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The Care and Feeding of Your M

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An uncaffeinated M is a daunting prospect to face first thing in the morning.

The first morning working with the new M, Jane arrived early to make sure that everything was assembled to her specifications for the chief's arrival. Upon stepping into her office, however, she realized that things were already amiss. The door to the main office was ajar, and she could hear a sharp voice speaking on the phone. She hurriedly shrugged out of her coat, hung it up, and when the phone call ended, she knocked lightly on the door and entered.

"Good morning, ma'am," she said. "I'm Jane Moneypenny, and I'll be working as your personal clerk from now on. Is there anything you will be in need of to start off your mornings? A paper, perhaps, or a cup of tea?"

"Miss Moneypenny," her new boss told her severely, "I am well aware of who you are. You are a Lieutenant in her majesty's Secret Service. You have top level security clearance and have been instrumental in aiding this office to orchestrate covert matters for the entirety of your professional existence. To that end, I have an entire list of actual national security related matters which I am going to need to discuss with you, which I do not need a newspaper to inform me of. I am quite certain that there is someone else in this building who is capable of getting me a cup of tea." Jane opened her mouth to apologize, but M cut her off. "Furthermore," she added, "I am a coffee drinker." She waved a hand at the chair in front of her. "Take a seat," she said, "and let's get to work, shall we?"

Jane carefully let her look of chagrin turn into a tiny smile. "Yes," she agreed, settling into the chair. "I suppose we shall."

 

A well-functioning underground information system is key to all things.

"I need to speak to her," Q announced, striding into Jane's office and not pausing for a moment before stalking past her, through the door, and into M's room. He stopped in the doorway and blinked.

"I'm sorry," Jane said blandly, "she's left for the night." She stood and inched around Q, backing him up into her office and pulling the door firmly shut behind them. "Which I would have told you, if you had only waited for an answer."

"No time to wait for an answer," Q said brusquely. "Where is she? How can she be reached?"

"I'm sorry, I'm afraid she can't," Jane told him firmly, settling back in behind her desk. "I'll gladly take a message and give it to her in the morning, though."

Q glared at her. "Young lady," he said, "I do not think that you understand. This is a matter of national security."

Jane gave him a withering look. "Is it?" she asked him dryly.

"Of course it is! Where do you think you are working, the public library? Office hours do not apply in our business."

"I think, sir, that this is actually related to the damage that 007 may have done to your lab earlier this evening, and not to anything directly related to the business we do here." She raised an eyebrow. "How close to the target am I?"

Q frowned. "Not far," he admitted. He squinted at her. "You know about that?"

"I know about everything," she told him, then pushed a sticky pad across the desk at him. "You're welcome to leave her a note," she offered sweetly.

He eyed her as he scribbled nearly-illegibly on the paper, then pushed it back to her. "See she gets that," he said sharply.

"Indeed," she agreed. "Shall I get someone to translate it for her first?" Q huffed and stormed off through the door without replying. "Have a good evening," she called after him. "Good luck with your lab!"

She turned back to her computer and smiled. Sooner or later, everyone would figure out that every second Thursday was poker night. For now, she would continue to play gatekeeper until they caught on.

 

Sometimes, there is nothing at all that can be done.

Jane knocked lightly before pushing the door open. "Ma'am?" she asked. "Is there anything I can get for you?"

M was not where Jane expected her to be. It took a moment for her to shift her glance from the desk to the couch, but when their eyes met, M's expression was hard and carefully blank. "No, Miss Moneypenny," she said, sounding more exhausted than the sharp tone Jane had expected. "Your services are no longer necessary. I will see you in the morning."

Jane hesitated in the doorway, watching as M turned back to stare at the phone in front of her. "I could stay," she offered, "in case there is any more news."

"There will be no news tonight," M told her tightly.

"Yes'm," Jane agreed quietly. She shut the door behind her with as much care as she could manage, then turned to the guard standing beside it. "Call me," she told him severely, "if I'm needed."

He nodded, and only then did she begin to pack up her things to go home.

 

There are a variety of reasons for M to head for the shooting range. In none of these circumstances should she ever be disturbed.

"Could I possibly put a tracking system on her?" The director of operations asked, coming around the corner and finding Jane sitting quietly outside the door to the range. "It would make my life infinitely easier."

"Unlikely," Jane replied, looking up from the notebook she was scribbling in, "but you could take it up with Q the next time you see him."

The director sighed. "Could I just put one on you instead?" Jane frowned minutely. "No," he agreed, "I guess not." He gestured towards the door. "I don't suppose there's any chance of my getting her to sign off on these orders, is there?"

"No sir, I'm afraid not at the moment. You're welcome to leave them and I'll have a runner bring them back to your office as soon as she's available, though."

The director made a huffy noise, but handed the folder over. "What is it this time?" he asked. "Bond set her off again."

"No, sir, not that I'm aware of."

He squinted at her. "Get a call from the kids?"

"I'm not at liberty to say, sir," Jane replied carefully.

The director humphed, then waved a hand at the folder. "See that I get those," he said, and she nodded.

"Yes, sir," she agreed, and as soon as his retreating back had turned the corner again, she added in a low voice, "that is what they pay me for, you know."

She returned to her notes and waited patiently until the door opened and M's personal guard emerged, followed by the chief herself. Jane rose and stretched, tucking her notebook and the director's folder under her arms. "Everything go well?" she asked, dropping into step with M as they headed down the hallway.

M eyed her for a moment, looking serious but pleased. "I've still got it," she said, sounding satisfied. She nodded at the folder. "I assume those are for me?"

"They are," Jane agreed. "Also, happy birthday, ma'am," she added, and pleasantly ignored the glare she got as she launched into an explanation of the orders that needed signing.