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No. 402
Every repost is a repost repost. By Owl Tiem.

--

There's a LOT to write here, so the chapters might take a while to be put up, but I DO have the entire plot in my head - I just have to find words for all of it. At any rate, here is Chapter One. [yes i did repost this, i realized i'd managed to skip a part of it when i was copying out of my text file D:]

---

"Chesterfield Kings, sir. Here you go."

The young Spy handed a pack of cigarettes to the venerable member who'd buttonholed him to fetch them and turned to head back toward the bar, but the old man stopped him with a gesture.

"Lighter, son." The probie pulled out his Zippo and handed it over. As the older Spy puffed his cigarette into life, he eyed the young man and shook his head. "You don't know what you're getting into. It's no fun anymore. Not like the old days."

The probie glanced over his shoulder - there were girls and drinks waiting for him at the bar, and he was stuck waiting for some geezer to give him back his lighter.

"No, nothing like the old days. The Cold War, Probie! Over before you were even born, I bet. When I was your age this was a great profession. Couldn't go two months without getting sent on a mission to some secret underground volcano lair, or having to stop some supervillain from blowing up the moon, and if all else failed there was always some Commie plot to foil. Those were the days!"

The probie's eyes left their laps of lighter, liquor and ladies and snapped to the geezer's face in something like dismay. "What do you mean? I mean, come on, we're Spies, what else would we be doing?"

The old man shook his head and blew a single sad smoke ring. "It's just stealing intel and stabbing people nowadays. And what with all this respawn nonsense, there's not even any danger in it. Mark my words, kid, you're about fifty years too late."

The probie stood still, with the dumbstruck look of one who's just discovered that the basis of his career choice was a lie, until the old man snapped his fingers at him. "What are you still doing here, kid? Go! You've got things to do! Go pick up those girls you were making eyes at earlier."

As the young Spy turned blankly and headed toward the bar, the geezer called after him: "I BET THEY'RE ALL NAMED TYFFINEIGH!"

And they were.

And it wasn't until much later that the probie realized he'd never gotten his lighter back, either.

--

Time passed, and the probie was no longer a probie but a real Spy. He made a promise to himself that he would, come hell or high water, find a way to live the life he'd been expecting; obviously the thing to do was to go back to the good old days, and obviously the way to do that was to convince an Engineer to make him a time machine. It took a few false starts to find the right Engineer, and, more importantly, the right tack to take.

"Hey, can you build me a time machine?" Wrench to the face.

"Could you /pretty please/ build me a time machine?" Wrench to the face.

"So Engineer - " Wrench to the face.

But the day finally came when Spy lounged casually in the corner of the intel room, watching his newest team's Engineer working on a Sentry and flicking his ashes onto the carpet, and he asked as if the answer didn't matter: "So what do you know about time machines?"

"They're impossible," Engineer replied without looking up.

"I don't see why. You can build teleporters, and space and time are the same thing." (Spy was rather proud of himself for knowing this little bit of science.)

"Teleporters are nothing like time machines. Theoretically you /could/ do it, but according to Einstein's theory of relativity. . ."

Spy nodded, mm-hmmed, and slowly smoked through two packs of cigarettes, a mound of ashes and filters growing at his feet.

". . . you'd have to get the teleporter moving at the speed of light, which would require an infinite amount of energy -- "

"The medigun never runs out," Spy pointed out.

"It doesn't use much power, and has a very efficient solar cell and capacitor -- "

"So get an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of wrenches banging on an infinite number of dispensers."

"No, no, the dispenser is a fairly low-power generator. Y'know, it takes several seconds to make more metal? For time travel, we're talking on the order of a thousand suns' worth of power in an instant."

Silence fell over the room, broken only by the mechanical noises of Engineer's buildings.

Spy dropped the end of his last cigarette and stepped on it. "Bet you can't do it."

--

For three days Spy hovered over Engineer, bribing Scout to steal sandwiches from Heavy and forcing Engineer to eat them less out of concern for the man's health than for fear that if he passed out from low blood sugar he'd never actually finish the time machine.

Eventually Spy snapped out of a light doze, awoken by the sound of -

The sound of nothing. No wrench clanging, no electrical buzzing, just silence.

He jumped to his feet and rubbed his eyes. "Is it - "

Engineer looked up at him from his seat on the floor, where he was gently rubbing a polishing cloth over the metal surfaces of something that looked sort of like a teleporter with hand-rails and a built-in alarm clock. "Well, it's just a prototype, of course, but - "

Spy didn't wait for the rest of the sentence, just jumped in. "Merci et au revoir."

"You can't - " Engineer hopped up after him, too late to keep Spy from moving the hands on the clock, and before he could wrestle Spy off of the machine, it was spinning up, lighting into a blinding flash.

--

The machine overbalanced and fell over, something inside it making a sad snapping noise as the two men fell into the dirt.

Spy scrambled to his feet and looked around. They were off the side of the highway in the desert, within sight of a gas station on the horizon. None of the cars looked new. A brilliant hopeful glee began to swell inside his chest. "Did it work? When are we?"

Engineer was still sitting on the ground, staring at the remnants of his creation. Slowly he turned to look at the spy. "Well. It sure. As. FUCK. Doesn't work NOW. WHY DID YOU DO THAT?"

"Why would I ask you to make a time machine if I didn't want to use it?" asked Spy reasonably, dusting his suit off.

"YOU BROKE IT!"

"You made it too fragile."

"IT WAS ONLY A PROTOTYPE!"

Spy shrugged and began walking down the road toward the gas station.

Engineer's rage was almost visible, a thick red cloud over his head, as he flung himself to his feet and after the spy, tackling him into the dirt. "YOU BROKE IT!"

"So go fix it!" Spy tried to wiggle out and keep going, but it was rather difficult to do so with an engineer punching him.

"WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING TO GET THE PARTS? IT IS 1963!"

"So it DID work!" Spy stopped struggling and grinned.

"OF COURSE IT WORKED! I BUILT IT, YOU STUPID FUCK! BUT NOW YOU FUCKING BROKE IT AND WE'RE FUCKING STUCK HERE!"

"That was the point."

"STUCK HERE WITH NO FOOD! OR MONEY! OR CLOTHES! OR - " clutching at straws; Spy was still smiling, and Engineer had to do something to make him realize the gravity of the situation - "OR CIGARETTES!"

Spy's grin didn't fade. "All of these problems are just one stolen car away. We should only be about twenty minutes from Vegas."

"AND WHERE IN VEGAS AM I GOING TO GET A FLUX CAPACITOR AND A ROTATING TURBOENCABULATOR?"

"A correction: all of MY problems are just one stolen car away. Anyway, you're the engineering genius, I'm sure you can figure something out. So come on and help me hotwire a car."

Engineer glared at him - which was better than punching him, at least. "You're the spy. You do it."

"Cars are mechanical things. You do it."

"It's a spy thing. You do it."

"I don't want to get car all over my hands."

"Maybe you shouldn't have broken my time machine."

"Maybe you shouldn't have built it so it would break that easily."

"Fuck you, you hotwire it on your own."

"Fine." Spy picked himself up and started down the street again, brushing more dust from his suit. "If you don't want to help, you can go right ahead and try to hike the whole way on your own with your time machine in your pocket. I really don't give a damn either way."

Engineer watched Spy strut away nonchalantly, and looked back at the broken remnants of the time machine. If it hadn't been deployed, he could've carted it around - he'd made hikes with toolboxes before - but as it was... "Oh, fuck you. Fuck all of this. Fine, I'm coming."

He kicked a rock viciously and started after Spy.
Marked for deletion (old)
>> No. 403
The gas station was not very busy, and a promisingly Spy-appropriate car was fortuitously parked at the side of the building out of direct view of the pumps or the front windows. By the time Engineer had hauled the time machine up the road, Spy had jimmied the door lock open and was curled into the floor by the driver's seat with the ignition wiring loosened, painstakingly scraping tiny bits of insulation from the wires with the delicate precision of someone who is fairly certain he's about to fatally electrocute himself.

Engineer ignored him and loaded the time machine into the trunk; just as he thumped it shut, someone came around the corner of the building.

"MY CAR!"

Immediately Engineer rushed to the driver's door, pulled Spy out and dumped him unceremoniously on the tarmac, and jumped into the seat. A good hard wrench on the ignition switch with his trusty Uhlman, and the key-pins of the lock sheared off, letting the engine roar to life. He had it in gear and moving well before the car's legitimate owner reached it, and almost before Spy had managed to get to his feet.

And then he had it leaving the lot, before Spy had managed to get in.

Spy ran after the car and the owner ran after him, both cursing loudly. One gloved hand managed to get hold of the pillar between the passenger doors, and Spy clung to it for dear life as he tried to run fast enough to keep up with the car and jump over the swiftly-approaching curb.

"SLOW DOWN, YOU MANIAC! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?"

Engineer did not respond.

He had to stop a moment at the turn out of the lot, however, thanks to an oncoming semi, and Spy took advantage of this instant of respite to fling himself in through the open window.

Engineer did not respond to that, either, as he gunned the motor and flew out onto the highway, leaving the car's owner cursing impotently under a hail of gravel.
>> No. 404
"You are not a very efficient taxi service," said Spy once he was correctly oriented in his seat and fully dusted off.

Engineer did not respond.

Spy gave him a long, measured look, then shrugged and lit a cigarette. "If you want to give me the silent treatment, that's your call."

Las Vegas began to rise above the horizon, and eventually Engineer spoke through gritted teeth. "So what the hell do we do now?"

"Leave the car at the parking garage at HQ. It won't be the first hot vehicle they've dealt with. Then you can pack up your machine and go do whatever it is you people do."

Engineer glared daggers at him.

"I am going to check the notice boards and find myself a job. If you - "

"Just that easy, huh? You realize we DO NOT EXIST here? We haven't been born! There are no records of us anywhere! Anything we've got on us is at least twenty years out of date! And you're just gonna walk in and get a job?"

"Spy."

The daggers were now on fire.

"Spies don't do background checks," Spy explained as if to a kindergartener. "Not having a paper trail is an ADVANTAGE. So with any luck there'll be a few supervillains to bother or something and I can go make a name for myself."

"Supervillains."

"You know, crazy geniuses with hidden lairs and plans to take over the world?"

"Supervillains."

"Do I need to find a dictionary? I know I'm speaking English."

"You're planning to bother a supervillain."

Spy sighed and flicked his cigarette out the window. "Why else do you think I'm here? Listening to your technobabble, feeding you for half a week, letting you punch me - "

"You deserved it for br- - "

" - it would be an awful lot to go through just to go back to stealing briefcases."

Engineer's knuckles had been whitening on the steering wheel for the entire conversation, and this was the breaking point. He tore one hand out of the death-grip to strike out at Spy, who shrank against the door immediately.

"EYES ON THE ROAD! EYES ON THE ROAD!"

A thump and a cloud of dust from the front wheel as the car slipped off the edge of the pavement, and a dangerous lane-straddling wobble as Spy tried to duck under Engineer's arm to grab the wheel.

"Spies don't do background checks! Engineers do! I'M fucking stuck in nineteen-sixty-damn-three because YOU wanted to go BOTHER A SUPERVILLAIN!"

"EYES ON THE ROAD!"

"FUCK YOU! This is all your fault!"

"You're the one who followed me!"

"Because you were going to fuck it up! WHICH YOU DID!"

"FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, EYES ON THE ROAD!"

"There's no one on the fucking road besides us!"

"All I wanted was a ride here! You weren't supposed to come with me! It's your own fault!"

Engineer slammed the brakes, sending Spy face-first into the dashboard. "MY FAULT? /MY FAULT?/ You fucking use a prototype time machine and then blame me for worrying about the machinery that is worth more than you are and it's MY FAULT??"

"I was bravely volunteering myself as a human test subject!"

"No you weren't! You were just fucking jumping in and hitting buttons! FUCK, I hate spies! You were STEALING MY TIME MACHINE!"

"What were you planning on using it for?"

"Fuck you, I was still working on a way to use it that wouldn't create a rift in the space-time continuum!"

"Well, we both still exist, so you obviously did a good job! Congratulations!"

"WE HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT!"

"Well, we still exist here so obviously we still exist in the future. We haven't gone 'bip' and popped out of existence or anything, not that I'd care if you did right now."

"If I did then you sure as hell would to! I don't even know why I built that piece of crap - "

"Can we please save the existential arguments for later and get the goddamn car back on the road? There's no point in successfully travelling through time just to fail at travelling through Nevada."

Engineer grudgingly put the car back in gear. "The only reason I'm doing this is to get the machine fixed so I can get us both - YES, BOTH - back home."

"You don't even like me. Why would you drag me back with you? Just out of spite because you know I don't want to go? If you leave me here you're rid of me and we're both happy."

"Because if I leave you here, you'll fuck up space/time."

"If I was going to be fucking up space/time then, this being our past objectively, I would already HAVE fucked it up, and tenses get weird and I don't think I'm prepared to talk about this right now."

Engineer chuffed. "To be honest, neither am I. I'm too angry and tired and sober for this."

Spy shook his head. "Just get us to the damned casino and - and hey, then most of your problems can be solved to, because they have both beds and liquor. Then I can go DO AWESOME THINGS and you can - you can engineer. Ok?"

Engineer sighed. "Whatever. ... Oh, wait. I CAN'T fucking engineer. If IBAE finds an uncontracted engineer making engineer shit I'll be sued from here to there and THEN if they find out I made a time machine they'll be all over that like bees on pyros."

"So... don't let them find out?" Spy had the talking-to-a-kindergartener voice again.

"I can't engineer, and I don't know how not to engineer."

"Can't you just... engineer quietly or something, so they don't find out?"

"I built a time machine in a week living on sandwiches on base."

"Yeah, and?"

"I'm in 1963. Respawn doesn't exist. Teleporters barely work. /I specialized in teleporters/."

"I'm perfectly willing to find you sandwiches for another week while you fix the damn thing if it means you'll leave me alone afterward."

"I'll have to make the damn thing over again. Flux caps were invented in the '80s, retrocalcs in the '90s - I don't know /how/ to make those, and I don't know how to even start making one work without those."

"You're some kind of genius, you'll figure something out," Spy said dismissively, "and I'll have room service shove a pancake under the door every eight hours while I'm out being awesome or something. Look, there's the Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Hang the next left and we'll be in the parking garage."

Engineer bumped up the ramp and snaked through the crowded garage, eyeing for a space. "For the record, you ain't gonna last a week on a supervillain base. I've seen you in action on deployment, and it was pretty bad."

Spy glared at him. "It's a completely different skillset."

"Yeah, ok, sure."

"It is! And I am going to be completely awesome at this. I have waited LITERALLY MY ENTIRE LIFE for this chance, which is why, for the record, when you get that thing rebuilt I am NOT going back with you."

"Oh yes you are. Is that a space?"

"No, there's a motorcycle in it. And no I'm not. I'm going to be out bothering supervillains and being awesome."

"Fuck. Which means I have to go 'bother' 'supervillains' too."

"No it doesn't. Is that - no, that's just a very small car. Anyway, I can do it without you."

"You can barely steal a briefcase!"

"Stealing briefcases has nothing to do with it! It is about waltzing in and having him explain his brilliant plan and then getting free and going OH HO I DON'T THINK SO and then he goes NOOOOOO and you kick him into some lava or something! There are no briefcases involved!"

"That's not how these things go. You get shot and tossed in a ditch. Real life is not the movies, Spy."

"The trouble with you engineers," said Spy, folding his arms, "is that you are too practical and have no appreciation for the finer points of style. Look, space up ahead on the right. Besides, I'll show you. You'll see."

"See you get shot," said Engineer darkly, throwing the transmission into park.

Spy had the door open almost before the car had stopped moving, and he slammed it shut vehemently as Engineer climbed out of the driver's side. "I hate you," he declared, spinning on his heel and striding purposefully toward the elevator.

"Not quite as much as I hate you."
>> No. 405
preface engineers are fucked up and this is a part of why
-

James paled, as he realized what had to happen. He was here, he was under a respawn field, and everyone was armed.

He was an Engineer, and he had just passed the last part of the initiation of IBAE. So had everyone else in the room. Worked hard, lost friends, gave up social lives for this. And now they were here, in this small corridor in a simulated base in a room in Austin.

So he drew his gun- a gift from his uncle. Colt Single Action Army, beautiful example of the model- aimed, and fired all six shots. Five Engineers, including the Senior that had lead them there, simply fell over. The sixth, last one managed to jerk away, and he fell over screaming in the way that only a man that has a bloody hole where his face could.

It set the tone for the match.

He didn't stop running when he started, using the screaming and panicking as a cover. They were saying, "oh god, he's dead," "oh god, James shot them," all sorts of things. He didn't listen unless he heard his name or heard footsteps towards him, of which there were none. More important things to do; had to reload, had to get ready for them to come after him. They were Engineers, they had to have heard-felt-known the buzz of Respawn. Surely they knew that everyone'd be fine?

Some people didn't seem to have noticed, based on the sounds. James cursed at his gun suddenly, angrily- he only had a single speedloader and he figured to save that until there was real shooting. "Oh god, James killed him, what the fuck is happening?" James heard from the office- standard intel room design. There was smacking, and a reply: "You stupid shit, we're in a field. He'll be-" And that's when everyone else realized what had to be happening. Gunfire.

Last bullet in. Last little movements to get the revolver (trusty, a little on the heavy side) ready. There wasn't any metal- least, not enough- to build with, and James didn't think that there would be any ammo to restock once he was out. He grimaced at his first thought: 'but I still have my Ulhman'. He hoped it wouldn't come down to it. Shooting was okay; he could run away from that. He wasn't so sure about braining someone to death.
>> No. 406
unedited copypasta is unedited and copypasta

IMG: Bond coming home early for him, but still late by any reasonable measure; somewhere in the first half of four in the morning, with the mail that was held at the desk for them (he'd sorted it there at the desk; the night clerk - who's really only there to answer the phone and let tourists into their rooms if they've lost their key - is much friendlier than the day harpy, and doesn't glare him away if he rummages for his own deliveries behind the desk and then uses the trash can there to toss what he doesn't need. Bill, advertising flier, junk, junk, fan mail [sniff envelope: perfume, so probably from a girl], package of engineery things James ordered, intel from a contact Bond made, junk, bill, bill, junk, package bomb. The usual). James still at his desk.
"Isn't it way past your bedtime?"
James looking up in surprise, checking his watch, it is not as late as it usually is when Bond gets back which is good because he had been sure it couldn't possibly have been THAT long. "I've been working."
Arms around from behind, resting face on top of head, reading over. "Go to sleep, James."
"I'm not done yet. I'm not even tired, and you're not my babysitter."
"You are tired. You're doing that thing where you clench your jaw and then you realize you've been clenching your jaw so you unclench it and then as soon as you stop thinking about not clenching your jaw you clench your jaw again. You always do that when you're tired. Go to bed. Come on, I'll tuck you in."
There is a pornographic grin being made into James' hair. He knows this. So he goes to bed.
>> No. 407
BACK TO THE MAIN PLOT WITH A BRIEF UPDATE:
---

The spy headquarters looked nearly unchanged from its fifty-years-later incarnation. The gaming floor had the same head-spinning turquoise and orange carpet, seizure-inducing flashing lights, and mixed crowd of neutral pinstripe suits and Hawaiian-shirted tourists. Spy pushed through with practiced ease, dragging Engineer behind him as he navigated to the slots club area.

The line was ridiculous, mainly due to the apparent incompetency of the girl working the counter. Someone behind them was muttering about making the line shorter manually, and Spy had to bodily push Engineer forward when it was their turn.

"We need an application."

A smile as bright and empty as a lightbulb was turned upward hopefully. With her carefully-curled blonde flip, the girl rather resembled a particularly cute, but not particularly intelligent, cocker spaniel. "An application?"

"For the slots club."

"Oh, right! Hang on." She pushed her chair back and began digging through filing drawers.

Spy tapped the rhythm to "The Girl from Ipanema" on the counter.

"I know they're around here somewhere - " The girl stood and began rummaging around the area. The expanse of leg exposed by her movements and her minidress was very nice, especially with her back turned to hide the cocker spaniel qualities, but not quite sufficient to make up for the delay.

Another rendition of "The Girl from Ipanema" and two run-throughs of "Fly Me to the Moon" later, a sheet of poorly-mimeographed paper was handed over, and Spy clamped a hand on Engineer's shoulder and steered him to an unused blackjack table. "Sit here and fill it out," he ordered, neatly nicking a pen from a passing cocktail waitress' tray, and then he disappeared.

Engineer watched Spy recede into the crowd with internal flailing. He was surrounded by spies, and now he was alone. He didn't like "his" Spy any better than any others, but at least he /knew/ that one. He was alone in the middle of a bunch of strange spies and - oh God - he was still dressed as an engineer; they were both still in their uniforms from on base, and everyone would know he was an engineer, and that meant all the spies would know, and -

How long Spy was gone, Engineer couldn't say, but eventually he returned, looking sour. Engineer almost welcomed him back, he was that glad to see a familiar face in the sea of oh god spies everywhere.

"They won't let me reserve a room. The harpy at the desk says my ID's not valid," Spy scowled. "And I am /not/ getting back in that line." He snatched the as-yet-untouched application from Engineer's hand and grabbed at a passerby - a young man with a slightly crooked tie. "Here, Probie, we need a copy of this. Also - " He glanced at Engineer. "Two Scotch and cokes, doubles, and a pack of cigarettes."

The youth sighed resignedly. "What kind, sir?"

Spy opened his mouth, then closed it again, his eyes lighting up. "Chesterfield Kings, Probie."
>> No. 408
The copy was even smudgier and paler purple than the original, and it stank of ammonia, but it was better than standing in line for the cocker spaniel again. Spy filled his out quickly, pen flying over the boxes, and then leaned nosily over the table, obviously reading Engineer's paper. "Does that say your middle name is ROSE?"

Engineer scowled at him and jerked the paper away, curling an arm around it protectively. "It's short for Rosencrantz, /Spy/. And what's yours?"

Spy smirked smugly. "Danger."

"It is not." Engineer reached out and tugged at Spy's application. It did, in fact, say Danger. "You're making that up."

Spy pulled out his wallet and flashed his actual driver's license just long enough to prove his point. "Danger really is my middle name."

Engineer looked at him for a long moment, then shook his head and went back to filling out his form. "You're such a fucking spy."

"Well, it's /technically/ D'anger," Spy amended.

"Dawnjay?"

"D'anger. It's French. But hey, it's spelled the same. Apostrophes don't count." Spy shrugged. Then his eyes widened slightly and he leaned back over toward Engineer. "Wait, your name is James?"

Engineer almost growled at him, jerking the paper back again. "Why's that matter?"

"It doesn't," said Spy, trying to sound conciliatory but failing due to suppressed laughter. "It's just funny."

"I don't see what's so funny about it."

"Mine's Bond."

Engineer was too distracted by a combination of paperwork and oh god spies everywhere to catch the full significance; he simply snorted. "Fucking spies."

Spy looked like a kid who'd just been handed the keys to a candy store for the rest of the night, even when they had to get back in the cocker spaniel line to have their photos taken.
>> No. 409
The inevitable delay while their cards were typed up and their shiny new photographs affixed to them was spent, by Bond, schmoozing on the gaming floor and stealing people's drinks, and, by James, rapidly developing a tension headache and attempting to self-medicate by heavy application of the drinks Bond was stealing from people. The brief flash of hope James felt at the arrival of a go-go-booted casino employee bearing their new IDs - finally, they could get away from all these SPIES - was immediately thwarted by that Spy's prompt disappearance in the direction of the hotel desk, leaving James once more stranded in an espionagical ocean.

---

"I need a room for two. Suite preferable."

The woman at the desk looked up over the rhinestoned rims of her cats-eye glasses, then flipped open a ledger with a long-suffering sigh. "Name?"

Bond slid his slots club membership card over the desk.

She looked at it as if it were a mouse someone else's cat had dragged in, then sighed again and propped it up against the inkwell on the desk. Her pen scratched noisily as she copied the information from it.

Bond hummed "The Girl from Ipanema" again.

She flipped the card flat onto the desk with the end of her pen and nudged it back toward him. "$25."

He nudged the card back toward her.

She looked at it, then at him. "$25."

He rolled his eyes and poked the card again.

She sighed again and reached behind her for a key on a large metal fob, laying it on the desk beside his card. "1402."

"And the same to you, you old harpy," he muttered as he pocketed the key and went out to find that engineer again.

She probably heard him.
>> No. 410
The first thing Bond did after acquiring a room was drag Engineer up to it so he would stop standing around with that expression of frozen terror that was as good as a "stab me" sign around here, and the first thing James did after the relative safety and seclusion got him sufficiently soothed was go fetch the broken time machine from the car. He then locked himself in with it, fully expecting Spy to disappear forever.

This expectation - almost a hope - was dashed after about forty-five minutes, when the door slammed open under the weight of a drafting table being half-pushed, half-carried by three resignedly-miserably young spies. Spy himself was supervising from the rear, a glass of whiskey in each hand, a cigarette dangling from his lip, and lipstick on his collar. As the probies maneuvered the table into the room, Spy handed one of the glasses to Engineer. "I still have to arrange the pancake thing with room service, but here's half of the bargain, anyway."

With that he was gone again, leaving James to wonder whether he was supposed to tip the kids. They left without a word, though, and he didn't give it a second thought before setting his new desk up to work on.

Bond reappeared at the same time as the sun, the lipstick on his collar having multiplied and spread to his balaclava, which was now slightly crooked. He tried to poke Engineer awake as he wormed out of his clothing. "Come on, sleepyhead, the harpy only gave us one bed and it's my turn to use it. Anyway, I have News of Interest to impart."

Engineer made a noise. It was both unintelligible and unhappy.

Spy plopped a few sheets of folded paper onto Engineer's chest, where they were ignored. "For one thing, the notice board in the second-story lounge had a few good leads, so I took the flyers, and then a girl I picked up at the Cloak and Dagger - her name, can you even believe this, her name is Joanna DuWitt-Harder - "

Engineer made another, similar noise.

Spy huffed at him, which had equally little effect, and finally gathered his papers back and tossed them onto the nightstand. "Fine, be that way. I will just leave you in the dark until the airplane gets here, then. Good night."

He wiggled his way between the sheets, tugged at the blankets until Engineer had relinquished the minimum amount to cover Spy's body, and switched off the light.

And so they lay with their backs to each other on opposite edges of the king-sized bed, in a room equipped with an analog MoonBeam alarm clock, a black-and-white TV set, an Eames sofa, and seventeen ashtrays; while in the city below, Lincoln Continentals, Ford Galixies, Nashes, Stuedbakers and second-hand Bel Airs prowled the early morning streets, hippies woke to gather flowers, and Frank Sinatra downed his 47th cocktail of the day.

It was 1963, and James and Bond slept the sleep of the just - deserved or not.
>> No. 411
The next morning (technically speaking; it was still fifteen minutes until noon) Bond's watch started beeping. He growled sleepily into his pillow.

The watch ignored him and kept beeping.

He growled again and fumbled toward the nightstand with one hand, the watch still beeping cheekily until he managed to close his fist around it and find the button that made it stop. Victorious, he rolled back over.

Thirty seconds later he sat bolt upright in the bed. "Oh, shit, that's right!" James glanced up briefly - he'd been awake for hours, and had several sheets of closely-written paper scattered across his desk - but otherwise ignored the spy as he darted into the en suite bathroom.

The water began running, and a moment later the door cracked open, emitting a slightly damp head. "Engineer, call the front desk and see if they got the stuff I asked for." James grunted acknowledgement, and Bond disappeared back into the shower.

James was calculating the pressure and capacity of the water heater to have sustained the shower for as long as it had been going when it turned off again and Bond reappeared, fussing over having to put on yesterday's suit again. As he did up his cufflinks he glanced toward James. "Well, did they?"

James nodded.

"Then what are you waiting for? Come on, there's things to do!" Bond headed out the door and down the hallway. A moment later he returned. "Well? Are you coming?

James chuffed and gathered up his papers, following with a definite grudge. "Where are we going?"

"Down to the front desk to pick the stuff up." Bond rolled his eyes. So did James, for that matter.

At the front desk, the clerk - that same harpy - studiously ignored them both until Bond reached out and tapped the bell. "1402? We have some stuff waiting?" She glanced over her glasses and silently handed them an envelope. Bond cracked it open and peered inside. "Great. Hold the room for us, we'll let you know when we're back."

James followed the Spy out to the sidewalk, glaring daggers but knowing all too damn well that if he asked any questions he'd just get bullshit answers. Fucking Spies and their fucking... Spying. He did venture to ask, sardonically: "Aren't you even going to stop and drink your breakfast?"

Bond smirked at him and pulled out his cigarettes. "I /smoke/ my breakfast. I /drink/ my /dinner/."

"Does that mean you actually eat at lunch?"

A taxi pulled up with the sort of convenient timing that Spy seemed to infuriatingly propagate around himself wherever he went, and as they climbed in, Bond smirked again. "No, I just skip lunch. Have to watch my figure, you know. How else would I manage to look this good in my suits?" He reached out to tug at one of Engineer's overall straps. "Which reminds me." He leaned forward to the driver. "Is McLeod's open yet?"

The cabbie looked at him in the rear-view mirror. "Buddy, I don't memorize their hours. I just drive you there. You wanna go or not?"

"For my purposes, that's a yes. Let's go." Bond sat back. "You need some clothes that don't look so... construction worker. And /I/ need something I haven't had on two days in a row."

Engineer gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. It was going to be a long, long day.

--

McLeod's turned out to be a tailor, and Bond fussed over /everything/. James would have been perfectly happy to grab the first thing that looked like it was his size and get the hell out of Dodge; Bond kept triggering his OH GOD SPIES reflex by suddenly appearing behind him and holding coats on hangers up against his back, muttering something about the stripes or the shade (they all looked grey to James, except the ones that looked black, hell if he had any idea what was going on), and disappearing again. It was half an hour that felt like half a year before they were back on the sidewalk, and Bond still wasn't happy. "They'll do for now," he said, looking at their reflections in the shop window as they waited for another taxi to pass. "Pfff, off-the-rack... at least there are real tailors in Italy."

"... Italy."

"Yeah, where did you think we were going?"

"I don't KNOW because you haven't fucking TOLD ME. Funny how that works, isn't it?" Fucking Spies.

"Well, if you didn't spend all your time sleeping, you would have been awake to read the /intel/ I got for us last night - "

"Shut up. Just shut up and tell me what the fuck we're doing." James could already feel another tension headache coming on.

Spy waved down another taxi with one hand and pulled a paper out of the bag he'd put yesterday's suit in with the other. James took the paper and settled into the seat, letting Bond tell the driver whatever stupid Spy place they were going next.

It was a flyer, crisp red ink on white paper. 'NOW HIRING: Up-and-coming Spies who want to get in on the ground floor. Organisation with a great future! We will train and provide uniforms. Excellent benefits. Contact Leo Vanzetti.' James read it three times, then turned to glare at Spy some more. "This tells me exactly fuck-all."

"It's our first supervillain!"

"How did you get that out of this?"

"Spy." Bond beamed smugly.

James pinched the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes again.

Bond chattered on for the entire trip - Joanna DuWitt-Harder had said such and such, and so and so knew this and that a thing about whatever, and was the cab driver charging by the mile or the minute because he was not going to pay extra for being stuck in traffic just because he'd decided to go down the Strip instead of taking the back way to the airport, and their tickets were for 3:00 which ought to give them time to stop at the cocktail lounge before they went to the gate, and if Engineer knew of anyplace in Napoli where they could get flame-resistant footwear it would probably be a good idea -

James successfully managed to tune most of it out, but the last bit got him to look up. "What."

"Well, it's probably not /essential/ since it's probably unlikely that we'll be stepping in any lava - "

"What."

"Well, why would we be? There are bound to be actual doors and air vents without any lava in them at all, and I bet they don't even actually MAKE lava-proof shoes - "

"Lava."

A sigh. "Volcanos do tend to have that inside them, you know. It's kind of how they work."

"Vol- "

"Yes, volcanos. Do you have to pick one word out of every sentence I say and repeat it? I thought you were an Engineer, not a parrot. If you'd been /listening/ I already /told/ you Vanzetti's got a volcano lair, which is why I picked him, because the other options were boring - I mean, who wants to bother going into a run-of-the-mill underground bunker? Been there, done that, nicked the briefcase - "

"No you didn't. You suck at stealing briefcases. We've been over this."

"REGARDLESS, we are on our way to Napoli to infiltrate a volcano lair and - FINALLY, the airport." Bond got out and disappeared without paying the cabbie. James followed suit. The cabbie swore, alone and ignored at the passenger drop-off. Fucking Spies.
>> No. 412
[ESTABLISHING SHOT: CHOPPERCAM. TEXT OVERLAY: NAPLES.]

"At least we don't have any luggage." James pinched the bridge of his nose harder and stared into the reflections on the ice in his fourth consecutive scotch on the rocks in his fourth consecutive bar.

"Oh, calm down. It's just a matter of gathering the right intelligence, and this is exactly the right place for it. And before you say anything, yes, I know that's what I said at the last place - "

" - And the one before that, and the one bef-"

" - but that's only because I was holding the map wrong. I've got it all figured out now. Just trust me, okay?"

James drained the rest of his drink and set the glass down hard enough to rattle the ice. Bond got the hint and rose to get a refill.

James watched Spy's retreating back. It was becoming a very familiar sight. At least this place wasn't packed completely full of pinstripes, although whether that was a good sign or not was debatable given that they were apparently trying to find the local espionagical ocean. The whiskeys were helping, at least. They dulled the desire to strangle the little fuck. He was pretty sure he'd be able to get the charge argued down to manslaughter for mental self-defense if he did it, but then he'd just be stuck in fucking Italy by himself, which might actually be worse than playing Tonto to a prick in a "cool charcoal herringbone with a chalk weft," whatever the fuck that was supposed to mean and whyever the fuck he couldn't just call it a "grey suit." (His was apparently a "warm grey" so he wouldn't look "washed out.") He was carefully avoiding mirrors, because he looked like a goddamn spy himself and he didn't want to deal with it.

Which was part of why he was making Spy get all the drinks - the mirrors behind the bar - although the major reason was that he was not going to be tricked into paying for any of them. How Spy was paying for them was a mystery (he probably wasn't, come to think of it, so it was a good thing they never planned to go back to any of the other bars they'd hit over the course of the afternoon), but it wasn't James' concern as long as he wasn't being held responsible for it.

The drawback to making Spy get all the drinks was that when he wandered off, there was a decent chance he would never come back. This appeared to be one of those times.

Bond really had intended to get the drink and go straight back, but all such intentions must necessarily be subject to the requirements of the servce. These requirements were altered abruptly just as he reached the bar, when he became aware of the presence of a highly attractive female.

Any attractive female must be considered an Object of Importance to the International Super-Spy; when the bartended greeted her with a "Bongiorno, Lotta," her importance skyrocketed. The name "Lotta" carries high potential to be part of an approved International Super-Spy Love Interest Name, and Bond needed to find out how the pun ended.

He edged closer and broke in with an "Allow me," gesturing to the bartender to put her drink on his tab. "A lady like you should never have to pay for her own drinks. The name is Bond."

"Lotta," she replied, eyeing him thoughtfully. "Lotta Butté."

A success! "Absolutely charmed," he said, and rather was. She was everything that was to be expected of the International Super-Spy Love Interest: olive skin, dark eyes, masses of thick black curls, long legs and luscious curves set off to perfection by an outfit that was probably by Prada. Anyone with a name like that and looks like this was practically guaranteed to have useful information - it had held true for Joanna DuWitt-Harder, after all.

"What brings you to Italy?"

"I had a feeling I would meet a beautiful stranger." He gave her his suavest smile.

She matched it. "But is it business or pleasure?"

"It was business until I met you, but it's pleasure now."

"You do not make it easy to know your intentions."

"Am I supposed to?"

She laughed. "I can be of use to a man who is looking for a... job in this city. And also to a man who wants work. My friend, Leo..."

"Would that be Leo Vanzetti?" Bond pulled the flyer from his pocket and started to lay it on the bar. Lotta put a hand out and rested it on his, stopping him.

"It is, but this is not so good a place for business discussions. Later, perhaps? You must be staying at the Palazzo Turchini, yes?"

"Of course," Bond said smoothly.

"Then I will see you there tonight."

"I look forward to it."

Lotta smiled at him, rose and left.

Bond stood and started to head back to his table, remembered after five steps that he'd forgotten Engineer's drink, hopped back and grabbed it, and returned.

"Took you long enough - "

"Calm down and drink up, I just found out where we're staying."
>> No. 413
At the Palazzo Turchini:

"Hi, we need a room for two."

"No, signore."

"What?"

"Io non capisco inglese, signore."

"Parlez-vous francais?"

"No, signore."

"Hablas espanol?"

"No, signore."

"Вы говорите по-русски?"

"Italiano, signore."

"Fucking hell god, I knew I should've taken Italian for my fourth." Bond turned to James. "Hey, go be American at him, will you?"

"What?"

"Be American. Get all loud and annoyed about the fact that he doesn't speak English. Shout at him, maybe wave your hands around some, get real mad, that's what you people are good at. In short, cause a diversion."

Bond disappeared out the side entry.

James looked after him, looked at the desk clerk, and then went into the lobby, sat down in a nice leather club chair next to a marble-based ashtray, and quietly had a smoke.

Five minutes later Bond stuck his head back in the side entrance, looked around the lobby, and directed a loud stage-whisper hiss toward James. "WHERE IS MY DIVERSION?"

James glared daggers at him and tipped ash off his cigarette pointedly.

"DI. VER. SION. DO YOU KNOW THE WORD?"

James rolled his eyes and stood, crossing to the desk. "HEY." It was the most half-hearted shout anyone had ever managed.

Bond glared at him and came out into the lobby. "What the hell is that supposed to be? That's not how you create a diversion! Christ goddamn, do I need to do everything around here? A diversion has to be LOUD and ANNOYING - "

"Like you?"

"ONE of us has to be! At least I'm decently competent at it! Creating a diversion is like ENTRY-LEVEL, how can you POSSIBLY not know how to do it? ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BE YOURSELF. You know, shout a lot and maybe punch people in the face for no reason!"

Clearly this was an invitation, so James took it.

Bond hopped a good two feet backwards, hands clapped over his nose. "I DIDN'T MEAN ME! OH MY GOD, YOU SON OF A WHORE, YOU JUST PUNCHED ME!"

"YOU DESERVE IT FOR BEING SUCH AN ASSHOLE!"

"I DIDN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING THIS TIME!"

"YOU ALWAYS DESERVE IT FOR BEING SUCH AN ASSHOLE!"

Almost immediately a crowd had gathered, people filtering out from the hotel bar to watch the fight. Someone started making book; "il basso" was significantly favoured in the betting pool.

"I'M NOT STAYING DOWN HERE TO TAKE THIS KIND OF ABUSE." Bond turned and gestured angrily at the man behind the counter. "ARE YOU JUST GOING TO STAND THERE AND LET YOUR GUESTS BE PHYSICALLY ABUSED LIKE THIS?"

The man behind the counter ignored him, as he was placing his own bet with the bookmaker.

"WELL, I'M NOT GOING TO STICK AROUND AND LET THIS SORT OF THING GO ON. CHRIST GODDAMN, I HATE YOU SO MUCH." With much violent and emotive flailing of arms, Bond exited the rear door of the lobby. That at one point the flailing brought his hand within reach of the rack of keys behind the counter was not noticed by the management.

The crowd as a whole booed bitterly at the abrupt end to their entertainment.
>> No. 414
James went out the side entrance Spy had previously used and lit another cigarette. He had smoked more in the past two days than he had in the previous two months. It was not Spy rubbing off on him, with his inevitable Chesterfield King constantly dangling from his lip or being used to gesture obnoxiously; it was stress. Of course, either way it was Spy's fault. When he died of lung cancer it would be on Bond's conscience.

Ha. A Spy having a conscience.

He lit another smoke.

Think of the devil and he comes; hopping out the side entrance, swinging his purloined key by the fob. "Come on up to the room! It is very acceptably swanky, and I already picked the lock on the minibar."

James followed him up resignedly. The room was, admittedly, pretty nice. It still only had one bed, but Spy seemed pretty nocturnal; they could sleep in shifts, and if that didn't work, James could just smother him with a pillow and roll him off the mattress.

"Look, I got you something!" Spy grinned and pulled a long, thin object from his inner jacket pocket: three long, narrow strips of yellow wood, finely ruled and numbered, held together with a clear plastic slider. He pulled on the center bit to demonstrate that it moved, and looked surprised and slightly shamefaced when it came all the way out, pushing it back in hurriedly and handing it over. "It's got to be some kind of Engineer thing, right? I think it's a transcontabulator."

James took it and looked at it slowly. Slowly his eyes moved back to Spy. Just as slowly they moved back to the item in his hand. Conflicting emotions roiled within him inexpressibly.

"I'm right, aren't I?"

"It's a slide rule," James finally said, flatly.

Spy looked blank for a moment. "That's an Engineer thing, though, so I'm still right?"

"I already have a slide rule." James pulled his out of one of his own pockets, where he'd been carrying all of the gear from his workbelt that would fit without making the suit bulge enough for Spy to say something annoying about it.

Spy looked theatrically crushed. "But you don't already have one I found for you. I mean, this is a genuine 1963 slide rule. It's specially designed for 1963 math and science. Are you sure it's not a transcontabulator?"

James closed his eyes and breathed in and out slowly. "It's not a transcontabulator. There is no such thing as a transcontabulator. It is a slide rule." When he opened his eyes again, Spy was still looking theatrically crushed. He closed them again.

He did not need a slide rule. Correction: he did not want to need a slide rule. They didn't have pocket calculators here, so he did, in fact, need one. He didn't need two, but that was a slightly less terrible point. The only reason he needed the fucking slide rule was the fact of being stuck in 1963, which made him want to strangle Spy every time he was reminded of it, but he forced the impulse down. This was - even he, an Engineer, not a class usually noted for their social insight, recognized it - an attempt at conciliation. Bond was, in his own stupid fucking Spy way, trying to help.

James exhaled and opened his eyes again. "Thanks, Spy."

Spy grinned widely. "You're welcome."

The question of where the hell he'd gotten a slide rule didn't occur to James until later, and he decided it - like the questions of how Spy'd been paying for the suits and the airplane tickets and the drinks - was not worth asking.
>> No. 415
"Do you think I ought to shave?" Bond leaned over the counter, running a hand over his chin and examining his reflection appraisingly. "On the one hand, I look extremely rakish and handsome with stubble, but on the other hand, the clean-shaven look is definitely in right now - see also: Connery, Moore, Lazenby, so on and so forth - and besides, if I shave right now then by tomorrow I should be all rakishly handsome again, where if I don't then in the morning I'll look like some kind of fun-sized lumberjack or something, which probably won't impress Lotta much, huh? So I guess I should shave."

"Lotta?" James asked, without real interest and without looking up from the paper he was covering with notes and calculations.

"Lotta Butté," Bond replied with obvious satisfaction. "We're meeting her for drinks and intel in a few."

"Are we."

"Well, I am, anyway. I guess you aren't technically involved." Bond dug around for the hotel-supplied toiletries until he found a bar of shaving soap. He added as an afterthought as he lathered up: "Maybe it was a royal 'we'."

"Oh, the girl you abandoned me for in that last bar." James pulled the center bar out of the slide rule Bond had given him and used it as a straight-edge to carefully draw a perfect rectangle in the upper left corner of a new sheet of paper.

Bond paused and gestured with the razor. "I didn't abandon you! I came back, didn't I? Anyway, there's no need to be jealous - "

"Who said I was jealous?" Another neat rectangle.

" - there's enough of me to go around - "

An annoyed snort from the desk, and a teasing grin reflected in the mirror toward the back of the engineer's head.

"She's not your type anyway, way too Spy. Christ goddamn if she doesn't have legs to her eyebrows and an ass they could put on display at the Met, though." A low whistle. "If I'm late to breakfast in the morning don't throw a party, I might not be dead yet." A soft mutter in French, involving the phrase petit mort and a low chuckle, then a hiss. "Tabernac de shit - " He leaned closer to the mirror and squinted at his jaw. "If I just cut myself right before a hot spy date, I will have no choice but to die of shame - "

"You'd probably have less trouble if you stopped running your mouth."

Bond rolled his eyes at James' reflection and finished shaving in silence.
>> No. 416
Clean-shaven, unbloodied, and looking - he thought - rather amazingly classy in a tuxedo he'd rustled up somewhere, Bond paused just long enough to check his bowtie one last time and inform Engineer of his exit (which went unacknowledged) before heading down to the bar.

A quick glance from the lobby served as reconnaissance, showing the absence, as yet, of Lotta; Bond stepped into the vestibule, collared a bellhop, and probied him to obtain a fresh pack of Chesterfields. One and a half cigarettes later, he returned to the lobby, repeated his recon, and found that the lady had arrived. This meant that he himself could then arrive, fashionably late so as to avoid looking like an overeager Scout on his first adventure.

As he slipped in to stand beside her at the bar, Lotta greeted him with a careful smile and a miniscule shake of her head. He tilted his own in question.

"It may not be safe to discuss here," she said in a very low voice, taking his arm and her drink and leading him from the bar. "There has been a man watching me. I saw him also where we met, earlier."

Bond discreetly followed her glance toward the back of the bar, and almost snorted. "That one? Brown hair, kind of short, currently glaring at me like he's plotting my demise?"

"Yes, him - you know him?"

Bond did snort. "That's my partner."

"Your... partner." Lotta looked from Bond smirking at her side to James glowering across the room, knitting her eyebrows in pantomime perplexity.

"It's a working relationship," Bond explained. "I do the work, and he apparently spies on my relationships."

Lotta laughed. "Well, are you going to introduce me?"

"What, and do his job for him?"

"You said you are the one who does the work."

"I never said it's work to talk to you."

She laughed again, and he relented. James had one of the better seats in the house, anyway, back in the corner where the doors could be monitored; they may as well sit there. It wasn't as if the engineer would pose any credible threat to the spy's seduction efforts, anyway, given the level of interpersonal skills he'd demonstrated thus far.

They picked their way through to the table. James watched them approach with a sort of resignation, rising politely to his feet when they got close.

Bond gestured with his martini. "Lotta, this is James."

She nodded and smiled. "How do you do?"

"James, this is Lotta." Bond paused as if expecting a reaction. When he got none, he added: "Lotta Butté."

James looked her over - Bond's assessment earlier had definitely been accurate, he decided - and suddenly got the name. He nearly laughed before his Engineery self-preservation instincts kicked in. If he laughed at her name, they'd stab him for sure. He managed to simply return her nod and "Howdy" while Bond pulled a chair out for her and sat beside her.

"Have you been in Italy long?" Lotta directed the question at both of them, and Bond took the answer with a meaningful smirk.

"Long enough to decide I like it."

James stifled a snort; Lotta disguised a giggle at him by sipping her drink.

"Are you a native?" James asked. It didn't sound like an Italian name, but it didn't sound like a real name, so that was probably no indication.

"Yes, I am from Cremona," she replied. "But it is a bit too rustic there for me. I prefer the cities. I am glad to live near Siena, now."

"Only near?" Bond asked.

"Ah, I have a small flat of my own," Lotta told him, stroking the stem of her cocktail glass with red-tipped fingers. "I work outside the city, but I like to come in, when I am not working, to have some time to myself."

"It's nice to have some privacy, I'm sure," said Bond, meeting her eyes. "Besides, they say something about work and no play, don't they?"

"Yeah, all play and no work makes a jacka- " James cut off his counter-remark, remembering the presence of a lady.

Lotta's fingers stopped their motion. "Ah, yes, I believe we were going to discuss a certain ...gentleman I know, were we not?"

"Right, Vanzetti."

"Von Zetti," said Lotta. "How did you hear about him?"

"We found this flyer that Vanzetti had up at HQ - "

"Von Zetti," Lotta corrected again.

"It says Vanzetti." Bond pulled the flyer out of his pocket and unfolded it on the table. "Unless we're talking about two different people."

Lotta leaned over, shoulder brushing Bond's, to read. "No, this is it, but the name is spelled wrongly. It is Von Zetti. Oh, I should have known not to trust the girl on the telephone! She sounded too stupid to write, and she was."

"Wait, you placed this ad?"

Lotta nodded, setting her features into a grave expression. "I have been working with him, but I no longer can bring myself to do it. He is not a good man. And I need a good man." Her eyes went to both James and Bond, but it was on Bond's knee that her hand curled beneath the table. "So I place the ad, to find one to help me."

"Why don't you just quit, then?" asked James pragmatically.

She turned toward him, looking slightly confused. "That is not an option."

"It doesn't work that way," Bond said at the same time, slightly derisively. Lotta glanced back toward him, looking thankful that someone at the table understood.

"I can do nothing myself. A reputation as a double-crosser would ruin my career."

James exerted a great deal of willpower to keep from rolling his eyes. He was knee-deep in Spy Logic, sure to get deeper as the conversation wore on, and there was no hope of escape. He began to flag down a waiter for another glass of whiskey, then changed his mind - there was one hope of escape, at least for a little while. "Right. Well, you two hash that out. It was nice to meet you, ma'am." With that he rose, intent upon collecting the whiskey from the bar in person and then making his getaway back to the room upstairs.

He'd have to trust Spy to get actual usable information on his own. He didn't have much hope in that regard, but it was better than listening to them spy-logic around in circles and watching them feel each other up, anyway.

He was already awake the next morning when Bond returned, happily dishevelled and clutching a bar-napkin which he waved triumphantly until James took it away from him and smoothed it out on the desk.

It was a surprisingly good map and a diagram of a building which was carved from the inside of a mountain, with labels for things like "conveniently-sized ductwork," "guards' breakroom" and "inner sanctum."

The goddamn Spy had actually managed to get some fucking intel.
>> No. 417
"How do we know this intel's not fake? If she's offering it up after just one lay - " James ignored the glare Bond shot at him - "seems mighty suspicious. She could just be double-crossing us."

"She could be." Bond shrugged, unconcerned. "But even if she does double-cross us, the intel should be good. I mean, she'll just tell Von Zetti we're coming or something, not outright lie to our faces."

"How the hell do you know?"

"That's just how things work."

James' expression was indescribable. "The way things work is that some random spy you picked up in a bar won't lie to our faces."

"Yeah?" Bond rustled open a fresh pack of cigarettes. "I mean, why go to all the trouble of making up a fake map? Besides which, she's the one who brought up the entire double-crossing idea. As far as she knew, we were legitimately answering that ad looking for work. If this was a set-up, she had to go to all the trouble of calling HQ to get that ad put up, coming up with fake intel to hand out, and then finding the people who replied to it before they went straight to Von Zetti. Just to fuck somebody and then fuck him over? There are easier ways to get laid."

James scowled. "I don't know, maybe it's a fetish or something."

Bond laughed, and had to relight his smoke. "She's a Spy. Spies are lazy, right?"

James had no answer for that.

"Anyway, the intel we've got is the intel we've got. It'll buff out."

"For your sake, I hope so." James turned around, back to the desk.

"For my sake? I'm touched, Engineer. Touched right in my black little heart."

"'Cause if you're wrong, I'm gonna beat you to death."

Bond stretched out on the bed, legs crossed at the ankles, shoulders propped up on all three of the available pillows, and ashtray balanced carefully on his midriff. "You keep saying that I'm going to end up shot and tossed in a ditch. If it doesn't work out like I have planned, you won't have a chance to beat me to death."

The look James shot back over his shoulder was almost amused. "I'll find you in the afterlife and beat you back to death."

"Afterdeath? Are you threatening to beat me until I turn into a zombie?"

This time the look was definitely amused. "Yes. And then you'll really be fucked over, because zombies never get laid."

Bond snorted, considered repeating last night's 'jealousy' accusation, and decided not to be repetitive. "I'd argue that point, but we don't have the internet."

"Don't remind me."

Time to change the subject. "So it's decided. We work with what we have, and if I made the wrong call, you beat me into undeath. But you know what we'll need?"

James sighed and turned the chair around. "This is going to mean work for me."

"No, no, not at all! Not, like, real work, anyway. See, we need gadgets. Just some simple things, you know, easy stuff. No problem for you, you're smart as hell."

"What kind of simple things?"

"Oh, maybe, like, a belt buckle that's also a grappling hook?"

James tilted his head thoughtfully. "You know, I actually have a grappling hook design that's pretty small already. It's not exactly belt-buckle sized, but I could work with it."

Bond grinned, enthusiasm growing (along with the size of the gestures he was making with his cigarette; he moved the ashtray to the nightstand to avoid mishaps). "See? Easy stuff. And also a pen that does something - there's always a pen that does something. Maybe if you click it twice, it dispenses knockout gas to take out minions."

James snorted. "Shit, son, you don't need knockout gas to take somebody out. Just kick 'em in the back of the knee or catch them in the throat."

Bond looked appalled. "I can't do that! That's not classy at all!"

James rolled his eyes. "Can you even get your hands on knockout gas?"

Bond grinned. "Tranqs were standard issue back then - here - now, whatever. All I have to do is go back to that bar and get the address for the local UIEEI-approved distributor, and bingo! Knockout gas for fun and profit."

James thought for a second, then nodded. "Pens are piss easy, that won't be a problem. And I'll need your disguise kit. It won't be much good for disguises now, anyway, so I can retool it, maybe add some things, make it a sort of multitool - " He suddenly realized that he was catching Spy's enthusiasm, actually enjoying this discussion. Quick, act grumpy! "And I'll need space to work in. And tools. And supplies."

Bond sat up eagerly. "Make a list while I'm in the shower!" And with that, he disappeared to the bathroom.

The list he got was long and he didn't know what half the things on it were, but over the course of the afternoon, with multiple hops out to shops and back in to the hotel for clarification and then back out to other shops, he eventually got most of what he'd been asked for; he then picked the lock on an unoccupied room on the next floor so he could take a nap away from the sounds of a working Engineer.

When he got back, James was carefully tightening the screw holding the clip onto the barrel of the pen Bond had given him (a graduation gift from his grandfather; Bond had been disappointed in it since the day he received it, because it was only a pen, so giving it up for this purpose was The Only Right And Proper Way For The World To Work) with the smallest screwdriver Bond had ever seen. He hovered in the doorway. "Are you done?"

James looked up with the satisfied smile of a proud craftsman. "Just about. Still got some stuff to iron out on the multitool and the CO2 cartridge isn't loaded in the grappling bucklet yet, but I've got everything just about figured, and the pen's done."

Bond reached out a hand for it reverently. "This is so cool." His voice was awed and utterly sincere. "Tell me how you did it."

Engineer, of course, was all too willing to explain in detail, and Bond at least tried to pay attention to all of it, scattering compliments on the design and the execution and the cleverness of the inventor with gleeful abandon. He had gadgets. Sure, technically a disguise kit and a cloaking watch were gadgets to begin with, but those were mass-produced; every Spy had those. These were custom-built gadgets just for him, made by his own personal Q. Life was beautiful and everything was good and right.

The said 'personal Q' was clearly appreciating Bond's appreciation of his effort - no Engineer ever feels as if he's properly acknowledged for his hard work, especially by a Spy. It was enough to make James almost like the guy, for the moment. At the very least, he had no overwhelming desire to wring his neck or punch him in the nose at that precise juncture.

He'd been working all day, and had gotten kind of dirty despite the lack of manual labor involved - dots of solder on his clothes, dust and grease on his ungloved hand - so after having almost his fill of compliments and preening, he rose to take a shower.

He even let Spy stay alone in the room with his inventions, with nothing more severe than an order not to touch anything.

Not that Spy listened, of course.

"Christ goddamn, I have gadgets!" The kid-on-Christmas grin was still plastered across Bond's face as he rifled across the desk, flipping the modified disguise kit open and shut and examining every facet of the belt-buckle grappling hook. Then his eyes lit on the pen, and he snatched it up. "Ok, so it should be one click for ink - " he tested it on a scrap of paper - "and two clicks for the knockout gas - "

A slight hissing sound, and he thumped to the floor.

When James emerged from the shower, there was at first no sign of the Spy. "The hell'd you go?" God knows what kind of trouble he could've gotten himself into; James should never've left him alone with that stuff.

A soft groan from the far side of the bed answered him. Spy had, in fact, gotten himself into trouble, apparently, and he was just starting to come around.

Up until this moment - since he was a teenager, in fact - Bond had been carefully maintaining a practiced nonspecific accent which was vaguely French and vaguely not. Now, as he lay on the floor groggily pulling himself back to consciousness from the fog the knockout gas had put him in, he swore weakly in a completely different and more recognizable accent. "Tabernac d'ostie de marde de - fucking god 'ell, is dere a doctor in de 'ouse? I need a hasprin."

James, who had been leaning over to help him up, froze for a moment, then snickered. "What the hell kind of accent is that, Spy, you goofy fuck?"

Bond glared at him with barely-open eyes. "It's not fair to make fun of a dying man."

James was still snickering. "You're Canadian."

"Not on purpose. Is dere hasprin, or do I just die?"

James relented and picked Spy up bodily from the floor, depositing him on the bed. "There is 'hasprin'." Another snicker, and another blurry glare. "Hold up a tick."

He rustled up two aspirin and a glass of water and handed them over. Bond muttered his thanks - he'd already sworn to himself not to speak aloud until he felt up to putting his accent back on - downed the pills, and lay back on the bed with his eyes closed, listening to Engineer get back to work to finish up the last of the gadget-tinkering.

After a few minutes he felt decently revived. "At least we know the stuff works."

James laughed - not at Bond, but a genuine one of amusement mixed with pride. "It sure does."

---

Bond knocked himself out again an hour later, while trying to see if the pen had a safety. (It did not.) When he came to, he discovered that James had already laid him out on the bed, and on the nightstand were two aspirin and a glass of water with a lemon wedge.





---

the next update will involve porn :V i have most of it written, look for a link to an /afic/ post in this thread within the next 48 hours
>> No. 418
Sunlight lanced across the hotel bed like the Light Brigade at Balaclava, and if Bond could have wished a similar fate upon it, he would have. Dramatic flailing; the rustle, snick and contented sigh that accompanied obtaining, lighting, and inhaling the day's first cigarette; and then he was more or less vertical, squinting across the room

"They should outlaw mornings," he complained sleepily. "They are cruel and unusual and serve no purpose in the life of reasonable creatures. If I were going to take over the world, that would be my plan. Take over the international airwaves to make an announcement: Do not adjust your set. We control the horizontal, we control the vertical, we will shortly be controlling the planet. We demand twenty bucks and the abolition of all hours between sunrise and noon."

James set down the soldering iron for a moment and turned to look over his shoulder, tolerantly amused. "It's two in the afternoon, Spy."

"No way." Bond leaned over to check the clock. "Well, Holy Lord. We can outlaw two in the afternoon, then. All it's good for is soap operas and business meetings for people with boring jobs, and the world can do without those." He stubbed his cigarette into the nearest thing that resembled an ashtray and stumbled toward the bathroom, still sleep-eyed and only half-awake even after his speech (further proof that he could run his mouth without turning his brain on).

The sound of water running, a pause, a startled yelp, and the water stopped. Bond reemerged wrapped in a towel, barely even damp, with the disgruntled expression of a cat suddenly dunked in a tub. "Forgot the faucets are backward," he said shortly. "Please tell me coffee exists."

James grunted and nodded toward a room service tray. Bond heaved toward it like a desert traveler spotting an open bar, poured an unreasonable quantity of sugar into a mug with the hotel's coat of arms on it, topped the sugar off with coffee, and half-sipped, half-chewed until the caffeine took effect.

Only then did he realize that he'd not only fallen asleep in bed with the damned Engineer last night, without even making it out to the bars, he'd somehow managed to sleep past noon on The Big Day. Hell and Christ. At least the previous evening's activities had had their desired effect, though, to judge from the said Engineer's increased tolerance of his waking-up routine,

"Put some fucking clothes on, Spy," James said, interrupting this chagrined reverie.

There was a limit to the tolerance, then. The exercise would probably have to be repeated until desired effect was fully achieved. Bond was not unnecessarily bothered by the concept, but he still took the hint and retreated to the bathroom for a second try at a shower and a shave to get himself back to the current Dashing International Superspy fashion.

He emerged fully refreshed and brimming with anticipation, which he tried to sublimate by fussing over choice of neckwear. Half-Windsor? Full Windsor? Bowtie? "How are the quasimultometers coming?" he asked over his shoulder as he knotted and un-knotted. Definitely bowtie, he decided. Much more Ian Fleming.

James had almsot given up on ever correcting Spy's terminology, as long as he didn't act like he was denigrating the work by making up bizarre words for things. "Just about done. Turned out I had a bad pot in the disguise kit workover, so I had to desolder half the circuit to replace it, but it'll be ready to test in about ten minutes. Everything else is good to go."

"Brilliant." Bond had no idea what Engineer'd just said, but it ended in 'good to go,' so it must have been alright. He gave his bowtie a final twitch, straightened up and tugged at the bottom of his jacket, and nodded at his reflection. Then he headed toward the door. "I'm going to go find us a car," he said. "You'd better have the maids iron your shirt while I'm out."

He shut the door and locked it behind him. Almost immediately he reopened it. "On second thought, I'll tell them for you. Get it ready to hand over." No engineer would ever actually remember to have his shirts pressed, especially this one, and especially while he was working on something. He was lucky he remembered to eat - if he even did that, when a conscientious spy wasn't around to feed him sandwiches. Obviously the man needed Bond for his own good.

---

Finding the car proved more trouble than he'd expected. There just weren't that many Aston Martins floating around Naples, apparently. In fact, he eventually had to settle for a fairly sporty-looking Alfa Romeo from a rental company. It was, at least, silver, which he figured made it good enough for a first adventure automobile. He had to do some fast talking to get it off the lot without being able to produce a valid license, and some fast driving to get it home before they ran the check he'd written for the deposit and discovered it was drawn on an entirely fictitious account in the name of an entirely fictitious person, but he considered that nothing more than a warm-up for the evening's events. He got it back to the hotel before the sun set and reappeared in their room, swinging the key around his index finger. "Do you think you can put spikey hubcaps or an oil-slick thing or anything into a car within about 90 minutes?"

James just looked at him. "No."

Bond considered daring him, which had gotten good results in the past, but really, putting the engineer to work on the car would just get him all greasy, and then they'd have to get his shirt cleaned again, and meanwhile the clock would be ticking and he might have to put off The Big Day until tomorrow, which wouldn't do at all. His moment of glory was so close he could taste it; minor sacrifices would have to be made. He contented himself with a small sigh. "Did you finish up the gigatronics?"

The paragraph Engineer launched into in response began with a "yes," so Bond nodded and interjected and made the proper pleasantries while he slipped everything into his pockets. Then he straightened his jacket again and grinned cheerfully. "There. Time to go!"

"Go where?"

"To take out Von Zetti." Bond was using the preschool-teacher voice again.

"What, right now? On the basis of a map made on a bar napkin?"

"You go to war with the intel you have, not the intel you want."

"I can not believe you seriously just said that."

"Do you have the map, by the way? It might come in handy."

"I have three copies of it." James handed one over, rather reluctantly. Bond glanced at it and tucked it behind the display handkerchief in his breast pocket.

"We've got a map, we've got a car, we've got gadgets - we don't have a car that has gadgets, but that can come later - I don't see what else we need."

"Some kind of plan might be nice, dumbass."

"We'll come up with one in the car!"

James closed his eyes, set his jaw, and concentrated on breathing and not punching the fucking spy again. Then his eyes again and held out a hand. "Give me the keys. I'm driving."

"Why?" Bond closed his hand around the keyring and put his fists on his hips.

"I'm not letting YOU drive."

"You have never seen me drive. You've got no way to have a legitimate opinion here."

"I can imagine."

"Like you're really one to talk, Mister Almost-Kill-Us-All-On-An-Empty-Desert-Highway!"

"There were extenuating circumstances, and if you don't give me the keys right now there are going to be extenuating circumstances again."

Bond glared, but eventually relented and handed them over. "Fine. If I'm not driving, I can drink. I'll be in the bar getting one for the road while you change your shirt. And find a better tie, Christ goddamn."

"What the hell is wrong with my tie?"

But at that point James was speaking to a closed door.
>> No. 419
The drive was sadly uneventful; Bond kept looking out the rear window hoping to discover they'd been tailed - once even convincing himself that they were, only for the car behind them to exit the highway before he could talk James into starting a high-speed chase. Lotta's directions proved sound, and they pulled through an unmanned ticket booth into a parking lot after about an hour on the road.

Bond climbed out and stood, looking around with his hands on his hips. "Well, that was a disappointment. Awfully quotidien, don't you think? We didn't even have to talk our way past a parking-lot guard or anything. Christ goddamn, if the whole thing's going to be this easy we might as well just go home right away."

"Which is what I've been saying all along - "

"Maybe it'll get better once we're inside. I mean, I was going for a kind of easy trip for my first adventure, but I didn't expect a cakewalk. What's the challenge in this? He'd better at least have armed guards inside, or I'm taking my toys and leaving. Fucking shit of a cut-rate supervillain. Bah and phooey. Oh well - like I said, you go with what you have, not what you want."

The parking lot butted up against a conical mountain; a small metal-walled entryway protruded from one edge, with a heavy door on the front, a small wired-glass window beside it, and an HVAC exhaust outlet on the roof. Bond jumped and got his fingers onto the edge of the roof, dangling there for a moment.

"Hey, Engineer, can I get a boost?"

James just watched him. "What the hell do you think you're doing, Spy?"

"Going in through the air ducts," said Bond. Kindergarten-teacher voice again. "What do you think I'm doing?"

James rolled his eyes and dug through the trunk.

"Hello, I'm kind of hanging out here - " Bond sighed and let himself drop to the ground again. "Wait, what are you doing?"

James found what he was looking for and headed back toward the door, donning his hard hat and adjusting his goggles. "Looking official," he replied.

"You actually brought your hard hat? I can't believe this. Here we are, being International Super-Spies and infiltrating an evil supervillain's evil lair, and you're completely ruining the nicely-tailored ensemble I went to all that trouble of finding for you by adding these completely unnecessary Engineery accessories and - what the Christ are you doing now?" He dove forward a step and grabbed James' hand right before it contacted the door.

James pulled his hand loose and glared. "Knocking."

"Why the hell are you knocking on the door? They're not just going to let you in - "

"I'm an Engineer and I look official. They'll let me in. Nobody argues with Engineers, because we wouldn't be out here doing anything if we weren't supposed to be."

Bond couldn't argue with the justice of that claim specifically, but he still took issue with the generalities involved. "You can't just go through the front door! That's not how it's done!"

"You can do whatever you want. I'm not stopping you from crawling around in air vents. But I'm damn well not doing it myself."

It was now Bond's turn to glare. "Fucking Engineers. At least give me a hand up here." He turned and hopped back toward the roof, and James sighed and gave him a push to reach the top. "And for the love of God," Bond added, "don't knock until I'm inside."

"Fine."

Bond clambered across the roof and carefully unscrewed the grille over the vent. "And don't come crying to me when you get shot to death."

"Same to you."
>> No. 420
The vent was quite large enough for a full-grown man to crawl through on all fours, but no larger, and Bond was painfully aware of the state he was getting his knees and gloves into. Still, il faut souffrir pour être awesome, and he could practically hear the dramatically sneaky soundtrack music playing as he worked his way along, stopping at each intersection of ductwork to check his copy of the bar-napkin map.

He was unconscionably pleased with himself and the way he was crawling right over the heads of the guards he sometimes heard talking through the ceiling-grates beneath him, but he didn't stop to really spy on them until he came to a grate that suffused the inside of the duct with a faint green light.

A glance at the map revealed that he was now directly above the room labeled "lab," and a glance through the grate confirmed it. The room below was all antiseptic white tile and gleaming silver metal, walls lined with vats of a mysterious liquid that imparted the glow that reached into the ventwork. Dim figures floated inside each glass-walled cylinder, and the whole place had the peculiarly dry, clinical odor of a hospital.

For the first time, Bond found himself actually curious as to the details of the plot he was about to foil.

---

Meanwhile, James - armed with hard hat, goggles, clipboard, and the large-caliber pistol hidden under his jacket - was having exactly the success he had expected. The minion who answered his officious knock glanced at his IBAE credentials (apparently without glancing at the dates), listened to his claim of being a facilities inspector, and brought him inside without further questions.

Metal walls in the hallway gave way to stone ("hewn from the living rock of the mountain," the minion explained in the bored tones of an underpaid tour guide reciting a script), and he was hustled past the side branches he peered down, making random checkmarks and uttering the occasional thoughtfully-derisive "Hmm" as he went.

"And here is the communications room, where we relay all closed-circuit video and radio lines throughout the base," stated the minion, pushing open a door and showing the Engineer in to a room lined with monitors, speakers and reel-to-reel recorders.

James looked around and shook his head critically. "When was the last time you had this looked at?"

The minion looked nervous, but not suspicious. "I'm not sure, sir. I could go check the logs..."

"You'd better do that. This is severely out of code. Find out who's been maintaining it, too. Shoddy craftsmanship - " He reached out with his pen and pulled a loop of tape off one of the reel-to-reels until it snapped. "Just look at that bullshit."

The minion paled. "I'll go check the logs right away."

"If you want anything done right you have to do it yourself," James complained, producing his wrench and looking very annoyed as the minion scampered away.

Then he grinned and started breaking shit.

---

Bond listened carefully at the grate until he was certain there was no one in the lab, then pulled it up and out of the way so he could drop down into the lab.

A lab-coated minion looked up from his quiet paperwork and opened his mouth to protest. Bond spun on his heels and pulled out his pen, clicked it once as he stepped toward the minion, then again with it in the minion's face.

The scientist slumped over his desk, unconscious.

"Christ goddamn, I love having gadgets," Bond breathed with a grin. Then he set to investigating.

The vats were full of human figures of various ages and stages of development, the strangest thing about them being that they all, even the babies, had tiny moustaches. He stared through the glass at them for a while, puzzling; then turned to the shelves full of binders and notebooks and dug through the paperwork.

Unfortunately, everything seemed to be written in either Italian or German, two languages he had little to no command of. He was considering ripping out a few pages anyway to look over later, but hey, Von Zetti would probably explain everything in a huge dramatic speech at some point, and -

There were voices in the hall outside.

"Did your radio just turn off?"

"Yeah, yours too?"

(If all the notes were in Italian and German, and they were in Italy, why did all the minions speak English? Bond shrugged the question off as unimportant.)

"We should go check the station in the lab."

Well, shit. So much for his Spy games. Bond quickly pulled a rolling chair away from a desk to just below the ceiling vent he'd come in through, used it to climb back up to the vents, paused just long enough to kick the chair away again and slide the grate back in place, and continued on his trek.
>> No. 421
James pushed his way past a pair of minions who crowded into the communications room, yammering excitedly about the breakdown. "I told you it wasn't up to spec. I need to go report this."

He then booked it deeper into the base, looking official and determined and being given no attention by the jumpsuited lackeys around him.

He was near the inner sanctum when Bond dropped out of the ceiling in front of him.

"Holy Christ, James, they didn't shoot you! Good job, I'm proud of you. I was just in the lab and there is some mad-scientist bullshit going on in there. It's like a dozen little Charlie Chaplins without any clothes on. Do you know how to read German? I think we're really onto something here! I can't wait to hear what the plan is, it's got to be something ridiculous, it's gonna be great. And I got to use the pen, too, and - goddamn, my pants are filthy."

While Bond fastidiously dusted his knees off, James tried to glean some sense out of the barrage of words. Charlie Chaplins? Wait, Charlie Chaplins having to do with supervillains that would require being able to read German. "Fuck! Hitler clones!"

Bond looked up. "What?"

"Why the hell would it ever be Charlie Chaplins, Bond?"

"Well, they had the moustache!" Bond crooked a finger on his upper lip, and paused. "Ok, so Hitler had the same moustache too, but hey, I'm not some kind of fascist. I don't automatically think of Hitler first in every situation, and I think you ought to see a psychiatrist or something - "

"It's fucking HITLER! WE'RE IN A SUPERVILLAIN BASE!"

"But we're in a volcano base! What does Hitler have to do with volcano schtick?"

"I don't think you understand how Hitler is used."

"So why don't you enlighten me, Mister Hitler Expert." Bond's pride was obviously wounded, and he glared at James with folded arms.

"Hitler's pretty much the evillest thing ever. Every villain uses Hitler."

"Right, because you're the one who knows about what villains do. Anyway, Hitler is passé now. It's all Communists these days."

"Not now! It's the 1960s!" James paused. "Wait, is it really overused? It's not like I keep track."

"Exactly. The 1960s are the high point of the Communist Supervillain arc (why you're even arguing about this with me I don't know; I don't argue with you about how to find the prime derivatives of quasilectrical submatronics) and you can't have COMMIE HITLERS, that would be like having chocolate bacon."

They both paused on that note. "Actually," the said in unison, Bond finishing with "I'd try chocolate bacon" and James saying "chocolate bacon is pretty tasty."

"Jinx!" said Bond. James ignored him.

"Alright, so communism and national socialism aren't compatible, I'll give you that. But think about it - Hitler moustaches, notes in German - maybe what they're doing here is trying to engineer Commie Hitlers."

"Christ goddamn, you could be right. Only one way to find out, though!" Bond started toward the inner sanctum.

James grabbed him by the shoulder. "Where the hell are you going?"

"Toward the inner sanctum," Bond explained. "We'll never know until we hear it straight from Von Zetti's mouth."

"You were yelling at me about walking straight in earlier, and now YOU'RE walking straight in?"

"He'll never expect us to have so cleverly evaded the best efforts of his minions and then had the nerve to just walk right in on him!"

"I'm never going to understand your fucking Spy bullshit - "

At this point, the argument was made moot by the unexpected entry of a pair of armed guards.
>> No. 422
"If you weren't always arguing with me, we wouldn't have this problem,"

James and Bond swung a few feet above a boiling pit of lava, tied back to back with heavy rope that bound their arms to their sides.

"...And you owe me a Coke."

"What?"

"I jinxed you."

"How fucking old are you?"

"I'm trying to lighten the tension here, you crackerjack fuck. God forbid - "

"You're not lightening the tension, you're just making me want to punch you in the face, and I can't because your dumb ass got us tied up over a fucking lava pit. Just shut up."

"At least one good thing's come out of this. It'll go down in history as the night the tightass Engineer didn't punch me in the face. So are you figuring out our daring escape plan yet?"

"What I'm figuring out is - "

"Shhh!" Bond kicked James in the back of the shin.

"Ow, you fucker! What?"

"The villain's coming! We're about to get our dramatic speech!"

A door at the back of the room opened, and Von Zetti entered, taking a seat in a large, ultra-modern leather wingback that faced the lava pit. He was a tall man with dark, greying hair; a livid scar zigzagged over one eye like a lightning bolt, and a monocle was perched in that eye socket. A long white labcoat revealed gleaming jackboots beneath it.

"Guten abend, meinen Herren. I see you haff found your vay into my secret lair. Very clever of you."

The duo twisted in their ropes, slowly rotating until both of them could see the villain clearly.

"It is unfortunate zat you haff chosen zis moment for your misguided attempt to foil my plans. You see, zey are not yet ready, So I cannot gif you ze demonstration I vould so enjoy."

"And they never will be," said Bond. "But don't just leave us hanging - please, elaborate."

"Ze day vill come ven my glorious army of Communist Hitler clones march out from zis lair to take over ze vorld, and on zat day - "

James kicked Bond and hissed, "I told you so."

"Gold star for you," Bond hissed back. "Shut up, he's still talking."

" - zey vill release ZE KRAKEN - no, not ze Kraken. ZE KRANKHEITSKEIM!"

"The what now?"

"ZE UBERGERM! Ze disease zat vill enable me to enslave all of humanity!"

"Wait, what, are you a Medic? How do you go from Medic schtick to Secret Volcano Lair schtick?"

"I AM NOT A MEDIC, SCHWEINEHUND! Vy does everyvun tsink zat? Medic zis, Medic zat, Medic can I get a heal, great fat men on ze street tsrowing zemselves at me viz cries of I LOVE ZIS DOCTOR - NEIN! NEIN! I am not a Medic, verdammt noch mal! I am just a Nazi!"

"Then what's up with the labcoat?"

"IT IS STYLISH! NOW STOP TALKING UND START DYING!"

Von Zetti hit a button on the armrest of his chair, then stood and stalked from the room, coattails swirling.

"I think you pissed him off."

"Thank you, Captain Obvious."

A mechanical whirring from above them, and the rope began to descend, slowly lowering James and Bond toward the lava below.
>> No. 423
"Now would be a really good time for you to come up with a cunning escape attempt," said Bond.

"You know, I'm starting to see a pattern here."

"You would. Fucking Engineer."

"You keep getting us in trouble, and I keep having to get us out of it."

"That's because you're the genius, and I'm the one with style. Are you coming up with a fucking cunning escape plan yet?"

"I'm thinking. Fuck you."

"Fuck you, think faster! Dogshit crackerjack ass - "

"Crackerjack? That's the second time you've said that. I don't think it means what you think it means."

"Stop criticizing my profanity in what I will remind you is a foreign language for me and start getting us not melted in a lava pit!"

"We're not going to melt, you stupid Spy, the human body doesn't work that way."

"Then burned to death or barbecued or Severely Toasted or whatever other word you want me to use, I don't give a damn, I just don't want it to happen to my TOES!"

"Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to think when you're shouting like that?"

"Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to just hang here waiting for my toes to melt? It's easy for YOU to stay calm! You're SHORT! I'm going to get melted first!"

"Jesus Christ, I wish they'd hung you upside down and a few feet lower. Look, how about - I know. Swing."

"Swing?"

"From side to side, dumbass."

"I know what the word means, dumbass. You don't have to be rude."

"You're the one that asked, dumbass. You know what it means, now start doing it."

Bond muttered, very darkly and very quietly, "ishouldhavejuststabbedyoubeforeieventouchedyourfuckingmachine."

James either didn't hear, or couldn't think of a way to respond while unable to punch Bond in the face. Either way, they swung.

At the height of the swinging, Bond managed to hook his toe under the edge of the railing that rimmed the lava pit. "Got it!" he crowed. "... Now what?"

James looked down at the lava, feeling their angle becoming more horizontal by the moment as the rope continued to lower. "Now we get out of the rope before we go in head-first. Where's your knife?"

"They took it."

"Where's your cigarette case?"

"It's in my pocket, where the Christ else is it going to be?"

"There's a knife in there."

"And this is helpful how? I can't exactly reach inside my jacket under the circumstances."

"... Fuck. You are the world's most useless Spy, you know that?"

"And you're a giant asshole. Fuck you."

"Everything is your fault, you know."

"Look, if we're about to die, do you really want your last act to be verbally abusing me? Shouldn't we be banding together for our last moments on Earth or something?"

"If I had the choice, I'd want my last act to be punching you in the face."

"I'm hurt. I really am."

"Not as much as you will be."

"Well, aren't you a cheerful little daisy. Have you considered gnawing through the ropes?"

Bond's toe began to slip as the rope continued to slacken, and he wiggled to wedge his foot farther under the rail, trying to remember whether he knew any prayers.
>> No. 424
Then a deus ex machina arrived in the form of Lotta Butté, breathless but pristine in a short dress reminiscent of a nurse's uniform and obviously designed to complement Von Zetti's labcoat. "I am sorry - Leo was in such a mood - "

She trotted to the chair and hit the switch, stopping the rope's movement, then ran back to them and produced a knife, carefully slicing through their bindings and pulling each of them over the railing to safe ground. She pressed the knife into Bond's hand just as the door opened again.

"VAS IST DAS?" Von Zetti demanded, and Lotta promptly fainted, James making an automatic but belated attempt to catch her before she hit the floor. "VAT DO YOU DO? ZIS ESCAPE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE! AND VAT DO YOU DO VIZ MEIN DAME?"

"Well, you couldn't expect us to hang around here forever," said Bond. James made a pained noise behind him, and was ignored. "I'm afraid things are about to get rather hot for you." James made an even more pained noise, and Bond glanced back just to be sure he hadn't hurt himself or something.

Von Zetti took advantage of this momentary distraction to rush forward, pushing Bond hard against the railing, hoping to knock him through the gap between panels and into the lava. Bond caught himself, heels skidding on the stone floor, and turned to see James finally punching someone who wasn't him, his blow catching Von Zetti squarely in - of course - the nose.

"Ach! I vill kill you!" the Nazi spat.

"I don't think so," said Bond, grabbing the trailing end of Von Zetti's labcoat and pitching him neatly into the lava pit.

He sank beneath the bubbles, screaming.

Silence fell over the room.

"Lava doesn't work that way," said James blankly.

Bond ignored him. "Holy Christ goddamn, we did it!"

Lotta stood up from her faked swoon and straightened her clothing just in time for Bond to sweep her off her feet. "Holy Christ goddamn," he repeated, "we really did it!" He kissed her hard, bending over her so she clung to his lapels, and only straightened back up when he needed to come up for air.

"No, really, lava doesn't work that way. It's made of melted rock. It's not water."

"Shut up," said Bond, unable to stop grinning. It seemed to him that the best way to make James stop Engineering and properly celebrate this victory would be to kiss him, too, so he did, and James was surprised enough to let him; however, James was built considerably denser than Lotta, and Bond overbalanced and nearly tipped both of them onto the floor.

Lotta and James laughed at him as he regained his balance, and after a moment of wet-cat annoyance his good mood reclaimed him and he joined their laughter.

"What was I think. Of course we did it," he said proudly. "After all... we're James and Bond."

---

REPRISE:

The days that followed were far from tranquil. Bond was utterly convinced that James was a genius who could do literally anything if given three days of uninterrupted work on it, and since he was in no hurry to let that time machine be repaired and get dragged back to the present, he did his very best to make sure that James never got those three days. Any time they were back in their Las Vegas hotel room for more than 48 hours straight, a time bomb began ticking in his mind until he had the Engineer sufficiently distracted. There were girls with strange names (Honey Pott, Wetten Reddy, Ayn Alsex) to meet, evil plots ("Why the hell would you even want to blow up the moon?") to foil, and if all else failed, there was always physical distraction (a tactic that was increasingly enjoyable for both of them, and took decreasing amounts of whiskey until finally it took none at all).

But all good things must come to an end, and a genius who could build a time machine in three days straight could also build one in fits and starts over the course of a considerably longer timeframe; and one night Bond came home from some woman's bed, lipstick on his collar and cigarette in hand, to find James polishing the metal surfaces of something that looked sort of like a teleporter with hand-rails and a built-in alarm clock. "It's finally finished," said James proudly.

Bond looked at it slowly, a cold feeling building in his stomach. James looked up at him questioningly.

Bond finished his cigarette and nodded. "Alright, James. Let's go home."

---

CODA:

They had the same room, under the same name, with the same drafting table tucked into it; but almost nothing else was the same. The black-and-white TV set was replaced by a huge flatscreen with nothing on it; the sofa was no longer Eames; there were only three ashtrays; the view out the window was ruined by the metal roof over the "Fremont Street Experience," and all the girls in the bar downstairs were named Tyffineigh.

Bond sat in the window, smoking, after giving up on the girls. It was raining.

James looked up from his drafting table. "Hey, Bond?"

Bond took his cigarette out of his mouth and looked questioningly across the room.

"Let's go home."
>> No. 425
THIS IS THE PREVIEW TRAILER AT THE END OF THE MOVIE AND I CANNOT GUARANTEE A RELEASE DATE FOR THE FINISHED PRODUCTION

----

The moon hung huge and heavy on the horizon, barely brushing the skyline. Bond plucked the orange garnish from the rim of his glass and held it at arm's length, squinting one eye shut and lining the slice up with the moon as he finished off his drink.

"When did we put guys up there?"

James didn't even open his eyes. "1969. We've got six years to go."

"And nobody else got up there first, right? The Soviets beat you into space, but not to the moon."

"Right."

"And we're absolutely sure of that?"

One eye opened in a sidelong squint. "Why."

"Well, it's probably not anything you'd be interested in. Spy stuff, mister engineer."

"...whatever it is, it's going to involve a lot of work from me, isn't it?"

"No! I'll do all the hard stuff, like, you know, the spying and the suave. You just have to do the TECHNICAL things."

James sighed and sat up. "What exactly are you talking about?"

Bond popped his orange slice into his mouth and talked around it. "I hear' fwom fum guyf - "

"Swallow first."

"You li'e id when I fwallow - " Bond obeyed, under James' rolling eyes, and lit a cigarette before he continued. "I heard from some guys that there's somebody building a moonbase. He's got a plan to make a giant laser and blow up the planet or something."

"But if he blew up the planet the blastwave would take out the moon too, to say nothing of the effect on its orbit - fuck, there's never any logic in this, is there? Where the hell do you learn these things?"

"I know people," said Bond smugly. "Spy stuff."

James shook his head and stole Bond's cigarette. "There's never any logic in this."

Bond lit a new one without missing a beat. "So I was thinking, if we can get up there and foil his little plot before he manages to actually start threatening people - one, it's easier than waiting until after he has a planet-exploding destructo-ray, and two, nobody else'll know there's a moonbase up there, and we can totally keep it for ourselves. We just need to get up to the moon, walk in, plant a little flag or something, and claim this moonbase in the name of us. It'll be awesome."

James looked at the moon thoughtfully, as if he were already plotting trajectories. Then he shook himself. "I can't talk about this out here. Let's go inside."

"To the drafting table! So you can figure out how you're getting us up there!"

"I knew this was going to involve a lot of work from me."

"But hey, we'll have a moonbase! Haven't you always wanted a moonbase?"

"I can honestly say the thought never occurred to me."

"A lack of imagination, that's what's wrong with you engineers."

They moved in from the balcony and sat at (or on, in Bond's case) the drafting table they'd commandeered from the hotel's 14th-floor meeting room. Bond pulled a pen out of his jacket pocket and began doodling a sketch of the moon with an assortment of stick figures and giant rockets on it.

"You do realize there's a REASON that the entire government of the United States won't even be able to put a person on the moon for another six years."

"Oh, come on, it can't be that hard. Just build us a teleporter."

James pushed his chair back and glared. "Teleporters need an entrance AND an exit, you know. How would we get the exit up there? Sure, it's technically possible to build an open-ended teleportational system, but it would need to be immensely powerful without the assist from the exit unit, especially since in this case we'd be covering two hundred and fifty thousand miles in a single jump, and any open-ended system exponentially increases the possibility of splinching even when you don't have to factor in the vagaries of non-geosynchronous orbit - "

"Splinching?"

"There's no way that's the only word you didn't understand out of that."

"It didn't sound technical enough for me to tune it out."

"Splinching is - well, almost any teleportational error, really. Output not matching the input. We only use single-person transport units anymore, because sending more than one at a time requires a ton of processing power to prevent splinching along the lines of Jeff Goldblum in 'The Fly.' And when you don't have a permanent exit unit deployed, your entrance has to factor in distance, planetary rotation, and the layout of the land to keep from outputting your passenger underground. Or partially underground. Half through a tree, in midair off a cliff, so on and so forth. Going all the way to the moon, you have to factor in the landscape of the moon, its rotation and orbit - get one number even slightly off and there's a damn good chance you'll just end up floating in outer space on the far end."

Bond looked suitably horrified at the prospect, and then thoughtful. "So basically you're saying it would be easier for us to build a rocket from scratch. Or just steal one."

James glared at him harder. "Are you implying that you don't think I'm capable of doing the math?"

"Noooooooo," said Bond innocently, "but it'd be EASIER - "

James pushed him off the table and began scribbling furiously.
>> No. 1100
THIS JUST IN:

JAMES AND BOND PART THREE WILL BE COMING OUT BEFORE JAMES AND BOND PART TWO. BLAME THE MINIONS IN CHARGE OF ARCHIVING, NOT ME.


ok so you can blame me 'cause it's my fault for writing them out of order but man i have part 3 plotted out and everything and i want to write it first forget you guys >:C
>> No. 1102
An orange card, printed with "Do Not Disturb" and a stylized graphic of a masked figure holding a finger to his lips, hung from the doorknob to HQ Casino Hotel room 1402. The maid wheeled her squeaky-wheeled housekeeping cart past it as she had done for the past two weeks, with nothing more than a slight press of her lips at the thought of how slovenly the interior must be getting by now.

Inside the room, however, her assumptions were mostly incorrect. True, there were papers, two ashtrays and a few empty glasses scattered across the top of the drafting table, but housekeeping was under strict orders never to touch that particular piece of furniture anyway; the bed was unmade, and a single tie lay lank and limp upon the carpet where it had been discarded at the time the bed was rumpled; but everything else was neat, and the only other things which appeared slightly out-of-place were a pair of unpainted teleporters, one entrance and one exit, spinning in idle mode on opposite edges of the room.

The corresponding pair of teleporters was currently deployed in a small open room connecting the Control Room, with its array of softly-beeping, gently-whirring cabinet-sized computers, and the Observation Lounge, with its great glass dome of a ceiling through which the earth could be seen beyond the cratered curve of the moon's horizon.

This was James and Bond's moonbase.

With the ejection of the previous owner had come a few minor adjustments, to make the place more comfortable for their vacation. For example, one of the computers in the Control Room had a 33-rpm record forced onto a spindle originally meant for a magnetic-tape reel, and a bit of rather roughly-done duct-taping and wiring, along with the improvised application of a bit of lock-picking equipment to serve as a needle, allowed the sound of Frank Sinatra's voice to filter, somewhat tinnily, through the base's public address system. "Fly Me to the Moon" was on at the moment, appropriately enough, echoing against the steel and glass surfaces that filled the lair.

Bond was humming along with it from his carefully-arranged sprawl half-in one of the white plastic egg chairs in the Observation Lounge, while he worked on a dry martini and poked idly through his wallet in search of something interesting to think about.

James was sprawled out on the white flokati rug near his feet, his latest tinkering project (a better-designed replacement needle for the makeshift hi-fi) set aside for once. Bond had almost given up on teasing him about finding work to do on his vacation; Engineers, it seemed, were incapable of anything other than a busman's holiday (he would, and had, explained himself that the little projects were the holiday; something unimportant and mindless that would leave him with a working item and a sense of accomplishment - but Bond was as likely to understand that mindset as James was to understand Spy Logic), but occasionally he did stop working for a few minutes even without Bond's purposeful distraction.

The Spy thumbed through a small store of paper money from the various countries they'd travelled through recently, past the driver's license dated 40 years in the future and the green card even further out of date and the similarly-aged UIEEI License to Kill... "I really need to clean out my wallet. I don't need any of this stuff anymore. Just watch me get pulled over for speeding with a back pocket stuffed with anachronisms."

"I emptied mine out the first night," said James, so mildly that Bond shot him a glance to see if he were being passive-aggressively judgmental about it or something. The Engineer caught the look and shrugged as much as he could while lying on his back with his hands behind his head. "I had too much other shit to carry and not enough pockets without my workbelt."

"Yeah, well," said Bond. "I didn't want to leave my intel lying around or something." He flipped back to the front of his wallet, where his current License to Kill was stowed behind a plastic window, and studied it as if for the first time. He never really had looked at it after he got it; it worked to get him his perks as a Spy, and that was all that mattered. "I am a damn good-looking bastard," he observed, angling the wallet so the glare from the overhead lights stopped obscuring his photograph. "And - huh." The license number was just above the picture. He'd known he'd be getting a new one; his old one was 3675H95 (you're damn right he had it memorized; it had to be entered in three spots on every application for a contract transfer, and he'd transferred a lot when he was still in briefcase work), and with 50 years difference they were probably using shorter numbers back here, but this - this was just amazing.

But obvious, in retrospect.

"What?" asked James, unused to Bond going silent for any length of time.

"007."

"What?"

"Let me see your UIEEI ID," Bond demanded suddenly, bolting upright and getting that excited-kid grin again. James grumbled, but rolled over enough to free his wallet and hand over the bit of laminated oaktag. "I knew it! It's because we used the same form - look, we've got the same number. James. Bond. Double-oh-seven. Christ goddamn, we are amazing. Also, you look incredibly pissy in this picture, fucking hell."

"I do not," James protested automatically, sitting up and swiping for his card. Bond held it out of reach, grinning.

"You do too. Just look at yourself."

"Do not." James glared at him, making exactly the same face as in the mugshot.

Bond dissolved into laughter, and James smacked at the nearest leg. "Hey! See, I knew it would only be a matter of time before you were devolving into playing rough again - "

James pulled back his arm in a mock threat, but before the conversation could continue, Sinatra's voice was interrupted by a woman speaking over the PA.

"Bond, James, please come in. Repeat, Bond, James, please come in. Over."

"What the hell?"

James was already getting to his feet. "The communications systems are hard-wired into the speakers. Somebody's radioing us."

"It's not somebody, it's Lotta," said Bond. "It's not like she doesn't have a pretty distinctive voice, you know." He was out of his chair and at the radio station in the Control Room before James, even though the Engineer had been quicker to react. "Wait, how do I work this?"

James nudged him out of the way and leaned over a panel at the computer bank, holding a button down and speaking into a large chrome-mesh microphone. "This is James, we read you. Over."

"I want to talk," Bond protested rather petulantly, and got himself in place at the microphone during the brief pause while the radio waves travelled to earth and Lotta's reply made its way back up to orbit.

"I am very sorry to interrupt, but are you free this evening? Over."

Bond checked his watch for the first time in days. The current time in Las Vegas didn't matter much on the moon, after all. He shot a look at James, who checked his own watch, glanced toward the teleporter room, and shrugged ruefully. "Well, it does mean taking a break from our vacation, but I wouldn't want to turn down a lady's invitation. Are you at HQ? Over."

Three second's pause again, and James sighed. "I was almost done with that needle."

"Yes, and I have a friend I would like you to meet. He has things to discuss. Over."

Bond laughed and tried to sound hurt. "A beautiful woman interrupts our time off to make a date, and she wants to bring some guy along with her. Lotta, you're breaking my heart."

A pause, and James leant over to hit the button. "Over." He let go of the button and rolled his eyes at Bond. "You have no idea how to use a radio."

"Right, because I've had to have so much experience in that before," he protested, but cut himself off when Lotta's voice came back in, sparkling with her own repressed laughter.

"Ah, bambino, you know I always have a place for you. Do not be hurt. You will be there? The Cloak and Dagger, nine o'clock. Over."

"We'll be there. ... Over." An indignant waggle of the eyebrows at James, met with another roll of the eyes.

"Si, roger that. Over and out."

"Did you seriously just say 'roger that'?" But the connection was dead, and Sinatra was singing again. "She seriously just said 'roger that.' I can't believe it."

James just rolled his eyes again and headed toward the lavish bedroom that had once been a supervillain's. "So much for taking a break. You'd better pack your own shit, you're too picky about how you fold your shirts for me to even touch it."

Bond trotted after him. "You're always wrecking your collars. You have no regard for the proper care and feeding of fine tailoring. Besides, don't feel too bad about cutting it short. We were almost out of strawberries anyway."

James paused and exchanged knowing smirks with his partner before getting back to the business of packing. Bond was already excited, and they didn't even know for certain that an adventure was ahead.

But then, with Bond, an adventure was always ahead.
>> No. 1103
Mooooonbase <3
>> No. 1105
This is both strange and wonderful, since today I was thinking about re-reading James and Bond.

OWL, YOU'RE AMAZING
>> No. 1106
also http://i29.tinypic.com/ehj1fs.jpg
>> No. 1107
>>27
FUCK YES

>>30
DOUBLE FUCK YES tonight is the BEST NIGHT EVER.
>> No. 1108
Skipping to part 3 is perfectly fine with me, it gives us chance to wonder what happened in part 2 to give us such an excellent present situation. Also, I second >>28 .
>> No. 1109
>>30
also also http://i26.tinypic.com/6s9wmr.jpg
>> No. 1110
>>33
Basically James looks most like Ackle's less homo brother
>> No. 1111
>>33
OH MY GOD, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES

THIS IS THE BEST UPDATE EVER
>> No. 1112
Owl is bestest writer. :3

You know I can't wait.
>> No. 1113
have some porn while you're at it http://www.tf2chan.net/afanfic/res/266.html#4
>> No. 1114
i'm sorry i can't stop posting but i looked back at the bond gqmf picture and i absolutely had to do this
http://i28.tinypic.com/w829o9.jpg
>> No. 1116
My god, I just read this whole thing through in one sitting and it was fucking glorious.
>> No. 1119
Amazing. Pure genius.

The wait is killing me...
>> No. 1120
Update hooray! Every time I reread this I end up with a big stupid grin on my face.
>> No. 1126
This is nothing short of epic win. Actually, epic win does not even begin to cover it. This is just AMAZING.
>> No. 1130
Back in Las Vegas again, their good old 14th-floor en-suite with its Danish Modern interior and view of Fremont Street through the corner windows. The fact that the teleporters still worked was evidence enough on its own that their room hadn't been tampered with while they were out, but they still checked, just in case - James looking over his drafting table, Bond checking the hairs taped across the door and window frames (a habit he was trying to ingrain in himself these days). With everything confirmed as untouched from the day they left, they got to work settling back in. James' first order of business was to disable the teleporters and store them in the closet, while Bond hopped in the shower to freshen up for their appointment.

He stepped out, with a large towel around his waist and a smaller one turbanned on his hair, and began to poke through his clothes for the best outfit. The tie on the floor caught his eye, and he snatched it up. "I was wondering where this went."

James looked up from the desk, toward which he always gravitated automatically. "You haven't even bothered buttoning your collar for two weeks, much less gone looking for some specific tie."

"That doesn't mean I wasn't still keeping track of my stuff!" Bond protested, running the tie between two of his fingers. "And now it's all wrinkled. It will never be the same."

"A tragedy. After all, you only have, what, forty-two dozen spares?"

"Just forty-two, not dozen, thanks. Besides, this one was really nice! It went really well with my slate worsted and I think it brought out my eyes." He looped it around his neck rather sadly, then brightened up. "Wait, I think the wrinkle's under the knot, anyway. I might be able to wear it a couple more times before the silk gives out."

"Wear it tonight, then," James suggested, and Bond rolled his eyes scathingly.

"I can't. For one thing, it's what I was wearing the last night we were here, and we saw Lotta then. I can't show up in the same tie. Besides, it's late in the evening. I'm going to wear a plain black bowtie. No tux, though, that would be overkill. Only overeager tourists, elderly stockbrokers and lounge singers actually wear tuxedos to cocktail bars in Vegas on a weeknight. Black with chalk pinstripe or black with charcoal?" He was already pulling both suits out and laying them out on the bed, brushing invisible lint from the fronts.

James really didn't care, but he also knew that Bond would insist on an answer so that he could then disregard it and do whatever he had already decided on anyway. "Charcoal. What am I wearing?"

"Yeah, I think you're right. Definitely the charcoal. And you can wear that smoke-coloured herringbone we just got you in London, the British tailoring hangs really well on you." He laid out James' outfit too and disappeared into the bathroom again to shave and do his hair. He poked his head out when he was half-done. "See, if you didn't have me around you'd probably go down there in jeans and, like, some kind of shirt with pearl snaps and a Texas flag on it - "

"Just finish shaving, Spy."

"You'd look like a tourist," Bond added before ducking back into the bathroom.

James kept writing for a while, until he'd reached a convenient stopping point, then laid down his pencil and joined Bond on the bedroom side of the room partition to put on the clothes he'd been assigned. "No bowtie for me?"

"No," said Bond, slightly muffled by his collar being flipped up over his face as he worked the knot in his own. "You always look incredibly uncomfortable when you wear one, and it's better to be slightly underdressed than to look like a kid whose mom dressed him for Prom."

"Gee, thanks." James lifted his chin as Bond finished his bowtie and turned to knot James', an intimate gesture he'd been doing for as long as James would let him get away with it under the excuse that James didn't know how to do a half-Windsor. "If you didn't always tie 'em so tight - "

"If you don't tie them tight they won't stand up right. Or are you complaining about this one? It's adjustable, goddamn." Bond tugged good-naturedly on the tail of James' tie and then turned back to his own attire, fitting in cufflinks and pulling on jacket. "If you're absolutely determined to fuss about your neckwear, just take that off and put on a bowtie without tying it. Everybody'll just assume we were having sex in the elevator and you didn't bother fixing yourself afterward."

James left his tie on. "Everybody in this hotel assumes everybody else was having sex in the elevator anyway. Because it's usually true. Fucking Spies."

"You have no right to complain," Bond observed, finally satisfied with his reflection and turning to give James a cheeky grin and a slight adjustment to the set of his lapels. "Come on, let's go downstairs and meet a couple more. Although they probably won't be fucking at the time, Lotta's way too classy to do that in the Cloak and Dagger..."

They left their room and entered the hallway a step behind a tall blond man with a severe jawline, ice-blue eyes, and a grey snap-brim that he tapped perfunctorily as they joined him in the elevator. The ride down to the gaming floor was long and uncomfortable, with Bond's usual tide of chatter stemmed by the stranger's forcefully-silent presence, and Bond hung back to let the other man off first when the doors opened so he could roll his eyes at James. He repeated the gesture when it became apparent that their destinations were the same, and they entered the smokey bar together.

Bond immediately looked Lotta, and found her sitting alone at the bar as she usually was before their arranged meetings, her long legs crossed provocatively and her eyes scanning the doorways. When she saw the three men, she slid from her stool and smiled, stepping quickly to close the distance between them. "Ah! Always fashionably late. So terrible, to make a girl wait like this." She laid her hands on each man's shoulders and kissed the air on each side of their faces in turn. "Bond, James, I see you have met Ivan?"

James and Bond looked at each other, then at the stranger and at Lotta, but it was the blond man who spoke. "We took elevator together." His accent was thickly Russian. He removed his hat and nodded cordially towards the other two. "My apology. I did not know you are the men I come to meet. I am Ivanov, Ivan Ivanov."

"This one is Bond, and this one is James," Lotta explained, leading them all toward the table she'd already picked out, "and you will always see them together, but I think if you get them confused James may punch you."

"No, he'd probably just punch me," Bond said. He had no idea who this Ivan person was, but he was about to find out, and if Lotta was this friendly with him he was probably an alright guy. Sure, she made a living being Number Two to various supervillains, but she wasn't wearing her professional sidekick persona right now, and he'd come to trust her judgment in most things except employers.

"Well," said Ivan, "then I will be sure to remember. If I want you to be punched, I punch you myself." His chiseled features relaxed into a surprisingly charismatic smile. He insisted on holding Lotta's chair out himself.

"If he needs to be punched," James said as he slid into his seat, matching the Russian's slightly-teasing tone but adding a hint of warning, "I'll take care of it, thanks."

"No one is punching anyone right now," said Lotta, obviously sorry she'd even made the joke. She grabbed a passing probie before things could devolve further, and they were momentarily distracted by placing drink orders and settling into their seats.

As the young Spy sighed and headed toward the bar, Ivan looked around, unreadable. "You are sure crowded bar is best place to talk?"

Lotta smiled. "Cara mio, every spy in this city makes their discussions at the Cloak and Dagger. There is too much talk to hear any one person, and too many secrets for one more to matter."

"'Be obvious, so you can be surreptitious on your own terms,'" Bond supplied in agreement. "Slinking off on your own to somewhere quiet's the best way to get somebody interested enough to follow you."

"Well," said Ivan. "We do not have places like this in Russia."

"I don't think there's a place like this anywhere else in the world," said Bond. ("Thank God," added James sotto voce.) "Las Vegas is a strange city, and nothing a Spy can do would make it stranger."

"This is true," said Ivan. "Also in Russia, we do not have this women in the feather skirts, dancing with their legs showing."

"To welcome him to America yesterday, we went to the Tropicana, to the, ah, Folies Bergere," Lotta explained.

"I suppose it wouldn't be the same if they were dancing in babushkas," said Bond commiseratingly.

"This spectacle of the bourgeouisie," began Ivan, but he was interrupted by the return of the probie, both hands full of drinks. Lotta took them from him and handed them out, then thanked the young man so warmly that he actually smiled until the next table called him over.

Ivan drained half his glass of vodka as if it were water, and wrinkled his nose at the other half. "Not so good. For real vodka, you must go to Russia." He leaned slightly over the table. "Now we have drinks, we have business. Da?"

"Da," echoed Bond agreeably, sipping the bittered martini he'd special-ordered and looking utterly relaxed, particularly in comparison to Ivan's intensity.

"There is a man in Romania who calls himself Vladimir Silvesci. Others call him Vladimir the Black."

"Why?" asked James.

Ivan quirked one eyebrow and Lotta shrugged. "Because it sounds frightening, maybe. And he has black hair."

"Lotta is probably correct. I do not think this nickname is important."

Bond nodded, listening.

"He has money, from oil in Middle East. He sold all holdings and went into mountains, last year. Now we have word that he is working on something very bad. A new bomb, maybe. We do not know details. I am sorry."

"So what do you know?" asked Bond, trying to hide his interest.

"He hires many scientists, and they never leave his lair. We find out little bit, from informants, enough to know that he is bad. He wishes openly to start war between America and Russia, and he is developing weapon to start it. These scientists, they are - " He looked at Lotta.

"Some physicists, but mostly chemists. Two of the leading biochemists of Europe have gone missing, and our sources imply that he is behind their kidnapping. It is enough to know he is up to no good, no?"

"And anyone who wishes to start this war - is stupid. Maybe Russia wins, maybe America wins, but both countries will be destroyed. Everyone knows this. He must be stopped before he can begin."

"So you came all the way from Russia to find us to help," said James, slightly suspiciously.

Bond kicked his ankle and hissed at him under his breath, "Well, we are completely awesome 007s." James shot him a glare.

"Lotta said it is job for you." Ivan shrugged and looked at their companion, who turned on her most charming smile.

"It is just what you like, no? Big villain, evil plot, he has a lair - so nice, it was in Lair Magazine last month, I have a copy in my purse for you."

"Lair Magazine?" James quirked his mouth up in semi-disbelief. "There's a whole magazine for talking about supervillain's lairs, and they let people publish photographs?"

"Oh, they do not give details, only little pictures of the nicest rooms. How else will the rest of them know how to stay in style?"

"Spy logic." James shook his head ruefully and picked up his drink.

"And the subscription is very exclusive. I had to make Leo sign a paper for me to get it. I will give it to you later. But you see, it is just what you like, and also very important! So of course I call my friends. 'If anyone can do this,' I said to Ivan, 'it is James and Bond. They have never lost to a villain.'"

Bond was already nodding. "It does sound pretty good. It might be a little more difficult than our last couple of jobs, without a girl on the inside - " He smiled at Lotta, and she smiled back, looking through her eyelashes at him. "But we'll figure it out. And I do speak some Russian, which might be useful."

"You speak Russian?" Ivan looked surprised and pleased, and immediately switched to his native tongue. Bond answered in the same language, and they continued talking for a few minutes, their end of the table in a world of its own.

"What exactly are you getting us into?" James asked Lotta. It wasn't that he didn't trust her - well, beyond the default distrust that went with her being a Spy; he'd probably never quite get over that, and he hoped he never would. But he wasn't Bond, ready to get worked into a tizzy at the mention of a pseudoscientific, capitalized Evil Scheme, and he didn't want either of them coming back dead. One close call along that line was quite enough, thanks.

"Exactly what I said," Lotta answered, more serious with James than she'd been while speaking for Bond's benefit. "It should not be so difficult as maybe it sounds. My friends in the business say he has not even perfected his formula yet, although still they are not sure what it is, to be exact - but still, the threat, it is not so large as Ivan says, I think. A more serious consequence if you fail than if you had not stopped Leo, with his silly Nazi ideas, but you will not fail. You are James and Bond, and you have never lost to a villain."

James half-nodded, sipping his whiskey.

"And I and Ivan, we will help you all we can. You have the radio in Bond's watch still? We can maybe talk with it, to give you information if you need."

"I'll have to work on it to increase the signal strength," said James thoughtfully, setting down his glass. "But that shouldn't be too much of a problem..."

He was clearly drawing schematics in his head, and Lotta sat back, satisfied that both partners had been convinced.

"I am sorry," said Ivan after a moment. "That was rude. But it is not much I hear my Russian here. So few know the beautiful language of Mother Russia in this country."

"I'm just glad it's still up to par," said Bond. "I haven't had a reason to practice it since I left school."

"Very fine. Not perfect, no, but my English, it is not perfect."

Bond glanced at James, and then smirked at Lotta. "What did you do to him? He's in full-on Engineer mode now."

"Rebuilding your watch," James answered, "and I think I know exactly what I need to do. I should modify mine, too. The more points of contact we have, the better off we'll be."

Lotta pushed her chair back slightly. "We will have all the information we have to you in the morning, and some names for you to speak to in the region."

"That sounds excellent to me. Thank you," said Bond, rising and intending to pull Lotta's chair out for her; but Ivan, sitting beside her, beat him to it.

"Thank you," said the Russian. "Any help you need, I am here."

Lotta and Ivan headed out across the gaming floor, while James and Bond went straight to the elevator.

"While you're working on my watch," said Bond, "I'll figure out what else we'll need for this. Just don't make anything that'll knock me out this time, okay?"

"Don't mess with shit before it's done and you'll be fine," James replied, still too busy building circuits in his head to be properly grumpy.

Bond grinned and whistled "The Girl from Ipanema" as the elevator rose.
>> No. 1133
You know it's a great day when there's another installment of James and Bond up. The interactions between characters are freakin' hilarious. I loll'd at the line about how Lotta was 'too classy' to have sex in an elevator.
>> No. 1136
>>44
This is important because Bond isn't classy enough and neither is James by default, being an Engineer.

:Vc
>> No. 1139
here is an approximation of my body language currently

\o/
>> No. 1179
Every morning, room service brought each patron of the hotel a breakfast tray containing coffee accoutrements to round out the coffeemaker setup in every room, along with a bowl of fruit which always contained a strangely high proportion of bananas, a basket of assorted small pastries, and a copy of the New York Times. Every morning, James collected this tray, took his pick of the pastries (he got the strawberry Danish; Bond got the cream cheese), and had his own coffee before setting the tray away on the end of the long teakwood bureau in the bedroom side of the room.

The morning after their meeting with Lotta and Ivan, nothing changed in this routine until Bond woke up (at 9:00, three and a half hours after he'd actually gone to sleep) to use the bathroom and, while half-sleepwalking back to the bed, hip-checked the tray and spilled all the bananas.

The ensuing string of bleary bilingual blasphemy as he picked up after himself was suddenly broken when he noticed a strange sticker on one of the bananas. That he'd managed to notice it at all with his eyes half-lidded and his brain half-napping was, he said afterward, simply further evidence that he really was the most amazing spy in the entire world. He peeled it off and peered at it. "What in the world - "

James had looked up when he heard Bond knock the tray over, of course, but Bond had seemed competent to clean up, so he'd gone back to work. Now he looked up again, then crossed the room to look at the bit of film stuck to Bond's finger.

"That's microfilm," he said.

Bond squinted at it, holding it up to the overhead lamp. "Well, what do you know. So it is."

"How long have you been a Spy and you don't recognize microfilm when you see it?" James peeled it off Bond's finger and pulled a loupe out of his pocket. "I'm gonna need a lightbox, I think..."

"Hey, I've been a Spy in a place where they actually bother using microfilm for exactly as long as you have," Bond protested defensively, rising to follow James back to his desk. The Engineer poked around for a bit until he found a piece of vellum, which he then set over the top of the desk lamp to provide backlighting. On this makeshift light table, he laid the frame of microfilm down and examined it with his magnifier. Bond crowded over his shoulder. "What's it say?"

James looked it over twice, then sat back and shook his head with a mixture of amusement and resignation. "It's from M. Apparently we're supposed to go to her office 'as soon as we're available.' And there will be tea and cake."

"Shit." Bond looked longingly back at the bed, and ran a hand over his face. "I am in no shape to go talk to M right now. Why couldn't she wait until after dinner?"

"Well, you could grab another couple hours' sleep," James suggested doubtfully. "It just says as soon as we're available, not right this minute."

"No way. She'll totally know we didn't go right away and then my career will be ruined and oh God why did it have to be M at Jesus Christ o'clock in the morning - " Bond was in the bathroom splashing cold water on his face before he was finished with the sentence. "I'm not making M wait. She'll probably have me drawn and quartered for not having found that as soon as the tray got delivered - "

"Bond, calm down. Emma wouldn't have you killed." James rolled his eyes and went to find Bond's cufflinks, which were never in the same place on two consecutive mornings, before Bond could start looking for them and freak out about the delay when he didn't see them immediately.

"You don't understand," Bond said desperately, buttoning his shirt up as fast as he could. "She's not Emma. She's M."

"Bond." James rolled his eyes again, then found the cufflinks and crossed into Bond's space, pressing the bits of silver into one of the Spy's hands and then pressing his hands down on the Spy's shoulders. "Calm down. Just because she changed her code name doesn't mean she magically changed personalities. She likes us. We helped her become M and she liked us before that. You're right, I don't understand why the hell you're constantly thinking she's gonna have our throats slit in the night."

"Not yours, just mine. And because she's M," said Bond unreasonably, slipping the links through his cuffs and sliding under James' arm to grab a tie.

James rolled his eyes for the third and last time and went to put on his own jacket. "Have some coffee first."

"We need to get to - "

"Ten minutes isn't gonna be the difference between life and death here, Bond." James poured the coffee himself, and added a generous dollop of whiskey from the bottle on the drafting table before forcing it firmly into Bond's hands. "Shut up and drink."

"Why did it have to be M at Jesus Christ o'clock in the morning," Bond repeated in something that was almost a wail, but he obeyed while James got his own tie and jacket on.

---

Most of the bureaucratic offices in HQ were on the second floor, behind a hidden door in the back of a nightclub which had a reputation as being one of the most exclusive in Las Vegas. M, however, kept her office and her official living quarters on the 13th floor - unmarked on the elevator, which skipped from 12 to 14 like most of the hotels in that superstitious city. One had to hit both the 12th and 14th floor buttons at the same time and hold them for five seconds, and then pass a screening from M's personal secretary in the lobby that the elevator opened into. The girl at the desk was a stranger to both of them, but she'd apparently been well-briefed; James and Bond were recognized immediately and waved straight into the office.

It was a warm but professional space, with narrow wood paneling and a wide window that looked down on the rooftop garden over the parking garage. The seating was upholstered with naugahyde in the turquoise-and-orange colour scheme that predominated throughout the hotel, and was just comfortable enough to lull visitors into a false sense of security. Three of the chairs were pulled up to a small table in front of the window, where two angular silver carafes and a set of mugs flanked a plate of tea-cakes.

M herself was seated behind the large desk centered along the far wall, reading through the contents of a manila file folder. Although she'd changed the black leather catsuit she had worn when her codename was Emma for a severe pinstripe suit more befitting the position of head of UIEEI, she still wore her hair in a long, dark flip cut, and the smile she turned on James and Bond in turn had the same slightly-condescending warmth. "I wasn't expecting you to be awake this early."

Both men remained standing while she rose and came over to shake their hands. They followed her to the table and sat down after she took her own seat. "I'm sorry we didn't come earlier - " Bond began, and she let out a sudden laugh.

"Any earlier and I doubt you would have been capable of coming," she said. "I know I invited you for tea, but the pitcher closer to you is coffee - I suspect you'll need it, won't you, Mister Montaigne?"

She poured her own tea, but Bond just sat in respectful (and somewhat terrified) silence until James poured coffee for both of them - plenty of real cream from a smaller pitcher for himself, and black with plenty of sugar for Bond. "Thank you, ma'am," James said to her.

M looked at James' mug and laughed again. "I forgot, you Americans only drink tea if it's iced, don't you? If the coffee runs out, we'll ring for more. Please, relax."

Bond knew this last was directed at him, and tried to force himself to look as careless as he ever did as he sipped the coffee - far better than anything he could brew himself, but not as soothing as the whiskey-laced one James had poured him earlier.

"I do apologize for summoning you so suddenly - you didn't have any trouble finding the invitation, I hope? I wasn't entirely certain whether either of you eat bananas, but I thought you might enjoy the novelty of the method."

"Bond found it," said James, entirely for Bond's benefit; as unreasonably nervous as he was around the woman, talking up his abilities a little to her ought to help.

"Very good." She smiled at Bond, who nodded back. "Again, I apologize for it being so sudden, but I had only just heard that you'd returned. I wanted to catch you before you went racing off again. You no doubt have plans of that sort already."

James shrugged noncommittally. "We've been speaking with people, but I wouldn't say we have actual plans right now."

M nodded. "When you do, I wish to be informed. I would like to be able to keep in contact with you."

It took quite a bit of self-control for Bond not to wince at the sudden warning tone of that injunction; James took it in stride and nodded. "Of course we'll let you know, ma'am."

"It's very difficult to run a tight ship when one of my best - pairs of operatives" - and again Bond did not wince at the slight pause, sure in his heart that she really meant James and was including him out of pity or something - "has a distressing tendency to disappear for weeks at a time. Where have you been?"

"On vacation," said James, and Bond hated everything about this situation with a deep dark loathing - James being the smooth competent Spy while he himself sat there like a well-dressed paperweight. "We weren't aware you needed to keep tabs on us."

"I am the head of this group," said M. "I need to be able to keep tabs on all of my people, Agents 007."

"Next time we'll be sure to leave a forwarding address," said James.

"Thank you," said M, and softened again. "Please, help yourself to the cakes. They're all quite fresh-baked."

"Thanks," said James, and tried one. Bond made himself reach for one as well. It was, in fact, delicious.

"For the record," M added, "I didn't have any pressing need for you while you were away, and I don't foresee any in the immediate future - but I would very much like to have you available to me, should something come up. A way of contacting you without going through a chain of international associates would be extremely welcome."

"I'll give you the frequency to our radios," James promised. "I should have that done by this afternoon."

"Am I interrupting your tinkering?" M smiled at him over her tea. "I must say, I rather envy your partner," and she turned the smile to Bond briefly. "Those gadgets you come up with seem ever so useful."

"They're usually Bond's ideas," James admitted. "I just do the practical part."

"Practicality is a highly undervalued commodity here," said M. Bond didn't want to wince now; he wanted to roll his eyes - M was practically purring at James, and he was right there, hello.

But he wasn't about to start anything with M, of all people, so he just sat back and took it, although he did make a special effort to include himself in the small talk that occupied the rest of the hour until M glanced at the brass and steel clock built into the opposite wall and stood.

"I'm afraid I've kept you from your work far too long, James. You no doubt have things to do of your own - as do I."

The two men rose and shook her hand again, with polite thanks for the hospitality; she walked them to the door and waved them out, with a last rejoinder: "Please, do keep me informed when you decide to leave again."

As the door closed behind them Bond breathed in deep. The secretary looked up and smiled at both of them, with a particularly wide one for Bond. "Did you survive, then?"

"I'm still standing, aren't I?" asked Bond, returning her smile and feeling more like himself now that M was safely out of sight. "Although I'm not sure now - I may have just died and met an angel."

James snorted, and the girl laughed - not at all mockingly. "Call me Jane," she said. Bond glanced at the tag on the desk hopefully, but the surname listed didn't make any sort of pun at all that he could see. She caught his glance, and added rather apologetically: "I've just been promoted from the Accounting department."

Well, that would explain it, Bond decided, but she still hadn't displayed much initiative in the codename department, even if she was rather cute. "Well, Jane, I'm pleased to meet you. I'm Bond, and this is James."

"Oh, I know," she said brightly. "M told me I should get used to seeing you both rather often. I look forward to that."

The smile Bond gave her in response was less flirtatious than the one she was shooting at him; he'd already written her off, and James snorted again as they left in the elevator.

"Not good enough for you?"

"With a name like that?" James rolled his eyes at him, and Bond crossed his arms. "Not that she isn't cute - "

"You think every girl is cute, especially if they throw themselves at you like that," James observed.

"Don't get jealous on me. I had to sit through 45 minutes of M throwing herself at you."

James looked genuinely confused. "She was not."

"Whatever." The elevator opened on the 14th floor, and Bond headed straight for their door. "I'm going back to sleep. Wake me up at 2, if you've got the watches done by then."

"Okay." James locked the door behind them and sat down to get back to work, with one last confused glance at Bond. He had strange issues with M, that man did.
>> No. 1180
James is an oblivious motherfucker, news at 11
>> No. 1181
You know I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical when you said you were skipping part 2 (especially since it seemed that there were some really important things being left out), but you've pulled off the transition between parts 1 and 3 so goddamn well that it didn't really matter in the end. The characterization and actions and dialogue all neatly fill in the holes part 2 may have left in its nonexistence and it really feels more like a convenient skip forward in the storyline chronology than a jump over an entire section.

God, Owl you are such a fucking fantastic writer. I mean hell, coming up with these ideas takes talent but pulling them off so goddamn well (you can almost /taste/ Bond's anxiety in this latest section) is pure skill. Seriously, never stop writing.
>> No. 1182
Emma, sending a message on a banana PEEL? Cute.

(well and the catsuit, of course)
>> No. 1184
>>50
:c00l:
>> No. 1186
It tickles me to see Captain Smooth freaking the hell out. Don't worry, man. If James can't <i>tell</i> he's being hit on, you probably don't have much to fear.
>> No. 1187
also

>>49

Thanks, Kievan. I've been trying to keep in mind which parts of what happened in the break have bearing on the current storyline, and to fit those in as neatly as possible without ending up banging things in with a 2x4 labelled "BACKSTORY/RECAP." I'm glad to know it's coming off well so far!
>> No. 1188
I'm basically going to echo what Kievan said and not even hide the fact that I'm pretty jealous of how wonderful this is.
>> No. 1209
Well. I just shouted "goddamn de merde" at the end of a tirade to my friends. The Adventures of James and Bond officially holds a place in my heart forever, Owl. *applause*

...Can we have more now please?
>> No. 1211
ok have another one of owl's patented "ridiculously short all-dialogue updates" to tide you over until the next full-sized one in which something interesting actually happens
---

"I'm going to need you to go pretend to be a Spy for a while," Bond informed James upon waking. "You've got a license, you might as well live up to it."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, first of all, have you ever realized you're kind of a hermit?"

"Hey, I like being a hermit. It gets shit done, in case you hadn't noticed." James shot a pointed look at the newly-modified watch Bond was strapping onto his wrist.

"It's not that I don't appreciate that," Bond said in a soothing tone, tucking his hands into his pockets so James couldn't reach the watch to take it away. "But it can't be very healthy for you."

"If you're going to be basing this argument entirely on your idea of a healthy amount of socializing, you're going to lose, Mister Hangover Every Afternoon."

"No, I have a legitimate business reason, I just wanted to start out with a personal appeal and see if it worked. I should have known better with an Engineer."

"What's this legitimate business reason, then? You're the Spy. You're the one who's got the training and the experience and the - the liking to talk to people, for Christ's sake."

"Yeah, but see, last night I was out talking to some people Lotta knows, and I've kind of gone down the list she gave us, and all the people who are left on this side of a plane ride to Europe are, like, sciencey. Not Engineers or anything, but - well, sciencey. I don't do sciencey. Sciencey is your job."

"Aren't we looking at biochemistry here? I'm an Engineer. I specialized in MovEase - my degree's in physics. Not all science is the same, Bond."

"You still know more than I do!"

"I've heard you repeat back entire conversations, Bond. I'm sure you could talk to 'sciencey' Spies and get enough out of it to be useful. Look, I'm having confidence in you!" James gave Bond a sarcastic smile and started to turn back to his notes, but Bond grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him around.

"No, see, what you're doing is letting your hermit tendencies beat your business sense here. I'm not letting your flattery get the best of me this time. I admit, I'm pretty crackerjack awesome at gathering intel when it's not in a briefcase, but I'm not magic. If I'm looking for sciencey stuff, I'm not going to know enough to ask the right questions. And repeating back conversations - you think I do that verbatim? Man, you really do have confidence in me. I paraphrase. I paraphrase amazingly well, but do you really want me doing that about science? I don't care if it's physics or biochemistry or - I don't know - scientology or something, science is full of words that are, like, one syllable off from something that means something completely different, and I don't know what either of the words mean, so I could fuck that up royally. You don't want to end up going in with the wrong information because I said plastique instead of plasticene or something, do you?"

James sighed. These were all legitimate points. "Fine. So are you dragging me to some stupid fucking cocktail party or something?"

"What? No, I have things to do. There's a couple of people I still need to talk to, and I have to pick up that magazine from Lotta because I forgot it when I saw her again last night, and later I'm meeting Ivan for dinner and vodka and a rundown on navigating in Eastern Europe. I can't babysit you through your conversations. Did you want to come to dinner with us, by the way? I don't think he'd mind."

"Fucking - fucking Spy, you're just handing me a list and pushing me out the door? I don't know how to do this bullshit."

"I mean, if you really want me to I can call and make you dates with a couple of them," Bond conceded. "How can you not know how to talk to people?"

"I'm an Engineer, Bond."

"Oh, right." Bond rummaged through the pile of matchbooks, scraps of scrawled-on napkins, and business cards he'd emptied from his pockets when he came home that morning until he found one particular slip of paper, covered in Lotta's curly cursive and notes in Bond's untidy scribble. "Look, the ones I put little stars next to are the ones she thinks can help us figure out sciencey stuff. Anybody who actually knows specifics is in Romania or something, but I figure it'll be harder to try and gather intel over there, so I'm trying to cover all the bases before we leave."

"You're being surprisingly businesslike about this," said James, looking up at Bond in wonder.

"I'm not doing anything different than usual, you just don't know because I usually don't bother including you in it because you'd rather be a hermit. So, see, this guy works in the labs here - "

"There are labs here?"

"Yeah, down in the basement. You didn't know? That's where half the standard-issue Spytech stuff gets developed."

"I thought y'all just stole that from Engineers."

"That's how we get the other half. Anyway, Lotta says he used to be partners with a guy who's working for Silvesci now. If they broke up, he's obviously not going to know any details of what he's working on these days, but he'll at least know what kind of stuff the guy specialized in, right? Which gives us some scraps to go on, at least. And then - here, this'll make you happy, the other guy here isn't even a Spy, he's just some guy at UNV. He's on the list because he'll be familiar with what those two guys who got kidnapped are known for. And he can probably get you into the university library if you want to look up more on your own. I figure you can try and say you're from l'UE or something if you need academic credentials to talk to him and you don't want to bring up your 11 post-doctorates from the future or whatever it was that taught you how to be a science genius boy."

James was looking - and feeling - very dubious about the whole affair, but he copied down the names and contact information from Bond's list, with notes of his own.

"Cheer up, it won't kill you to spend one afternoon of your life being social. And you'll get to talk about science with people! That should be fun for you, right? Maybe you can get in an argument about quasitronic phasar particles and make their eyes glass over or something. And then you can just call my cell and let me know if you're meeting me and Ivan for dinner, okay?"

"...Call your what?"

Bond tapped his radio wristwatch. "I am going to consider this a cell phone and I don't care what you say."

James opened his mouth to explain how, exactly, a radio wristwatch was entirely different from a cell phone and Bond shouldn't be using inaccurate and anachronistic terminology for it, but the Spy (having predicted this) was already out the door.
>> No. 1408
I find something new to love about this everytime I read it.
>> No. 1580
Goddamn, this is seriously the best story on here, I swear. Spent the past two evenings cramming in reading this before sleep, and I'm fucking addicted. Love the style, love the tale.
>> No. 1726
I officially love James and Bond. Their personalities and the chemistry between the two of them is hilarious and endearing at the same time. Can't wait to see how the story develops!
>> No. 1807
I love it love it love it love it

Someone should post a link to the fanart of James and Bond that was posted. For future generations to behold, or something.
>> No. 2044
Ok, this would slot into the timeline AFTER the next update, probably, but when it takes place isn't very important and it's really just a side drabble, not part of the main plot. So read it now because I'm still fighting with the next official chapter :V

---

"Arm wrestling contest, right now."

Lotta watched the ensuing scramble - James and Ivan sliding to opposite sides of the coffee table, Bond hopping out of the way entirely and taking most of the glassware with him so it wouldn't be in the way - and put a hand to her face. "I think everyone has too much to drink, boys."

"It's fine," said Bond, walking in a speculative circle around them as they sized each other up and got in position. "I mean, sure, somebody's probably going to end up with a broken arm - "

"Ha!"

" - and I'm not willing to bet on which one - "

James shot him a glare. Bond held his hands up innocently.

"I mean, James is pretty goddamn strong, he has a killer right hook and I know this from experience, but - "

"But Ivan is Russian," Ivan finished for him. "Is no contest."

"So? James is Texan," the Engineer countered. It was totally patriotism and not exertion that was coloring his face.

"No man is match for Russian. Russian babies are brought by bears, everyone knows this. Brought by bears when small, drinking vodka from baby bottle."

"James was raised on rattlesnakes and barbed wire," Bond supplied helpfully. "And he had to walk to school uphill both ways barefoot while fighting Indians - "

"Ah, but he is walking uphill barefoot in SNOW? I think not."

"I think the sun heating the ground into a sort of viscous liquid is a suitable equivalent for some pussy-ass snow," James countered, leaning into the fight.

"Yeah, that's how James knows lava doesn't work that way!"

Lotta snorted.

"Ha! Heat melts, cold freezes. What is stronger, block of ice or puddle of water?" Their joined hands hovered over the center of the table, edging one way or the other by centimeters and then working back. "Russian man is like Russian winter, cold and hard." (Lotta barely suppressed a giggle; Bond smirked at her knowingly and she had to turn away and fuss with the liquor bottles.)

"Heat's how you temper steel."

"Texan man is strong and sharp like Bowie knife," added Bond, feeling clever.

"It's boo-ey, not bow-ey, Bond."

"Fine, see if I help you with your trash-talk anymore."

"In Soviet Russia," Ivan began.

Bond cut him off, dissolving into hilarity: "Trash talks you!"

Ivan swiveled his head to look at him, confused (they were about 20 years too early for Yakov Smirnoff), and James took advantage of his distraction to put his entire weight into his arm and pin Ivan's hand to the table.

"Ah! Is no fair, using little clown man to distract me," Ivan complained. "We must have rematch."

"Hey, it's your own fault for gettin' distracted from the job at hand," said James, claiming himself a drink from Ivan's bottle as his prize.

"Did he just call me 'little clown man'?" Bond was still laughing, which took some of the edge off his indignation.

"Ha, if you feel insult, maybe YOU will have rematch with me," Ivan suggested with a smirk.

"Boys," sighed Lotta. "If you are going to do this, I am going to leave and notify the nearest Medics."

Ivan watched her head toward the door. "If you worry for friends' health, maybe we have drinking contest instead."

Lotta paused and looked back over the small group thoughtfully. "I will still tell a Medic. Bond will need one in the morning."

--30--
>> No. 2045
"Did he just call me 'little clown man'?"
I grinned like an idiot.
>> No. 2046
I giggled hysterically at Bond's 'Soviet Russia'.
>> No. 2049
You write the best trash-talk

>"Yeah, that's how James knows lava doesn't work that way!"
I snorted too.
>> No. 2050
I see only one problem: That spies, in their bio, smoke brands that nobody's ever heard of.
>> No. 2051
>>65
i'm lollin
i seriously am
>> No. 2052
Best trash-talking, arm wrestling contest ever!
>> No. 2054
>>65
actually, anon, can you please elaborate on this criticism because i don't think i understand you. i mean, i've taken a hell of a lot of liberties with the source material here, and your problem is with the chesterfield kings? and i don't see anything about cigarette brands in the official spy bio, either. i'm kind of confused here, honestly
>> No. 2056
I *know* I've seen it somewhere. Maybe on the blog or something.
>> No. 2057
>>69
all i've seen is speculation based on the appearance (i favour Nat Sherman Natural Originals for BLU's brown-and-gold 101-length cigarettes, partly because they're my own preferred brand [when i'm not smoking Lucky Strikes] and i'm as prone to favouritism as anyone else; someone else came up with some French thing that comes in brown-and-gold and white-and-gold varieties) here on the chan, never anything official v(._.)v

and the "of all the things to take an issue with, you choose the cigarette brand" thing still holds and amuses me
>> No. 2058
>>70

I remember seeing a discussion on the chan that stated that spy probably smoked brands nobody ever heard of. Was some sort of talking about his skin and the cigs and yeah.

I do not know if this was old or new, but since I was on the old for about a week before we got the new chan I'm guessing it's the new chan.
>> No. 2063
To be fair, this all takes place in the Unionverse. So the classes are made of individuals, and the classes as seen in the videos and such are more like archetypes. ie Bond is A spy but he is not THE spy, if you get what I'm saying? And Bond would never smoke an unknown brand because then nobody could buy them for him.
>> No. 2069
>>72
He will, however, smoke an obscure-as-hell one (in the modern day) just to be a git.
>> No. 2071
Moon base = ok.

Chesterfield Kings = NO OMG STOP THE PRESSES.



By the way, I love this story and I'm downright giddy to see more.
>> No. 2086
You have no idea how giddy I was when I saw this little update, do you?

And this cigarette discussion amuses me.
>> No. 2091
>>73

Isn't being a git actually one of the reqirements for Spyhood anyway? Right up there with smoking and looking good in a suit.
>> No. 3583
Bond reappeared at the same time as the sun, the lipstick on his collar having multiplied and spread to his balaclava, which was now slightly crooked.
This is the only time you mention Bond actually wearing his balaclava. Is he wearing it throughout the whole thing? Just curious as to whether James has gotten a look under that thing (I assume he has).
>> No. 3599
I really ought to learn not to get my hopes up.
>> No. 3600
>>77
It is my personal belief that once they started doing supervillains instead of briefcases he stopped wearing it entirely; when was the last time James Bond wore a balaclava, after all? However, I don't think the detail is of really pivotal concern, and so if the reader is happier if his Spies keep their masks on, then the reader is welcome to imagine it that way.

>>78
Sorry, I have been stalled staring at my outline and banging my head against things for ages. My soul aches with disappointment in myself
>> No. 3610
> Ack! Wasn't trying rag on ya, I swear. It was more out of frustration for seeing it bumped up only for the most recent thing to be a comment.
>> No. 3615
I really do feel bad about not having an update to it; I know exactly where the plot needs to go - that outline's been written for AGES - but I keep getting bogged down in the details. It is nice to know that someone is still hoping I'll update, though - it's an incentive to post it here if I ever get it done.
>> No. 3619
>>80
77 here. Sorry about that, I had a question I wanted answered (not merely a comment), and I wasn't sure owl would see it if I didn't bump it.
>> No. 3631
Well if hope is what you need to write an update, you can borrow mine. This is in my top two favorite fics on this site, and almost squealed when I saw it on the front (this anon does not squeal).
>> No. 3662
81

Oh yes, I'm definitely hoping you'll update. This is seriously my absolute favourite fic in the fandom.
>> No. 3663
And I fail now. Sorry for no sage.
>> No. 3678
This is one of the first fics I read in the TF2 fandom. It is amazing and I'm in love with it.
>> No. 5208
Why have I never read this before? And why am I so depressed that I can't find the porny chapter that I'm sure is amazing?

Not saging because it deserves to be bumped.
>> No. 5212
>>5208
The porny bits have been archived, I believe.
>> No. 5213
>>5212
I couldn't find it = / I'll look again I suppose.
>> No. 5214
>>5213
No need- I tracked them down for you. I believe this is all of them.

http://tf2chan.net/afanfic/arch/res/266.html
http://tf2chan.net/afanfic/arch/res/2332.html
http://tf2chan.net/afanfic/arch/res/174.html
>> No. 5223
Aw. I really do miss this fic.
>> No. 5227
>>5214
Thank you so much.


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