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"Why her, Bond? she was supposed to bring you home. She worked in an office, collecting rapports. Look how well your charms works, James… they'll do anything for you, won't they? How many is that now? You're removed from duty and suspended. Pending further investigation…."

 

~*007*~

 

James couldn't stop the conversation he’d had with M from spinning in his mind.

 

Did she really think he wanted Fields dead? Or Vesper, or any other woman he’d slept with for that matter? Did she really think it did not bother him? M should know. She'd been a Double-O after all.

 

Yes, he had been trained not to show his emotions, but that did not mean he felt nothing when a woman he’d been holding in his arms ended up being killed a couple hours later.

 

He didn't love the marks he seduced, but he cared for them. The same way he had cared for Vesper. He could play women so well, and never failed to get the information he needed. He had told M Solange didn't know anything about him. It was true, she didn't - because he hadn’t told her anything. Just as she hadn’t told him anything of value. How could she? She didn't know anything.

 

Seducing her had been easy. Too easy. A couple of well-chosen words was all it took. Dimitrios had rejected her. He’d simply taken advantage of the opportunity, and it had resulted in her death. Solange’s death wasn't what he'd wanted, however the woman ended being collateral damage. It was something he would have loved to prevent. Just as he would have wanted to avoid Fields’ death. The hazards of the profession, sadly.

 

He didn't like to leave dead bodies in his wake, but it was part of the job. She should know that. She'd been a Double-O. So why did she make it sound as if everything that happened was his fault?

 

~*007*~

 

Olivia walked through the lift's doors and switched the lights on.

 

She sighed when she saw him sitting in her living-room.

 

"I thought I told you never to do this again."

 

"Must have forgotten," he told her dryly.

 

"What are you doing here, Bond?" she asked him, as she went to her drinks cabinet to pour herself a drink.  

 

"I just want to straighten a few things."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"Tell me something, M. Your blunt instrument; is that all you see me as?"

 

"You are my agent, 007. How else would I see you?” she asked.

 

"A killer machine it is then. Not a man or a human being. That explains what you said to me when you told me I needed to know my friends from my enemies."

 

"Bond, what the bloody hell are you getting at?"

 

"Have you ever considered what impact being a Double-O agent could have on someone? Oh, wait a minute… you do know because were a field agent yourself, so tell me Olivia.” James had chosen to use her first name on purpose. He wanted to make a point.

 

She glared at him.

 

James continued, "Do you really think I don't feel anything at all? I have no problem with the job I'm doing, M. What I do have a problem with, is you reprimanding me for the death of Miss Fields, or any other woman who has died. Bloody hell, I've held their warm bodies in my arms! Solange didn't deserve to be tortured, and yet they did it to her because they thought she’d talked. All she wanted was some attention, which I gave her. I asked a few questions; that's it. Alex Dimitrios was a damn fool."

 

At his words, Olivia's eyes widened. She poured herself a glass of Bourbon, before walking and sitting on the couch across from him.

 

"Bond — " she started, but he cut her off.

 

"I didn't do anything to seduce Fields. All I did was be myself; nothing more.

It sometimes happens that I pretend to like someone to get results. Anything to get information, right? Nothing new there… Christ, it's my job! You trained me to be who I am, damnit! I never forced myself on them, and they never did anything they didn't want to! I act like a cold-hearted bastard when I need to, when the situation demands it, but no ice runs through my veins, M. It's warm blood! I can't believe you dare to hold Fields' death against me. I'm damn sure you would have done the same if you would have been in my shoes. Assess, evaluate, and decide what to do. That's what you taught me. That's what I've been trained to do."

 

Bond was right, and she knew it. Something was different now, she was the boss. M had done the same thing more than once in her field days. Sex was an easy and pleasurable way to get information. Some of the men she had slept with had died, too, for the same reasons he had just mentioned. Fields worked for them, however, so she couldn’t just let that dalliance slide.  

 

"You shouldn't have let your prick take the lead."

 

She saw his blue eyes darken with anger.

 

Bond couldn't believe his ears.

 

"Of course, the perfect Olivia Mansfield would never simply have sex with someone to relieve tension or frustration, right? That was all it was between me and Fields. Nothing more. If I had thought for one second that our actions would have resulted in her death, I wouldn't have done it," James replied angrily.

 

He waited for Olivia to say something, but she didn't. "And you were wrong about Vesper,” James told her. “I admit I cared for her, more than I cared for other women, but I didn't love her! Yes, I had sex with her, and I enjoyed it, but I didn't make love to her. I wasn't looking for revenge when she died. The dead don't need revenge, it won't bring them back. I felt guilt and anger, mostly at myself."

 

James stood, walked toward the wall, then turned and leaned against it, closing his eyes as he sighed heavily.

 

She watched, as several moments later, he opened his eyes and continued.

 

"The anger that I felt after she died was mostly directed at myself, because I let myself be fooled. I didn't see the signs or better yet, I refused to see them when they were telling me who she really was. I let myself believe in the dream that life could just be that simple. I didn't pay attention to the writing on the wall. The anger within me was also directed at Vesper because she had betrayed me in the first place. She stole the money, she played me. I'd made a huge mistake. My ego was bruised. It was such a rookie mistake."

 

Olivia smiled inwardly. He had such a huge ego but that was part of why he was so good at getting the job done. A job that left invisible marks on each agent that was doing it.

 

Bond's voice filled the room again as he told the rest of the story. "But after our phone call, I realized you were right about the reasons why I didn't die that night when I was tortured by Le Chiffre. I took it upon myself to right the wrong somehow. I wanted her ex-lover to be put where he belonged, that's all. Don't tell me you never did anything like that when you were in the field. Every Double-O agent goes through something like this at some point."

 

Pushing himself off the wall, he came back to sit across from her.

 

She hadn't realized until that very moment how much impact her words had had on her favourite agent. Her words came back to her.

 

We never really know anyone, do we?

 

Bond did his job so well, that anyone who didn't know him would think he was an emotionless killer; one that would use anything and anyone to achieve his aims. Olivia knew better than that, and yet again, she had momentarily been blinded because of what had happened to Miss Fields and because of his affair with Vesper.

 

"I'm sorry, James, I shouldn’t have said that to you."

 

He looked at her, his eyes narrowed. "We can't turn back time, can we?"

 

"No, we can't," she replied, then sighed. "And I do trust you, you know."

 

"Good. All I do; all I've ever done is for Queen and country, and you, M. You are all that matters to me." He paused for a moment, debating if he should tell her how much she really meant to him. In the end he decided to tell her Their job, his job, and the world they lived in was a dangerous place. They couldn't afford to lose any more time than they already had so he said, "I love you. I have since the day we met.”

 

She laughed. "Bond, be serious. I'm old enough to be your mother."

 

"I am serious, M." James stood and walked over to her. He grasped her by the shoulders and pulled her up. She gasped when she saw the truth shining in his eyes. Everything he felt was there for her to see.

 

The next thing she knew, Bond's lips were on hers.

 

Olivia’s eyes grew wide in surprise. The glass she was holding slipped from her fingers and fell to the floor with a thud; the remaining bourbon spilling onto the carpet.

 

She moaned, then placing her hands on his chest, she pushed him away. She raised her hand, then, and slapped him across the face.

 

He couldn’t do that, she thought angrily, seeing the surprise on his face. And he shouldn’t be kissing her like that; he hadn’t the right.

 

She was mad, Olivia realized. Mad at him for everything he’d done, and mad at herself for having feelings for him. She’d let him into her heart, and now she couldn’t hide from him any longer.

 

They looked at each other.

 

Olivia could see all his emotions still playing in his eyes. He wasn't hiding anything from her. There was a warmth and softness in his eyes she hadn't seen in them before, and it slowly melted her anger away.

 

James saw the anger in her eyes, and knew he’d crossed a line, but kissing her had seemed the only way to make her believe him. As they continued to stare at each other, he saw the anger fade away, leaving a look of happiness in her blue eyes. And a hint of mischief, which made James certain she would be the one to initiate their next kiss.

 

Realizing she couldn’t fight her feelings any longer, Olivia lifted her arm and placed her hand at the base of his neck, pulling him to her.

 

He had been right, James thought, and smiled inwardly.

 

The kiss they shared was passionate. No woman had ever kissed him like that. It seemed M had some incredible hidden talents.

 

When the kiss ended, they were both panting, trying to catch their breath.

 

A few moments later when she had regained enough control over her breathing, M told him, "This won't change anything at work. Dangerous mission or not, if I think you're the best man for the job you're going. No argument. Is that clear, 007?"

 

She had used his rank purposefully to signify she wouldn't expect anything other than obedience.

 

"Yes, ma'am," he answered.

 

"Good. Now kiss me, James," she said, smiling.

 

"With pleasure, ma'am," he answered, then ducked his head to capture her lips for a long languorous kiss.

 

 

 

 

 

THE END.