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Bond’s letting mind wander, tuxedo jacket off, waiting in the Royal Box for the command that informs the Prince and his wife are in the building.
The ENO is only half full, most patrons still drinking and celebrating the last performance of Giselle in the sequence. Halloween is only a few days away yet James is stuck in the past, message from M in his Skyfall effects as yet unwatched. On leave as of Monday would normally mean focus to 004, but she’s off to Ankara on Sunday in the Diplomatic Bag. If liaison were possible, tonight is the night: Bond is amazed at how much he desires Flemmings in bed, on the sofa or indeed anywhere else in his Pimlico flat. The mere thought of mouth on his causes a frisson of arousal; needing to move, allowing space for body to react. Then the message in his ear is damning: Jester is still at Kensington Palace and hasn’t left. The performance will be delayed 30 minutes.

Putting on the Tom Ford jacket with irritation, Bond heads for Ops: leaving the Box, 004’s instantly smack bang in his eyeline. All he can do is stare, mouth opened in transfixed amazement.

Ronni’s not wearing a gown, which would normally be strictly against protocol. Instead there are black dress trousers, killer heels plus a white shirt that’s barely staying fastened, straining over pronounced breasts that are further accentuated by a plunge bra and the underbust corset. Her holster’s black, different from standard issue, and Bond’s lost, aware that slack-jawed and wide eyed are the least of his embarrassments. As if on cue she turns and looks straight at him, before that most seductive of voices tickles his inner ear.

‘Weren’t you taught that it’s rude to stare?’

‘I’m sorry, I was just admiring the view. Is that corset -‘

‘Kevlar, of course. This is what a male-only Whitehall Committee decided would pass for adequate body protection, which is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard. I wanted to prove that everybody had forgotten to factor breasts yet again into the equation. Totally impractical, but incredibly comfortable. In that regard, I might wear this again.’

‘What time do you finish shift, 004?’

‘Long before you have time to work out how this comes off. They bought my flight forward, I’m in the air before the Interval. As it happens I’m off to hand in my token and sign off now, you’ll need to do this on your own.’

His groin is aching, everything far too tight: completely oblivious to situation the tuxedo trousers are being undone, realisation he’s happily about to masturbate with an audience …

The mobile phone’s alarm saves him from himself, insistent tone on the bedside cabinet that he wants to break but instead ignores. 007 lies prone, sheet stuck to a still aching erection, before grasping why this interruption was warranted: today he really has no desire to get up.

This is the morning to pretend, grieving for two of his closest friends.

The fiction won’t be hard to spin, because he misses Ronni with a pain that can never be recalled at any point in his life. This is worse than when his parents or Vesper died, forced to live and breathe a lie that makes him sick with its existence. Given the chance he’d be in the air, on the ground in Italy and hunting Veronica down, dedicated to rescue and protection for as long as was warranted. This inability to do anything to help or support has become an open wound that M finally, blissfully, has allowed him to at least treat if not heal. Today has been planned to the second, more drama than would ever be found at the ENO: performance not just for him, but Spectre too, because his public persona would then be forcibly retired in full view of the World. After the curtain fell, Bond would be on a military transport to to Bangkok where he fully intended to dedicate the rest of his tenure on the books to eliminating Christian Swann and anyone who thought the maniac deserved to be in charge of anything.

If anybody is going to put a bullet in his head, it will be 007.

Before that happens however, there is time to lose body and mind in the shower. Bond’s quietly grateful the monitoring in his flat no longer operates, that of late he’s spent more time washing parts of his body than was ever true before. There isn’t a moment when Veronica’s not in his mind, one form or another, and knowing her sexual appetite is at least equal, if not larger than his? James at least has the luxury of immediate relief, but it ends up never being enough. What worries more however is the realisation that despite all his best efforts, he is again becoming emotionally attached to a woman with whom he works. Each time this happens, without fail, the results are disastrous… except something has changed deep within his psyche that 007 is having trouble grasping. He’s not getting any younger, and as soon as Swann is dead? His tenure in the 00 Section is over. When that comes to pass, the possibility of someone to help him survive moving forward is now being almost positively encouraged by his employers. In a certain light, it is almost as if 004 has been presented to him as means to let go.

He won’t let anyone manipulate Flemmings into anything, and the more that insistence and determination grows, to ensure she’s allowed free rein and the ability to do the job she fought so hard for, the deeper desire for this woman becomes. That feeling however is anything but sexual, vital need to maintain her equality and ensure everyone else did the same. His respect, in the end, outweighed the basic inclination to act to type and nobody in his entire life had ever derailed so successfully. When he’d asked Madeline to marry, it was borne from a desire to protect. If that happened with Veronica it would only be as a means to maintain their joint sanctity, and suddenly an awful lot of other things make sense. If there is a step back from the belief that the world revolves around him?

Standing under freezing water, James Bond willingly embraces the epiphany.

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Everything related to James Bond (007) belongs to Eon Productions and Danjaq LLC, except the bits in here that are mine and I made up. I get how this works.

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