DISCLAIMER: The Bond universe is the creation of Ian Fleming. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
THANKS: To Ann for the beta.
The Bond Manual:
For Super Sexy Spies
Rule Number Two: all for Queen and country
Jane stole a pristine rose from the arrangement on Moneypenny's desk; the silver hue sparkling against the midnight blue of her suit and highlighting the depths of her dark, mysterious brown eyes. She'd been told to look her best. The timbre of M's voice both a warning and a promise of dire consequences for any perceived wrongdoing.
"Isn't it exciting?" Moneypenny asked, her hand landing lightly on Jane's arm. "I wish I could tell my father, he'd be ever so proud."
Jane had once overheard her own father describe a similar meeting and, as far as she could remember, there had been little pride in his voice. 'For Queen and Country' might have been the service's motto, but the idea of parading before royalty like some prized sow didn't sit well with either Bond.
"I have an appointment at three," Jane grumbled, looking down at her watch. "So, I do hope this doesn't drag on."
"Drag on?" Moneypenny looked horrified. "Jane, really, you're talking about the Queen."
Jane had nothing against the woman; she'd made her acquaintance several years before during an Embassy affair when Jane had been called upon to divert the attentions of a former Soviet spy who'd been hell-bent on fawning over the bejewelled monarch. The lady herself had been charming, if a little confused by Jane's sudden tackle of the swarthy looking man with the ready-made bow tie, and the two had chatted amicably for the better part of an hour before security had intervened and ushered Her Majesty into another room. No, it wasn't the Queen whose presence Jane resented, but the every growing entourage with their list of do's and don'ts with which to beat her over the head.
"I hope you're not thinking of leaving the function early to rush back to one of your ... women."
With a raise of her eyebrow, Jane confirmed Moneypenny's worst fear; the woman in question was an interpreter for the UN and only in the country for twenty-four hours whilst on-route to somewhere more exotic. Jane liked to think she was beyond clichés, but she couldn't countenance giving up a day in bed with a blonde, blue-eyed beauty from Sweden, just to receive a medal and her sovereign's grateful thanks. There were limits, even to a Bond's sense of duty.
The muffled sound of pomp and circumstance floated in from the room beyond, and within moments, they were being escorted into the rarefied presence of Her Majesty the Queen. Moneypenny curtsied, primly, while Jane merely inclined her head, an insouciant smile aimed firmly at the lady herself.
M ground her teeth and made a mental list of the ways she could legitimately kill Jane without ending her days in prison.
"Ms Bond," said the Queen. "We are very pleased to meet you once again. You have the thanks of your monarch and your country for your valiant efforts to save this realm from the tyranny of foreign madmen." There was a pause in which she remembered the long list of mentally infirm relations who peopled her own Germanic roots. "Please accept this, our most humble thanks."
With two notable exceptions, everybody in the room bowed, leaving Jane and the Queen to stare at each other across a sea of lowered heads. "Thanks, Betty," Jane mouthed, before giving a wink and disappearing out of a side door.
Her head raised, M spluttered in shock as the door slammed shut on her escaping operative. Four weeks of planning left in ruins because one rogue agent couldn't follow orders. She looked to the makeshift throne, awaiting the end of her career, and possibly her life. The prospect of haunting Jane and all her worthless descendants the only bright spot in her otherwise miserable day.
The Queen simply laughed.
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