him!”

Finally she snapped completely out of it. Her whole body drumming with adrenaline, not being able to bear the thought of sitting still. She jumped up and grabbed her broom, ready to fly away.

“Wait wait wait!” Maud stopped her, waving her arms in front of her.

“There’s no time to wait!” Mildred almost screamed, “My dad could be who knows where dying! I have to help him!” She was about so shove her way outside, when Maud held her shoulders and almost shook her.

“We know! And we want to help! But you can’t just fly there without any preparation!” Maud stared her directly in her eyes, hoping that she would just understand.

They were locked in a staring match, when Mildred finally relented, stepping a step back and taking a deep breath.

“Okay. Fine. Then what am I supposed to do?”

Maud sighed in clear relief. “First question. Do you know where your father is currently?”

Mildred thought for a second and then nodded. “He told me his mission was in France. A few days ago he had been somewhere in the south, but they have started to move up closer to England. Last time we wrote he said he was on his way to Calais.”

Maud noddd. “That’s good. You can reach him in a days’ flight.” But then she hesitated again. “Although you have to fly over the ocean. And it’s really windy up there. It’s not gonna be easy.”

Mildred shook her head. “I don’t care! I fly to China if I have to. I have to save my father!”

Enid intervened. “We know. And we’re gonna help you. We will cover you this afternoon and for the weekend and we’ll help you sneak out of the castle. But you still have to prepare because it’s going to be a long flight.”

And so they planned. Maud sneaked into the kitchen and stole food, so she could keep her energy up and they filled her backpack with sandwiches and snacks and water. Enid gave her a portable mirror and made sure she packed her magical mirror credit card. “For emergency’s and if you need help.”

Maud made sure she had her scarf and gloves as it would be windy and cold and in the end Mildred put on her hat and her cloak, backpack ready and broom in her hand. They promised her to take care of Tabby and to cover her before Mildred opened the window and flew out. She had to make sure no one saw her, but she knew that everyone was still at lunch.

She turned back to her friends one last time. “Thank you.” She said, throwing them a small smile. They just shook their head.

“Don’t mention it,” Maud replied and smiled at her.

“Good luck.” Enid said and throwing her a thumps up. “Go and save your dad.”

Mildred nodded. “I will.” She threw them one last look and waved before ascending. The two girls waved back.

~~~~

Mildred had been in the air for hours now. She had been following her compass, every passing second more dread filled her, every passing minute she feared that the needle would break and she would be too late. She was so scared and feared for the worst.

Mildred had not allowed herself any breaks on the ground and ignored any cricking and any kind of pain her body gave her fore sitting too long. She was not hungry but forced herself to eat to keep her energy up. She couldn’t afford to show any weakness now.

Finally she reached Dover. Right in front of her were the famous cliffs and after that the wide ocean. Normally she loved the ocean and she remembered how she had enjoyed it the few times they had visited. But she couldn’t care less right now.

Mildred stopped for a second and took a deep breath. As soon as she would be over the ocean the wind would change and make it harder for her to fly. She knew it but it only made her more determined. It might seem endless now, but she knew that right after the ocean her father was waiting for her. So she braced herself and went full speed forward.

As she expected, the winds were strong and the first few minutes she had trouble controlling her broom, fearing that she would fall down and being devoured by the giant waves under her. But she refused to bow and rushed forward.

After a while she finally got used to these strong ocean winds and it was easier, even able to use it to her advantage and riding some bursts, propelling her forward like those seagulls around her.

After what felt like way too long she finally arrived over land again. She was in Calais. She was in France, another country she had never been before and where she didn’t speak the language.

Fear curled up inside of her but she ignored it, following the trail her needle laid out for her, not stopping and not slowing down.

In the end she stood in front of a giant building, the needle pointing down to the basement.

Why was it always the basement? Couldn’t villains think of another place to keep their prisoners?

Mildred shook her head, trying to think of a way to break in. As long as she had her broom on her, no one could see her. Maybe she could use this to her advantage.

So she stood in front of the entrance, finally standing for a second, almost breathing out in relief before supressing it and waiting with baiting breath that someone would enter or come out so she could slip inside. She didn’t dare to go herself because there were two burly men standing left and right watching the door and she was sure that they were armed, too. They didn’t see her, but that didn’t mean she wanted to risk more than she already did.

For a second she thought about turning them into animals and just slipping inside, but she threw that idea away because she was sure that it would draw too much attention. There were still people walking around after all, even though it was evening. There were however still a few hours until complete darkness.

Finally, after what felt like forever, the door opened and a well-dressed big man came out. Muscled and big but who, like everyone else, couldn’t see her. So Mildred used this opportunity and slipped inside just as the door was about to close. She held her breath the whole time, fearing that they would realize but no one came after her. After the door closed behind her, she allowed herself to breath.

Her heart was beating like crazy and her hands were sweating. She was so nervous and could feel the adrenaline cursing through her.

Was that how her father felt every mission? If so she really didn’t see the appeal of this job.

But there was no time to think about it now. She shook her head and continued to follow the trail, holding onto her broom, fearing that she would be visible again as soon as she would let go. And knowing that she would be doomed if anyone ever saw her here.

The door to the basement was locked, but for her it was child’s play to open it. A simple spell and the door swung open, revealing a set of stairs leading into the basement. Mildred gulped but braced herself. Just calm down. It wasn’t like she had never done something like this. She remembered how she had saved her father once. She could do it again. Just be calm.

Mildred descended the stairs, heart beating with every step she took.

Finally she came to another door. The young witch took a deep breath before spelling it open. When it swung to the side, Mildred’s insides turned to ice and she choked.

In front of her sat her father. Bloodied, beaten and unconscious chained to a chair. Mildred barely recognized him and only thanks to her gut feeling and needle now pointing directly at him she was sure that it was him. There was blood everywhere, one wound deeper than the rest, still dripping blood.

Mildred knew she would have nightmares for a long time because of it. She didn’t know what she had expected but it had definitely not this gruesome picture in front of her.

Mildred stumbled forward, dropping her broom and kneeling in front of him, not caring if she was visible again or not.

“Dad! Dad! Can you hear me? It’s me! Mildred! Please wake up! Dad!” Mildred begged her father to say something, just give a reaction and let her know that he heard her. But he wouldn’t react.

Mildred touched his face, not at all caring for the blood and just staring at him. Finally her father gave the barest twitch. She sighed in relief.

“Mil … dred …” He croaked, able to get a glimpse of her.

Mildred smiled in relief. “Yes dad. It’s me!”

Her father’s lips twitched as if he wanted to smile but he lost consciousness again.

“Dad? Dad!” No answer.

Mildred felt panic rising up inside of her, but in that moment she knew that she couldn’t afford it. Her father came first. She could panic when all of this was over.

“Don’t worry dad. I’m getting us out of here. I’ll definitely save you.”

Chapter Text

Mildred could barely look at the wounds without feeling bile rise up her throat. It was just so terrible. Multiple slashes as if someone hat stabbed him with a knife and bullet wounds and hematoma all around and on his face, all of them still bleeding. He was chained to the chair on his legs and arms while the chain lead to the ground.

Mildred knew that she had to get him out of there. So she took a deep breath, hoping that her magic would work.

“Armour of steel, be it plain

Release this man, open this chain!”

With a rattle the metal fell off, landing with noise on the ground. Her father, now not being held back anymore slumped forward. Mildred caught him, almost toppling over. Her father was heavier than she expected.

She pressed him back against the chair, assessing the wounds. She really had to do something against the bleeding first. So she grabbed her cloak and pressed it against the biggest wound on her father’s stomach, hoping that she could stop the bleeding somehow. But it was only a matter of time before even that was soaked.

“Why didn’t I bring a first aid kit?!” She cursed herself for not being able to think about this earlier. But no sense mourning this now.

Mildred sighed, racking her brain for anything, any spell or kind of magic that could help her now, but she just couldn’t come up with something.

“Come on Mildred! Think! I know there has to be something. You’ve been a witch for almost two full years now! Just think!”

Finally a lightbulb. The stasis spell! She remembered a spell that would stop all motion of any object it was pointed to. She had read it in a book a while ago when she had been searching for the finding spell for her father.

Mildred took a deep breath, hoping that it would work.

“Tempus of time, be not my opponent,

Stop the flow in this moment.”

Mildred opened her eyes, staring intently at the wounds. It was still flowing. She started to panic, but slapped herself, forcing to calm down. She could not do this if she was panicking.

The young witch took another deep breath and repeated the action. Suddenly her father took a shaking breath. Mildred chocked, staring back at his face, but breathed in relief. It had worked. The wounds have stopped flowing.

Mildred looked around. She saw the state of her father, no way he would be able to walk. But how to transport him?

Her eyes fell onto her broom. Seems like they would be flying all the way back to England. Mildred summoned her broom and it came flying, hovering right next to her father. Mildred was thinking on how to get him on it. She sighed. Seems like she had to put her back into it. Otherwise there would be no chance.

So she put her arms around him and made sure she had them under his armpits.

“One … two … three!” With one jolt she was standing and had her father leaning heavy against her. She almost fell backwards, but since she had expected it, she put her weight against him and was able to stand.

“Dad! You have way too many muscles!” She cursed him a little bit before ordering her broom behind him until she could lean him back. Somehow she managed to make him sit but she still had to hold him while she sat down herself. In the end she put his arms around her neck so he would be leaning against her and hopefully not fall down, while she put her cloak around him for warmth. He needed it more than her. Her backpack was dangling on her broom right in front of her. She hoped the carriers held until they were back in England.

Mildred activated the invisibility spell and took a deep breath, ignoring the metal taste of the blood clinging now all over her.

“Don’t worry Dad. We’ll get out of here now.”

Mildred floated to the entrance, hoping that no one would be coming down anytime soon because even though she was invisible, that didn’t mean that they wouldn’t be able to feel her should she brush against one of them.

Fortunately no one was waiting for her when she sneaked back up the stairs. She flew as close to the walls as possible and held her breath when they encountered a group of heavy burly and armed men walking around. She flew as silently as possible as to not alert anyone.

Almost at the entrance!

Suddenly the alarm bleared and her heart dropped. Shouting came from behind her and guards were rushing down the hall to the basement, yelling angry French at each other. Whelp! That was her cue to get out of there fast.

Mildred used the chaos and ignoring all possibility of making noise flew as fast to the doors as possible. They were about to close them but Mildred gave her broom another push and at the last moment she slipped out, unknown to the captors.

Mildred refused to take any chances and pushed her broom to fly faster, moving up as fast as possible, trying to gain as much distance from them as she could.

Finally when they were over the wild ocean and she could feel the salty wind around her was the first time she allowed herself to breathe in relief. They had made it! They were out of this hellhole!

Mildred turned her head, smiling weakly at her father. “Don’t worry. We’ll get you real help son. You’re going to be alright. I promise.”

The young witch turned back and urged her broom to go faster, ignoring the cold even though she could feel it entering her bones.

Fortunately for her it was still not dark around her, so she could see where she was flying. After what felt like hours, she could finally see the cliffs of Dover, letting herself breathe out in relief. The wind had fortunately not been too horrible, so she had no problems staying right on track and not having to fight off air current after air current. Especially when she could feel her father slipping. She had stopped several times while they were over the wide ocean, adjusting him over and over so he would not fall down.

Finally they arrived over land. Mildred breathed out in relief. She had been scared when they were over the water that her father would slip and fall down into the waves and she would not be able to save him, but somehow she had made it.

Mildred could feel her father’s weak breathing and decided to land somewhere, so they could rest. Mildred was sure that he had several broken rips. It could not have been pleasant sitting sideways like that and then flying for so long.

The witch landed in a more forested area, making sure no one was around so she would not panic anyone. Carefully she dismounted, helping her father lie down and lean against a rock, letting him take a rattling breath.

“Okay, dad. I’m going to call an ambulance now and you’re going to be alright.” Mildred murmured, searching in her bag desperately for her phone. A hand grabbed and stopped her. Mildred looked up in surprise and saw her father awake and shaking his head.

“Call … M ….” He murmured, looking at her with tired eyes. Mildred was not sure if she heard correctly.

“Sorry dad. What? Who am I supposed to call?” She was pretty sure he had only said a letter. Maybe the rest of the word was drowned out somehow.

Her father opened his mouth a few times, trying desperately to say something, but no words would come out. Finally he croaked out “Gareth … Mallory …” Before he lost unconsciousness again.

Mildred felt panic rise in her throat but forced herself to think. Of course he would rather call his people. They would know better how to deal with this. So she would do as he asked.

“Okay dad. You don’t think maybe you could wake up and give me a number? Please?” Silence. Mildred sighed and racked her brain. Finally she remembered the mirror Enid had given her.

Mildred searched desperately for the table mirror her friend had packed for her and breathed in relief when she held it in her hand with her magic credit card in the other.

“Okay. Gareth Mallory. I have no idea who you are or how you look like, but I hope you are close to a mirror or a window. And hopefully I’ll call the right one and this works.” Mildred held the card in the mirror and could hear a jungle sound, indicating that it was calling. “Here goes nothing.” She whispered as she waited for him to pick up.

~~~~

Gareth Mallory, in his name director of MI6 was not having a good day. He had been in a meeting all morning, dealing with stupid bureaucrats, bugging him with finances and threatening him with budget cuts. And after that he had wandered down to Q branch, only to witness a high class mission going spectacularly wrong.

And he knew exactly why. He had known for a while now that Q had problems since James Bond – 007 again, had come back, but for him to be so angry that he couldn’t concentrate and compromised a mission just because he stood next to him and was trying to ignore said agent, well, he hadn’t expected that. And James Bond didn’t even seem to realize it.

The worst thing was that it was the mission of one 006, Alec Trevelyan, with James Bond the longest serving agent and arguably one of, if not the best, again, together with 007. But the mission had been a shit show from start to finish and he had felt terrible when he had realized that it would be the last mission 006 would ever go to. He had lost a most valuable agent that day.

However, what had disturbed him more than anything was when he and all who were in Q branch at that moment had to listen to his last call.

Alec Trevelyan had called his daughter and said his farewells. A daughter no one knew about and to whom he spoke with so much affection that in that moment he and everyone else forgot that they were listening to a cold blooded and seasoned agent and instead listened to a grieving father, mourning his lost time.

After the coms had stopped, there had been silence. He had send Eve Moneypenny and Bill Tanner to his apartment, searching for this testament to honour the agents’ last wishes and making sure it would be done. Bond had accompanied them. They had called him earlier and confirmed the will and an attached DNA test, confirming this girls’ parentage. They currently were waiting in his office together with Q to discuss further steps.

Mallory had never felt so bad while losing an agent. A double O was not supposed to have a family, let alone children. There was just so much risk. And too much chance of leaving behind a grieving family. Like now. He knew that he would personally search for this girl - Mildred – and tell her the news. She at least deserved this.

The head of MI6 was currently in the bathroom, splashing cold water in his face and trying to not drown in his guilt. He leaned with both arms against the basin and looked down, closing his eyes and just breathed.

“Hello? Excuse me? Can you hear me?”

A young female voice suddenly chimed through the empty room and Mallory jerked up, then jumped back and cursing out loud.

“What the hell?” He called when he was interrupted.

“Sir? Are you Gareth Mallory? From MI6?” She asked and he just gaped at her. Right in front of him, in the mirror, was the picture of a young girl. She was pale, but her cheeks were flushed, probably from cold because she was somehow outside, he could see the trees behind her, wearing a witch hat and a black dress with a grey blouse underneath and a tie. Like a strange old form of school uniform.

“Who are you and what are you doing in the mirror? Better, how did you even get in there?” He asked, his eyes frowning in suspicion.

“My name is Mildred Hubble and my dad told me to call you!” Yeah that didn’t really explain anything.

“How do you know my name? And you didn’t answer my question!”

Mildred shook her head. “Dad passed out before he could give me your number. So I used the magic mirror Enid gave me for emergencies. Please! Are you Gareth Mallory from MI6? I need your help!”

“With what?” He asked, still suspicious, even though he now realized that she was way too panicked to think clearly right now. Still, her name was familiar and something in his head rang in alarm.

The girl shook her head again and what she said next send ice through his body.

“I’m the daughter of Alec Trevelyan. He’s an agent of MI6 and he was hurt badly. I used my compass and flew to Calais in France and found him in a basement and saved him. He was chained to the ground and hurting all over. I put a stasis spell on him to stop the bleeding temporarily, but he is unconscious right now. He has so many wounds! And I don’t know what to do. He told me to call you before he passed out again. Please! You have to help me!”

Mildred! The name of his daughter! Where the hell did she find him and how did she get there? Her explanation gave him more questions than answers.

“Is he with you? Can I see him?” If she was speaking the truth, then he could ask questions later. If 006 really was alive then he had priority. The girl nodded and moved the mirror (was she really speaking into a mirror right now?) and what he saw had the man cursing.

Right there leaning against a rock sat a highly wounded 006, unconscious and full of blood. There was a cloak around his shoulders, way too small, obviously belonging to the girl in a desperate attempt to keep him warm and already soaked in blood.

“Mildred! Is he still alive?” He knew that the agent would not answer him, so he directed his question to the girl, who immediately appeared back on the surface. She nodded.

“I put a stasis spell on him to stop the bleeding. But I don’t know any healing spells and don’t have any potions with me.”

Yeah, he didn’t get even half of what she said, but he guessed that this meant his agent was still alive. Mallory nodded while removing the mirror from the wall. “Hold on!” He told her before he ran through the building, ignoring everyone who gave him weird looks for running with a mirror under his arm and threw the door to his office open, startling everyone present.

Inside were Eve and Bill, still clutching the testament, Q, who looked like he had cried his eyes out and Bond, not one emotion on his face but ready for action. Mallory knew he wanted revenge for his longest friend.

They all startled when he came in in haste and closed the door with his foot. He ignored them as they stared at him in confusion when they saw him carrying the mirror and gaped when he dropped it carefully on his desk, ignoring all the papers. Now they all stared at the child, he couldn’t call her a woman, she looked too young to even be properly in puberty, inside the mirror in disbelief.

“Don’t worry Mildred,” He reassured her. “We will save your father at all cost.” And he meant this wholeheartedly.

Chapter Text

“Where exactly are you right now?”

Gareth Mallory had not been too long the director of MI6, but even he knew that this situation was highly irregular. He had never heard of a child saving a double O from their captors, less while he was in a completely different country. And he knew that there was more to this young girl than what met the eye. But he could ask questions later.

“I don’t know exactly. We’ve been flying from Calais over the English Channel back to England. And we’ve passed Dover on our way. I landed somewhere where not many people would be to not be found out, but I really don’t know where we are right now.” The young girl explained, throwing anxious looks back to her father every few seconds.

Before he could say anything however, he was interrupted.

“Excuse me, but who are you. Or better what are you?” 007 asked, staring at the mirror in distrust. “And how did you find him?”

The young girl startled and stared back in confusion before processing it. “Oh. I’m Mildred Hubble. I’m his daughter and I got his message earlier today. Maud and Enid helped me sneak out of school and I followed his compass.” She held her arm up which showed said compass with the needle pointing stubbornly in the wounded agents’ direction. “And I’m a witch.” She added absentmindedly, seemingly not caring or not realizing what she was saying.

All around him were surprised gasps and many confused questions, but Mallory shut them all up. They had more important things to do.

The girl startled suddenly when 006 started to cough. She immediately turned around, not caring if anyone saw her and tried to tend to him by giving him water and whispering calming words to his ears.

“It’s gonna be alright dad. Help is going to be on their way.” She murmured, but he could hear the worry in her voice.

Mallory realized what situation they were in, so he took a deep breath and called her for attention.

“Is there any way we can find you?” He asked and the young girl turned around in surprise before shaking her head.

“I don’t know. I don’t know where we are, except somewhere close to Dover. And you have to hurry. I don’t know how long my stasis spell is going to last and he was bleeding so heavily.” She answered.

“Do you have a phone or anything on you?” He asked and Mildred nodded.

“Yes. But I didn’t know your number and dad passed out before he could give me yours.” She replied.

Mallory turned to Q, who hadn’t said anything the whole time but had been paying rapt attention. “You need to track her phone.” He told her and Q nodded before sprinting away to get his Laptop.

Just a few minutes later he burst through the door, laptop ready for work. “Please tell me your number.” He requested, his voice calm with the barest tremor underneath, the only hint that he was not as calm as he seemed.

Mildred turned back to the mirror and told him her number and a few seconds later they had her location. They were a few miles south of Dover.

“I can send you a helicopter now.” He told her and Mildred nodded in relief. Then she seemed to get an idea.

“I can fly to your direction and you can collect us while we’re in the air. It’s faster that way, isn’t it?” She replied and they all stared at her in confusion, before Mallory got himself together and nodded. He decided it would be best to just go with it.

“Sure. If you can, it would be easier as we wouldn’t have to land.” He answered and Mildred nodded. “Q is going to send you a map to your phone, so you just have to follow it and we won’t miss each other, okay?”

Mildred nodded and stood up. To their surprise she held her hand up and a broom, which they hadn’t seen before, now hovered in the air. The girl whispered something to her father, before she grabbed his arm and laid it around her shoulders to help him stand up. Then she looked at the broom and it flew right behind them into the perfect height for 006 to sit down. Mildred whispered something to him before she let him go and he leant against the rock again. The girl grabbed her back and the mirror and sat next to her father, putting his arms around her shoulders and letting him lean against her. Then she turned back to them.

“I’m ascending back into the air. Please hurry up, okay?” She pleaded and Mallory nodded.

“We’ll be on our way. See you soon.”

The girl threw him a weak smile, before she held her hand up and waved. She murmured a silent: “Banished be.” And the mirror cleared. They were all now staring at their own reflections. For a few seconds the room was absolutely silent.

“What the hell just happened?” Eve asked the question that was on everyone’s mind.

Mallory sighed. “I have no idea.” He turned back to the group. “But whatever it was, we can ask questions later. For now saving 006’s life has priority. Q.” He turned to his Quartermaster who looked more determined than ever. “I want you to track down her location and send her the map like I said. Lead her back to London while we send a helicopter her way.” The young man nodded and was now typing furiously.

“Don’t want to be rude, but I don’t think sending a helicopter is a good idea.” 007 interfered and Mallory threw him an angry glare. Before he could yell at him however, he clarified: “No one knows what exactly is going on. This girl said she’s a witch. And even though I don’t think she is dangerous, that doesn’t mean that whoever is going to meet her doesn’t think so. And I’m not sure if she was supposed to declare the fact that she is a witch to everyone present.”

Well, he had a point. In the end Mallory nodded. “Okay. Bond, Tanner, I want you two to fly the helicopter and collect her from the sky. Q, make sure no one knows about this. And Eve, make sure medical is ready when we come back.” They all nodded at his orders. “I’m coming with you two.” He told his chief of staff and Bond and while they did raise some eyebrows, they nodded. In a few seconds they cleared the room and ran to fulfil their duties.

~~~~

Mildred had been flying for maybe half an hour and was really getting worried. She had disabled the invisibility spell and flew high enough that no one would be able to see her from the ground. A few seconds into the air and her phone screen had changed into a map, locating where she was and telling her via arrows where she had to go. A few minutes later the map became clearer and there was another arrow coming to her from the opposite direction. Mildred knew that this would be the help she so desperately needed. She sighed and pushed her broom to fly faster.

A few minutes later she could hear the wings of the helicopter and soon she saw it coming closer. She breathed in relief. Careful to not dislodge her father she put her hand up and waved.

“Here!” She yelled, hoping that they saw and heard her. Immediately the door on the side opened and the man she recognised as Mr. Mallory put his head out.

“Fly into the helicopter!” He yelled at her and Mildred nodded. It stopped in the air and Mildred thought for a second how to best do this. Then she flew a little lower to avoid the wings and the air circulation and came closer before she came from the downside. Carefully she flew into the entrance and landed as softly as possible as to not shake her father.

Immediately two men helped her getting her father from the broom and laid him down onto a cot. The other man who had helped closed the door and the two immediately ripped his shirt open to assess the wounds. They both cursed as they immediately pressed bandages on it.

Mildred stared at them fearfully, not knowing what this now meant. The wounds were currently not bleeding as she had prevented it, but she didn’t know what this meant.

“Is he going to be alright?” She asked, holding her father’s hand. The two men looked at her and their gazes both softened.

“His wounds are dangerous. I don’t know what you did, but they aren’t bleeding right now, so it’s probably going to be fine.” Mildred nodded and supressed a sob threatening to come out of her mouth.

There was silence for a few minutes before the man – Mallory – her brain told her, cursed again.

“Shit. He’s starting to bleed again!” He yelled and he and another man with dark hair pressed the bandage against the biggest wounds. “If we don’t do anything, he’s going to bleed out in minutes!”

Mildred was starting to panic again. “The spell has stopped working! Dad! Dad!” She could only yell, hoping that he would wake up. She shook his hand, hoping for any kind of reaction. But there was nothing.

Mallory looked up at her. “You stopped this before, didn’t you?” Mildred looked up, barely comprehending what he said but nodded. “Then do it again!” She stared at him in confusion. “I don’t know what you did to stop this, but you need to do it again!”

The young witch stared at him before she nodded. She held a hand over the biggest wound and with a tremble in her voice she chanted:

“Tempus of time, be not my opponent,

Stop the flow in this moment.”

She stared at her father’s wounds, hoping that it worked. But it didn’t. The blood was soaking through the bandages fast and turning everything it touched into a deep red. Mildred choked in desperation.

“It’s not working,” She whispered, shocked and still not comprehending, “Why isn’t it working? It worked earlier! Why isn’t it stopping?!” She was working herself into a full blown panic attack now. Her breathing accelerated and her heart beat like crazy. There was a beeping noise in her ears and she started to lose focus.

Suddenly someone grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to look into the other’s eyes. It was Mallory. He stared at her with urgent eyes.

“Calm down!” He ordered her. “You did it once, you can do it again. Your father needs you right now and you are the only one who can help him. Your father is a strong man and he is depending on you. Get a grip! So take a deep breath and concentrate. You can do it!”

Mildred didn’t know why, but there was something about this man that calmed her down. She nodded and just like he said took a deep breath. Her heart calmed down and with new determination she turned back to her father. She pressed her hands against his wounds and with surer voice she repeated her spell.

“Tempus of time, be not my opponent,

Stop the flow in this moment.”

There was a small glow around her father and it was like he could breathe easier now. He stopped bleeding and Mildred sat down with relief. The man threw her a small smile and nod and Mildred returned it with a weak smile of her own.

The rest of the flight was uneventful. Mildred held her father’s hand and even though she knew that they would be able to make it, every minute that passed felt like hours. She ignored the questions of the three men around her, one blond man was flying, and in the end they all decided to leave her be until they landed.

After what felt like an eternity they arrived in London somewhere she had never seen and she could see a medical team already waiting for them with a stretcher. Mildred, for the first time since she heard the painful message, felt like a mountain had lifted.

They landed and in minutes they had transferred him onto the stretcher and stormed him through the building into the emergency room. Mildred had run with them, but they refused to let her enter the emergency room.

In the end she stood in front of closed doors, hoping with her whole being that she had made it.

She had stood there for quite a while without moving, still inside her head when she felt soft hands on her shoulder.

“Come,” A soft female voice said to her. It was a beautiful woman with dark skin and wild dark hair, smiling sadly at her. “Let’s get you washed up.” She wanted to lead her away, but Mildred shook her head. She would not be leaving this corridor until she knew what had happened to her father.

The woman sighed. “Okay. Then at least sit down, yeah?” Mildred nodded and she led her to the chairs waiting on the side.

Mildred sat down and drew her knees closer. She wrapped her arms around them and buried her face into her knees, huddling into herself and making herself as small as possible. Finally all the stress, fear and panic of the day washed over her. And with a first choke all broke out of her. She cried into her arms, tears and snot flowing freely down her face and ruining her dress. She couldn’t care less. She sobbed pitifully and just let everything out, the hand on her shoulder barely a comfort.

Mildred cried and cried while deep in her heart she prayed desperately for her father to be alive.

Chapter Text

Mildred didn’t know how long she had been sitting here. It felt like forever. Her tears had long since stopped and only the occasional sob escaped her throat. She barely reacted to the voices around her.

“Here,” The beautiful woman from earlier held a steaming cup of tea in front of her. Mildred stared at it, first not comprehending, but finally grabbing it with both hands. She gave her a weak smile and sipped carefully on it. As soon as the warm tea entered her body, she sighed in relief. Mildred hadn’t realized how cold she was until something warm was inside her body.

She sniffed but was otherwise finally starting to come into herself. The woman sat next to her again but fortunately she didn’t try to make conversation. Mildred was thankful for that. Another man she recognized to be the one who helped her with her father in the helicopter who was not Mallory arrived and smiled at her. She just returned it with a weak one of her own and averted her eyes. He sat next to her and waited.

After the tea was long gone and Mildred had returned to hug her knees, the door to the operation room finally opened. At once Mildred jumped up, almost running to the doctor and staring with hopeful eyes at him.

The man removed the face mask and smiled softly at her.

“He made it.”

It was like a mountain was lifted of her shoulders and something inside her finally unfurled and let her breathe for the first time in a while. Her knees buckled and she almost fell to the ground if it weren’t for the strong arms of the woman and the man who held her upright.

“Can I see him?” She asked with trembling voice.

The doctor nodded. “We are transferring him to his own room. He’s still sleeping and he won’t be waking up until at least tomorrow, but you can stay with him if you want.”

Mildred nodded, feeling tears of relief flowing out of her eyes. She smiled at him.

When she saw her father being wheeled out, she immediately went to his side and grabbed his hand, refusing to let go. Fortunately no one said anything and they just let her accompany them to his room.

They deposited him and made sure everything was in order before they left the two alone. Someone had brought her a chair to sit next to him. Mildred barely remembered to thank her before she was sitting down and drawing it as close to the bed as possible.

Mildred squeezed her father’s hand and smiled sadly at him. Even though she knew that he would make it, it hurt her to see him like this. Plugged into multiple devices, air mask on his face and multiple needles on his arms.

“You’re going to be fine, dad, okay? The doctor said so.” She whispered and just continued to hold her fathers’ hand.

After a while the door opened and the woman from before entered the room with a bag and another cup of tea. She smiled at her and drew a table and another chair nearer, depositing them on the surface.

“You should eat something.” She told her and Mildred hesitated. She didn’t feel hungry, but she had skipped lunch and barely ate the sandwiches Enid and Maud had packed for her while flying for practically a whole day.

“Really, you need to eat. I’m sure your dad wouldn’t be so happy if he knew that you skipped dinner.” She said and pushed the bag closer to her. Finally Mildred nodded and with great reluctance let go of her fathers’ hand. The woman frowned when she saw her hands however.

“No, young lady. You are not going to eat like that. Your hands are still full of blood. Come on. Let’s wash them first.” She ordered and stood up. Mildred followed her to the attached bathroom and washed her hands. The dark red water made her nauseous, especially since she knew that it was not her blood on them.

Finally they were clean however and she returned to the room. She startled when she saw that there were more people inside than there were at the beginning. Next to the woman stood Mallory, talking to her in hushed tones. The other man who had waited with her was also there, listening to the two talk. Another man in a suit with blond hair and blue eyes was leaning at the wall next to the door. He seemed relaxed but Mildred could see the underlined tension. Then there was a younger man with wild dark locks and glasses sitting on her chair. He seemed more nervous than anything, playing with the hem of her shirt.

As soon as he saw her however, he sprang up, smiling weakly at her and offering her the chair back. Now everyone realized that she was back and mustered her for a few seconds. Mildred felt uncomfortable under all those stares and fidgeted, avoiding eye contact and starring at the wall over her father.

Finally Mallory broke the awkward silence and smiled at her, gesturing her to sit down. “Come and eat. I’m sure you must be famished.” He said to her and Mildred nodded, sitting down and unwrapping the still warm sandwich together with the soup. She dug in and forced herself to eat and tried her best to ignore the stares, which made her really uncomfortable.

After she was halfway through, Mallory sighed and caught her attention. Mildred swallowed the bite she had just taken and looked up at him.

“I’m sure you know that we’re going to ask you a few questions. No way about it. But first, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Gareth Mallory. I’m the head of MI6 and practically your fathers’ boss.” He said and smiled at her. Mildred nodded at him. She knew that already.

The man standing closer to him was next. He smiled softly at her. “I’m Bill Tanner. I’m the Chief of Staff here.” Mildred smiled in return.

The woman grinned at her encouragingly and said: “And I’m Eve Moneypenny. I’m Mallory’s secretary. And this one,” She motioned for the man at the wall, “Is James Bond. Or 007. He’s your fathers’ colleague and friend. They’ve been working together for a long time now.” Mildred nodded and waved at him shyly. He gave her a nod and a small smile. She recognized that name. Her father had said it every once in a while. Mostly with fond exasperation in memory of another crazy antic.

The last person to introduce himself was the young man with the glasses. He smiled shyly at her. “I’m the Quartermaster of MI6, just call me Q.” There was a nervous undertone in his voice and Mildred nodded and smiled at him.

They were now all staring expectantly at her and she knew that they were waiting for her introduction. She sighed and sat down the half eaten sandwich and the spoon, shoving both of them away from her.

“I’m Mildred Hubble. I’m his daughter.” She introduced herself and began fidgeting with her dress, not sure what she was now supposed to say.

In the end Mallory sighed. The young witch looked up and he threw her a tired smile. “Normally I wouldn’t pry like that, but there are a lot of things we need to know. Beginning with what you are and ending with how you found Alec Trevelyan and saved him.”

Mildred nodded. She knew that those questions would have been asked of her. But she also knew that she was breaking the witches’ code. She knew that she would have done it again and again, but that didn’t mean she was not fearing the consequences. Yet she knew that she didn’t have another choice. So she explained.

“I’m, as I’m sure I’ve told you, a witch.” She refused to look up and just continued to fidget with her dress. And so she told them the story of how she had found her father and how close they had grown and how she got the message, got scared and how she had located him the same way like the first time she had searched for him. She told them of the invisibility function on her broom which helped her sneak in, how she used her magic to stop the bleeding and free him of his chains. She told them how she had escaped and how her father told her of Mallory’s name and left with no other choice she had used the magic mirror to contact him. The rest was known.

After she was done, there was silence. Everyone was stuck in their own heads, processing what she had just told them and trying to come to terms with a worldview that had been flipped on their heads.

In the end it was Mallory again who sighed and nodded. “Okay. I’m not going to stand here and pretend that I got everything, but I have seen enough evidence to know that you are not lying. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a bunch of other questions, but I think it’s enough for today. We can talk again tomorrow.” He rubbed his forehead and grimaced. “It’s really a lot to take in.”

Bill Tanner shrugged. “Yes, but I’m pretty sure you’re exhausted, right?” He threw the young witch an encouraging smile. “I think you should go to sleep. It’s getting really late.”

Mildred nodded. “Can I stay here?” She asked timidly and Tanner frowned. “Well, if the medical staff won’t mind, I don’t think that there would be anything speaking against it.” He looked around in confusion.

Eve added: “I’m sure we can roll another bed inside here and you can stay.” She smiled softly at Mildred and Mildred nodded in relief. “I’m going to bring you something to sleep in and toiletries so you can shower and get ready, okay?” Mildred nodded thankfully.

Slowly they all stood up and with a few goodnights and waves they left. Mildred waved back. Q seemed to hesitate, as if he wanted to stay back and say something, but in the end he just smiled weakly at her and left together with the others. A few minutes later the nurses came inside with a fresh bed. Mildred smiled and thanked them profusely while trying to help. They only waved her away.

“Honestly, if you can keep him calm and inside his bed tomorrow, then it would be a tremendous help,” One of the nurses said and the rest nodded and sighed. Mildred frowned. She didn’t think that there would be a problem with her father as soon as he woke up.

After they had left, Miss Moneypenny “Call me Eve,” entered the room with a stack of soft pyjamas and underwear and a bag full of toiletries with toothpaste, a toothbrush and different shampoos and soaps, towels and another bag to put her dirty clothes inside. Mildred thanked her and entered the bathroom.

Mildred sighed in relief as soon as the warm water hit her body, washing all the tension and worry out of her body. She smiled softly and washed away all the blood and grime of the day.

After she entered the room again, Eve was still waiting for her, opening her hand for the bag with the dirty clothes.

She grimaced when she saw it. “I’m going to try and get it cleaned, but I’m not sure if we can get all that blood out of it.” Mildred just smiled before she frowned again.

“Where’s my backpack? And my cloak and broom? And I think I left my hat behind in the helicopter.” She asked and Eve sighed.

“The backpack was dirty with blood. I’m going to try and wash all of them, together with the cloak and hat. But honestly? Maybe we can save the hat and backpack, but the cloak looks like a lost case to me.” She grimaced and Mildred winced.

“I used it to stop the bleeding when I found my dad and again after the first stasis spell lost its effect. So I’m not surprised actually.” She explained and Eve smiled at her.

“Well, even if it’s lost, at least it had served a noble cause.” She said and Mildred smiled weakly at her. Finally the dark haired beauty nudged her to her bed.

“Come one,” She smiled at her. “It’s late and you should get to sleep. Otherwise your dad is going to be angry at us that we have kept you awake for so long. And trust me, you do not want a double 0, especially 006, angry at you.”

Mildred giggled. “Is he really that bad?” She asked as she sat down and looked expectantly at the woman. Eve only sighed.

“He’s worse. One of our most temperamental agents. But unfortunately,” She sighed, “He’s also one our best, together with 007.”

Mildred smiled. “Dad hasn’t told me anything about him specifically, but he sometimes let a few things slip. Those two seem to be very close.”

Eve hummed in agreement. “Yes, those two go way back. They would never admit it, but they mean the world to each other.” She smiled sadly at her. “James was there when Alec got captured and even though he would never admit it, he felt furious and helpless. That’s why he had been ready to hunt them down and get revenge for him. And why he had insisted that no one but them would retrieve you two. He wanted to see him for himself. But alas, he would never admit how much he cares.”

Mildred nodded. “Dad seemed always exasperated when he talked about him, but at the same time always fond. I’ve always wanted to meet him and learn more about the people he works with. But he always told me that it was classified and it would be better if I didn’t know all of that.”

Eve nodded sadly. “He’s right. The more you know the more you would have been at risk. I’m sure he didn’t want to endanger you. That’s why he probably never told you anything and never told us about you. He seems to care a lot about you.” She smiled happily at her. “But I’ve always wondered. The last few months he had seemed happier. I’ve never seen him like that. He sometimes seemed to almost float and there was something about him. But he never told. Now I know why. It was because of you.”

Mildred blushed and averted her eyes in embarrassment. Eve laughed. “Enough talk. It’s late and you need to sleep. We can talk more tomorrow.” The young witch nodded and tucked herself in. Eve turned off the light and whispered a “Good Night.” Before closing the door behind her.

“Good Night,” Mildred replied and closing her eyes. She was still not over the shock of today, but she felt lighter than she had all day. The exhaustion was finally catching up with her and with the knowledge that her father was safe and sound she fell asleep in seconds.

Chapter Text

Mildred had slept the whole night. Occasionally she woke up because one of the nurses came inside to look after her father. So when it was morning, she was still tired when she woke up. Yet she couldn’t stay in bed for much longer. After getting herself ready for the day, the nurse entered and brought her a tablet of breakfast. The young witch, still in pyjamas because she didn’t have different clothes, thanked her profusely and sat down next to her father, eating.

She was left alone for the most part, but after a while someone knocked and the door opened. A young man entered the room, which Mildred recognized as one of the people who were with her yesterday. She remembered that he introduced himself to her with merely a letter and she was wracking her brain as to which one it was. She smiled at him and continued to eat her sandwich.

“Good morning,” He greeted her softly, clearly fidgeting and nervous. He looked exhausted. There were dark rings under his eyes and the young girl wasn’t sure if he was naturally that pale and ashen or if it was due to the tiredness she could feel from him. Mildred couldn’t understand why though.

“Good morning,” She greeted back and motioned for him to sit down in the other chair.

The man did and after a few seconds he sighed, shoulders slumping and there was a defeated air around him. “I came here to apologize,” He explained and looked at her with pleading eyes, as if asking her to understand.

Mildred however did not understand. “What for?” She asked and tilted her head in confusion. He threw her a bitter smile.

“It was my fault that it ended like this. It was my fault that your father was hurt and that you had to be the one to save him.” He stated and Mildred stared at him in disbelief.

After a few seconds she countered: “You don’t truly belief that yourself, do you? It wasn’t your fault that he was hurt, so why would you blame yourself?”

His shoulders slumped even more and he avoided looking at her. “It’s because I was distracted,” He murmured. In the end he explained: “I’m the Quartermaster. It is my job to ensure that the mission runs as smoothly as possible. And that not only includes outfitting the agents with equipment but also be their eyes and ears on their mission be it through hacking inside the enemies’ system or leading them through CCTV and making sure that they get inside and outside wherever they need to and that they have as much information as possible.” He was playing with the hem of his shirt now. “I miscalculated and led him right into the building. I was distracted and not fit to lead him. But my pride wouldn’t accept it and I did it anyway. Because of that I never realized how all of this had been a trap and I wasn’t fast enough to get him out of there. That your father is hurt like this is because of my miscalculation and for that I am sorry.”

He looked up at her with pleading eyes. “I truly apologize and will do everything in my power to proof it. I promise I will give my utmost best that this will never happen again.” He stared at her with shiny eyes imploringly, begging for her to understand. Mildred’s heart went out to him.

“I can’t say I’m not mad that this has happened, but I don’t think you should blame yourself too much. You never know what might happen and even if you are prepared, there’s always going to be something you won’t be able to predict. I remember dad telling me how often he had to improvise because his best laid out plans didn’t work out. Also, the nurses told me that he will make a full recovery and that he’ll wake up soon, probably even today. As of my side, you are forgiven.” She smiled at him. “And I don’t think dad is angry at you. He doesn’t strike me as the type to be pissed about it too much. He hasn’t told me much about his job, but the few times he has spoken of his handler I think it was, he had always spoken about him with fondness. I can see now that he means you. So I don’t think he will keep this over your head for long.” She grinned: “He might be grumpy though.”

The man – Q, she remembered it now – smiled at her weakly. “I still feel guilty.” He whispered, but finally gave her a weak smile. Mildred shrugged.

“I get it. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably feel bad, too. But it worked out in the end. Dad is fine.” Mildred smiled back and continued with her breakfast.

Silence reigned between them. Not as heavy as before but something told her that Q wanted to say something. He never got the chance however, because someone knocked on the door again. Eve came inside, clear surprise in her face when she spotted Q, but soon composing herself and greeting Mildred with a warm smile.

“Good morning,” She greeted her and Mildred returned it. The lady had a bundle of clothes in her arms. “I brought you something to change into. Your dress is still in cleaning, so you have to make do with this first.” Mildred nodded and grabbed the bundle.

“Thank you,” She said and stood up, entering the bathroom and changing out of her pyjamas. It was a simple jeans and a Polo shirt with a cardigan, warm socks and sneakers. A few minutes later she emerged from the room and smiled at the two.

Q stopped whatever he was about to say to Eve and stood up.

“Well, it was lovely seeing you two, lovely.” He smiled at them, “But I must get going. My department needs me and I have a lot of work to do.” When he turned to Mildred, he seemed less tense and there was a light back in his eyes. “If you’re free today, you are welcome to visit Q branch. Or if you ever get the chance to stop by MI6 in the near future, be sure to visit.”

Mildred grinned. “I’d love to.”

She waved him good bye and now it was only Eve. She motioned for her to sit and Mildred followed. Eve’s gaze softened.

“I’m going to warn you first. I’m sure that Mallory will want to speak to you today again and ask you a few questions. He may become prodding.”

Mildred shrugged and avoided eye contact. “It’s okay. I understand. Although, if possible, could you maybe tell him that I can’t tell him too much? I’ve not only broken school rules but also the witches’ code with my actions and I don’t know what the consequences are going to be.”

Eve raised an eyebrow at that. “School rules I can understand with sneaking out of school grounds, but what is the ‘witches’ code’?”

Mildred sighed. “The Witches Code is a set of rules that every witch must adhere to at all occasions. It’s like a law book.” She fidgeted again. “And I broke one of the most important ones. Never reveal true magic. If true magic is revealed to non-magical people, the line between our two worlds will dissolve, and everything, our entire magical existence, will be destroyed.” She recited her headmistress and finally the error of her ways truly crashed upon her. She had broken the witches’ code and risked the destruction of her world.

Mildred trembled and supressed a sob that was threatening to escape her throat. She was pulled into a warm hug and when she looked up, Eve had pulled her into her arms and stroked her head to calm her down. Mildred relaxed.

“I’m sure it’s not going to be that bad. And we know it now, so you can be sure that we won’t be running around, telling everyone. We’re MI6. It’s practically our job to keep things a secret.” Eve smiled at her. “And it’s not like you did it out of malice. You did it because you wanted to help your father. And you did. You saved his life! I’m sure that counts for something.”

Mildred dried her tears with her sleeve and returned the smile weakly. Eve winked at her. “And if it’s really that bad, I’m sure Mallory can write you an apology note, maybe even get the Prime Minister or even the Queen to sign it. He’s the head of MI6, I’m sure that’s going to weigh in your favour.” Mildred giggled and nodded. Eve beamed at her. “Now that’s more like it. You look better with a smile.”

In the end she stood up and said her good byes. “I have to go talk to Mallory. I’m sure we’ll see each other later, okay?” Mildred nodded and waved at her as she went.

Just as Eve predicted, an hour later it knocked on the door again. Mildred had asked for paper and a pen to draw, so she had something to do to pass the time, when Mallory entered the room with Eve and Tanner and James in tow. Mallory smiled at her but seemed exhausted while Eve threw her a wink and Tanner only waved and James nodded at her.

The head of MI6 sat in front of her and threw her a weak smile. He threw a look at the picture she had drawn with a pencil, the coast of Dover, and whistled impressed. “You did this yourself?” He asked her and Mildred nodded shyly. “That’s amazing,” He told her. Mildred beamed at him.

After a few seconds he sighed. “I’m sure you know that I still have some questions. But Eve had told me that there might be problems if you tell us too much? We don’t want you to get into trouble, especially since it wasn’t your fault and you are a civilian and should have never been in this situation at all. So just tell us what you can and if not, well, we’ll live. And we promise, whatever you tell us, it won’t leave this room.”

Mildred nodded. Mallory smiled at her. “Well, then let’s start with the one I’m sure most of us are dying to know.” He raised an eyebrow at her and there was nothing but pure curiosity in it. “So magic exists? All that stuff with witches and wizards and magical schools is real?” Mildred giggled and nodded. She could understand their reaction. She hadn’t been that different.

Tanner asked: “Is it like in Harry Potter? With brooms and wands and all that stuff?” Mildred rolled her eyes.

“Similar, but not completely. There are parallels, but many things are just made up and don’t exist or work differently. But most of the stuff is just made up from Hollywood.” Mildred explained and they nodded.

“And there is a school? A magical school here in England?” James now threw in, looking extremely sceptical. Mildred nodded.

“Several actually. My school for example is an all girls’ school. But there are other ones who are co-ed or for wizards only.”

“How does the law system work? And how do you keep yourself hidden from the rest of the world?” Mallory asked and now Mildred hesitated. There were several things she didn’t know but also a few things she was sure were too much information. She knew her mother knew, since she had a version of the witches’ code and she knew her mother wanted to send her father one, too, but they were her parents! She didn’t know how it all turned out if she told strangers of it. But Mallory didn’t seem to be angry. “It’s alright. You can’t answer every question with have.”

And so they spent the rest of the morning asking her about the magical world, especially how she had saved her father. They were especially interested in the compass she still kept with her at all times and how it had led her to her father, even though they had lost all contact and every way of locating him. Mildred tried to keep many questions of the magical world as vague as possible and she was relieved when she realized that they would not ask further when they saw that she was hesitating and skirting around a question.

In the end they talked until lunch and even though Mildred wanted to stay with her father, she was finally convinced to leave the room and join Eve for lunch. She followed her into the cafeteria and was happy when she realized that they would be sharing a table with Q, who seemed to be waiting for them. It was a jolly affair and they spent the time telling her funny stories of some missions they had been supervising, carefully keeping them from getting too deep into detail but deep enough to get why they were so funny. They had sneaked her in and sat at a table on the far end, where they wouldn’t be spotted, so Mildred wouldn’t be seen. They wanted to wait until Alec woke up so he could decide if she was to be introduced or not.

After her meal she left back to her father’s room. She was surprised to see the agent James Bond already waiting for her. Well, he didn’t seem to be waiting, but he seemed to be here for her father. She smiled sadly at him, when she realized how lost he looked, barely realizing that Mildred had entered the room.

Mildred closed the door and stood beside him, staring forlornly at her father. “He sometimes talked about you,” Mildred told him, not averting her eyes of the still form on the bed. A bitter chuckle resounded in the otherwise silent room.

“Yeah? Probably told you what an asshole I am. Did he tell you that I am a drunken bastard with no self-regard and a pendant to fuck things up by just being in the same room?” He asked her, voice dark and full of self-hatred.

But Mildred shook her head. She looked at him and smiled. “Actually, he has always spoken of you quite fondly.” She threw him a soft smile. “I’m pretty sure he would never tell you that, but you mean a lot to him. You are one of his dearest friends, if not the dearest, and even though he seems to lament some of your recklessness, he always told me that he wasn’t that different, so you two fit together.”

James stared at her in disbelief. Before he could say anything however, they were interrupted by a pained groan. They both turned their heads to the bed and Mildred’s heart started to beat like crazy.

Slowly and with great reluctance Alec opened his eyes. They were still cloudy and he blinked several times before he could finally focus. When he did, he looked into the relieved smile of his daughter.

“Am I … dead?” He croaked out and Mildred let out a wet laugh.

“No dad. You are still alive. Thank god.” She answered, beaming at him and squeezing his hand. Alec seemed to slowly realize that he was still alive.

“That explains why everything hurts as fuck.” He groaned.

“Language!” Mildred chastised while wiping away a few tears. She smiled softly at him which he returned.

“Hey dad.” She greeted him. Alec smiled and squeezed her hand back.

“Hey Millie.”

Chapter Text

Pain. Hot, glaring pain was all he felt. Every hit, every shot hurt, but he had refused to give them the satisfaction to even scream. He had welcomed the darkness when he had finally lost consciousness. But there had been a moment where something inside him forced him to wake up. Something inside him had been screaming to open his eyes, if just for a moment.

When he had, he had been met with the worried eyes of Mildred. He had thought that it had been a hallucination, a sweet solace before he would die. The last thing he would see before he would finally succumb. It had been a nice thought. Especially since there had been warmth and his pain had stopped. When he had been moved and when he suddenly felt the cold air, he didn’t question it. Even when he smelt the salty air of the ocean he didn’t think twice about it.

When he had felt hard ground under him, he had felt how panicked Mildred had been and he didn’t understand why. But he wanted her to feel safe again. She seemed to want to call someone but hadn’t known who. So he told her to call the one person he knew he would have reported back to. Make no mistake, he didn’t really have any real loyalty to MI6, he hadn’t liked the former M. She had been too manipulative and scheming for his taste. But the new one wasn’t so bad. He was still new to his job and even though he had been a pencil pusher, he was starting to grow into his new role. The old M had retired after the whole Skyfall debacle because of old wounds, but she still pestered the new MI6. That the new M was giving as good as he got and didn’t let himself be manipulated had been a huge plus for him in Alec’s eyes. He knew that Mildred would be in good hands.

Shortly after he had felt the air again and the warmth of the small body in front of him had been a great comfort. He had felt the pain starting to come back and almost grunted when he had been out of the cold air and had been not too kindly put onto the ground. When the pain stopped again, he felt like he could breathe easier and the small warmth in his hand calmed him.

Then he could feel the typical hands and form of a stretcher and darkness surrounded him.

He had been hearing whispers and people talking when he slowly started to come back to himself. It was hard for him to open his eyes. His body hurt all over and his eyes felt like glued together. He had wanted to just stay asleep, but he heard the voice of his beloved daughter. And something inside him wanted to see her. To talk to her and to make sure that she was alright. So even though it felt like the hardest thing in the world, he forced his eyes to open.

And it had been worth it. He was met with the sweet sight of his little daughter standing next to him and giving him the sweetest smile, her eyes gleaming with a sheen of tears, pure relief in her features. Hearing her voice was like the sweetest tune and he couldn’t help but smile back, ignoring how everything hurt and pounded.

In the corner of his eyes he saw James giving him a look he was too tired to decipher before he called the doctors and nurses.

It was a flurry of moments since then, where the doc explained what had happened to him with a lot of holes he didn’t seem to understand himself and what he ended up with. Several broken rips, a punctured lung, and several other wounds he didn’t bother listening to.

All this time Mildred had held his hand in worry, her eyes growing bigger with every new wound that was mentioned. He squeezed her hand in comfort and Mildred squeezed back with a weak smile. He had a bunch of questions himself actually, but he thought it might be better to wait until they were alone.

After the medical staff had finally left to give him time with his daughter, the door opened, and M, Moneypenny, Tanner and Q tumbled inside, having heard that he had woken up. Mildred smiled and waved at them and a few greeted her with a big smile.

“How do you feel?” M asked standing next to his daughter.

“Worse since the bunch of you stumbled inside,” He answered, barely a wince inside his voice.

“Dad!” Mildred chastised him, but he didn’t hear any heat in her voice. When he looked back at her she couldn’t supress a grin.

“Only the truth.” He replied and gave her a warm smile. Mildred rolled her eyes, but didn’t say anything.

M cleared his throat and the two gave him their attention back. “I’m pretty sure you know that we need to know what happened after we lost contact with you.”

Alec shrugged and immediately winced in pain. “There isn’t much to tell. They subdued me, strapped me to a chair and had a go at me as their punching bag and knife sharpener.” He immediately regretted his callous response when he felt Mildred flinch next to him. He squeezed her hand in comfort.

“Right,” Mallory sighed.

Alec now frowned. “But I would like to know what happened after. I was pretty sure it would be the end of me. Suddenly I wake up in the medical ward, still alive and my daughter sitting next to me. Out with it. What’s going on.”

Mallory looked at Mildred and she looked back. There was an uneasiness he clearly didn’t like. “I think it’s better if Mildred explains it to you, since you’re here thanks to her.”

“What?” He asked in disbelief, staring back at Mildred, who fidgeted uneasily in her chair. “Mildred, what did you do?!” He demanded and Mildred winced at his tone. He ignored the guilt he felt and gave her a hard stare.

Finally she relented and told him what had happened. With growing horror he listened to her recounting what happened. He couldn’t even interrupt her, so speechless was he. He couldn’t believe what she had gone through, what danger she put herself in just to save him.

When she was done retelling the events which had led them both here, he felt speechless. He couldn’t understand how she could do this for him. How she could put herself in danger for him like that.

“That was really stupid and reckless of you Mildred. You shouldn’t have done this.” He finally croaked out with a hollow voice he could barely recognize as his own.

Mildred flinched, but refused to back down. “I had to! You were dying and I had to do something! I just couldn’t stand back and do nothing!”

“It was still dangerous! You couldn’t have known that I would still be alive. This organisation is ruthless. They don’t hold back, not even against women and children. And that’s what you are. A child. What if they had captured you? You could have been seriously hurt!” He countered, not backing down.

“I don’t care!” She yelled, hurt in her eyes. “You are my dad and you were dying! If you had been alive and I wouldn’t have come for you and you had died because of that, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. I just had to try. I just can’t stand back and do nothing!” Her eyes filled with tears and she angrily wiped them away. “I was so worried and scared that I wouldn’t be able to make it. That I’ve been too late. Dad, I love you. And I wouldn’t know what to do if you had died! I thought I had lost you.”

Mildred’s tears were now flowing freely down her face. He could see that she was angry and hurt because of his words and not even bothering to wipe them away. He felt bad for making her feel like that, yet he still didn’t regret scolding her. She had to understand how dangerous it was and that she could have been hurt. He couldn’t have lived with himself if something would have happened to her. Yet he still couldn’t deny that it made him happy. That Mildred loved him enough and that he meant enough for her to risk everything and just go up and search for him, regardless of how dangerous and how slim the chance was that she would find him alive. Even though he knew he shouldn’t, he felt happy.

“I know myshko,” He replied, his voice softening. He squeezed her hand in comfort. “I didn’t mean to yell at you and tell you you did badly. It’s just, so much could have happened to you. I know what those people are capable of and just the thought of something happening to you is unbearable for me. I know you did this because you were worried, but I’m your father. I would have never been able to forgive myself if something would have happened because of me. You were lucky that it didn’t, but imagine if.”

“Then I would have just turned them all into mice, witches’ code be damned!” She replied, still a pout in her voice.

Alec raised an unimpressed eyebrow at her. “You told me you got kangaroos last time. I’m not sure if you would have fared better against them. They have mean kicks.”

Mildred rolled her eyes but seemed to have calmed down enough to give him a sweet smile back. Alec sighed. Oh well, it had happened and thanks to her he was still alive. He couldn’t deny that he was proud of her despite everything. It took guts and a healthy dose of luck to pull something like this of. Especially if someone was untrained like her.

“Just promise me you won’t do it again,” He gave up and leaned back, waiting for her reply. When it didn’t come however, he opened his eyes and gave her a frown. “Mildred!”

She just crossed her arms and pouted. “I won’t promise that because I would do that again in a heartbeat. You can’t make me.” Alec sighed. He knew when he had lost.

“Fine,” He just murmured. Was this the famous puberty phase? He really hoped it was just a whim.

Mallory, who had been silent the whole time and had watched the exchange and with clear confusion, and a little bit of amusement, like the rest of them, cleared his throat and gave them both an unimpressed glare. “Not that this parent-daughter spat isn’t interesting, especially since it’s the infamous 006 we are talking about, but we should get back to the topic, don’t you think?”

Alec nodded and returned his focus back onto the head of the MI6. Mildred looked between them, uncertainty and confusion clear on her face. The agents’ gaze softened. She shouldn’t be here for this.

“Mildred, kotyonok,” He called her attention back. He smiled at her, “Why don’t you go and take a look around? Not everyone gets the chance to visit MI6. You should use this chance while you have it.” The girl was silent, but Eve jumped up to his rescue.

“That’s a great idea!” She said, “He’s right. And I promised you I would show you around, right? It’s fine, isn’t it?” She asked Mallory and he only nodded.

“Sure. You don’t get that chance every day. I’m sure there are a lot of things you’ll find interesting.” He replied and Mildred still looked unsure, but stood up. Alec knew that Mildred knew that what they were about to talk about was way above her clearance and not for her ears. She nodded and with one final squeezed she followed Eve out of the room.

“I’ll see you later. Bye.” She said and waved at the rest of the room.

“Bye Millie. Have fun. I’ll see you later.” He turned to Eve, a mock stern expression on his face. “Make sure to take good care of her, okay? When she returns, there better be not one scratch on her!”

Eve giggled and gave him a mock salute. “I promise I’ll protect her with my life! She will be safe and sound with me.” She answered and waved at him in good bye.

After they had closed the door between them, the tension in the room returned. Mallory gave him an unimpressed stare and sighed. “I don’t need to tell you how much has changed now that we know that you have a daughter. But we can talk about this later. What else did you find out while you were undercover?” He asked, tone no-nonsense like Alec was used to. He turned serious and tried to sit, only to be pressed back by James. Alec threw him a withering glare.

“Stay still. Your wounds were heavy enough and we don’t need you to open them again. Not to mention that I’m pretty sure that daughter of yours would turn us all into frogs or something equally annoying like that should she find out that you aggravated them while you were under our watchful eyes.” James countered and threw him an unimpressed stare. Alec rolled his eyes and leaned back. James wasn’t much better, he knew that from experience, but he was right. Mildred would be pretty angry at him, should he open his wounds again and he really didn’t want her to worry more than she already did.

“Yeah, well, with your luck she would turn you into a pig and forget the counterspell,” He murmured and sighed.

Tanner laughed. “You are not really confident in her abilities, are you?” He asked and Alec rolled his eyes.

“It’s not like I don’t have confidence in her, I do. I just know that she’s eleven years behind her peers in magic because she didn’t grow up in a magical household like the others and thus has a lot to catch up to. And she’s still busy catching up. It’s not like I think she’s weak, I’m pretty sure she’s a great witch, she just needs more training.” He explained. “But enough of my daughter. I have a lot of stuff to report.”

Mallory nodded, all signs of amusement gone. “Right. Then give us the report. What else could you find out that was not in the information you were able to send us?”

And so he spent the next hour telling them everything he had been able to get out of this mission. He knew he would not be able to be the one to see it to its end, but he could see on James’ and Q’s faces, that they were more than ready to do it for him.

Chapter Text

“And this is the training ground. We have a fitness room, a room with mats and our very own shooting range.” Eve showed her the room and Mildred looked around in wonder. She had the biggest grin on her face and turned fast from one sight to the next.

“Wow! It’s so big!” She commented with a glimmer in her eyes.

Eve laughed. “Of course,” She explained, “We need it for all our agents. Not only the double O’s, but also a lot of regular agents who have to keep themselves in shape while they are in downtime or holiday.”

Mildred grinned. It was really cool. Eve had showed her around different departments and they were all so interesting! Sure, there was one or another that was kind of boring, like the financial department. But others were really interesting. She had loved it. Especially the Q Branch had awoken her interest, what with all the gadgets and mission currently running.

When they had been in Q branch, everyone had stopped and stared at her and she hadn’t understood why, until Eve had told her that when her dad sent her his last message, he hadn’t turned off his earpiece and thus everyone had heard what he had send her. And everyone had heard that she had saved him and that her dad was currently in medical recuperating from torture.

Eve had winked at her and whispered that no one knew how she did it. Her magic was still a secret to everyone except the few people currently in her father’s room. Mildred had sighed in relief and almost hid behind Eve in embarrassment as everyone stared at her in curiosity.

A beautiful woman a bit over Eve’s age came closer, smiling at her disarmingly and held her hand open.

“Hello,” She greeted the two. “I’m R. You’re Mildred Hubble, right? 006’s daughter?”

Mildred stared at her in surprise but nodded. She laughed and explained: “When we realized that an agent, especially a double O had a daughter, we had to do a background check on you. Nothing personal, just standard procedure.” The young witch nodded and she continued: “You can’t imagine how surprised we all were when we heard that 006 had survived and was saved, by his daughter no less from whom we didn’t know existed. Tell me, how did you do it?” She asked, a twinkle in her eyes.

The young girl squirmed and avoided eye contact. Eve stepped in front of her and smiled disarmingly at the other woman. “Sorry, it’s currently classified. We still don’t know everything and until it’s solved and we know how to handle it, everything is still supposed to be under lock.”

R looked disappointed but nodded. She knew how this all worked. Then she turned back to Mildred. “I’m sure you would love to have a look around, right?” Mildred nodded enthusiastically. But Eve shook her head.

“I’m sure Q would want to show you around personally. We wouldn’t want to take that away from him.” Mildred’s shoulders sagged in disappointment. “But I can show you the rest of MI6 and then I’m sure the others are done soon. I’m going to show you the training ground and then I think we should go back, okay?”

Mildred still looked disappointed at her and Eve sighed. “I’m pretty sure if I don’t bring you back soon, your father is going to send off a search party and would join them personally. And we really can’t afford that right now.”

That was what convinced her in the end. She sighed and smile din defeat and nodded. They said their good byes and Eve led her through the building to the training room.

In the end they stood in the shooting range and Eve grinned. “I would love to tell you to have a go at the weapons, but I’m pretty sure your father would like to do that personally and he would be pretty cross with me if I would take that away from him.”

In the end they made their way back to the medical ward and entered just in time. Mildred grinned brightly at her father, who looked at her in relief and joy. With trouble he sat up, grimacing as he did. Mildred’s smile fell and she crossed the room and helped him.

“You should lie down.” She scolded him but he only shook his head.

“No. I’ve been lying all day. And it’s getting on my nerves. I really want to stand up again.” He grumbled and continued to move.

“Did the doctor tell you that you’re allowed to move?” She asked with a frown.

Alec rolled his eyes. “I don’t need the permission of the old quacksalver.”

“Dad!” Mildred scolded and gave him a stern glare. Alec just averted his eyes and grumbled but laid back down.

Behind her a few people snickered. “That was the closest thing to a guilty conscience I’ve ever seen from him.” It was Mallory who gave them an amused stare.

“You’re right,” Tanner laughed, “We should bring her every time he lands here again.”

“Fortunately he’s the only one who has a conscious like that.” Bond added with an amused smile.

“Oh right,” Q glared at the blond agent, “You are of the opinion that the best medication is a bottle of Vodka, a package of morphine and a few naked women to roll in bed with.”

James threw him a scandalous glare. “Excuse me. That is not true.” He huffed in indignation, “It has to be a bottle of Scotch for it to be effective.”

Q only rolled his eyes and turned back to Mildred. “We’re done talking. I’m sure you two want to catch up a bit and I still have a lot of work to do. So we’re going to leave you two alone again.” He smiled. “We’ll see you later.”

And with that they all made their way outside until only the two off them were in the room.

Mildred sat down next to him and smiled. “How are you feeling?” She asked him. Alec sighed and stroked her lovingly over the head.

“Better since you’re here.” Mildred rolled her eyes.

“Very funny.”

“It’s true! Since you’re back here I feel really better. In fact I’m sure I could stand up and walk around again.”

Mildred threw him a mock glare. “Don’t you dare!”

The agent laughed. “Fine. It was worth a try. But it’s true though. I really feel better because you’re here with me. I normally don’t have someone waiting for me to wake up like that.” Mildred smiled softly at him and squeezed his hand.

“By the way, are you going to be alright when you go home?” She asked and Alec shrugged, then winced in pain.

“I think so. It’s not like they’re going to let me go home while I’m still wounded and they will give me a bunch of painkillers, so I think I’ll be fine.”

“I could help you.” Mildred suddenly said. The thought had been crossing her mind for a while now. She just didn’t know how and if she could say it out loud.

Alec smiled at her. “It’s fine. It’s not the first time I’m in this state and I’ve been fine before. Thanks for the thought though. Also, don’t you have school?”

At the Mildred winced and averted her eyes. The agents frowned at her. “Mildred?

The young girl shrugged. “I was thinking, I could go to a school in London. You know, not a boarding school but a normal one.”

Alec raised an eyebrow at her. “Do they even have normal magical schools in the country? Let alone London?”

Mildred fidgeted. “I was thinking of going to a normal school?”

At that Alec gaped at her. “Why would you want to go to a normal school?”

The girl shrugged but didn’t say anything.

“Mildred!”

Finally she sighed and explained, still not meeting his eyes. “I broke the witches’ code. Repeatedly. I left the school grounds, I used magic repeatedly and exposed myself to non-magical people. That’s a bunch of rules that I’ve broken. And Miss Hardbroom is not fond of me and has been trying to get rid of me since my first year. I mean, I’ve been on a trial basis my whole first year. I don’t have an influential magical family to bail me out of trouble and I think the Great Wizard doesn’t even like me. I’m sure I’m going to get expulsed for that when they find out and Cackle’s is the only school that had agreed to take me, a witch from a non-witching family. When they throw me out there’s not going to be another school that would take me. So it would be back to normal school again. Maybe they’ll even take my magic away. I’m not sure how, but I’ve seen it first-hand that it’s possible”

Alec gaped. Then he sat up, ignoring Mildred’s protest for him to lie back down and his own pain.

“Mildred! Why did you do that? You want to be a witch more than anything! Why would you just throw it away like that?”

Mildred looked back at him and shrugged.

“Because you’re more important to me than some stupid school and a stupid world with their rules or even my magic. I told you, didn’t I? I love you and I would do it again in a heartbeat. You’re more important to me than all the magic in the world.”

Alec was speechless. His eyes had gone soft and she could see a sheen of tears in them. In the end he only pulled her into a hug, pressing her close to him and only breathed.

“I love you, too, Mildred. So much and more than you know.”

Mildred returned the hug and in the end they laid together in his bed, cuddling and just enjoying each other’s warmth. She listened to his heartbeat, reassuring herself that it was strong and heavy in comparison to the weak one she had felt only yesterday, trying to keep him alive enough until help had arrived. It was strange, to her it felt like so long ago, when in fact it had just happened.

They then decided to change the subject and Mildred caught him up in all the strange adventures she had been in until now. To say Alec was angry and disappointed in the teacher when he heard how the teachers just let some other girls bully her by locking her up in her room without consequences and Mildred had almost been stuck as a bat because the same girls wanted to sabotage her friend and get her expelled while Mildred had to do her best to help her friend still in bat form. He was furious. And if she weren’t bound to the bed, he would probably have driven to the school and ripped them all a new one.

“You know, maybe a change of schools wouldn’t be so bad,” He grumbled in the end. Mildred only giggled.

They were interrupted by the nurse who brought them lunch and checked her father’s wounds and condition. Mildred and her dad were soon joined by Eve, Q and Tanner who wanted to know more of the magical world and they spent a pleasant meal together.

In the evening the agent was finally allowed to stand up and move around a bit, as Mildred learned to prevent blood cloths, and insisted on taking a bath. Since his wounds looked exceptionally well for his current condition, the doctors gave the permission with great reluctance.

Mildred had wanted to help, but her father had declined her offer, stating that he was still not that old that he would need help going to the bathroom.

So instead she had shoved the bed as close to him as possible so they were practically sharing one big bed. She had asked for new bed sheets and when the nurse offered to help her, she refused but thanked her profusely and proceeded to change the bloody and dirty sheets on her father’s bed. She hated even looking at all the blood, knowing that it was his and what could have happened had she not reacted like she did. So changing the sheets felt quite liberating.

As Mildred lay next to her father, she couldn’t help but smile. She was happy that he was alive and well and even though there was the niggling fear of expulsion, she couldn’t help the thought that it was all worth it in the end. In the protective arms of her father and listening to his heartbeat she fell asleep in seconds, feeling safer than she had in years.

~~~~

In the morning Eve and Q were with her in the room eating breakfast and listening if her father needed help in the bathroom after all and passing the time while Mallory, Tanner and Bond came inside to speak to her father, when Mildred saw something peculiar in the window reflection behind Eve, who was still talking.

“Enid? Maud?” She asked in surprise as she saw her friends and all three of them turned around.

The two girls sighed in relief when they saw that Mildred had picked up.

“Mildred! How are you? Is everything alright?” Maud asked and Mildred beamed at them.

“Yes, I somehow made it. It was a close call though.” She knew the two would want more information and she promised herself to give them better answers. Just not now.

“Who are these two ladies?” Mildred asked and turned her smile from her to them, while Q and Bond mustered the window with great interest.

“Oh. Sorry. These are my best friends. Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade.” She introduced them and then turned to the two in the window. “And this is Mr. Mallory, Miss Moneypenny, Mr Tanner and Mr. Q and Mr Bond. They work with my dad.”

The two girls waved and greeted them and were greeted back in smiles.

“Speaking of your dad, where is he?” Enid asked, just as the room to the bathroom opened and he came out, holding himself on the walls, but already looking way better than he did yesterday.

“There he is,” Mildred replied and threw her father a grin, who gave back a confused stare until she motioned to the window reflection and his eyes lit up in understanding. She introduced them to each other.

“So you’re Maud and Enid. Mildred has told me a lot about you two.” He smiled widely at them. “Thanks for always taking care of her. I know she’s a handful.”

The two girls blushed and nodded. “Oh, Mildred takes just as much care of us.” Maud returned the compliment.

Mildred grinned and turned back to her friends. “Anyway, what’s the situation? Did something happen?”

The girls’ grins vanished and they threw her a concerned look. In the end it was Maud who spoke up. “We know that you just got reunited with your dad and that you’re worried and all, but … well …”

“You need to come back. As fast as possible.” Enid interrupted her, giving Mildred an imploringly stare.

Mildred immediately grew worried. “Why? Did something happen?”

Maud shook her head. “No. We’ve been able to cover for you on Friday in Spell-Science and yesterday because it was Saturday, but Miss Hardbroom is starting to get suspicious.”

“And you know Ethel. She’s also getting suspicious and if she finds out that you’re gone from the school grounds, she will stop at nothing to get you expelled. So you have to come back.” Enid added.

Mildred frowned. “What exactly did you tell them while I was away?”

Maud answered: “We told them that you got a nasty case of thewitching flu and that you quarantined yourself in your room to avoid accidently infecting others. We put a few spells on your bed to make it look like it was you underneath it every time someone looks inside. But it only works if you don’t look too closely. And we think that Ethel will try to break into your room soon to get proof that it really isn’t you under there.”

Mildred’s face fell. She turned to her father, who in the end sighed and smiled at her reassuringly. “They are right. You should go back. If you’re not discovered yet, you still have a chance to stay. Don’t worry about me.”

Mildred sighed but nodded. She turned to her friends on the window.

“Okay,” She said, smiling at them. “I’m coming back today.”

Chapter Text

“By the way, where are my things?” Mildred asked, just as the door opened and Eve came inside, carrying a bundle of clothes and her broom.

Just a few minutes earlier she had said her good byes to her two friends and Eve had left, telling her that she had something to take care of. Mildred just came out of the bathroom, hair braided and teeth brushed.

“They are right here.” Eve replied holding them out for her. Mildred nodded at her thankfully and grabbed the bundle when she stopped in her tracks and frowned.

“This is not the uniform I came here with.” She observed while mustering the new clothes. It was the same size she had, the same design, but it felt … different. Softer than she was used to. Better crafted too. And it felt more expensive.

Eve grinned sheepishly. “Yeah I know. It’s not the one you came with, you’re right. I tried to get them cleaned, but they were utterly ruined. I maybe would have been able to save them if I’d had more time, but it seems like we don’t. I gave the design and your size to a tailor and ordered it for as fast as possible just in case. Seems like it was the right choice.”

Mildred stared at her in horror. “Wait, you got them tailored specially for me? That’s crazy and way too expensive!” She tried to shove it back into her hands. “I can’t accept that.”

But Eve only rolled her eyes. “It’s already crafted and paid for and there are no takebacks. So be a dear and put them on. You have to get back as fast as possible, don’t you?” Every protest Mildred had was denied and in the end she relented and returned to the bathroom to get dressed. It indeed fitted her like a second skin and looked like it was bespoke. She knew it must have been expensive and she felt bad for just taking it, but Eve was right. Time was running out and she had to hurry.

In the end she came out dressed and was rewarded with big smiles. “You look amazing. I knew it was a good idea to use this fabric.” Eve said and Mildred had no idea what she was talking about.

Her father came closer and put the cloak around her shoulders. “There,” He said, smiling brightly at her, “Now you look like a proper witch.” Mildred giggled at that.

Q gave her her backpack, the only thing that Eve had been able to save and her broom. Mildred thanked him.

Tanner looked at her in confusion. “Wait,” He stopped her, “Don’t tell me you are planning on flying all the way back.”

The witch shrugged. “Actually, that was exactly what I was planning. It will take a couple of hours but I’ll be fine.” She answered and he shook his head.

“No, that’s way too long. You said yourself that you can’t afford to lose any more time. One of us will drive you there and then you can fly the last part. It’ll be faster that way.” He countered and Mildred could not fault him for that logic. She shook her head however.

“It’s fine,” She replied, “I’m used to it and you don’t know where the school is. Also, we don’t know how traffic will be and in the air I’m only going to be accompanied by birds at most, so I don’t have to worry about getting stuck.”

Alec frowned. “But he’s right. I’m not sure how fast your broom can fly, but a car might be faster after all.”

Mildred rolled her eyes. “And who’s going to drive me? You all have work to do and I won’t get in the way of it. I’ll be fine!” She grumbled and finally they relented.

Alec wanted to follow her up to the roof to say good bye, but Mildred was right in the speculation that he probably wouldn’t be able to make it because of the stairs. In the end he had to content himself with hugging her tightly to his body and memorising her small form against him.

“I’m going to miss you,” He whispered into her ear and Mildred squeezed him back.

“I’ll miss you, too.” She replied and finally letting go. She gave him a sad smile. “You promise me that you’ll be careful and rest, okay? I want you to let your wounds heal. And remember that you have to come to parents’ day, okay?”

Alec nodded and gently caressed her face. “Of course. I won’t miss it for anything. I still have a few teachers to address.” Mildred giggled and gave him one last hug.

“Bye dad. I love you.”

Alec pressed a soft kiss to her temple. “I love you, too. Remember to call me as soon as you arrive, okay?” Mildred nodded.

In the end she left him in the room and followed the others onto the roof of the building, making sure that there would be no one around. She put her hat onto her head and mounted her broom, turning back to the others.

“Thank you for everything,” She said and smiled at them.

“Nonsense,” Mallory replied, “We should thank you. Without you one of our best agents wouldn’t be with us anymore.”

“He’s right,” Tanner replied, giving her shoulder a squeeze.

Eve gave her one last hug. “You saved your father’s life and don’t you forget it.” Mildred nodded. “If you ever need anything, just call. I put my number in your phone, so don’t hesitate, okay?” She nodded.

“The same goes for me,” Q added, giving her shoulder also a squeeze. “I put my number in your contacts. If you need anything or if there is trouble, call us for help.”

Mildred nodded. James gave her a soft smile and only clapped her on the shoulder. It said more than any words could. She smiled at him.

In the end she waved one last time and then ascended into the air until she couldn’t see them anymore. Then she activated the invisibility spell and pushed her broom to fly as fast as possible back to Cackle’s.

~~~~

“I’m almost there, just a few minutes more!” She told Enid, who was talking to her on the mirror.

Enid and Maud had contacted her and told her that the gig was almost up. Ethel had found out that Mildred was not at school and was now searching for Miss Hardbroom so she could snitch on her.

Mildred was already back in the mountains close to the school. She had told them that one should distract them while one would wait in her room with an open window so she could fly inside.

Finally she could see the window to her room and a nervous and panicked Enid waiting for her. Mildred flew inside and Enid closed the window behind her.

“Finally!” She cried out, “How was it? What happened?”

“Not time to explain!” Mildred replied, throwing her backpack and broom under her bed while at the same time trying to remove her clothes. She didn’t care that Enid was in the same room as her and in record time she had thrown the new uniform and socks and shoes into the closet and put on her pyjamas.

She dived under the covers and pulled them up to her nose just in time when her door flew open and an enraged Miss Hardbroom stormed inside with a smug Ethel and a scarred looking Maud in tow.

“Mildred Hubble! Where is Mildred Hubble?!” Miss Hardbroom asked with a hard edge to her tone and looked around with angry eyes. They fell onto the huddled form of the allegedly missing witch and Mildred poked her head out.

“Yes Miss Hardbroom?” She asked, keeping her voice as meek as possible.

Her teacher stopped in her tracks and took a good look at her. Mildred was lucky. Since she had exerting herself by pushing her broom to fly as fast as possible and then changing clothes without a chance to rest, she was still sweating and her voice was still a little out of breath and thanks to her coming from the outside, her cheeks were still red from the cold. So in the end if no one knew this, and would now measure her temperature, it would be slightly raised while she kind of looked sick.

Miss Hardbroom took a deep breath, probably to calm herself down and a bit of tension left her shoulders.

“It seems as Maud Spellbody and Enid Nightshade were telling the truth after all.” She concluded with a slow voice and clear reluctance.

Maud and Enid looked at Mildred in relief and Ethel stared at her in disbelief.

“But … but … she was gone! I looked inside and there was no one there!” Ethel exclaimed, then turned to Enid and Maud and pointed an accusing finger at the two. “They said it themselves! I heard those two talking to each other and they said that Mildred was gone!”

Mildred saw her two friends getting panicked and sat up, pulling the covers around her and countered: “I went to the bathroom and didn’t tell them. I’m sorry I worried you two.”

Enid and Maud visibly relaxed and smiled at her. “It’s alright,” Enid replied, drawing Maud closer.

Miss Hardbroom turned to Ethel and glared at her. “You dare disturb a sick student while she rests for something you clearly must have misheard and dragged me out of my potions lab for something so frivolous?”

“But I didn’t mishear them! I’m sure of it!” She tried to defend herself, looking incredulously at Mildred sitting on her bed.

“Enough! Don’t make it worse than it already is!” Miss Hardbroom ordered and Ethel finally shut up.

Miss Hardbroom turned back to Mildred. “I see you are still not completely well but well enough to walk around and talk. If you are still sick this evening, I want you to send one of your friends to me to get a potion for it. I’ll expect you to be back in lessons by tomorrow.” She turned around. “We all know you especially cannot afford to miss them,” She added before closing the door with Ethel in tow who threw them all dirty and angry glares.

They waited until they couldn’t hear footsteps anymore before they finally breathed in relief. All the tension flew from the room and the three collapse back into Mildred’s bed.

“That,” Mildred said, staring at the ceiling, “Was pretty damn close.”

“You said it,” Enid replied and Maud gave an agreeing hum.

After a few seconds the two girls sat up and turned to her with gleaming eyes. “And? What happened?”

Mildred sat up and leaned against the headboard. Tabby cuddled up to her meowing happily and demanding pets. She waited until they sat close and comfortably together and then told them all that had happened in only two days.

The girls could barely believe what they were told and held her tightly when Mildred stuttered and stammered through the fear of almost losing her father, of feeling his heartbeat getting slower and slower and having to watch while he slowly bled out. Mildred allowed herself in the confines and warmth of her friends to cry while she relieved the terrible moments she went through. Many times the girls interrupted her and told her that she didn’t have to tell them if she didn’t want to, but Mildred thought that she owed them that.

After she was done Mildred was tired, enjoying the warmth and comfort provided by her friends and cat and slowly calming down with the realization that she had made it and her father was alive.

Later Enid and Maud went down for dinner, promising to bring her something and Mildred used the chance to talk to her father.

In the end she went to sleep, still agitated, but tired.

Red. Red everywhere.

Mildred looked around in confusion, when she realized that she was back in that basement. Her breath stopped when she saw her father once again chained to the chair, unconscious.
There was blood everywhere, pouring out of every wound, every opening she could see. She heard a heartbeat loud in the air, it was weak and slowly fading. She recognized it as her fathers’.

Mildred tried to reach out to him, to stop the bleeding, to release him, anything. But she couldn’t move. She was frozen on the spot and even though she reached out with her hand, she couldn’t even touch him. And then the heartbeat stopped and she knew she was too late.

Mildred screamed.

Mildred woke up with a start. She sat up in panic, sweating and her heart beating like crazy. Adrenaline was coursing through her veins and she felt nauseous. She fell back to her bed, trying her best to calm down. “Just a dream,” She mumbled to herself. “Just a dream.”

She tried her hardest to fall back asleep yet every time she closed her eyes the picture of her shackled and bleeding father returned. Mildred grabbed her phone from her nightstand, looking at it and contemplating while she stared at her father’s contact. In the end she gave in and pressed the call button, holding it to her ear and hoping yet at the same time dreading the answer.

“Hello?” Came the sleepy response and Mildred sighed in relief, yet she felt guilty.

“Hi dad,” She greeted him, voice subdued.

“Mildred?” There was clear surprise in his voice and slight disbelief. “Is everything alright? And why are you calling at …” There was a short break, “one in the morning? Shouldn’t you be asleep?”

Mildred nodded before she remembered that he couldn’t see her. “I know,” She replied, “But I had a nightmare and couldn’t fall asleep.”

Stunned silence. Mildred started to feel foolish.

“It was a stupid idea, I’m sorry. I should let you get back to sleep.” She said, trying to play it down.

“No Mildred. I’m glad you called,” Her father’s voice was calm. “What was the dream about? Do you want to tell me?”

After a few seconds she nodded and told him of the nightmare, sniffling a bit.

“Shhh. Myshko, it was only a dream. You saved me, remember?” He whispered and Mildred nodded.

“I know, but I still can’t get it out of my head.” She replied and Alec sighed.

“I know. Some things you can’t just forget that easily.” He told her, trying his best to calm her down.

It was silent for a while and Mildred relished being able to hear him simply breathe. It calmed her down.

“Have I told you of the time when James and I went to a mission together and we ended up being chased through half of Milosz because James had seduced the wife of a Mob boss, just to get caught by said boss and we had to make a run for it, him still with his pants down?” Alec asked her, trying to distract her.

Mildred giggled. “No you haven’t. But I’d love to hear that story.”

In the end Alec told her the quite funny story and Mildred listened, starting to forget the scary dream and calming down with her father’s voice in her head and drifted back to sleep while he told her how James had almost drove them off a cliff because he somehow had been the one driving and he still had his pants down his ankles, which distracted him from the gas and break.

Alec heard her calm and regular breathing and realized that she had finally fallen asleep.

“Good night kotyonok. I love you.” He whispered, then ended the call and fell back into a comfortable and deep sleep himself.

Chapter Text

Mildred was a girl on a mission. The scary encounter she had in Calais had woken her up and she realized that she couldn’t stay as she was. She knew that she would probably be useless in a fight, but the thought of not being able to help her father or anyone else who was important to her was scary.

So she started to look into healing spells and potions and spend a good portion of her free time pouring over books in the library. Enid and Maud understood where she came from and even joined her on occasion. It was easier to study with friends than to do it alone.

So the next weeks they spent in peace, knowing that everything was alright and that she didn’t need to worry about her father getting hurt as he was still in mandatory downtime while he recovered. As it was, she spent a lot of time talking to him and making sure that he was recovering and not straining himself.

It was funny, because Eve and Mr. Q had decided to make it a habit to call her if her father started to ignore his doctor’s advice and do way more than what was good for him. He didn’t like it one bit that his own daughter was used as blackmail material to keep him subdued, but they both countered with how it was necessary and how it was for his own good. Mildred agreed wholeheartedly, what led to a bit of outrage and her father insisting that the two were turning her against him.

Mildred, Maud and Enid enjoyed the good natured bickering they often saw when the two called her again and they were treated to another discussion.

Unfortunately life at Cackle’s continued and it did not look good. At first there was the scary encounter in the old forest Hollow Wood where they had to gather potions ingredients under the supervision of their art teacher Miss Mould because of an incident that morning in potions and some of the ingredients could only be found in the enchanted forest. It ended with everyone put into a trance except for Mildred and Maud and they had to find a way to save their group. Her father had been livid after he had found out that she was sent into such a dangerous place as punishment and it took a lot of work and calming down and the help of Eve and Mr. Q, who she had to have long discussions with, until they finally relented and went to her side, to prevent her father from getting into the next car and driving to Cackle’s to get her out of school and back to him to London where she would be save. Her dad had been so angry at the school for allowing something like this to happen.

After a few interesting days training for Miss Cackle’s birthday surprise, with a small interruption of Maud getting turned into a baby, a story her dad found rather amusing actually, probably because it did not involve Mildred being in danger, the girls found out that their headmistress was to be suspended because the council was of the opinion that she did not do her job correctly.

The trio’s trip to the magic council turned out to be futile and ended with Mrs. Hallow procuring a document, stating that a lot of parent’s didn’t see her fit to lead the school anymore. Even though Mildred had spoken up in her defence, it had been a useless affair and ended with their headmistress getting suspended.

When she later told her father what had happened, he had not been happy. Not because she spoke out, but because she had sneaked out of the school again in which anything could have happened to her. Mildred defended her decision, but her father had been stern.

“You practically infiltrated a government building without knowledge of its ground, interior, personnel and worst of all, without knowing of the security the building has. Do you know how it could have ended? Imagine if you were seen and the guards would have labelled you as threats. I know you meant good, but you can never go into such an operation without proper preparation.” He explained and Mildred felt the first seeds of guilt since the beginning of their conversation in their evening video call. Alec was finally back at home and lounging in sweatpants and a wide shirt on his couch with a drink in his hand. Mildred was sure that the glass did not contain water and she was a tad worried because she was sure that he still had to take his painkillers. But at least he could walk and move without too much problems.

“I know it was reckless, but I just couldn’t stand by and do nothing. And it’s not like this is some sort of high security facility where you can only go in with ten security checks. So I doubt it would have been that bad.” She tried to justify her actions, but she knew already that her father would not be agreeing with her. And just as she suspected, he shook his head.

“No Mildred. Trust me in this when I say that it could have ended very badly for you. I’ve been in this game long enough already and I know that even if your magical government is really that stupid you also had a lot of dumb luck. Every government building I ever had to enter had been heavily guarded with security, seen or not. But they were there. Maybe you were lucky and they recognized you as students and thus decided that you were harmless. Otherwise I can’t really explain the lack of action. But it was still a close call and don’t try to tell me otherwise. I know how stuff like that normally goes. I’ve infiltrated and been in these situations often enough.” Alec countered and Mildred squirmed.

In the end she sighed. “I know it was stupid, but we just had to do something. We had been worried and if there was something we would have been able to do we wanted to do it. Even if it was stupid.”

The agent sighed but smiled. “You always just mean well. But you really have to start to think things through. You can’t always just head in without a plan and just hope for the best.” His smile turned bitter. “That’s what gets many of us killed. We’re too confident and don’t think things through. And paired with bad intel and bad luck and it’s going to be our last mission.”

Mildred looked away. She knew why her father was making these comparisons, but every time he talked about the high mortality rate of agents, she felt uncomfortable because she was again reminded of how she had almost lost him. Even after over a week it did not get any easier.

“I know.” She mumbled. “I’m sorry. I try to think of a better plan next time.”

Alec smiled at her. “That’s all I can ask of you, really.”

A few days later Miss Pentangle came to visit the school and tried to teach them a little bit of modern magic. In Mildred’s opinion it was really fun and useful and she had always liked her.

Miss Pentangle had enhanced her magic for the day and that had helped her to one up Ethel, who had been mouthing off on her again. But Mildred had also forgotten it and messed up when she had tried to help.

She had realised that the petition, which was allegedly signed by all parents who were against Miss Cackle’s leadership, had been faked and tried to prove it. By doing so she had forgotten that her magic had been enhanced and had used the old way to prove her headmistress’s innocence. Unfortunately it hadn’t work out and she had burned the petition.

Dejected she had called her dad and he spent a while to calm her down and encourage her to not give up that easily.

“There’s always a way to prove if something was forged. You just have to find it. Is there no one who could help you? Maybe one of the teachers? Granted, I’m not a big fan of them myself from what I heard, but I like to think that they would like their headmistress to stay at the school and they would work with you, don’t they?”

Mildred had shaken her head. “I wish. But Miss Hardbroom hates me and the other teachers won’t be of much help. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore.”

But Alec had only smiled at her. “Think. Maybe they are not really the person you normally get the opportunity to ask for. I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

In the end her father had been right and she went to Miss Pentangle, asking her for help.

And it proved just right, because with her help they really had been able to prove that the document had been forged and that all the names should have never been on the document.

As it turned out, it was Mrs. Hallow who had been the one to create it and falsify every sign on it. When confronted as to why, it turned out that she did it out of pure revenge for her daughter Esmeralda, the nice big sister of Ethel.

At the end of last year her daughter had lost her magic because of a plot of Agatha, Miss Cackle’s twin sister, and now Mrs. Hallow blamed the headmistress for her now non-magical child who was supposed to be her heir.

In the end the Great Wizard reinstated Miss Cackle back as headmistress and removed the Hallow parents from the magical council.

Mildred was happy. She realized that Ethel was not and she blamed her for everything but honestly? She didn’t care. That girl would probably blame her for burning her tongue on hot soup if possible. She was strange like that.

Miss Pentangle left the school after that, stating that it could not be in better hands and Mildred and all her friends agreed.

In the end that problem got solved and her father had been proud but also smug with her, stating that he had always know that she would have been able to think of something.

“You aren’t my daughter for nothing.” He had proudly exclaimed and Mildred beamed at him. Yet, he was still sighing and when Mildred asked what was wrong he had just shook his head.

“I don’t like you being there so defenceless. Anything could happen and you would have no chance to save yourself. There had been so many instances where you could have been hurt and from what you told me of your teachers, I wouldn’t trust them with a cactus, let alone your life. I know you told me that you could take care of yourself, but I just can’t help but wonder. You do not have any military training, no weapons training and never learned how to fight if it comes down to it. Does this school really have enough resources and capabilities to take care of you? Can they really protect you? If it were up to me, you would be here in London at a school I would have vetted thoroughly or at least one close to your mother, where I could do the same. But instead you are at a school we have absolutely not access to and I just worry.” He explained and Mildred smiled sadly.

“I know you’re worried and I think it’s sweet. But you really don’t have to worry that much. There were a couple hard weeks, but we’re fine now. You really don’t have to come in guns blazing and play the knight in shining armour. We witches really can take care of ourselves. I promise.” She tried to placate him, but she realized that it did nothing to calm him down. At least he dropped the topic for the evening and Mildred was fast to change it, in hopes of ignoring it for a bit longer. And Mildred really hoped that it would be calm two weeks until parents’ day where nothing would happen so her father’s temper could calm itself and he wouldn’t arrive, ready to blow things up. She could only hope.

Chapter Text

“Magic mine, be my will,

Protect me, henceforth, from all ill!”

Mildred held her hands up, trying to project the barrier like she wanted to. There was a weak lilac coloured flicker, but it disappeared again, soon. The young witch let out an annoyed huff.

“Why are you working so hard on this? It’s a spell for the third grade.” Enid asked as she and Maud sat in a seclude corner outside, watching Mildred perform this spell for the umpteenth time. Said witch only sighed and plopped herself next to her two friends.

“It’s not because it’s difficult and I want to get a head start, but because of what dad told me the other day.” She explained and earned two raised eyebrows.

Maud asked: “You mean when he told you that he was scared that you wouldn’t be safe?”

Mildred nodded. “I told him that he didn’t need to worry because we are witches and could take care of ourselves and that I’m also able to protect myself. But I’m the worst witch here. If something were to happen, I would be the last one to be able to fight back with magic. So I’ve been looking up spells I think might be useful if I’m ever going to be attacked.” She sighed and let herself fall back onto the soft grass.

After a few minutes of silence, she added: “Maud, remember our first day here when we had entrance exams last year, where Agatha challenged Miss Cackle to a magical duel?” She sat up with a smile. “I don’t like that they had to do that, but if I could fight like that, then I’m sure dad would finally stop worrying and try to stop thinking of ways to either monitor the school or get me to transfer to one closer to him.”

The three girls giggled. “Yeah, he is kind of overprotective, isn’t he?” Enid replied and Mildred nodded. Then she turned sombre again. Maud picked up on that and frowned.

“What’s wrong?” She asked and Mildred only sighed.

“I know I told you he’s worried about me, but I’m just as worried about him.” Enid winced in sympathy.

“He’s gone again, isn’t he?” She asked and Mildred nodded.

“Yeah. He should be in mandatory downtime, but something came up and somehow the only one who had to go was my dad. Something about a contact only he could deal with. I don’t know, dad didn’t tell me anything. Like always.” She sighed again and played with the hem of her dress unhappily. “At least they didn’t let him go alone this time. He said that another agent, agent Bond, I met him, was going with him. He had complained about that, but I’m glad that he didn’t go alone.”

Maud smiled encouragingly at her. “But think positive. You said they said that it’s not supposed to be dangerous and it’s only a meeting and that he’s going to be back tomorrow.”

Mildred sighed. “Yeah I know. But he’s not supposed to be cleared for any kind of work and even though he can walk around normally again and everything, he’s still not fully healed and still on painkillers. I’m really not happy about it.”

Enid clapped her on the back encouragingly. “Well, then how about getting up and train this spell. So when he gets back, you have something to surprise him with and maybe he’ll get off your back about transferring schools.”

Mildred giggled and nodded, jumping up with renewed vigour. She planned on mastering the spell before the next time she met him, so she still had a lot of work to do. Finally, after a lot of tries, she was able to hold it and it was strong enough to defend herself against the balls her friends were throwing at her. Mildred wasn’t sure if it could defend her from bullets and a falling building, but it was better than nothing.

She had just started practicing the reverse spell, keeping something contained and from harming her, that the bell rung and the trio hastened back to lessons.

While they walked through the corridors, they noticed the green, a bit slimy sheen the walls were covered with. It had started the day before but Mildred had been too upset that morning with the message from her father that he was to fly out so soon after being released from the medical ward to really think about it.

Now that she had calmed down, she realized the weird feeling she got whenever she walked close to it and it even seemed to follow her. Mildred didn’t like that feeling one bit. As it seemed, her friends weren’t either, so they hurried up to the potions lab.

When they were inside, they met the rest of their classmates, but instead of the usual chipper chatter, they were met with an uncomfortable and awkward conversation. As it seemed, they were not the only ones feeling the strange effects of the green sheen.

With a flicker their potions teacher Miss Hardbroom teleported in and with a fast survey she nodded. “Everyone move to the great hall. Our headmistress has an announcement to make.” She commanded and with an uneasy look between each other, the girls stood up and followed her into the great hall, where the rest of the school was already waiting. On their way they saw even more of the green sheen and the foreboding and uneasy feeling grew.

They all sat down and waited for their headmistress to speak. Miss Cackle sighed and rose, the hall silenced by that.

“Hello my dear girls. I have an unfortunate announcement to make.” She looked around and they all waited with baited breath for her next words. “As I’m sure you have realized, the school has been infested. The green sheen you’ve been seeing all around the school is a rare but for witches and wizards very dangerous kind of fungus. It feeds on magic and will drain you slowly from it.”

Nervous muttering started up and even Mildred felt the uneasiness that fell over her schoolmates.

“But not to worry,” Miss Cackle continued. The school was silent once again and the headmistress gave them all a warm smile. “There is a way to get rid of it and we teachers are already working on it. However, for the time being, it would be irresponsible and even dangerous to keep you girls here. Thus school will be suspended for the rest of the week starting this afternoon. It will continue on Monday and for the time being we will send you all home, where you will be safe.”

Confused and even excited muttering arose and Mildred grinned. It was Monday, that meant that she had a full week. And she knew already where she would be spending it.

Shortly after they were released and they moved to their potions lab, where they would get a few assignments they had to complete for the rest of the week and not two hours later the girls were packing their bags to get ready to return home. Mildred was excited, but did feel a tad bad that she wouldn’t spend it with her mother. But she thought that, as it was right now, her father needed her more.

“So, where are you guys going?” Maud asked when the three met up in the inner courtyard, ready to say good bye to each other for the rest of the week. They all were dressed in their school uniform with their witch hats and cloaks, holding their cats in their arms. Mildred was a tad exasperated when she tried to coax her familiar in her backpack. After over a year and her Tabby still hated flying.

Enid shrugged her shoulders. “My parents are currently in York, preparing for a show. I’m going to fly there and spent the week with them. Maybe participate in one.” She turned to Mildred. “And you? What about you? Where are you going?” The dark haired girl asked and Mildred shrugged.

“Mr. Q said that dad is coming back today. So I’m going to fly to Heathrow Airport and pick him up. Then I’ll stay with him in London for a week.” She grinned. “Someone has to take care of him and keep him out of trouble after all.” The trio laughed at that.

In the end the three hugged and mounted their brooms, slowly ascending into the air with a lot of other students, all waiving at each other in good bye. Some stayed together because they would be flying in the same direction for a while, but one after another disappeared into a different direction and in the end Mildred was the only one flying to London.

~~~~

Mildred had written to Mr. Q and had asked him when the plane would land. He had answered and now Mildred sped up a bit. She hoped she would make it in time and that she wouldn’t be too late. She wanted it to be a surprise and pick him up from the airport. She was sure her father would be happy to see her. She knew she would.

When the young witch arrived a few hours later, she gulped. She had never been inside an airport before and Heathrow was supposed to be quite big. She was a bit scared that she wouldn’t be able to find her way and would get herself completely lost. Still, Mildred took a deep breath and dismounted her broom, putting it inside her bag and returning to visibility.

Mildred entered the airport and earned a few odd looks and suddenly she felt self-conscious. She knew she should have changed into normal street clothes, but she hadn’t thought of it earlier and now she was stuck wearing her school uniform with witch hat and cloak. At least she could put away her hat to make her less stand out, what she promptly did.

Still, she earned a lot of curious stared because she refused to take of her cloak. It was a bit cold after all. Yet, the girl was still lost and utterly confused when she stared at a massive blackboard with arriving times of different planes and gates. Mildred was officially lost and she reconsidered trying to surprise her father. Maybe it would have been better if she would fly to his apartment and waited there? With every passing minute the idea seemed to be more appealing.

“-dred? Mildred!” The familiar voice pulled her out of her musings and said girl turned around, searching for the caller. Her eyes widened and a bright grin appeared on her face.

“Mr. Q!” She called and waived happily. Well, if that wasn’t a happy coincidence.

The young man came up to her and gave her a warm but confused smile. “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”

Mildred only shrugged. “There was a problem with some kind of dangerous magical fungus the teachers had to deal with. So today we all gathered in the great hall and they send us home for the rest of the week while they are dealing with it.” She explained and the man gave her an unbelievable stare.

“A … magical fungus?” He asked and Mildred nodded.

“It feeds on magic and stuff. We all felt how it was bad news and in the end they send us home for our own safety.” Mildred clarified and Mr. Q only nodded.

“Yet it still doesn’t explain what you are doing here, at the airport.” He specified his question, “And how did you even get here? Did you come directly from your school? You’re still wearing your school uniform?” And Mildred grinned at him.

“Well, you told me that dad’s plane would be landing and I thought I could pick him up.” She explained, “And also, I flew here of course. Everyone went home on their brooms. It was really rather sudden after all and a broom is the typical way for witches and wizards to travel.” She explained and finally Mr.Q gave her a smile.

So that’s why you were asking,” he murmured absent-mindedly. “That’s very nice of you. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to see you. But where is your broom? Did you park it somewhere like a car?” He asked and smiled at her. Mildred grinned and shook her head.

“Of course not. It’s inside my bag.” She answered and the man frowned.

“How does it fit – oh forget I asked. Magic of course.” He sighed and finally smiled at her.

Mildred returned it but then frowned.

“Hold up a second. Then what are you doing here?” She asked and the man sighed and motioned for her to follow him.

“I’m doing the same as you. Picking them up. 007 still has documents and papers that need to be completed and seeing as he volunteered to go on this mission solely to escape the paperwork, which, unfortunately is needed for my department and seeing that I am the Quartermaster, M had decided that he would send me to deal with it and make sure that it will be completed today and that I would drive them home to collect it.” The man grimaced and Mildred winced in sympathy. She had heard that all field agents seemed to hate paperwork and she couldn’t fault them for that. But the ones who needed it weren’t to be envied either.

The two sat in front of the arriving gate and talked while they waited. The boffin again gave her the invitation to visit his technical department in MI6 should she come with her father to the building tomorrow when he would be dropping of his report and the young with happily agreed.

Mildred told him of the many adventures and mishaps that had happened at Cackles’ and how she was currently working on some defensive and healing spells to maybe appease her worrywart of a father. Mr. Q laughed at that but agreed that it was an amazing idea, offering help whenever she would need it.

Finally the announcement came that the plane had landed and Mildred was barely able to sit still, waiting with bated breath that her father would arrive.

After what felt like forever she could spy two familiar figures seemingly arguing with each other, one more tired than the other, rubbing his eyes and temple. Mildred recognized him as her father and the other, who was obviously pestering him, her father’s best friend and fellow agent James Bond.

The two hadn’t seen them and didn’t seem to realize that they were there.

Mildred couldn’t hold herself back anymore and jumped up.

“DAD!” She yelled and when she saw how fast her father’s head turned when he heard her, she waived animatedly at him, jumping up and down in happiness. She could see the clear shock and surprise on his face with a glint of hope in his eyes and saw him mouthing her name, seemingly not realizing that she really was there.

Mildred couldn’t wait anymore and sprinted across the airport, shortening the distance separating them and ignoring the looks she was given. Her father was also moving into her direction, slowly, as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Finally she was only a few feet away from him and when she showed no sign of stopping, her father opened his arms and the young girl jumped happily into him, hugging him hard and grinning wide.

“You’re here. You’re really here!” Her father mumbled against her head, pressing soft kisses to her hair and hugging her close to his body.

“I am,” She replied, breathing in his familiar and calming scent, her heart fluttering in happiness that she was finally reunited with him. After what felt like forever, they both loosened their grip, yet still refusing to let go of each other and Mildred smiled at him. He stared at her in happiness and Mildred grinned at him.

“Welcome back, dad.”

Chapter Text

Alec Trevelyan’s CV was impressive (If you had the clearance to access it.)

As the highest ranking agents within the hierarchy of MI6, the Double-Os were in a league in all of their own. They were revered as much as they were feared and while they weren’t quite legendary, they were all the gossip. When people thought about the lifestyle, they thougt up adrenalin-ridden images of fast cars, explosions and gunfire. They thought about the gambling and the sex and the women, the obscenely expensive hotel rooms, the bespoke suits and diamond cufflinks. Alec supposed that was alright and he was not about to correct anyone. He had his fair share of all of those things-some more than others-and while the lifestyle certainly could seem glamourous, it was only because those things were exciting to the uninvolved.

They were not boring or ordinary, so they were worth talking about. No one spared even a thought that Double-Os experienced their fair share of terrible things as well. There were, of course, the ones that everyone could see when Alec swaggered back to Six, because he was usually wearing them proudly. The knife slashes, the bullet holes, the road rash, the burns, the broken bones. Then there were the ones that no one but Medical saw because of their gruesome nature, the ones that none of the Double-Os could smile through. The ones as the result of torture, from unspeakable things. And then, sometimes, there were no physical marks at all. Those were the ones that Psych was supposed to see, but didn’t, because people like Alec didn’t let people like them inside his head. He kept all those scars close to his chest so that people kept talking about fast cars and beautiful women and diamond cufflinks. They didn’t need to know about the long list of things that were most definitely not included on his CV, but could certainly be found if one happened to be looking in the right place.

It might read something like one of Psych’s checklists (but only maybe, because Trevelyan had never stuck around through an entire session to find out):

- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Insomnia
- Rampant alcoholism
- Frequent substance abuse
- Suicidal tendencies
- Blatant disregard for authority
- Difficulty trusting others
- Paranoia
- Adrenalin junkie
- Anger management issues
- Recommendation to not be returned to active duty.
- (Mandatory retirement by age 45)

Alec had once been bitter about the last, and it had less to do with the fact that he was getting on in age and more to do with the fact that he wouldn’t have known what to do with himself if he would live to see retirement. He would have rather blown his brains out than be useless, than be bored, and that had been exactly where he had been heading if he had not been excessively reckless before that expiration date. But dying meant failing, and Alec was not a failure. He was too stubborn for that. And the stubbornness, he knew, was what will eventually be the end of him. So he had been a walking, talking self-fulfilling prophecy. But then again, most Double-Os were.

Still, it was all so tiring.

It was not like how it used to be. The excitement wasn’t there anymore. The thrill of the chase was gone. Alec was too busy thinking about if he was going to be fast enough, if he’d be suave enough, if he’d have enough in him to pretend to be someone else, even just for a night. He was thinking about his knees and his bad shoulder and the old breaks and sprains that hurt him when the weather changed. He was thinking of this when he was waiting in airport terminals and train stations for hours in uncomfortable plastic seats, when he was sitting in cabins and carriages and trying to ignore the sick sort of twist in his gut at pressure changes and drops or rises in altitude. He was thinking of this when he was breathing in dry, recycled air, when he was hoping that he wouldn’t have to go through another tedious security check, have another cardboard sandwich, engage in small talk with another lonely passenger.

Alec Trevelyan, 006, was tired of the job he had loved, still loved, in the same way he still loved his parents even though they were gone. But he was tired down to his bones, even more so because he knew that retirement would ease none of it, because he was a little too old for fieldwork and a little too restless for deskwork. There was no medium, no in-between. He would do this until he died, or he retired and faded away. Neither option was truly appealing.

Until he would decide, Alec kept taking planes and trains to foreign places. He kept seducing and drinking and shooting. He was still good at it, he still loved it, but when he was on the way back to London with his bones aching, he wondered how much longer he could last.

It became even more apparent when his daughter appeared in his life. Mildred was the true light of his life, his salvation and she was the one he wanted to come back to. When she had arrived, he had a change of heart. He now had someone waiting for him and he started to be more careful. He wanted to return to her, knowing that he finally had someone. Yet he still had his doubts, still the fear of retiring, of not knowing what to do.

When Mildred had saved him, it had been a wakeup call. He had realized that he couldn’t continue like that. Alec saw that even though he would do this job for as long as he could, he now had someone waiting for him.

Maybe all the women and men he had hurt and seduced were right when they said that he hurt everyone in his vicinity in the end. Alec knew it was entirely too possible because he was selfish and reckless and he didn’t know how to be a father and just that alone should have made him walk away. But Mildred was there for him when no one else was, who called him in the middle of the night because she trusted him to soothe her and make it all go away, who Alec trusted when he thought he would never trust anyone ever again. And he might have missed Mildred’s first twelve years of living and didn’t know many things about her past or the small things, like her favourite colour, favourite song, but Alec wanted to know more than anything.

He finally arrived in London after a long series of connecting flights from his assignment in St. Petersburg with James. It was just a recon mission-nothing too difficult, something easy to ease him back into the field, even though he was still not completely recovered-but Alec was sore by the end of it, he had a headache and as much as he liked James, he was getting on his nerves and he wanted nothing more than a hot shower and a good meal and his soft, soft bed.

“DAD!”

For a second Alec was convinced that it was a hallucination. Maybe he was so tired and his headache was so bad, that he imagined that voice he wanted to hear the most right now. Yet, when he looked up, he saw a pale hand stretched out barely above the crowd, attached to a girl with dark hair and a beautiful smile. Alec felt raw and vulnerable in a way he hadn’t since his childhood. He wanted to look away, dismiss it as an illusion his overtired brain had conjured but she was beaming and looking right at him and smiling and he couldn’t. No one had ever been waiting for him like that, like they were overjoyed he was alive and whole and home.

Q and Mildred were at the gate when James and he had arrived in London. His little girl was doing that expectant, hopeful motion that Alec had seen so many times before from parents and friends and family members looking for their traveller among a sea of faces. But no one had ever done that for Alec before, so he was not quite ready when Mildred’s eyes met his and something tight in his chest unfurled slightly with relief. Mildred started to beam and she raised her hand far above her head to wave at him, as if Alec could not see her, as if he might overlook that gaze that sought him and only him.

He wanted to run to her, this illusion was smiling and bouncing on the balls of her feet with excitement. He was scared that she would vanish. But as Alec neared, he saw that her eyes were firmly on him, her black cloak fluttering around her while she waited and once they were through the gate, she was not able to hold herself and ran, her eyes firmly fixed on him.

Alec’s feet seemed to move without his command. He closed the distance in a few strides and opened his arms just in time for Mildred to throw herself into his arms.

He may not be able to do this job much longer, but the prospect of retirement was not so bleak, because if he lived-and for once, he hoped he lived-he knew he wouldn’t be alone. In the meantime Mildred and him would be talking as often as possible, she would continue to learn how to be a witch and write and call him in the evenings and appear on clear surfaces on random. And Alec would still take planes and trains all over the world, and he would still shoot things because he had to, because he was good at it. But he would start drinking less and stop being so reckless, because even though Mildred would never judge him for these things, Alec wanted to, for her, more than anything so he could attend parents’ day and meet her friends and would be able to yell at her teachers that they were not doing a good job. And Mildred would try to avoid getting in trouble and study hard to be the best witch she could be. They were not perfect by any means and as unlikely a pair as any, but Alec couldn’t care less.

Because when Mildred’s arms were around him, he was finally home.

~~~~~

When Mildred and him finally separated, also because Tabby was getting impatient and didn’t like being in Mildred’s backpack for too long, Alec still couldn’t believe it that his little girl was in his arms. It was hard for him to let her go but the young witch made the decision for him and turned around to hug James, who was coming after him slowly. The surprised face of his friend was almost funny, if he didn’t see the softness and the longing but also happiness inside his eyes when Mildred beamed up at him just as brightly as she did with him. James tried to seem casual, but to the trained eye of another double-O, Alec saw how much this meant to him. James was, after all, in the same boat at him, just as tired, just as desperate and just as scared for the future. Only he had his daughter, his purpose in life. James had no one.

“Welcome back, both of you.” Q said and all three of them turned to their Quartermaster, who gave them a wry but soft smile and nodded. “I’m here to drive you home.”

“You do? To what do we owe this honour?” James asked and Q just rolled his eyes in annoyance.

“It’s because you were not able to finish your paperwork like a normal functioning adult that I have to run after you like a teacher for his assignments that I’m even here.” He answered, a little pissed and Mildred giggled. Q’s face softened. “Let’s just hope you didn’t pack too much and that all your stuff will fit into my car. It seems I’m driving one more person,” at the loud ‘meow’ of Tabby he added: “And cat than expected and I just have this much room in my car.”

Mildred grinned. “If not, dad can fly with me. We did it before.” Alec laughed, but Q just gave her a good natured shake of his head.

“I admire your thinking, but I doubt your father is fit enough for another rather taxing flight. Also, I’ve seen your broom. I was surprised the first time I realized that you could fly him with you, because your broom isn’t that long, but this time there’s luggage. No. We’ll take my car.” He countered and Mildred shrugged.

They all followed their Quartermaster to his small driving vehicle and Mildred sat with him in the back, finally releasing her very unhappy familiar from his backpack prison, who demanded cuddles and pets as compensation for the very uncomfortable flight.

When they hit the road, Alec asked the question he had been wondering about. “Millie, myshko, what are you doing here? Don’t you have school?”

Mildred giggled and shook her head. “No. We were send home for the rest of the week because of a magical fungus that had spread through the school and until they get rid of it, we are not allowed to return to school grounds. It would be too dangerous.”

“A … magical fungus?” He asked to clarify and Mildred nodded, too busy with spoiling Tabby to really look at him. No matter. He would ask about it later.

They finally arrived at his apartment and Mildred waved happily goodbye to Q and James and Q gave her an open invitation to visit him tomorrow in Q-branch when Alec would be giving his report and the agent resigned himself to the fact that he would bring his daughter to work with him tomorrow.

When they entered, Tabby ran to the couch and jumped on his seat, curling up and falling asleep and Mildred joined her cat, throwing herself onto the soft cushion and spreading her arms and beaming up at her father.

Alec watched her with a soft look, enjoying the contentment and happiness he felt seeing his daughter in such a domestic setting, happy and healthy and whole.

He was finally home.

Chapter Text

“In the army we broke shots down into three steps,” Alec explained, finger planted on the trigger and legs slightly apart, “One- front sight. Focus on the front sight, not on the target. Two, controlled trigger press. Three, follow through. After the shot, you come right back to the target.”

Alec pulled Mildred aside and stepped forward to give her a demonstration, “Front sight, trigger press, follow through. You do those three things you’ll hit your target every time.”

Alec reholstered and stepped back and Mildred came forward again, looking more anxious than before. She fired but winced at the same time.

Alec stepped forward again, pressing against her body and wrapping his arms around the younger girl’s torso. He held Mildred’s wrists leaning in to look over her shoulder.

“Steady,” Alec whispered into her ear, “Calm. Take a deep breath in and hold it.”

Mildred did so and Alec counted before telling her to release it. Mildred’s body tensed but her brows were frowned in deep concentration.

“One,” Alec whispered.

“Two,” Mildred gasped, and pulled the trigger.

“Three,” Alec finished.

Mildred pulled the trigger three more times.

Behind her someone whistled. Alec released his daughter’s arms and stepped back, a bright grin on his face and his eyes crinkled in pride.

Eve came up to the duo and gave Mildred an impressed smile. “Bull’s eye every single time. Pretty amazing, especially for your first time.”

The young witch gave her a wide smile.

“Of course she is. She’s my daughter after all.” Alec said, clearly gloating and happiness and pride pouring out of his every pore.

Behind Eve James chuckled. “Then let’s hope your talent for marksmanship is the only thing she inherited from you.” He teased his friend good-naturedly. Alec was about to retort, but the happy giggle of his daughter interrupted him and he only rolled his eyes at the other agent before he turned back to Mildred.

~.~.~.~

Mildred had spent the night at her father’s place and the next morning insisted to go with him to MI6. Alec had not been happy, but the reminder that Q had asked her to visit so he could show her Q branch had swayed him and in the end they had been driving to MI6 together.

Mildred wanted to fly, but her father had only shaken his head and refused until they had sat in the car. Tabby had thrown a tantrum that morning and refused to part from his mistress, so in the end, and after a lot of begging from Mildred, Alec had relented and allowed her to take the familiar with her.

After going through a special entrance, her father had led her to a special entrance because she still didn’t have clearance and wouldn’t have been allowed inside without a proper pass. And even though her father was one of the most important agents, she wasn’t allowed to go inside, until, fed up with the, in her father’s words, “incompetence of a bloody pencil pusher”, he had called Mr Mallory and after another discussion the head of MI6 came personally to clear the matter. He had raised an eyebrow at the sight of her and had commented to her father that “it’s not ‘bring your daughter to work’ day”, yet he had still relented when he had seen the frustrated face of his agent and had given her permission to enter the building.

Mildred had been given a temporary visitor’s pass until they would get her a more permanent one, her father told her and Mildred followed the duo happily inside the building. She looked around and her eyes flitted from one desk to the other, staring in wonder at the bustle of the employees.

She followed her father to Mr. Mallory’s office, where she was greeted by a delighted Eve and an amused James. After being hugged by the lovely secretary she explained why she wasn’t at school and Mallory sighed, telling her that she would be allowed to roam around MI6 if she so wished. Then he told his two agents that he would call them when he would be ready for their meeting and dismissed them for the time being.

In the end Alec led her to the shooting range and decided that any daughter of his should be able to know how to use a gun, thus spending the first thirty minutes explaining to her how to disassemble and reassemble different guns, how to load and unload them, what the differences between different models were and what to look out for and expect when firing one. He made Mildred dismantle and assemble them over and over again until she was sure in her handling and finally gave her the tips and guidance on how to shoot.

Mildred had been nervous but with her father standing right behind her it wasn’t as bad as she thought. She had gotten audience in Eve and James who came shortly after she put together her last gun and her father started to explain the process of shooting to her and watched her firing a gun for the first time in her life.

After her father guided her she tried to do it by herself under the watchful eyes of him. As it turned out, she had quite the gift for it as she almost always hit close to or in the bull’s eye. Mildred couldn’t help but be quite proud of herself.

After another few rounds Eve turned to the two agents and told them that Mallory was now ready for them and the two decided to head up together to get the briefing out of the way. Mildred was left in the care of Eve. Alec had been unsure, but Mildred had reassured him that he knew Eve and would be fine for a few hours without him. Eve had nodded and laid an arm around her shoulder’s, showing in a slight mocking way that she would be able to take care of his little daughter. In the end Alec relented and left, pressing a soft kiss to her head and telling her to call him should anything happen. Mildred only rolled her eyes and nodded.

“You really have your father’s talent,” Eve said when they left together for Q branch, Mildred remembering the Quartermaster’s promise to show her around. The woman explained: “One of your father’s specialities is marksmanship. He’s one of the best, if not the best marksman MI6 has and that means something. Clearly you inherited that from him.” She gave the young witch a conspiring wink. “Best to keep this a secret. Otherwise they’ll try to recruit you and I’m sure your father would not be happy about that.” Mildred giggled at that. She had realised a long time ago how overprotective he could be.

When they arrived at Q branch, Mr. Q greeted her warmly and showed her around. Eve left her in the hands of the branch head and returned to her work. Mildred was fascinated by all the gadgets and weapons the branch worked on and had to practically be held back from trying a few things out and Q answered all her questions and showed her a lot of things. Tabby meowed unhappily every time he was jostled and in the end Q allowed her to let the cat roam around freely, stating that he had two of his own and sometimes wished his were as cuddly as Tabby. Mildred really liked the man.

“By the way,” Q said, reaching for something under his desk and giving her something. It was small and robust. Mildred inspected it curiously. When she gave the man a questioning look he explained: “It’s for your broom.” When she still didn’t seem to understand he continued: “It a cell phone holder. I realized how difficult it must have been to keep your father from falling down, trying to control the broom in one hand and then balance the phone in the other to read directions. I thought should you ever need to use a map for your flight again and you cannot afford to lose a hand for it, this might be useful. The back is adjustable to the thickness of your broomstick, so if you ever change it you can use it again and the front is adaptable to every kind of phone.”

Mildred beamed at him and hugged him, thanking him over and over for it. The young man had been confused, but soon smiled and patted her on the back. “You’re welcome”, he murmured and gave her a soft smile. The young witch then stood beside him at his table and watched in fascination as he was busy coding and programming, working on different projects and keeping idle small talk with her.

Quite a few times a few of the department came up to him, with the sourest expression Mildred had ever seen until only maybe a quarter of the employees were left. At Mildred’s question Q replied: “Oh they’re just angry because they have procrastinated the yearly seminar for fire protection regulation and today is the last date for this year. Meaning that everyone who didn’t go until now, which means practically everyone, has to go now.” Mildred giggled at that.

The young witch noticed some eyes on her and when she turned around she was watched by two people, dressed quite different from the rest of the department. One man was wearing a bespoke suit, he was massive, well over 1,80 meters with deep blue eyes and light brown hair. The other was an auburn haired beauty with fierce green eyes. She wore sharp black high heels, a black dress with a slit at the side almost to the hip, with a high neck and a back so low that it almost didn’t exist. There was more than one eye following her as she slunk her way from one end of the room to the other to the man with the bespoke suit. They both ignored the people they were supposed to listen to as they obviously returned their equipment to the branch and were too busy scrutinising her. Mildred couldn’t make out what they were saying to each other, but the cold and unimpressed looks they gave her were enough for her to try and shrink into herself.

“Oh ignore them,” Q told her when he realized that the girl was distracted and rolled his eyes. “News that 006 has a daughter has travelled fast in MI6 and seeing as this is MI6 and you’re the only child in this building, everyone knows that you’re his. Those two are only looking at you like that because they don’t know you and arrogantly think the double-O’s are infallible and perfect and thus couldn’t have a family. Don’t take them seriously.” Mildred was about to retort that they might have not that high of an opinion of her when they were interrupted by one of the minions, asking loudly where one of their co-workers was. He held a package in his arms.

“He’s not here,” Another boffin replied, not even looking up from his screen, “He’s at the seminar with the rest of the other’s. Just put it on his desk. He’ll see it when he comes back.”

The guy just shrugged and did just that, putting it on the desk and taking the sandwich he had been balancing on top of it with him and returning to his own desk.

Mildred stared at the package in confusion. Something about it didn’t seem to be right. Her hunch was confirmed when Tabby came close to the package and sniffed around, then recoiled and hissed in anger. The young witch stood up and coped the cat into her arms.

“What’s wrong Tabby? Something wrong with it?” She asked, clear confusion in her eyes as her familiar was rubbing his nose on his mistress’ shirt and then pawed at her, meowing unhappily. Q had watched the exchange with a frown and was about to ask her what was wrong, when suddenly all doors closed and with an ominous click locked themselves.

Confused murmur broke out and Q and R started to bark out orders to get everyone under control. Q started to tap away on his laptop when he suddenly paled.

“Shit!” he murmured, then called out for everyone to hear:” We’ve been hacked!” He, together with everyone else started to tap furiously and Mildred started to worry.

Tabby pawed at her and Mildred returned her attention to her cat, staring into its eyes. Finally her familiar send her what he discovered. An acrid smell and the sense of danger. Mildred realised what this was about and paled in horror. She looked up and realized that two people were quite close to the package, not even realizing what this danger was about.

“Everyone get away from the package!” She screamed and the whole room turned to her, staring at her in confusion as they descended into silence. Mildred didn’t even care.

“Mildred, what’s wrong?” Q asked as he watched her pulling two of his boffins aside and as far away from it than possible. He didn’t dare question her as he saw how pale she had become. The young girl turned to him and shook her head, before motioning to the package sitting innocently on the desk.

“It’s poison! Something is inside that is going to poison us! Tabby told me!” She explained and ignored or didn’t even seem to realize how the two double-O’s scoffed at her. Before anyone else could say anything to her however, the aforementioned cat ran up to her, meowing and Mildred seemed to pale even more. She looked around in horror and so many thoughts ran through her mind. In the end her expression settled on one of determination and she walked up to the package, holding her hands in front of her.

Before Q or anyone else could ask her what she was doing, she began to chant.

“Magic mine, be my will,

Protect me, henceforth, from all ill!

Magic mine, see this stranger,

Protect, contain and shield us from this danger!”

Gasp and murmurs broke out when a lilac sheen flickered up and surrounded the package, containing it in a round sphere. Q felt his heart sink as he realized that the young witch had just revealed herself to everyone present in the room. It was however short-lived as he watched in horror as the packet fell open, revealing a crude device that he and everyone else recognized as a bomb. And before he could think further, this bomb began to release white smoke, the only reason it was not spreading inside the room was because of the magical barrier. Q felt coldness creep into his bones when he realized what it was.

An attack at MI6 by targeting Q branch first and everyone who was inside it.

Q started to tap away at his laptop and froze. All connections to outside the branch were cut, the doors were locked and the systems weren’t reacting. With dawning horror, which he saw mirrored on everyone’s face, he realized that they were locked inside and hacked. That they were attacked without knowing who the enemy was and without any idea how that was even possible. And that they realized that to attack MI6 successfully, they had to shut down Q branch first. What they had accomplished.

And Q realized, the only reason they weren’t all dead already was because of the magical cat and his mistress, currently holding the lives of everyone present in her fragile hands. Q only hoped that she could hold out.

Chapter Text

“How long until we get out of here?!” The angry voice of one of the agents called out. It was the woman in the black dress, walking around with arms crossed, clear agitation on her face.

Mr. Q didn’t even bother to answer her. He was busy tapping away at his laptop, only looking up every once in a while to check on Mildred with worry in his eyes.

The young witch threw him an encouraging smile every time their eyes met before returning her concentration back to her barrier, making sure that it was closed and didn’t have any leaks. She had realized earlier that they were in danger and had reacted without really thinking about it. Only knowing that she had to do something. And now here they were.

Mildred was the one keeping everyone save by keeping her magic up and stopping the gas from poisoning every single one of them. It had been a full hour since she erected it and honestly, she was starting to get worried. She didn’t know how long it would take until they would be out of here and Mildred knew she had to hold out, but this spell was on a level she wasn’t supposed to be able to do until at least next year. It was one way above her head, yet she had learned it anyway. Even though she knew she could do it, she knew that her magic hadn’t fully developed yet and she didn’t know how long she would be able to keep this spell up. She only hoped Mr. Q and the others would be able to get them out of here in time.

The young witch felt herself getting weaker slowly but surely. And even though she could still hold out, she felt her knees weakening and slowly starting to tremble. In the end she decided to sit down. While she slowly lowered herself onto the ground, her knees decided to finally give out and with a ‘plop’ she fell onto the ground. It surprised her and she almost lost her concentration on the spell. Yet at the last moment she caught herself and strengthened her hold on it, thus keeping her barrier intact.

“Mildred!” Mr. Q called out. Her fall was louder than she thought and drew in the attention of the whole room, interrupting their work.

“I’m alright! I’m fine!” Mildred reassured everyone and forced herself to smile at them. The quartermaster did not look happy and stared at her worriedly, but after a small nod from her, he barked orders to the rest of the department and they all continued what they did before.

“You alright?” A deep voice asked her and Mildred turned to the side and stared at the male agent she had seen scrutinising her earlier. She gave him a smile, hoping that it would not be strained. Yet, when she saw him frowning, she realised that she had obviously failed. The man lowered himself and sat down next to her, still watching her in worry.

“It’s okay. I can still do it,” Mildred said, more to herself than to anyone else.

“Yet you don’t look so good.” The female agent said and sat down to her on the other side.

“It’s fine. My magic is not that weak that it’s going to fall away.” Mildred retorted, letting her arms drop in exhaustion, hoping that her will would be enough. It was silent for a while.

The male finally said: “So you’re a witch, huh? Explains a lot actually.” Before Mildred could ask further, he explained: “Everyone has heard how you somehow saved 006. Only no one knew how and why. There seemed to be only a few and they seemed to be under orders not to tell anybody. Guess we know now why.” He smiled wryly at her. “A witch would be big news and quite a few would be after you. That would make you a bigger target.”

“Yet it seems that you can take care of yourself. Making it at the same time harder.” The female agent added.

Mildred stared at them and after a few seconds just shook her head. “I’m not that good a witch. I’m still a student and only in my second year. The only reason I can do this spell is because I know dad is worried about me and I wanted to ease his mind a bit. Otherwise I would be learning this spell next year. It’s actually a few levels ahead of what I’m supposed to know.”

The man chuckled. “Yet you can do it already. Sounds impressive to me.” Mildred smiled at the compliment.

“I haven’t introduced myself. Excuse my rudeness,” he continued, giving her a warm smile. “I’m Jack, also known as 004. And this lovely lady here is my colleague, 005.”

“A pleasure to meet you. Call me Vera.” The female said and Mildred smiled at both of them.

“I’m Mildred. Nice to meet you.” Mildred introduced herself and took a deep breath. It was getting harder.

“You look pale.” The male agent – Jack – observed, but the young witch just shook her head.

“It’s fine. I’m fine.” She replied, breathing in a stuttering breath. She felt herself getting weaker, yet she refused to let herself ease up. With a sad ‘meow’ her familiar came up to her and rubbed his head against her leg. Mildred smiled at him and patted his head. Tabby then proceeded to sit in her lap, curling into himself and closing his eyes. Mildred’s eyes widened when she felt a surge of energy coursing through her. She pet him across the head and smiled warmly at him.

“Thank you,” She whispered, breathing a little easier.

“What’s wrong?” Vera asked, noting that a little colour had returned to her cheeks. The witch shook her head.

“Tabby, my cat here, is magical. He’s my familiar, you know? And he’s currently sharing his magic with me so I’m not completely overwhelmed.” She explained, getting confused nods from the both of them.

Yet, even though Tabby shared his magic with her, she knew she wouldn’t hold out forever. She was still determined however to hold out until they would be save.

In the next hour her answers ceased, too exhausted to give more than short ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. She had barely the energy to keep her head up and thus let it hang, not caring how it might look like. The two agents had realized that she was starting to get weaker and thus stopped asking her and kept idle small talk where she only had to listen.

Every once in a while one of them was able to find water or snacks, telling her that she would need to keep her energy up and forcing her to eat. The longer it took however, the less responsive she got, so in the end they had to practically shove the biscuits and fruits and water into her mouth to get her to eat.

Mildred got weaker by the minute and it was now almost three hours into her raising the barrier. In the background she could hear people arguing and screaming, yet her head was so fuzzy that she couldn’t really make out what they were saying.

“Shit! You’re trembling!” Jack suddenly said and grabbing her fingers. “Girl, you’re freezing!”

Mildred somehow was able to understand him through the fog in her head. “I’m cold,” she whispered, throat croaking and dry like she hadn’t talked for days. She started to really realize how cold she was. It was like ice in her veins, crawling into her bloodstream and hurting more with every second. She could feel Tabby in her lap, unresponsive and yet warm. The only thing she could really connect to. She felt how her familiar was pumping his magic to her body, how he was also getting weaker, yet refusing to let his dear mistress alone and suffering with her. She could feel his magic being slowly drained from his small body, his warmth slowly fading, just like hers.

She felt something being draped over her shoulders. When she was able to get inside her head for a second, she realized that it was Jack’s jacket. Mildred was too weak to say anything, yet she heard how the two agents were screaming in the background, demanding more jackets and sweaters and every item of clothing lying around. She felt all the fabric being draped over her, around her, under her, in an attempt to keep her warm. She felt the agents hugging her and snuggling up to her, trying to share body warmth with her. She heard them hiss when they made contact with her skin, yet only hugging her harder.

There was a commotion in the background. Mildred couldn’t understand what exactly what was going on, yet she had a feeling that it was a sign of triumph, as short lived as it was.

Mildred got more tired by the second. She felt weaker and weaker and started to lose her concentration. She knew that she had to keep this up, that she could not lose unconsciousness yet. So many people depended on her.

But she started to wonder. Why did she have to keep this up? What was going on? Why was she so fuzzy? And why were they depending on her? What exactly had she to do? Why couldn’t she just go to sleep? Why did she have to continue this when it made her so drowsy? What was it even she did?

Mildred was so tired. So, so tired. It would be so easy to just let go and fall asleep. So easy to just close her eyes completely and let go. She couldn’t understand what she was even doing. Yet, something inside her ordered her to not give up. To just keep doing this.

Suddenly something was shoved into her ear.

“Mildred? Mildred! Mildred?! Answer me!”

That was strange. She knew that voice. She knew that voice very well. Yet for the life of her she couldn’t remember from where? Who was this?

“Mildred! Please! Say something!”

It clicked. The voice drew her out of her cloudy headspace, making her focus again. Pressed against her ear was a phone. And on the other end was –

“Dad?” Mildred croaked out, her voice dry as the dessert. She could hear him sighing in relief on the other side.

“Mildred! How are you?” He asked and the girl could hear the clear worry in his voice.

Mildred wanted to answer, wanted to reassure him that she was still there. That she was still fighting and doing her best. Yet when she opened her mouth to answer, only a dry cough came out.

“Mildred!” Her father called her in worry. “Listen myshko. You’re doing amazing. Q was able to re-establish the connection to the rest of MI6 and we’re now working on both sides to get you out of here. Q said he’s almost through. So you just have to keep this up for a little bit. Only a bit more and you’re out of there. Okay? Everything will be fine.”

Mildred wanted to nod, yet couldn’t muster the energy up for it. She was starting to see white on the edges of her sight and she felt herself slipping back into the fuzzy headspace. But her father continued talking to her, thus somehow keeping her conscious enough to her surroundings.

Her father tried to keep her with him, telling her funny stories and funny mishaps from missions, to keep her focused. In the background she could hear James, adding his occasionally comment. Through all this he sounded calm, thus being able to calm her down.

Mildred forced herself to keep going, it didn’t matter how tired she got, she couldn’t stop. So many people were depending on her and she knew Mr. Q would get them out of here. She just had to trust that it would happen sooner rather than later.

On both of her sides the two agents soothed her by touching her back and her arms, keeping her grounded as best as they could.

Mildred was beginning to breathe harder. It was not easy to do it, yet she forced every breath inside her lungs. It felt like she had run a marathon with additional hurdles without once stopping for breath.

Finally a triumphant cheer broke out and Mildred could hear the doors opening with a loud ‘swoosh’. She could hear everyone evacuating, everyone finally leaving the room. They were finally save.

Then she felt arms around her. Warmth and comfort. She was surrounded by a smell she knew all too well, a smell that reminded her of home. Of safety. It settled around her like a blanket and lulled her in the feeling that she would finally be safe.

She felt him walking with her in his arms. She felt that they were getting further away from the magic she had casted and it was harder for her to keep it up. Why were they walking away? Didn’t they know that it would be harder for her the further away she went? She wanted to call out, tell him that she couldn’t protect everyone if they were so far away, yet she just couldn’t muster the energy for it.

“It’s okay,” she felt warm, familiar lips on her forehead. “You’re save now Mildred. Everyone is save and the room is closed. You don’t have to keep it up anymore. You can let go now.”

Mildred didn’t really understand what was going on, but she knew that voice and she trusted it. If it said that she could finally let go now, she would.

With a final twitch of her hand she dropped her magic and she felt relief coursing through her body. She could finally breathe easier now.

“That was amazing, kotyonok. You were amazing. You saved everyone. I’m so proud of you.” The voice told her and Mildred felt warmth spreading inside her chest.

“It’s fine now. Everything’s fine. Sleep now. Rest, kotyonok.”

And with those words Mildred finally allowed herself to fall into unconsciousness.