Disclaimer: I own nothing! Buffy is the product of Joss Wheedons wonderfully active impagination and Bond and M belong to the Ian Fleming Estate and Eon Productions. Daniel Craig, is also, unfortunately, not mine. Sigh....
Author's Note: Just an interlude in the Phoenix and Fire Universe, set about 6 months after Licence to Kill and a year before Phoenix starts.
They met on the river edge of the Embankment as always. The weather had turned and the Thames was grey and choppy, the wind lashing the ends of her ponytail against her face, so that one hand was impatiently scraping blond strands away from her eyes. As usual she felt him coming before he got within 20 feet and she turned to meet him, raising her chin in greeting.
Her lips quirked into a smile, one of her trademark bittersweet grins, with too many memories and too much pain behind it and he returned the favour, his own smile reflecting hers with a painful honesty that he showed to few other people. The wind was getting colder by the minute and she shivered under her parka as he moved in beside her, both of them turning back to contemplate the endless depths of the river. This wasn’t the first time he had met her here, or the tenth and he knew her well enough by now to know that she would get to the point in her own sweet time and not a minute before. In the meantime he huddled further into his own coat and cursed the wind and his own blood for having gotten too thin after too many missions in the tropics.
“I need you to do something for me.”
He stayed silent, waiting for the rest of it. He could see the clean lines of her profile out of his peripheral vision, skin stretched too tight over her cheekbones, shadows under her eyes.
“I need you to teach me.”
He raised an eyebrow, faintly surprised. In all their meetings and all the sparring sessions where she broke him down and built him up again with brutal efficiency it had always been him asking her, testing himself against her lethal grace and supernatural strength and mostly coming out wanting. But by god he had learned. In fact the curve had been almost exponential. But it was strange somehow to hear his words coming from her mouth.
He turned his head to look at her and she mirrored his motion, green eyes locking with blue as he attempted to scan her and read her intentions.
“What do you want me to teach you?”
She broke his gaze and stared out over the water again but Bond noticed that her hands, gripping the railing, were white knuckled with tension. When she replied it was in little more than a whisper and he had to strain to hear her.
He had to clear it with M of course. While he had kept the details of his regular humiliation that passed for training to himself he was under no illusions that his boss didn’t know every detail. She probably even had photos that she took out to gloat at whenever he did something to particularly irritate her. But this was something different, this training of an ally by a representative of the government and he knew that things would go infinitely smoother if he had at the very least her permission, if not her blessing.
So that was the reason he was standing in front of her desk like a recalcitrant schoolboy while she glared and shuffled papers at him.
“So she wants training?”
“Surely she can go to her own people for that? I would be surprised if they haven’t got the resources. After all they have been around for a rather long time.”
He inclined his head in agreement. They certainly had. “I have a suspicion that the kind of training she’s looking for is not the kind they would approve of, or could provide.”
M’s gaze sharpened, suddenly interested.
“What kind of training, Bond?”
He laid it out before her, all the things Buffy had listed to him in a quiet, steady voice. Guns, tactics, strategy, paramilitary insertion, explosives, command decision making, even battlefield medicine.
M listened; the only sign of her surprise a raised eyebrow and an increasing stillness as he went through the list.
“Sounds like the Slayer is gearing up to fight a war.”
They both paused as they considered what kind of war could force a Slayer to adopt modern military tactics. Visions of supernatural carnage slipped through Bond’s mind and he suppressed a shiver. Sending ordinary forces against the kind of things a Slayer normally faced would be bad enough. But this… From the tight lipped look on M’s face she wasn’t exactly having visions of sugar plum fairies either. So he wasn’t surprised when she took up a pen and went back to her paperwork.
“Give her what she wants.”
He nodded and turned to go.
He turned back to meet her eyes, saw the awareness in her gaze that matched his own, the stark certainty of how desperate they both knew Summers had to have been to come to them instead of her own people. And the underlying fear for the future that her fear embedded in them both. Suddenly the prospect of Armageddon seemed all too real. And how could an intelligence agency from one small country prevent the end of the world? Maybe only by allying with one of the few individuals who could. Her eyes questioned his commitment and he gave her certainty back. Satisfied she nodded and this time he made it to the door before she had the last word, as always.
“And James? Try not to fuck it up.”
He shut the door on her humphh of amusement at his oh so respectful farewell.
In her office, behind closed doors M rummaged in a file folder and removed a 4x4 black and white photograph which she studied with grave intensity. In it Buffy Summers stood over a monstrosity which used to have seven arms and two heads but was currently missing all of the previous. There was blood on her face and a nasty burn down one arm and she was clearly exhausted and favouring a leg. But there was an expression on her face, a look of absolute cold and focused determination. It was clear that she was prepared to kill that monster all over again if she had to. No fear, no fear at all at facing something that would drive a platoon of the SAS into shuddering horror.
But Bond had said that Summers had seemed nervous, almost scared when she had asked for his help. M reached out a finger and touched the image's face very gently and inwardly shuddered. She had always hoped that armageddon wouldn't happen until after she was safely dead. However it seemed she wasn't going to be that lucky. She looked down at the photograph again and made up her mind.
She keyed the intercom.
“Villiers, make a note in my diary for tomorrow. I'll need a copy of our standard agency co-operation agreement modifed.”
“Yes Ma'am. What name should I insert for the other party?”
“Summers. Buffy Summers.”
She looked down at the photograph once more, taking comfort in the implacable look in those piercing eyes, before locking it safely away. She had work to do, and allies for Ms Summers to find, if any of them were going to survive the end of the world.
Even the Queen of the Amazons needed a little help sometimes to save the world.