DISCLAIMER: The Bond universe is the creation of Ian Fleming. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The keypad slipped easily from its place, falling on the one screw she'd left hinged and swinging freely back and forth. Holding the pick between her teeth, Bond worked one gloved finger into the tight space and flicked the nearly-flush switch. It was all but impossible to find, would've been completely impossible if she hadn't already memorized the blueprints beforehand.
Flipping the switch caused the elevator car to hitch and the lights to flicker. After a moment, it continued upward.
Jane Bond, Agent 009, slipped her gloves off and stuffed them into a pocket of her bag. She had ten seconds, perhaps less. She unzipped the black, skintight cat suit that had allowed her to get onto the roof unseen and twisted her hips, pushing the slick material down and shoving it into the bag as well. Seven seconds. She adjusted the ball gown that had hidden underneath the suit, letting it fall to her ankles and making sure it wasn't too wrinkled from being compressed.
Five seconds. She hooked the strap of the bag to a wire hanging from the ceiling. One tug and the rope retracted, taking the bag and the evidence of her former wardrobe with it. Just before the doors slid open, she replaced the keypad and took a deep breath.
The elevator doors opened on the top floor, revealing a spacious ballroom. A casino was set up in the main hall, every table surrounded by men in tuxedos and women in various gowns. Gowns versus tuxes, Jane thought. There's a battle women have unequivocally lost. She'd never thought about how easy she had it as a man, but now she craved the simplicity of one black tux and a simple black bow tie. Hopefully it would all be resolved in a matter of hours.
Otherwise, she'd have to get used to those back-clasping brassieres.
She moved through the crowd, noticing that the party-goers seemed to part for her like a wave in the sea. It made her uncomfortable; she was used to being the center of attention, but having so many eyes locked on her at once...
Trying to ignore the scrutiny, she made her way across the hall to the stairs. They curled up along the sides of the wall as if making way for the ornate fountain between them. On the balcony where the two staircases met, she was watching. Vera Geneva. She was sipping from a champagne flute, her chestnut hair resting on bare shoulders like a shroud. They locked eyes and Geneva raised her glass in a half-salute.
Bond nodded her head in response and gave what she hoped was an enigmatic smile.
Geneva arched an eyebrow, dipping a fingertip into her glass and drawing a wet line over her bottom lip. She bowed her head and turned away, disappearing through an open set of double-doors. Bond tried to remain casual, taking a wineglass from a passing steward before starting up the stairs. If past parties were any indication, Vera Geneva always chose a lucky party guest to invite up to her suite. It was Bond's intention to be that guest at this party. After all, as James, he had been fortunate enough to be invited once before...
Bond stepped through the doors of the darkened suite, sensing movement behind her a moment too late. The gun parted her dark hair, pressing coolly against the base of her skull. "Who are you?" Geneva asked, her accent clipping each word.
Bond closed her eyes and said, "A friend. I swear to you."
"My identification isn't doing me a lot of good these days," Bond said. "If you'll put down the weapon, I'd..."
"Keep your hands on your head. Do not move." The gun disappeared and Bond felt Geneva's hands slide down her back. They cupped her ass, moved around to the front of her hips before snaking down the front of her thighs.
Bond flicked an eyebrow and glanced down. "I admire a nice, thorough frisking."
"Shut it," Geneva snapped. "Move. Against the wall."
Bond spread her hands on the wallpaper and let Geneva explore under her dress, warm fingers slipping up to the center of her thighs. She swallowed and said, "Very thorough indeed..."
"Who are you?" Geneva demanded, finally stepping back.
Bond turned. "My name used to be Bond. James Bond. As you can see, things have gotten a little complicated."
"Biedermeyer?" Geneva said, confusion furrowing her brow. "That's impossible. He's years away from having a viable..."
"Apparently he's been a busy boy since he stole your prototype. He has one ready to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Instant anonymity for any terrorist with enough money." Bond sighed and said, "I'm terribly sorry, Ms. Geneva, but time is of the upmost importance. I was drugged and imprisoned in Biedermeyer's stronghold for three days before I was alert enough to make my escape. It's taken me another two days to adjust to my new... situation... and make my way here."
"Oh, lord," Geneva blinked. "We haven't much time, then..."
"Forty-six hours, by my count," Bond said, "before the effects are irreversible."
Geneva picked up the phone, but Bond cut off the connection. "No one can know I'm here. Biedermeyer is under the impression I'm still his prisoner. If anyone, anyone at all, gets word that you're helping a mysterious woman..."
"He still thinks you're a prisoner? How..."
"He locked me in an isolation cell. No one in or out, no contact with the outside world. He planned to keep me there until there was no hope of fixing the damage done so, hopefully, he won't think to check on me until after this mess is resolved."
Geneva hung up the phone. "One can hope. How should we begin?"
"Your office. You still have the prototype of the weapon Biedermeyer used, yes?"
Geneva nodded. "Well, yes. It's in my laboratory. With some adjustments, I could perhaps rig it up for one short blast."
"We should go now. In case your prototype doesn't work, we'll have time to think of a Plan B." She started for the door, pausing when she realized Geneva wasn't following. "Look, if you're worried about leaving your party, then..."
"No, no, it's not that," Geneva said. "My laboratory is on campus at the university. It's closed for the holiday weekend and I'm not sure we'll be able to..."
"Holiday?" Bond interrupted.
"Christmas. Surely you remember..."
Bond blinked and looked down at her hands. "No, that's impossible."
"When... did Biedermeyer give you the treatment, James?"
"The end of... November..." Bond said, lowering herself to the couch.
Geneva closed her eyes. "I would say you've been irreversible for almost two weeks now, James. I... I'm so sorry."
Bond... Jane Bond... closed her hands into fists and stood. "Well. Now that we're off the ticking clock, what do you say we pay Dr. Biedermeyer a visit?"
It was going to take some getting used to, Bond decided. She was seated next to Vera Geneva, the car smelling of their mixed perfumes. She glanced over at Geneva in the passenger seat, eyes drawn as always to the way she filled out her black sweater. She licked her lips and looked back at Biedermeyer's building. "He always sleeps in the back bedroom," Geneva said. "Always in bed by ten-thirty sharp."
"And you know this how?"
"Jealous, James?" Geneva said, forgetting for the moment of Bond's predicament. Her smile faded and she bit her bottom lip. "I'm sorry..."
"Jane," Bond corrected quietly. "I'm Jane now."
Geneva bit her lip and said, "Is it... awkward?"
"A bit," Bond said. "My jockey shorts feel peculiarly empty."
Geneva smirked. "Ah, yes. They would, wouldn't they?"
Bond glanced at her and saw a blush spreading across her cheeks. "Right," she said. "Well, I suppose those days are over."
Bond raised an eyebrow.
"Ah. You're a prude, then."
"Hardly. But I doubt... I mean, it's hardly..."
Geneva laughed. "James Bond, speechless. Who knew all that eloquence was stored in your..."
"...Adam's apple. I was going to say Adam's apple."
Bond smirked at her and Geneva ran her tongue over her bottom lip. Bond, flustered by the overt come-on, lifted the binoculars and looked at the building again. The light had gone off and, according to the in-set clock, it was 10:31 precisely. "Looks like he's keeping the same schedule. Let's go have a chat with the mad scientist, shall we?"
Afterward, Biedermeyer's apartment was scrubbed clean. No traces of either woman remained, just the overweight corpse of a man who'd apparently succumbed to a bad heart. Fortunately, he'd held on long enough to confirm that he'd kept Bond in a drug-induced stupor for well over a week. By the time the agent had come to, it was already far too late to reverse the procedure.
Back at Geneva's townhouse, Bond splashed her face with cold water and stared at her reflection. She had just taken a shower, simultaneously turned on and depressed by the new design of her body. Standing in front of the mirror, she tried to put a positive spin on it. The tactical part of her brain insisted this was a boon; that it was the best disguise a secret agent could hope for. Especially a secret agent with such a reputation as hers.
Another part refused to see it positively.
The bathroom door opened and Bond straightened, watching Geneva approach in the mirror. Geneva locked eyes with Bond's reflection, locking eyes with her as she pressed against the agent's back. She remembered the first time she'd shared Geneva's bed, on a mission in Switzerland. The ghost of that night, being with and within Geneva, caused stirrings deep inside. Bond closed her eyes as Geneva's teeth nipped at her earlobe. "Vera," Bond whispered. "It won't be the same..."
"I know," Geneva whispered. "Let me show you how good different can be..."
The towel fell to the floor.
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