"Nightingale" by Diamond Dog

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Well, I’m a bit late to the party, but we did get Skyfall on DVD so this is a hubba-hubba moment for me. ;3; I really wanted to write some Skyfall earlier but got caught up in AC III--otherwise, here’s the product of a lot of guns, explosions, and more explosions to make the ultimate Bond film which was AWESOME, by the way. I still very much enjoyed Casino Royale and perhaps I’ll plan on writing for that too--or mention it in this story, which takes place during the timeframe of Skyfall. I’m actually not even sure if Casino Royale and Skyfall are related since Quantum of Solace picked up right after Casino Royale, but we’ll see. :)

I’d also like to mention that I really have NO idea what the final pairing will be. [Edit: 02/24 - Pairing has been decided. No votes needed!] I’ve been debating both Bond and Q, but I know it has to be one or the other. Are there any preferences for this pairing? Because I really have no idea what’s going to happen. .__. Bond is totally up for grabs in Skyfall since he technically doesn’t even interact romantically with Eve, and he only had one moment with Severine before she ah… “lost her head”. Ba dum tss. -slapped-

Other notes included:
- Apparently there was a speculated female 00 Agent as 008.
- Made too many AC III references when watching Skyfall again. (HAYTHAM’S GONNA COME TO SAVE THE DAY!)
- I just realized that Alec (006) in GoldenEye was played by Sean Bean, who played Boromir in Lord of the Rings. :|
- Writing the insert-character in this fic was slightly influenced by the story behind The Redcoat and The Commander in AC III multiplayer.
- The title and the story were inspired by the poem “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats.
- Special thanks to Bunny for the awesome job beta-ing this chapter! ;A; Thank you darling~ you were a great help. Check her out as well, she's got some awesome Bond fics!


(c) Skyfall - EON Productions, Ian Fleming




21 : 46 : 23 PM

It was times like these you wondered briefly about mortality. Life was so much easier to see on the other side of a muzzle with your hand on the trigger, because you were in control and you controlled who gets to keep their brains intact and who got it painted across the walls. You dwelled on mortality because it was often you had assault rifle bullets and chopper gunners and close encounters with grenades after your skin. You were not perfect--the scars on your body showed for it, but you fixed that up with some homemade stitches and medication. And then you got on with your life with another brewed cup of office coffee and took another assignment with a big red fat “TOP SECRET” stamp across the manila folder.

You liked those the most, because those were the ones that truly questioned your mortality. It was those missions that nearly got you killed, but you welcomed death’s lust for your blood because you knew of the risks the moment you walked into the MI6 headquarters. But that was okay. Because you explored a side of the world that few people were allowed to, above jurisdictions and regulations shoved aside with a “license to kill”. And perhaps it was this that truly gave you the upper hand in all life or death situations. It’s not cheating if you know you’re going to win, and win you did, returning back to the headquarters a little more rugged than usual but you got the job done. Your assertion and swift feet and equally swift decision making was praiseworthy but it was agents like you--the kind that brushed off mortality for invincibility--that became the sort of problem the brass often found difficult to control.

You like to believe you were dangerous, because the foes that M sent you against would know that, too. And you were. All high-ranking MI6 agents were, were they not? You did not dwell on mortality because beneath that there was a man with a wife and children and a love for football or rugby, who wanted to go to the pub and get shit-faced to the point of sticking his face in a toilet to vomit it all back up. That was what you saw behind the iron sights of your ASP on very rare occasions; why dwell on a family man who took coin to murder you if you stood in his way? So you let the trigger do the talking, wiped off the specks of blood that stained your white blouse and moved on.

And while the brass didn’t particularly mind your methods, they did frown upon your brutality. M once told you that orphans made the best agents, and she was right--007 was a fine one, very fine in the aspect of appearance and skill. You were no orphan though, an army brat from day one and you were shooting hunting rifles since you were hardly five, the silhouettes of unnamed figures at the end of the shooting range or scotch bottles on the fence at the farm. Headshots and torsos riddled with gaping bullet holes and you loved it. An army brat and a daddy’s girl, the worst possible combination that arrived at MI6’s doorstep but they took you into their fold and never regretted it since.

You were young but you were no fool. A decorated agent and a brutal one at that, swift and cunning that your equally decorated files were frequently monitored to predict the day you would finally snap. But you never did. You knew your place and you knew your loyalty, to the MI6 and the gun in your hand. So when you found yourself suspended from field duty--Bill had actually told you it was a vacation; oh, gods, you were laughing hysterically at that--you were forced to the confines of a provided office space near M’s. You had gotten a little too colorful with your reports and left out some information that would have gotten you discharged and a court martial, but that was okay. Sometimes you thought M wished your father was around to keep you in control without having to witness you somersault dive from cover to cover with your pistol in hand. In the offices.

You were young and you were brash, yes, but your long-standing position was helpful on your resume that you did indeed actually prove to be a useful asset to the MI6. You had joined upon your father’s behest and the MI6 allowed you with open arms--it must’ve been the perk of having a decorated military father. Again, your position did little to prevent the fact that you were an army brat. 007 had shared many instances with you about that in a coy tone that underlined you were not just a brat, but a relentless bitch that could throw a hissy fit if you wanted to. He didn’t really mean that, though. Well, he says he didn’t mean it when you were together on assignments probably because he could get a bullet to the back of his head if he so much as turned his back to you.

But that was long ago, years marked nearly in double digits yet time had been kind to you, but not your foes. At least for now you were confined to a spacious office to type up reports and check on the other agents and what-say-you, chin in palm as you printed out another file for M to look over and shake her had at for you to try again. This certainly wasn’t your cup of tea, being forced behind a desk but what the boss said, the boss said.

You drew your styrofoam cup up to your lips, rereading the next report over thick-framed eyeglasses. The lights had been dimmed in your office and the nightfall outside was followed by London’s habitual downpour of rain, water racing down your curtain-less bulletproof glass window. It wasn’t often you got to go home early--it wasn’t often that you even went home; too tired to even leave the office that you ended up sleeping on one of the lounge couches. Judging by the time--21:46:23 PM--you could finish the last of your reports and make it back to your flat for the latest sitcom and TV dinner.

But all that was soon tarnished the moment the door to your office clicked open, in stepping a well-dressed agent you had come to know as the “man-whore 007”. His dress suit off-set his environment which was modernized in smooth dark mahogany wood and black carpet, white panels lining intervals at parts of the wall while the bulletproof window was facing the river. James--or Bond, you called him, saying his first name had to be said while moaning--approached your desk, his hands stuffed in his slack’s pockets, his watch glinting against the dim lights. He threw a smirk your way, greeting, “Hello, darling,” and pulling up a seat across from you.

“Bond,” you replied back, fingers hitting the keyboard as you regarded him over the rim of your glasses. “Late night visits now, hmm? I get the feeling I won’t be leaving until you’ve gotten what you wanted.”

His smirk widened, blue eyes glinting against the darkness. “Oh, you know me so well. No, that isn’t the reason behind my visit. I wanted to know if M put you to the next job.”

Your eyebrow cocked up as you paused in typing the next sentence. “’Next job?” you repeated. “She never told me anything about another assignment. Did you come here to rub it in my face because I’m temporarily suspended or--”

“No, none of that,” he interrupted, genuinely interested. “I was looking over the files and I noticed that you weren’t debriefed. I thought they temporarily suspended you so you could recuperate for the next assignment. We just got it this morning.”

You watched him, taking another sip of your tea. “Well, I can tell you that I was not informed of such things. I suppose she has her reasons though, and I can tell you now that I’m a little pissy about this.”

James regarded you for a moment before pulling out a folded packet from his suit jacket, sliding it across your desk. You grasped the papers and unfolded it, pulling out a ticket and reading its destination. “Hmm. If I wasn’t so sure, I’d be thinking you were going on a vacation to Istanbul, Bond. Well done.”

“One of our agents may be under attack,” he said, voice low against the patter of rain. “Intel has speculated that the assailant is after a hard drive with a list of names regarding NATO. Are you sure M didn’t mention this to you at all?”

“No, nothing,” you said, handing him back the papers. “You’d think a job at this caliber she’d be sending you and me.”

“She’s pairing me with another agent,” Bond responded, folding his leg so his ankle rested against his thigh, hands threaded against his stomach as he leaned back in his chair, an extremely curious look on his face. “Eve. I’ve never heard of her but she’s been around the headquarters for quite some time. Her resume looks good, though.”

“But not as good as mine,” you shot back, printing out the last report.

James chuckled. The last assignment you were both paired with was the ride of his life. So many moments where the reaper was so close to grasping you in his hold but you flicked him the bird and told the officious prick to “SOD OFF!” and blasted his face with a shotgun round. You were spontaneous but an effective agent, and James enjoyed working with you. He still had to learn that you didn’t take kindly to his hands running marathons against the skin of your thighs and had promptly socked him across the face for behaving like a pig.

So that’s why he was concerned why he would head to Istanbul without someone who could pull the trigger without a shaky hand. You were good in what you did and so was he and the two went hand in hand so well that even M knew it. It was that point in time of your career where things should have been obvious now, that skill shouldn’t go to terrible waste in an office. But with brutality came begrudging loyalty, and you knew better than to test M’s judgment. If she thought you were the one for the job you wouldn’t even be in this position. Maybe this other agent--this Eve--was someone put to the test of promotion through a high-stake assignment. If so then you understood M’s reasoning completely.

So you smiled, pulling off your glasses and hanging them in the unbuttoned portion of your blouse. “Ohh… Does James Bond miss having a reliable gun at this side?”

He met your teasing with the flash of his blue eyes, a kind smirk on his lips. “More like a pretty woman to look at.”

“Oh, please, Bond, I would never spread my legs for you.”

“Not even after a few martinis?”

“Not even after a few martinis.”

“Well, in that case I suppose I’m losing my charm,” he said, rising from the seat. He brushed off imaginary dust from his thighs and folded the papers back into his pocket, leaning over the desk to press a light kiss against your cheek. “Do stay out of trouble when I return, would you? I would hate for that pretty face to be gone.”

You swatted him away as he drew back, heading for the door. “I’d think you were more interested in my thighs than my face, 007.”

He threw you a casual salute as he opened the door. “Oh, those too. I’d hate to come back and never see them again,” and shut the door with a dry laugh.

After a moment when you were sure he was gone, you drew back your ASP and placed it back on the surface of your desk where you once had it resting against your palm, aimed straight at Bond’s testicles. The man had a knack for trying to woo you, and after all these years you were still successful in refusing his advances. He was charming, he was sophisticated and he certainly knew what he was doing. Apparently he also had a knack for sadomasochism judging by the fact that he just kept coming back for more of your abuse. But despite Bond’s charm and a body you would do the most inappropriate things to, you had an important job and couldn’t afford to let distractions like him get in the way.

Not like half of the MI6 headquarters had previously speculated that Bond had already gotten between your thighs. It was hard to escape something like that and become a strumpet to an already infamous womanizer. The downsides of befriending a decorated agent of the MI6.

After printing out the lasts of your reports you grabbed your coat and shrugged it on, umbrella in hand as you walked out of your office and locked up. Heading down the pristine halls of the MI6, which was still alive and busy even at this time of night, you approached M’s office and the security allowed you clearance. Her office was not detached from the others--in fact it was like a miniature zone specialized for her, other MI6 operatives working with swift hands at their computer monitors. They hardly passed you a glance as you approached M’s desk, the woman behind it standing before the window and watching the rain across London.

With her back to you, hands folded behind her, you coughed aloud. “Ma’am, I’ve the reports you had requested.”

She turned around, seemingly jolted from her thoughts but her professional manner surfaced immediately, her face stoic, aged, set in stone but all you saw was a hardened woman beneath all that. She took the reports you held out and glanced over them, critical and analyzing over every minute detail. You had to remember that nothing was never enough to her; there was always room for improvement and you used the synonyms tab a every now and then for reoccurring words, but otherwise you thought they were good... enough.

Meaning someone of your stature preferred guns to diplomacy.

You didn't blame her for thinking them not "good enough". You operated within the field, not behind desks or computers. In fact, the only time you were behind desks or computers was when there was a shootout or there was hacking involved. Such finesse didn't carry over to reports or anything related. Your father was mostly-brawns-some-brains kind of guy, but he made his way up the military ladder and expected the same out of you. It wasn't that you despised M--no, of course not. In fact you shared her outlook of "get the job done" but it was your personality, your hotheaded insistence that seethed her.

After one more critical sweep she set them down on her desk, her eyes still rather divided in attention. “It’ll do. Thank you, [Surname],” and left it at that.

But you were curious, and it wasn’t often you watched your mouth when you were around her. You wanted to know why you weren’t assigned alongside Bond for this next mission--a mission as important if the NATO leaders were targeted. Bond himself could handle it but you hadn’t heard of Eve. Meaning if you hadn’t heard of Eve you would assume she was still a newbie rising among the ranks and was offered this chance alongside 007.

Meaning if she screwed it up she would have a lot riding on her arse for killing off James Bond, a 00 Agent.

“Ma’am, I wish to know why I hadn’t been notified of 007’s latest assignment and why I wasn’t assigned with him,” you said, voice curious but you knew your place despite the authority figure standing before you.

M’s eyes snapped back up to you, but you only had your hands behind your back, fingers clutching the curve of your black umbrella as you rocked back and forth on your heels. You were not smiling--more like your lips were curved in the slightest hint of one, but she knew that your smiles were not audacious in the least. You were a fool for being so straightforward with her, but she knew of your value--your worth. She couldn’t let you go no matter how much of an imprudent brat you were being with her.

“There is no breaking the bond you two share, is there?” she muttered, clearly annoyed at 007 breaking the clearance regulation. “This was a task best assigned for 007. You are still on temporary suspension, and your suspension is still in effect, [Surname].”

“I dare say it, but I call bullshit, ma’am,” you clarified, causing the older woman to raise her eyebrows in surprise at you. “You know better than anyone that I’m fit for the job. NATO agents at stake and your own operative in potential danger? It’s not something Bond can handle alone, I can tell you that much.”

“That’s why we’ve assigned Miss Moneypenny,” M said. “Your services were not needed and you’re suspended from field duty until we see it fit you prove yourself active for another assignment.”

“You stick me in a bloody office filing reports and all you can conjure up is my suspension?” you challenged, eyes hardening. “Ma’am, I--”

“008, either you can accept the bloody suspension or risk your job,” she forcefully pressed, her eyes stating that she was having enough of your inane prattle. You would be speaking circles with her at this point, and the last thing she wanted was a sparring battle with you regarding her judgment. She knew what she was doing and she did it knowing that you wouldn’t enjoy it--that was how jobs worked, and you had to know that being a little brat about it wouldn’t get your way.

It was that moment again. That moment when you thought about your mortality and how easily it would be to just be crushed under an iron fist, to be the one with the muzzle aimed in the middle of your forehead. M had your life in the palms of her very wrinkly hands, but her voice--oh, her voice could say one thing and it would be game over. Everything you stood for, your body and relationships sacrificed to keep this all afloat, it was the price you paid and not a day goes by you can feel the push of a cold muzzle aimed right at your heart.

It was the knowing of your mortality, that your body armor-invincibility could not withstand the punch of a point-blank round in the face of wrath. You faced death so many times that you were surprised he had not welcomed you inside his home yet. A job like yours which required so much secrecy and deception was not easy to leave from, and the only way out was obvious decommission or a reason for permanent suspension. Or death.

So that’s why you finally shut your mouth, eyes hard as she met your gaze on equal footing. The office was silent before but now it was just deathly silent, some of the workers passing each other looks. How often was it a 00 Agent came in and gave M the headache of a lifetime? Yet you still stood your ground, pride swelling and wanting to tell her to sod off, that it was utter bullshit that she would say such a thing to you. Your lips drew tight against your teeth as your jaw tightened, fists gripping your umbrella to the point where you so badly wanted to lash out at the woman before you. You could stamp your foot and shout and cry out all the things that would hurt a five-year-olds feelings, but M was better than that and so were you.

And what your father would say right now if he was present. Laps and laps around the farm, push-ups and pull-ups and the ruler. If he had known that spoiling his only daughter would give him the reputation of a tyrant he would have slapped you across the face this instant.

So that's why you suddenly barked out a soft laugh, eyes closing as you smiled bashfully at her.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am. Please forgive me for acting so brash,” you said, feeling your face swell with heat. “You’re absolutely right. I… didn’t know what had gotten into me.”

When M said nothing, staring at you as if you had gone mad, you removed a hand from behind and checked your watch, noticing the time. “If that is all I’ll be heading back to my flat now. So sorry for exploding like that. Good night, ma’am.”

You bowed your head and pivoted around on your heel, heels clacking against the tiles noisily as the rest of the other sounds drowned out. You felt eyes upon you; curious, vague eyes. Eyes that spoke volumes of what kind of person you were and what you lived for. You could even feel the look of M’s eyes digging into your back as you walked out of her office, a sentiment that you fully returned.

And even when you drove home back to your flat, slumping down into your couch to watch television, in the back of your mind you knew that it still wasn’t enough and that it would never be enough. You were hasty that last assignment--you were thinking what your fingers were thinking because if you thought about it too much then you would become sentimental. That’s not what agents do--not agents like you at least. Bond could become attached at the worst times and that’s not how 00 Agents should operate--they should flex their “license to kill” to its full extent and the branch would not exist if this was what you were supposed to do.

They called you brutal and brash and hotheaded--you called it doing your duty to the letter no matter the cost. And while you understood their sentiment about the least number of casualties, people die every day and if you could stop it you would have. But in your position what were you to do? There were previous 00 Agents who had defected from the MI6 before. Were M and the others afraid that you, too, would betray them and your country? You found the notion nearly insulting--you could not prevent deaths or people who got in your way from your duty to stop something bigger. Your work was no different than the previous world wars that considered civilian casualties “collateral damage”.

They would be watching you, tapping into your phone lines and keeping track of everything you did. You were not a traitor. You did not practice barbarism and you had put your life on the line several times to ensure peace was resolved. Your work with James Bond proved it through all the hassle and trouble he had gone through, and the many times M had warned you of him and his behavior. But like him you got the job done, and as a result your emotional state of mind was hardly affected so long as you didn’t think too hard or read between the lines too often of the people you killed.

That’s why you went to sleep with your Desert Eagle on your nightstand, dreamless in your slumber. But when you awoke to the sound of your mobile vibrating noisily on your nightstand the next afternoon, having overslept, you shot up and answered it, weapon in hand as you pressed the phone to your ear. Bill’s voice was grave even in your hyperaware state.

[Surname], you need to come down to HQ immediately,” he ordered, sounding somber and exhausted, as if he had been running laps at the MI6 headquarters. “It’s urgent. Very urgent.

You knew better than to question Bill, tossing your blankets aside while shooting to your feet, throwing on a pair of dress pants and buttoning up an ironed blouse as quickly as your one free hand would allow. You asked while fixing your cuffs, “What’s happened? Is there something wrong at MI6?”

It’s 007,” he responded, and his voice seemed to halt after that, knowing that he should continue in telling you but he seemed so tired to go on, afraid what you might possibly say as a result.

But he didn’t have to say more because you already hung up the phone and was double-timing it out of your room, grabbing the keys to your M3 and shrugging on a black thermal blazer before getting into your car. Your police sirens were wailing all the way down as you dodged through traffic and within moments you were racing down the halls of the MI6 headquarters, heels squeaking from the wet rain and you pushed open the door to her office.

“Where is he?” you demanded immediately. “What happened? Did the mission go awry or--”

“We don’t know for sure,” Bill said, a mug of coffee in his hand as he sipped at it, eyes darkened with bags beneath them. “But she took the shot.”

“Was he KIA? Will somebody please tell me what’s going on?” you said, approaching M’s desk and where she sat behind it, eyes downcast towards the speaker on the surface of it.

“Eve took the shot,” Bill replied. “Bond and the French mercenary, they were fighting atop a train and Eve had no other choice but to take the shot.”

Take the bloody shot.

You were not a sentimental person. You told yourself this every single assignment and everyone knew it. But Bond--Bond was different. He stood on equal footing as you did. To have someone of his stature felled by a misplaced shot was not only impossible to believe… it baffled you to the point of becoming speechless. And your deathly silence was enough for both M and Bill to exchange a look. You were the closest agent that worked alongside MI6’s golden boy, and now he was gone and you weren’t there to stop it.

It was the knowing of your mortality, of his mortality that as much as you wanted to believe that you were invincible, nobody was. Not even James Bond. And it was at this exact moment did you feel vulnerable, that you were being targeted this very moment and whoever had you in his scope wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. But that’s alright. Because you wouldn’t hesitate either.

“She did what had to be done,” M said, breaking the fragile air. Both she and Bill noticed your silence, your eyes downcast to the floor, examining the tiles and knowing that you were accepting something so common but so shocking.

“Was there a body?” you said, eyes unblinking but eyebrows furrowed, lips slightly ajar.

M blinked, lowering her head to see your face. “I beg your pardon?”

“Was. There. A body?” you repeated, lifting your gaze to meet hers, a stony black against her blue ones. “If there’s no body then he’s not dead.”

“If there’s no body then we presume that he’s missing in action and dead,” M clarified, voice ice.

“Then make a search party!” you retorted, pacing the length of her desk, eyes growing angered. “You don’t leave your agent for dead!”

“His body fell into the river below the train. Do you think we have the time and resources to find him?” M challenged, voice steadily growing as yours did, but you only shot her a look of pure scorn. “It would take multiple resources--resources we don’t have, mind you--to find Bond. And not only have we lost 007, but we’ve lost important information that will jeopardize many countries. He was shot in the torso and if that didn’t kill him then the waters did.” She hesitated for a moment before adding with just as much force, like a mother reprimanding her child, “Besides, you both knew the risks. Agents are expendable and you know that.”

“So you’re not even going to try?” you barked, eyes seething. “You’re not even going to attempt to find him?”

“I’ve made up my mind, [Surname],” she replied evenly, the sharp look in her eyes flashing for a brief second before you saw it--the look of instant guilt written across her face. She had made the call, a call that was miscalculated and cost the life of one of her own agents.

Your lips drew thin. “Of course you have.”

When you both stared at each other for a long time, one full of contempt and disgust and the other calculated, she broke gaze and shifted to the side, pulling out a manila folder with your name on it, followed by the red stamp of “TOP SECRET”.

“We’ve reassigned you to a different mission,” M suddenly clarified, sliding over the folder. You snatched it, reading its contents as she began to explain, “It involves some reconnaissance and espionage. Right now our top priority is acquiring that Solid Slate drive.”

But you noticed that the name on the folder wasn’t your name, and that the information was about Istanbul and the French mercenary and the other MI6 agent. This was 007’s file. This was 007’s assignment now handed down to you, and for some reason you almost felt the need to drop the folder and back away from it. You swore to never be sentimental so you steeled your spine and kept on reading. It didn’t matter if the MI6’s most famous agent went down over misjudgment. It was the work that needed to be done, to be finished to the very end. And M was entitling it to you.

And while you listened to her every word, your eyes were still staring at the folder, at the picture of Eve and the mercenary Patrice. Your fingers grasped his photograph, staring hard into his eyes as if it could change what had happened mere minutes before.

“I told you to assign me to this,” you said, voice hoarse and barely a whisper. It was only last night you spoke to the agent, mere hours ago and he was too busy telling you to stay alive behind a desk where absolutely nothing could happen to you or the others. It was he who told you that he’d miss seeing that pretty face, and knowing his charm he probably didn’t--but now it felt so abnormal. Other 00 Agents had died before and you were nothing if not apathetic towards it. It must’ve been the rarity. The close friendship you shared with your fellow agent and it was his last conversation with you that was far too casual.

“I told you,” you said, jaw clenching. “I told you.”

M said nothing, watching you apprehensively as if you would snap at any given moment. The window behind her, the same window she was staring at last night as she pondered off as if foreseeing these events was met with the pit-pat of rainfall against the stippled gray sky, followed by silence.

Gingerly, you placed the folder back on her desk and folded your arms underneath your breasts, stating grimly, “Tell me where I need to be, and I’ll see to this.”

“I want you to investigate Istanbul,” she said, watching your reaction carefully. “Pick up the pieces Bond left. See if you can’t find a trail. If not, return back here.”

And here you were once more, signing your own death warrant at the hands of the very woman who ordered the shot--to take the bloody shot--and you were obliging her. Because it was your obligation, one that you intended to do alone.

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