Royale Change [10/?]
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the Bond franchise.
Summary: M accompanies Bond to Casino Royale in Montenegro, in order to keep her wayward agent in line. But will her presence help, or become a distraction for Bond? One thing is for certain, the mission will change both their lives. For better or worse, it remains to be seen.
M awoke to the sound of muffled voices. She tried to recall what had happened then she remembered Mathis and the sedative. Next time she saw him she would stab him with a needle and see how he likes it. As she became more awake the voices got louder, she bleary opened her eyes to see Bond, arguing with the nurse and Mitchell and the other agents looking on.
"Bond for god sake would you shut up and do whatever it is the nurse wants."
"M, how are you feeling?" His worried face came into her line of vision.
"Like, I've been stabbed with a needle." She moved herself into a sitting position.
Mitchell came forward cutting off Bond who was on the verge of speaking.
"What do you remember Ma'am? Did he say anything that could give us a clue to his whereabouts?"
M gave him a calculating look, "No, not that I recall anyway. He grabbed me before I knew what was happening. He gave the usual spiel about this was only the start of what was to come. I can't recall anything else. Other than him sticking a needle in my arm."
She discreetly looked at Bond seeing the knowing look in his eyes.
"You must remember something Ma'am. " He raised his eyebrow sceptical she was not telling him everything.
"I've told you what I can Mitchell! And I would appreciate it if you do not take that tone of voice with me again. Understood?"
"Now I think it's time, you got back to what the government pays you for."
Mitchell narrowed his eyes as he looked from Bond and M the two of them knew something, and what that something was he needed to find out.
She watched as Mitchell and the agents left the room, leaving only herself, Bond and the irritated nurse.
"Mind telling me what an earth you are doing here Bond, instead of in your bed?"
"Maybe you'll make him see sense. He refused to budge until he knew you were okay." The nurse gave him another disapproving look.
"I see. Well, I reckon you can go back to your room now. Don't you?" Last thing we need is for you to be out of action longer than necessary."
She saw the sweat on his forehead and the discomfort knowing he was in pain and refused to say anything.
"Could you get him a wheelchair. Last thing we need is for him to pass out." She looked pointedly at the nurse.
"Of course, I'll be back in a few moments."
M watched as the nurse exited the room and looked to James.
"I can walk fine." He told her in annoyance at being seen as if he was invalid.
"Really, because your posture says otherwise. It will only be for a few minutes at most James. If not for you, then do this for me at least."
"Alright." He conceded, causing M to hide her grin at how easily he gave in.
"I knew you would see it my way."
James moved back slightly so she could stand up off the bed, grabbing her arm as he saw her start to sway. She grabbed his arm with her hand and closed her eyes to try to stop the room from spinning.
"I think I'm not the only one that needs that wheelchair."
"I'm fine. James, just stood up too quickly that's all. I'll be okay in a few moments."
She opened her eyes and saw the worry in his eyes. "Honestly James, it's nothing."
M let go of his arms and tried to put what distance she could between them. The action didn't go unnoticed by him, and it made him more curious as to what Mathis told her. Before he could press her for answers, the nurse returned with the wheelchair.
"It looks like, your ride is here."
"This is bloody embarrassing." He mumbled under his breath.
"Perhaps you should have thought about the consequences before you decided to leave your room."
He huffed in annoyance and sat himself in the chair, trying not to show the look of relief that he no longer had to stand.
"Perhaps you should hire a new personal bodyguard."
M gave him a disapproving look. "What makes you think that?"
"I'm not blind M, I saw the way you were looking at him when he was trying to interrogate you. You don't fully trust him do you?"
"This isn't the place for this discussion."
"So, you're not denying I'm wrong?"
"I'm not saying your right either. Let's just focus on getting you back to your room first, then I'll tell you what I know."
"Alright." He finally relented.
The journey back to his room was made in silence, with James checking to make sure M was still beside him. If M seemed to notice, she didn't make it known as she hadn't looked at him once since they had left the previous room.
Once the nurse had managed to get James comfortable and the IV reinserted in to the back of his hand, did M finally look at him. Seeing the apologetic tone in her eyes he had a foreboding feeling he wasn't going to like what she was about to tell him.
"Could you bring me the laptop that was left at reception? I would go and fetch it myself, but someone needs to watch the wanderer."
"Of course, I'll bring it to you in a few moments."
James was waiting for the nurse to leave before making his move.
"Out with it M, what did Mathis tell you? "
She filled him in on everything, from Vesper setting up Mathis, how Greene seemed to be calling the shots. James sat there wishing he was healed so he could hunt down the bastards. When she told him of the mole, and that it was someone close, his suspicions of Mitchell were slowly becoming reality. He saw her hesitate at the next part wondering what was so difficult that she was finding it hard to continue.
"Just tell me M."
"They wish to recruit you, that was the plan anyway. Vesper was a pawn, they hoped that if you fell in love with her, then you would join them."
"Not bloody likely, if they thought they believe that then they really are stupid."
"Perhaps, or perhaps not. They would have used Vesper as leverage, so you would join them them or they would kill her if you didn't. The usual deal groups like there's like to pull, but since their original plan didn't work they'll try something else. James- they know about us."
The pieces clicked into place, they couldn't use Vesper, so they would use the next available person he was close to. He finally knew where she was going with this.
"Oh no, I know what you're thinking M. I'm not going to bloodly let you." He told her through clenched teeth.
"It's the best James, we both know they won't stop until they get what they want."
"Not if we get them first."
"It's too much of a risk James, there's too much at stake. We can't afford them to be In power, and I can't afford to lose you or have your heart rule your head should a situation a rise."
"What are you saying M? "
"I'm saying if the situation calls for it you put the task of bringing down Quantum first before anything else, especially me."
"Do you have any idea what you're asking me M? You're basically telling me to kill you if the situation arose. "
'That's not what I'm saying…"
"Isn't it? I'll tell you right now M, you can forget about that stupid idea of yours, because it won't come to that."
"Well, in that case it seems our relationship has ended before it's even properly started. If you won't do it, then any plans of whatever it is between us will have to be put on hold until this affair is over, or you move on and we finish it for good. "
She knew she wasn't being fair, but there was really no other way around this.
"You haven't exactly given me any decent options. It doesn't mater which one I chose does it? After all, I've already lost you anyway. My question is though, did I really have you to begin with? "
"All three choices don't appeal to me M. You don't want to lose me fine, but the same is also true for me. Do you really think if we end this, they won't go after you to make me cooperate? Because I can assure you they will. They know how much you mean to me before we even started this relationship, if there has been someone or some people who are close to you been reporting back to them, then they knew already you were the key, should the first plan fail."
M knew he was right, but it still didn't sit right with her. She was cut off from answering him when the door opened and in stepped the nurse with the laptop and placed it on the hospital table.
"Is that everything? "
"Yes/No." They told her simultaneously.
M turned her attention to James wondering what it was he wanted.
"Could you have M's things brought here, and you may want to set up another bed. She's moving in here."
"I'll have to check first, but I don't see it being an issue. If it keeps you in that bed. "
"I think you've got yourself a deal." He gave her a charming smile.
The nurse blushed slightly and left them alone once more.
"I promise we won't let it interfere with the job, but don't for one second think I'm going to give you up."
He turned to look up at her. "You're all I have M. Without you I have nothing."
"I never thought guilt tripping was your forte James."
"It's the truth. "
"You said something earlier James, about Mitchell. "
"You can't trust him M, don't let yourself be alone with him. "
"What makes you say that? "
"It's probably nothing, but the way he was looking at you when he came into the room after I found you, he almost seemed disappointed and slightly apprehensive about what Mathis may have told you. Which was probably the reason for his interrogation mode when you regained consciousness."
"Or he was just doing his job?"
James let out a humorless laugh, "You don't believe that anymore than I do M. He's up to something. It's also ironic that Valenka killed herself in his custody when investigating her, which makes me think. Is Villiers actually in on it or was it just some ploy by Mitchell to get us off his trail should any evidence pop up? "
M thought about everything James had just told her, and she had to acknowledge it could be plausible, but she wouldn't be jumping to any conclusions just yet until she knew more information.
"Let's see what Tanner got from Villiers and see if your theory is correct."
M took out the laptop, switched on and started the process of video calling Tanner.
"So, are we still in a relationship, or have I lost you?"
"I'm still here so what does that tell you?"
He gave her a loving smile and started to lean forward to give her a kiss, only to stop halfway when Tanner's voice filled the room, causing him to let out a moan in annoyance.
"Tanner." Bond quipped back, as he leaned back against his pillows.
"What have you gotten from Villiers, Tanner?" M asked him perching herself on the side of James' bed.
"He says he has no involvement in with Quantum, and the allegations made against him are false. He did however, inform me that he was in contact with Mathis for the duration that you and Bond were in Montenegro."
"Did he say what these conversations were about?"
"The file request you asked him to retrieve on Miss Lynd. Villiers had a look through it himself and put two and two together. By the time he had informed Mathis you and Bond were trouble it was too late."
"That would be hard considering Mathis never mentioned to me receiving any contact from Villiers. "
"I see. So, what's our next point of action?"
'Keep sweating him Tanner. He knows something. He may not be a part of it, but he could have passed on information to someone unintentionally and is covering up for them. "
"There is that possibility Ma'am."
"Did he mention anything about why Mitchell was delayed in arriving with backup? "
"No, but there was CCTV at their position. Q is currently looking through it at the moment to see if we can get a conclusive idea of what happened."
"What's bothering you Tanner?"
He let out a sigh. "I hate to say this ma'am, but I can't see Villiers betraying your trust. Okay, he may have passed on information unintentionally, but if he did, he probably didn't know himself they were also working for Quantum."
"I think you could be right Tanner. Keep questioning him until he gives us a name."
"And after that Ma'am?"
"When he gives us a name, and Q finishes checking the CCTV, he's free to go, but I want you to monitor his movements, and keep tabs on everyone he speaks to."
"Consider it done."
"Tanner there is something else I need you to do, but you can't trust anyone with the information. "
"Ma'am?" He asked curiously.
"I need you to do a search on a Dominic Greene and a Mr. White. I would do it myself, but I don't trust anyone here and it isn't secure."
"What is it I'm looking for? "
"Anything that gives us an idea of where he is located and who his associates are. I need all the information you can find."
"Oh and Tanner? The sooner, the better."
The call ended and M closed the laptop and turned to look at James.
"You stayed relatively quiet through all of that."
"I was trying my hardest not to say I told you so."
"It still doesn't prove his innocence James."
"Perhaps not, but think if he is not willing to tell us the name, it means there is someone higher in the government that's passing on information to them. Now it doesn't take a genius to know if it is someone higher up in the government you wouldn't give the name, knowing they could blackmail you with all sorts."
"You know James if you use that brain of yours like that on missions, you could prevent those damages." She told him sarcastically.
"Where's the fun in that. Not much of a blunt instrument after all am I?" He told her smugly.
"It would appear not. We'll see how long it lasts for though."
She reached into the front of the laptop bag and pulled out a mobile. Quickly dialing Nigel, she waited a few moments before he answered.
"Nigel, it's M. We have a slight situation."
"Hello to you too M. What's happened?"
"I need you to set up a new account code for the money. The last one shall we say has been compromised."
"Shit, give me a few moments."
She tapped her fingers against the table waiting for him to get back to her. After a few moments, his voice came back on the line.
"Okay, that should be everything sorted. Mr Mendel will arrive later so you can process the new account number and password to transfer the money. Do you have pen and paper to write this down?"
"You've known me for sometime Nigel, I may have gotten older, but my memory is just as good."
She saw the quick flash of jealously flash over James' face and rolled her eyes.
"How could I forget, okay the new account number is 03174920. Do I want to know what happened to the old one for it to become useless?"
"Probably best you don't Nigel. Take care."
"You too M."
Ending the call, she looked up to see James sulking.
"What's the matter with you?"
"What did you mean he's known you for sometime?"
"Exactly that, we've had dealings a few times over the years. Nothing more, nothing less. So, there is nothing to be jealous about James."
She gave him an amused smile, "And stop sulking. It doesn't suit you."
"Where do you think you're going?" He asked curiously as he saw her stand up.
"To talk to Vesper and try to convince her to call White, the sooner we find him, the sooner we bring down Quantum."
"And do you really think she will?"
"No, but right now James I'm willing to try anything at the moment. I won't be long."
"You said that the last time and looked what happened."
She gave him a disapproving look. "You're in luck her room is just four doors down from here so no doubt you'll hear the commotion should I need help"
"That's no joking matter considering the state I'm in."
"Stop worrying James, and you'll bloody well stay put. I'm not having nurses jump down my throat just because you can't sit still for more than ten minutes."
She bent down and gave him a kiss on his forehead. "Just rest James."
James watched as she left and shook his head, he wouldn't hold his breath that vesper would contact White, but he would let M do it her way for now.
M walked along the corridor to Vesper's room and was about to knock when she heard Vesper's voice talking to someone. Opening the door slightly, she looked in the room and saw Vesper standing in the middle, back to the door talking on a mobile.
"They have the account number changed, there is nothing more I can do. I've already delayed them by telling them I won't contact you."
M continued to watch as the woman in front of her began to become agitated. She had a feeling it was White on the other line, but having hearing only one side of the conversation wasn't helping matters.
And how am I supposed to do that? He won't let her out of his sight."
She narrowed her eyes wondering what they were now planning. Vesper was now a bigger security risk. She couldn't be allowed to remain free.
"That's easier said than done White, he's not stupid he would never fall for that."
'Fall for what?' M couldn't help but wonder, the more she heard, the more she didn't like the way this was heading.
"I think that he would rather die first than join Quantum. He's loyal to her, too loyal. You've no chance of recruiting him.
She heard Vesper give a sigh of defeat. "Fine, I'll do it. But after this is over I want out. I've done everything you've asked."
M watched as she ended the call. Quietly closing the door. She headed back in the direction to James' room. Upon entering, she saw him look up and give a smirk only for it to disappear.
M looked at him gravely. "It seems our Mr. White does have a plan B after all."