- Explicit Sex
James Bond looked at the broken man that was at his feet.
“Finish it,” Oberhauser said. When James did nothing in response to what he said. He repeated it with more of a beg to the tone.
James dropped the magazine from the gun and released the bullet in the chamber. “Out of bullets.”
The look to where Mallory was showed nothing, so James looked at Madeleine. He looked back at Mallory when he heard a minor commotion. Tanner, Moneypenny, and Gale were there. Standing as far back as they could but still see what James was going to do. Seeing Gale there right then made James hesitate about what he was going to do. He looked back at Madeleine and sighed. He knew what he wanted. He knew what he needed, and she wasn’t it.
James looked again at Gale and let his memories wash over him. The biggest on his mind was the first time James had seen Gale after he had been shot off of the train in Turkey. Gale had known he was alive but kept that to himself, even from M. James hadn’t wanted Gale to think that he was dead. That really should have been the first clue to James, but it took until this moment for him to see his life as it should be.
The location that Gale had chosen to meet had been the strangest in the world to most. To James, it spoke of more because they had been to the particular section of the gallery many times, debating what started out as art but ended in much more than that.
“And besides, I’ve got something better to do,” James couldn’t help the grin that he gave Oberhauser before he started to walk over to where Madeleine was. He needed to get her to safety and MI6 were the only ones that could do that, but first, he needed to get her out of here, just in case someone came after her.
Settling Madeleine into the safe house was easy. It was one that not even MI6 knew about. He had kept it from them after it was found out that the merger was going through. James didn’t trust any of the assholes who ran MI5. He hadn’t since the whole Vesper thing.
“Where are you going, James?” Madeleine asked when James was checking the other gun that he had pulled from the safe. He also had a new phone there, burner with a single number programmed into it.
“I need to make sure that things are going well and check in with Mallory.”
“When are you coming back?”
“When I have things settled, and it will be safe to get you out of here.”
Madeleine looked upset that James didn’t go to her and give a kiss goodbye. James regretted very few things in his life. Regret wasn’t something that agents could carry and live, M had taught him that. James left, pulling the door shut and making sure that Madeleine locked the door behind him. When it was done, James walked down the stairs that would take him to the small parking lot that was for the residents. Guests had a much smaller lot. James found his car there. Gale had helped him rebuild the damned thing and add a few things here and there that were very much not stock on the vehicle.
There was a paper on the little ledge in front of where the speedometer was. It said that Gale had taken it for its oil change and usual maintenance just before James had made his trip to Mexico. Gale’s words on that were still ringing in James’s ears. James laid his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. And he remembered.
There was the shuffle of footsteps, and James almost looked. He had no clue who had replaced the old Quartermaster. There had been no leakage on that part. James wasn’t even sure when the old one had retired. Or if he had been one of the losses during the explosion.
“Always makes me feel a little melancholy.” Gale’s voice washed over James, and he relaxed some. He wondered why Gale had chosen now to approach him. Gale should have been at work, making sure that everything was secure and ready to go. “A grand old warship being ignominiously hauled away for scrap.”
Gale sighed, and it was what finally made James look at him. He looked the same as ever, just a little more tired. He was relaxed, and there was no anger in his posture. The emails between them while James had been enjoying death had been short and to the point. The last one that James got was the one that said he had made it through the explosion. James’s return emails were never answered, and while James usually would have been worried, he figured that Gale was being tapped to set up somewhere new. M trusted him and gave him a lot of jobs.
“The inevitability of time, don’t you think? What do you see?” Gale looked at him fully this time, even though James could only see that through the corner of his eye.
“A bloody big ship. Gale, I’m sorry, and I would love to catch up, maybe tonight depending on my flight. But I need to have you-“
Gale interrupted. “007. I’m your new Quartermaster.”
James turned his entire body to look at Gale. “You must be joking.” James had never even heard the whisper that it was the job that M wanted him for, but it did make sense. She had fought long and hard after his twin sister’s betrayal of the British government. She had made sure that his name was not sullied. Gale had fought just as hard, and James now fully understood why. The job he now had.
“Why, because I’m not wearing a lab coat?” Gale’s lips quirked into a smile as he said the words. It was an old game between them.
“Because you still have spots.”
“My complexion is hardly relevant. Though yours could do with a shave,” Gale said.
“Well, your competence is, and my facial hair is fine, thank you very much.”
“Age is no guarantee of efficiency.”
“And youth is no guarantee of innovation.” James kept the grin that wanted to break out onto his face firmly off of it. It was never good to give up the game this early with Gale.
“I’ll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pyjamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field.”
“Oh, so why do you need me?”
“Every now and then a trigger has to be pulled.”
“Or not pulled. It’s hard to know which in your pyjamas. Q.” James let the grin take over then, their little tête-à-tête was over and just like usual, neither of them won. James extended his hand for a shake.
“007.” Gale shook James’s hand, the hold lingering a little more than reasonable for strangers meeting in front of a painting, but it was all well and good because James didn’t give a fuck. “Ticket to Shanghai. Documentation and passport.”
“Thank you.” James slipped the envelope into his pocket and then looked back as Gale hadn’t got up.
“And this.” Gale handed over a sleek black case. James opened it immediately, there was a gun and an empty spot inside. “Walther PPK/S 9mm short. There’s a micro-dermal sensor in the grip. It’s been coded to your palm print so only you can fire it. Less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement.”
James would wait to congratulate him on the coding needed for that because he wanted to see how it worked before he praised Gale. Gale had been working on it for several months before James had shipped off to Turkey.
“And this?” James pointed to the empty spot. It was small, and nothing much could really fit there.
“Standard issue radio transmitter. Activate it, and it broadcasts your location. Distress signal.”
“And that’s it. A gun… and a radio. Not exactly Christmas, is it?”
“Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that anymore.” Gale stood up and walked over to James’ other side, forcing James to follow him to be polite. There was a shit-eating grin on his face. “Good luck out there in the field. And please return the equipment in one piece.” Gale was gone with that parting shot. Gale knew full well how much trouble James got into for not bringing things back.
“Brave new world.” James stood up and followed behind Gale. The man was waiting at a taxi just outside. James watched him get into it and just seconds later, the new cell phone that Tanner had given him chimed. There was a text.
/Still at the same old place./
James shook himself out of the memory there. There was no reason to go any further into it. He knew it all. He knew his history better than anyone else. He had been going down memory lane since he had figured out that Oberhauser was alive. He refused to think of him as anything but by the name he was forn with. The name given to him by the father it seemed he had killed. James regretted that he hadn’t killed Oberhauser now that he was over the thought that he had to do what he could to make Madeleine love him more.
The thing was that James knew that he didn’t need her love. He had what he needed in his life but had been scared to step forward and grab it. James had never been afraid of anything in his life like he was losing Gale. Sitting in that chair in Tunisia, strapped down and told that he was going to forget Madeleine, he had looked afraid, he had felt fear, but it wasn’t her but Gale.
James forced himself to get going. Sitting around wasn’t going to do him any good. James headed toward where MI6 was stationed and found that the place was still crawling. High officials were milling around, talking to each other. James wondered what was going to happen with the merger now. MI5 was without a head, a head who had been a terrorist. James wondered what happened to C. He would have to ask Mallory or Gale.
“Bond,” Tanner said as he stepped up to James’ car. James got out and nodded at the man. “M wanted me to escort you to him as soon as possible.”
“How is Gale?” James asked.
Tanner’s face broke into a small smile. “He’s fine. He’s down in his branch, securing everything. There is going to be an inquiry. He fought this as you well know. While hacking Nine Eyes, he found something worse.”
“What?” James asked. He followed along with Tanner as they entered the building, security knowing them both on sight and not even trying to stop them. The place sounded like it was the middle of the day and not the middle of the night.
“There was not just the nine countries with access but the network that Oberhauser was running and that linked to many terrorist organisations who were paying for the right to have that information.”
“So C was selling out not just England but every single country?”
“Yes. There is much to be answered for on the global scale. The good thing is that this will no come down on MI6 because we have enough data to show that we were fighting it tooth and nail while the rest of our government rolled over.”
James knew that this was going to make England look like they were school children trying to play in the big leagues, but James couldn’t help that at all. He had been one of the ones fighting this.
“Gale might be in a spot of trouble though,” Tanner said.
“Because he actively blocked C from getting into files that he was supposed to have access to. Though Mallory might just back him up and tell the world that it was an order because he didn’t trust C.”
“The current status of every single Double-Oh that was in the field, including you. He was also working on maintaining your file after Mallory had told him not to trace you with the Smart Blood.”
“Mallory has let him get a little distracted by the fact that he’s younger than most in the position that he is in.”
“Agreed but I think that Mallory is figuring it all out. Do you need medical?”
“Yes. My brain was drilled into some by Oberhauser in Tunisia, and no, I did not tell anyone when I was seen by medical there before coming home.”
“Then let’s go there.” Tanner snagged a tablet off of his desk, and James recognised that it was the one used to access files inside of MI6’s mainframe. It only worked inside of the building, losing all connection if it was taken out. Something that Gale had made.
James set through the medical exam and gave everything over to Tanner from the moment he had watched the tape that M had sent him to the bridge. Tanner didn’t need to know where Madeleine was. James listened as the doctor told him what not to do, stressing the things that would damage James more than he was. There wasn’t any brain swelling, but he was to come in for a daily scan until it healed.
“I’ll send these to the Quartermaster as well,” the doctor said. All of the doctors at MI6 knew that if they wanted James to follow what they wanted him to do, or not to do as the case was, they needed to make sure that Gale was given the instructions.
“You have the hands of a clumsy child!” Gale near screamed.
James was on his feet and out of the room that he had been examined in before he was even aware of getting up. There was the A&E area that was curtains around beds. There was only a single area that was blocked off, and James was over there ripping the curtain back in seconds. Gale was stripped nearly half-naked, and there was blood down his arm.
“Gale?” James asked as he looked at the fresh blood that was coming from where someone was trying to clean up the wound and doing a shite job about it.
“James?” Gale questioned. He looked like he was shocked to see him. “What are you doing down here?”
“Post mission medical examination. What happened to you?” James walked around the bed in time to see Tanner there. Tanner looked shocked, or James was going to yell at him.
“We had a small issue, and I just thought that I had bumped my arm into the side of the car and bruised it, but I guess when the bullets were shot into the car when we were getting out of the tunnel, I was shot. It was a graze, but I didn’t notice it until I was down in Q-Branch and trying to get things cleaned up so that no one gets into our systems with Nine Eyes down.” Gale looked down at his arm, a little queasy look on his face. “I’ve never been shot before.”
“It’s not something anyone really wishes to have happen to them.” James pushed the nurse who was cleaning the wound away and picked up the stuff to do it. He wasn’t sanitary, but James had been doing this long enough and Gale didn’t say a single word. The nurse huffed and handed over gloves. James put them on taking care to make sure that he didn’t touch the parts that would be touching Gale.
“I’ll update M on all of this,” Tanner said as he raised up the tablet in his hand that had James’s report on it.
Gale was sitting on a hospital bed on the side, and beside him was his tablet that was used to access reports and other things. James figured that he had planned on working one-handed in-between visits from medical personnel.
“Where is Miss Swann?”
“At the safe house with the Jaguar XF.”
“Ah. I got the maintenance done on that not too long ago.”
“Yes, I know. I saw the slip on it.” James turned his focus to the cut on Gale’s arm. It was bleeding pretty freely, which was a good thing as it was helping to flush anything bad out of the open wound. James saw marks that Gale had been given at least two locals. He probably wasn’t feeling pain, just the pressure.
“I am sorry about not believing you.”
“Q, we live in a real-world, and when people die, they die. Don’t apologise about thinking I was jumping at shadows.”
“M knew about this, you know. Mallory M, that is. Seems our M left him a few notes.” Gale stopped looking at his ripped open arm and picked up the tablet. James watched him type as he finished cleaning the wound. It didn’t seem to need stitches; it was too shallow and would cause more issues if it was closed.
“Great job, Bond,” Doctor Heather said as she entered the area. “You did better than I would have thought given I was told that you had taken over rather forcefully.”
“I merely moved her out of the way. She had Gale screaming at her.”
“Yes. I was told about that as well.” Doctor Heather was the standard doctor who dealt with Double-Ohs who was severely injured as she had the ability to actually cow them. James was glad that she was taking care of Gale because she was the best.
“Your scans were fine. There is no glass or anything else embedded in the wound. So we can just dress it and send you on your way to work again. I’m giving you a sling, and I expect that arm to be in it. You can work one-handed. I’ve seen you do it enough. Anything more and you’ll risk on keep opening the wound. Clean up, Bond. You are going to be my nurse for this.”
James laughed, and Gale smiled.
“Then I am sending you back to your Branch, Q and Bond will be your guard until such a time as M decides that it’s no longer needed.”
“What?” Gale asked.
“There has already been a threat against you for dismantling Nine Eyes. It won’t take long for word to get out that it was you who did it.”
“And why are you telling us this?” Gale asked. There was a look of suspicion on his face.
“Since I am here. Tanner told Mallory where you were so he called down, It’s why I took so long to get to you. If you don’t want to take the job, Bond. You can let me know, and I’ll get security to escort him and stay with him until another Double-Oh can be called in.”
“No need. I can watch over him just fine.”
“What about…” Gale stopped and looked at James with a weird look. There was a chime on his tablet, and he swiped at the screen. It was Gale’s personal work tablet, so he did have his email get to go off on it. “It seems I am to build a new identity for Miss Swann.”
“Yes. There are enough tendrils of Spectre left that Mallory and I think she would be better off, safer with a whole new identity.”
“Shouldn’t just having you with her be enough?”
“If I were going with her.”
“Gentlemen, let me in, Doctor Heather said.
James stepped back to see that Gale was looking at him with a bizarre look on his face.
“It seemed like you were going to give up your job for her. You didn’t kill Oberhauser on the bridge. Moneypenny said that it was because you were showing her that you were better than her father.”
“I was showing her that but I kind of regret it now. He will have to be housed where he can contact no one and has no contact with anyone outside of people who are very trusted.”
“There is a new prison in the Scottish highlands that monitors everything remotely, and even food is given to prisoners with a time lock system. The guards put the food tray in a slot, and after they clear it, the other door opens. It’s how the clothes exchange is handled as well. Books are read on a screen that’s a closed system that is monitored heavily.”
“You helped with that part, didn’t you?” James felt pride that Gale had been part of it.
“Actually a lot of it.”
“Okay, gentlemen, you are done. I mean it, neither of you are allowed to leave MI6 until this threat is contained. Mallory will be down as soon as he can.”
James waited for Gale to slip off of the bed to step closer to him again. A nurse was outside the curtain. The medications they both needed were in his hand.
“Food will be dropped off as soon as I can run and get it,” the nurse said. He waited for Jame to nod before he rushed away to get it.
“Here’s to a working holiday at work,” James said.
Gale laughed, and it was one of the best sounds in the world to James; he really just wanted to hear it for the rest of his life. To learn all of the ways that Gale laughed when he was alone or with a lover. There was just the catch that Gale still hadn’t had a relationship since his sister’s betrayal. He was happy just finding someone for a night and never more. James would have to move carefully, or he would lose him, and James would rather that never happen.