Title: for real
Summary: “Ever wondered what would happen if James Bond was seriously hurt?"
“Ever wondered what would happen if James Bond was seriously hurt?"
Adam pauses before lifting his head from the level of the sight and glancing sideways to look at his colleague, confusion, bemusement clear on his face.
Tom turns to squat with his back against the cold, damp, graffiti-covered wall. "Not just a flesh-wound-gunshot-to-the-shoulder-blee
"No. It's never occurred." Adam arches his back, rolls his shoulders until his spine cracks back into place, before returning his eye to the rifle's sight and the empty street below.
“That’s the problem with Bond. He doesn’t live in the real world.”
With a patient sigh, Adam explains. “That’s because he’s a fictional character. Books, films. Entertainment for the masses.”
Tom draws his long black wool coat closer around him, shivering in the winter chill - the freezing air blowing in through the window Adam unceremoniously broke in order to get a better view of the target. Or where the target would hopefully be exciting the derelict warehouse opposite in about… six minutes.
"But that's the point. How would the cinema-going public react if they had to watch James Bond puking his guts up on a concrete floor of some god-forsaken Israeli cell? Or see him kicked and punched until blood…."
A hand is planted hard and fast against his chest, pressing him slightly into the wall. "Stop. Please, Tom."
He looks down at the long fingers spread against the dark of his coat. Fingernails unevenly bitten but not chewed to the quick, white knuckles, barely visible patches of dark where bones have bruised too deep to heal. And he thinks about covering it with his own, pushing his fingers through Adam's, preferably to curl, sweat-drenched, into creased sheets
He turns his head to hide the inevitable flush to his cheeks but Adam's attention is back on the black door in the side of the building opposite.
For a couple of minutes they don't speak.
Tom blinks. "Pardon?"
"You asked how the cinema-going public would react if they had to watch James Bond get tortured."
"What was your point?"
"My point was - films and television don't represent the reality of the job. They make being a spy look glamorous. It's all bad guys with fluffy white cats, cars with rocket launchers mounted on the roof and women in skimpy bikinis."
Adam shifts on the rickety stool he found in the corner of the non-descript abandoned office they're camped out in for the morning. "Entertainment, Tom," he reminds his companion. "There's nothing entertaining about watching someone get the shit beaten out of them. It doesn't make for Bank Holiday afternoon family viewing."
"It makes people think we chase cat-loving maniacs before retiring for the evening with a leggy blond with less brain cells than Baldy's pussy."
It earned him a chuckle at least. "What's wrong? Did you turn up to a date in a Ford Mondeo and your lady asked where the E-Type was?"
Tom's impressed. "How do you know what an E-Type is?"
"Zaf told me."
Not so impressed. "I just think…." But he knows immediately when to shut up, when he's lost Adam's attention, when their mark's just made his exit.
Adam aims, fires. One bullet, just to the right and above the dark man's left ear. He drops to the pavement, while two of the three men paid a pittance to protect him scurry back inside the building just in case the assassination includes anyone in the immediate vicinity. It doesn't.
Inside of two minutes, the gun is stowed and Tom and Adam are walking to their car parked around the corner from the front of the dilapidated office block.
They walk in silence. Adam de-activates the car alarm, puts the briefcase in the boot, and climbs into the driver's seat.
"Why don't we save the world from the Russians over lunch?" he asks randomly, and Tom smiles.
"Sure. Didn't have anything else planned."
Tom will never know how Adam knew 'James Bond: Goldeneye' was showing at the local cinema, one afternoon only, to celebrate some anniversary or other.
They sit on the back row in a sparsely populated screen with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of Coke between them and watch the most perfect spy of all save the world from the bad guys once again.
As the credits role at the end of the movie, Adam leans across and murmurs in Tom's ear, "I might be a leggy blond. But I'm absolutely not wearing a bikini for you."
It's the best offer he's had in a long time, and he thinks he can forego the missile-firing car and the feline-obsessed evil genius. After all, Adam Carter knows what it's like to get the shit beaten out of him. He, at least, is for real.