Bond’s sober, conscious and instantly nauseous; sudden need to vomit whilst disorientated in the darkness, until there’s a hand gently holding head, medical container under mouth. He doesn’t remember the last time there was food yet the bowl is full, blood and dirt obvious amongst the yellow liquid. Too many seconds pass before the woman next to him stops being a stranger, smell and touch suddenly familiar…
His compatriot is dirty, soot on face and arms, cut to dark forehead as disbelief morphs into recognition. He’d expected to wake up at Como but this undoubtedly Lynam, Secret Service medical unit that sits out of sight of the world. For a second he cannot grasp why 003 would look like this, until memory finally provides context. Eve’s returned from her first field mission: the guy taking your vomit away while she hugs you is 009.
He doesn’t like his surname used, Bond recalls, doing his best to show more awareness than might be expected. Their first meeting was almost yesterday, crossing paths on the tarmac outside this place as he flew to Alaska, LaCroix on the way for debriefing at the Barracks. Coalescing awareness registers dressings on face and hands, dull pain in the left lower back he knows is a historical injury and not new. Without any idea of time frames and contexts there’s uncertainy as to how this game’s being played, and so keeping quiet is probably wise. However, there are no tears, only grim determination in Eve’s features. When Charlie returns, Bond decides to hand his colleagues the initiative.
‘What did I miss?’
The pair exchange an uncertain glance, LaCroix who speaks first.
‘Doctor was very clear, we can’t tell you anything, has to be recalled by yourself, because there’s a concussion, probably several. That’s gonna cause a problem, I suspect, because you’re hoping we tell you what we know first.’
‘Excellent idea: why don’t you tell me what I should know.’
‘Charlie and I shut down an entire Spectre operation in northern Holland with minimal casualties, nearly sixty people have been detained as a result. Local law enforcement were struggling to cope when we left.’
Moneypenny’s pride is obvious, Bond grinning at the woman who finally stopped caring what people said, just as had been the case with the agent who’d inspired them all. Veronica. Her mouth’s on his, salt tears falling onto disbelieving features, gentle pressure of lips to a grateful forehead. She’d used his joke about just passing, finally bettered his abdominals, abundantly apparent under that dress, plastered to a perfect body as everything comes back to him in a rush. Having sacrificed himself to Maddy, refusing to continue their intimacy, James knew there’d been a chance he’d become nothing more than a condemned man. However, as the end rose up to swallow him, 004 had materialised as ultimate redemption.
Bond detaches from reality, simply nodding along to an animated recount of the Dutch attack, factory running as a front for drug distribution plus people trafficking. Letting their revelations exist alongside undoubtedly joint joy at this completed mission, Bond is impressed that Q got the metrics on both utterly spot on. There’s already respect from Charlie as Eve tells her side of the tale, clear admiration and joy in the young woman’s face when narrative switches to LaCroix. James grasps enough about body language to place desire existing between them both, but this is early days, and maybe the rest of humanity doesn’t work on the same motivation that he does.
‘This is clearly a fantastic job from you both. However, it still doesn’t explain what happened to me.’
‘Perhaps you should just ask the question and see where that gets you.’
M, it appears, has been sitting in the room the entire time but Bond never registered, realising that his eyesight’s not exactly as brilliant as first thought. The revelation’s a surprise, staring at the large dark blurred space where sound came from before hazarding a response.
‘Where’s 004 right now?’
There is no flicker of response from anyone in the room, before M stands, conveniently moving into Bond’s focus.
‘003 was correct, we can’t provide you with that answer. You need to do it for yourself. The truth please, 007.’
‘Once she’d rescued me, I was left with her smart watch, and shortly afterwards was sent a codeword. She and Q are dead.’
‘Indeed they are, both were incinerated in the explosion that destroyed the building in Venice we now know was Spectre’s Northern Italian HQ.’
M stares, no emotion on grim features. Moneypenny is a mask, Charlie impassive, and Bond loves that British Intelligence does everything by the book. Each person in this room grasps full well that he just lied through his teeth, will play the conviction of truth with a skill they’ve all been trained for. In any situation where communication could be compromised, codewords will be used to reinforce intent. When a 00 agent goes dark, all others on the roster are on a need to know basis, which will be defined by the current senior officer.
‘I am very sorry to report that your fiancée is also dead, and we’re now pursuing leads to locate Christian Swann, who was responsible for her demise. Any help you can give with this would be greatly appreciated, 007. However, for now you need to rest, and the medical team allowed to complete their work. La Croix and Moneypenny, we need to commence your debriefing. Until later, Bond. We’ll allow appropriate space to grieve this terrible double loss.’
As soon as they’re gone, 007 drags his complaining body out of bed, testing levels of fitness. There is undoubtedly disorientation and nausea, but still ability to make the bathroom with IV in tow to deposit the last stomach contents in the en suite’s sink. Looking critically in the bathroom mirror, face is a mess, far more than he ever remembers at any point in the tenure. Everything will heal if he allows, but there simply isn’t time. There’d been a point where rest would have been appreciated but now? There is a game to be played that holds far greater significance, and that’s already making him irritable. Grieving for absence will be easy: he’ll just be more angry than usual and use his frustration at being unable to rescue Ronni as fuel for the journey.
Maddy’s death however, prompts a fury that is surprising. The woman did nothing to deserve the abuse and manipulation levelled from her half brother, becoming unwitting pawn in both father’s and sibling’s game. This loss therefore could not be allowed to be forgotten without some form of organised and decisive retaliation. Her death would be mourned, then dissected at length with Gregory, so that Bond could categorically assure himself to never allow the same set of circumstances to consume existence ever again. After that’s done, 007 needs to be out of Hospital and back into theatre as soon as humanly possible.
As it transpires, he’s still not done with the designation.
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.