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Russian Poker

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Russian Poker

 

***

Raoul was listening to the Dies Irae, by Verdi. He was stumped into one of the armchairs of his new flat. Yes, his “new flat”. The new head of MI6 had decided he was more useful alive than dead. So the agreement was simple: as long as he was able to provide information, he was allowed to live. For him who had pledged to never live again in a cell, he had accepted the offer.
Of course, nobody knew about his current state… Until today.
The Spaniard was looking at the ceiling, a glass of scotch in his left hand. He was just coming back from M’ burial… Well, from the burial of the woman who had destroyed his life. And here he was, lost in his thoughts, living once again the event.

Of course, he was not among the MI6 members, neither in front of the coffin. He was standing on the top of a hill behind the public, under the rain. He did not bleach his hair. It was brown, as brown as the earth. He was perfectly fitting in his three pieces black suit. The Spaniard honestly thought his disguise would be enough, completed by sunglasses. He was not looking at the crowd, neither the ceremonial. No, his eyes were fixed on the back of a blond head: James Bond, 007, one of the best British agents if not the best; the man who almost succeeded in killing him; the man he did not know whether he should worship him or damn him. The ceremony ended and the man stayed in front of the new grave under the rain. Neither him, either Raoul moved during the two next hours. Both men were as static as statue.
And then, the agent turned around and looked at him right in the eyes, as much as it was possible with the distance. However, the distance was not preventing Raoul from reading the emotions transcending the agent: wrath, sadness, bitterness… and betrayal.

Poor James, you thought the new M was an honourable man. How silly of you. They would never change. Raoul laughed, the memory was quite vivid. He rubbed his temples with his right hand. Poor James, Raoul remembered the man getting out of the cemetery as fast as a panther: the grace of Mother Nature enclosed in a fury craving for blood.

 

James wanted to destroy everything, anything he had to carry of hand. For the moment, it was glasses. He threw the glass on the floor.
Why?! Why was he alive when M was dead?! Mallory?! Of course, he should have seen it coming! Damn it!
James grimaced, looking at his fist and at the mirror he had just broken. Blood was flowing on his hand and tainted his white shirt. Great! Just before another mission!
James went to the bathroom, deciding to take a shower. While he was undressing, he looked at his scars. All of them was a reminder, a reminder to never thrust anybody. The warm water on his sculpted body was like a blessing soothing his sore body.
Silva alive?
James hit the partition of the shower. He wondered who was he truly mad at: Silva for being alive, because he killed M? Or Mallory, for knowing and not telling him, for hiding such information?
He was not a wise man, even though he had to confess he was Silva like a mirror, the reflection he could become with one mere path.

“MI6…. Empire… you’re living on rubble.”
James sighed. Yes, he could see. Indeed, when it comes to defend a country, you could not rely on personal problems or you would never go on, yet he was incapable to bury his ire. He turned off the water and got out of the bathroom, without bothering to use a towel. Water ran from his body to the floor, but he did not mind; he was watching the sunrise. Today was another day to live for, to survive.
James snorted and went to his dressing. He was a busy man after all.

 

Mallory was sipping a cup of coffee, thinking on both agents he had to see today, the fist being 007. On his desk were his evaluations: nothing has improved since the last time he had witnessed the psychological test.
Inability to deal with authority.
He heard a knock.
“Come in.”
007, six o’clock sharp for his new assignment. He could not expect more of the man.
“007, reporting for duty, Sir”
“On time 007, here is your new mission, well whether you accept it.”
“I do Sir.” James frowned.
His new boss looked at the man a moment and at the bandages on his hand:
“Are you sure you can handle it? Africa is a keg of powder waiting for the right time to explode. Civil wars are on the verge to be triggered.”

James tensed. Who was the man to doubt his capacities?!
“As I said, I’m capable to deal with it.” James said drily.

M posed a moment.
“All right. See you later for your report then.”
James silently greeted the man with a nod and walked out of the office. He had already told the man: to hire him or to fire him, it was up to his superiors, but if they decided to keep him, then there was nothing to be said on his methods.

M sighed after James disappeared. He phoned Tanner:
“Tanner, call Silva. I need to discuss things with him, now.”

A few minutes later, the Spaniard was in his office. He had bleached his hair and chose a white suit for the day. He sat with grace on the chair M gestured.
The man went on writing for some minutes.
Raoul chuckled; obviously, the man had troubles to be respected and he needed all a psychological arsenal to impose himself. Such an idiot.
“You wanted to see me, M.”
The man glanced at him, visibly pleased to be recognised for his title.
TSS, James was a naughty boy to misbehave. How he could understand.

“As you may have notice, with the recent even in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bantu‘s matters are… becoming quite sensitive. An armed rebellion is ready to initiate a conflict to obtain the local power, which, regarding the resources in the area, would be a total disaster. Nonetheless, we are lucky enough to notice that the group is fragile. Thus, a mere disorganisation would lead it to collapse. The chief of the rebellion must be eliminated. However, we may agree on the required discretion to lead such mission. Any mistake would trigger a civil war and geopolitical conflicts between our countries. And as far as England’s interests are concerned, those relationships must remain peaceful.

Oh! So he was to have a little journey away from the smog! Well, he could not say he was not pleased.

“So? How can I help?”
“Watch the man, earn his thrust and…”
M bent on his desk:
“Get us rid of him. The cover is up to you.”

Raoul was wearing a perfect poker face; inside… he was frowning: nobody to chaperon him? Strange.
“Well,” crossing his legs, Raoul posed his fingers on his tights.
“I heard the weather in DRC was lovely at this time of the year.”

“Good. You can leave.”

 

James was reading his file. The fly was a long one, so the more he would know about the situation, the more efficient he would be.
He did not need to go further than the Bandundu. Very rare resources were located in this area and rebellious group was already trying to take control of the mine shafts and of the production well. Apparently, it was not well organised and a simple, brutal upheaval would lead to its disappearance.
The plane was landing. James sighed, as he had said, there was nothing he could not cope with.

The first thing to do was to find his contact. He put his belt. Really, nothing he was not used to.

It was almost midnight when he arrived at his hotel. He checked the room for bugs. Once he looked at everything, James came back at his file. He needed to find a man named Epanza Makita. The Congolese was the MI6 mole supposed to give him the chief’s schedule. After that, Lissouba Sassou would only be a name to add to his tally.
According to the information given to him, he had to meet the man at eleven o’clock, in a bar of the market of Kinshasa. Then, to find the leader of the armed rebellion would only be a matter of time.

At the same time, on the other side of the city.
Raoul was reading the same file, focusing on the resources of the country. He could understand why the instability of the government was frightening M and more generally, the Crown.
Kinshasa was located on the South western border of the DRC, in the province of Bandundu, one of the richest region in terms of resources. Diamonds, lithium for hydrogen bombs, copper…
With the culture of corruption, traffic the country has developed, it was no wonder the occidental powers tried to feed the current conflict around the president Joseph Kabila. Peace never has been a goal to achieve for occidental politicians and businessmen.

Raoul sipped slowly his glass of wine, listening to the Maria Callas version of Madame Butterfly.
Who would have thought he would be back on the field someday? Not him. To be alone and free to work as he wanted. He could almost believe it. What was the problem then?
Raoul stood up and went to the window. It was full moon tonight. How romantic.
He laughed once more, such twisted humour he had.
Well, he turned off his computer and walked to his bathroom. He needed to rest, after all, his work was beginning at the market of Kinshasa, ten AM.
What was the password? Ah yes, “42”.

 

Eleven o’clock. The market of the city was a crowded place. Baskets, women, men, children running everywhere…. It was a total chaos for anyone absolutely foreign to the place. James was supposed to find Makita near a coffee… between a groceries and a fish seller… Well, good luck; easy on the paper but for now, the temperature, the noises and the crowd were certainly not helpful. Because of the sweat, his shirt was sticking to his body.
Moreover it was impossible to carry any weapon with such outfit. He only had a mere knife in one of his pocket but nothing else. It was certainly not that which would afraid a “someone” with an AK47.
James made his way through the market and finally reached the place, after having cross a street full of cars and bicycles.
He greeted the man sitting at the terrace and took a seat at the bar in order to wait his contact. But nobody came… he waited several minutes before a man sitting on the terrace came with his glass and sat next to him.

“To say it’s supposed to rain this afternoon, who would believe that? Certainly not me.”

James watched quickly the TV set hanging on the other side of the room.
“Well, I guess I could not more agree with you. 36°? Not unbearable but not the weather I’m used to either.”

The black man frowned, but said nothing, ordering another glass of cheap alcohol.
“Nights are worst, it’s so hot that the tourists, unused to the temperature, have the impression to become crazy. But if you want to chill out and lose your mind while enjoying the exoticism of the country, perhaps you should go there.”
The man put a cards on the bar, greeted him and walked out.
James took the cards:
The Harbour, 22:45.
Section 2, anchorage 8.

James came back to his hotel in order to prepare himself for the evening. The mission was simple, he only had to eliminate the chief; he kept repeating himself the quote like a mantra. But without knowing why, he could not help himself thinking something was off with the discussion he had with his indicator. Obviously, the man was expecting something… But what? Whatever, it was only an impression.
James waited all the afternoon at the bar of his hotel. The scotch in front of him was dull, without taste but he could not ask anything else, the place was not exactly a palace.

At 22 o’clock, he was measuring the alleys of the harbour to find the anchorage 8. James sighed, it was a true labyrinth… and his shoulder was killing him. He blew of annoyance and kept seeking.
At 22:30 pm, he was resolving himself to get on a container to have a clear sight of the place when he heard cars parking on the parallel alley, behind the containers. He headed for the end of the way and saw four Dusters. Men were getting out armed, surrounding a man in a navy blue suit. Lissouba Sassou.
The group came in a local, just beside a huge disused cargo boat. From his place, James could hear a conversation in Swahili with rare moments in French. He tried to get closer and looked at his watch. It was only by ten minutes but the guy was earlier. The notion of time was utterly absent in this country.

James reached a window, his back against the wall. Sweat ran down his face. Impossible to have a clear shot from hear. He decided to go back to the other alley and moved back. Suddenly, he heard a noise of broken glass. Oh shit! He started running towards the Dusters. The men got out and started shooting with their AK47. James felt the bullets projecting mud on his clothes with their impact on the muddy floor. One almost touched his arm. He kept running before hiding between two containers. He blew of relief when the men ran in front of him without seeing him. He leant his head against the cold metal. Great! Next shit? James tensed suddenly, feeling a sting in his neck.
He was fighting not to black out. No! Stay awake! His knees reached the floor. Before everything went black, he heard:
“Never send two agents. MI6 lost the notion of discretion.”
What the Hell… was he …. Talking ab….
James closed his eyes, falling in the mud.

When James awoke, a huge headache was radiating at the back of his head. The world was completely dancing around him, he wanted to rub his temples but failed. He was tight to a chair.
And God! It was too tight! His shoulder!
The British agent breathed in and out: keep calm.
Obviously, he was in the cargo boat. Water was falling from the ceiling, rats were running. So he was in the basement, with no window, only one door to escape. Awesome.

“Finally awake Mr Bond” a man said behind him with a heavy African accent.
“I hope you feel at ease, it‘s not every day Kinshasa has the honour to welcome one of the finest British agents.
James rolled his eyes. Go on, once again the same speech.

“But I have to say I’m disappointed. I thought it would be much more difficult to get you. I was announced a killing-machine and what do I see? A wreck, a warrior without purpose.”
The man in suit came in front of him.
“I could even say, without soul.”

“You could even add “barely holding himself on pills and alcohol. Then the portrait would be perfect.”

The African laughed:
“Such funny man. It’s truly a shame to kill a man like you but the occidental domination over us is past.”
He voice grew colder:
“Now it’s our time.”

James snorted:
“Sure that nourishing sexual slavery, corruption and fights in your own nation is better.”

For some minutes, he thought the man would spit on him, but no, he nodded and James felt a blow on his stomach. He tossed.

‘You are nobody to judge us. You should have stayed in England Mr Bond, dreaming about your Empire, your lovely rubble.”

It hit James, as much as the blow he received on his left temples. The world was waving even more.

“Nice speech, is it from you or someone whispered it in your delicate ear?”
Lissouba Sassou loaded a gun:
“Does it truly matter agent? Soon, very soon, you’ll not be there anymore to hear anything.”

The African took the security off and aimed at James.
“I’m not keen on torture but I do believe in bullets.”

Shots rang from the upper deck of the boat. From a sign of the head, Sassou gestured to his men to go.
Minutes flowed like the sweat on James’s face. The headache was growing stronger and it was painful to focus on the man in front of him.
Sassou muttered something in Swahili and got out of the room.
James felt panic coming, he wanted to throw up. He was incapable to hear anything, the fever was overwhelming.
So when the door opened again, he only heard someone swear before losing consciousness.

 

Raoul had not peculiarly planned to introduce himself to Lissouba Sassou as a cyberterrorist. He thought more about an arms provider or as a simple spokesman sent by his boss. He had succeeded in luring the fish and thought he could deal with …. With poison for instance? He had truly let his mind wander about his modus operandi.
So that he was surprised no to find the African when he reached the harbour. He only found one of his men in front of a small shelter, beside a cargo boat.
So Lissouba was busy, Thanks, rest in peace.
The guard was only the first to fall.
He was light on the cargo boat. So there he was.
There were two others laughing, on the upper deck. What were they laughing about?

“Good evening Gentlemen, I’s searching Mr Sassou, we do have an unfinished business.”
“Sorry Sir, he is with a white snitch.”

Silva smiled like you smiled at an idiot.
“A snitch?”
“Yeah, a blond British snitch, Sir. Should sell him at the slave market, good price.”

So a blond British snitch… Well sculpted… Raoul’s blood ran cold.
“I see. Charming creature.”

And the two joined their friends, as all of the others Raoul met this evening. He was still on the upper deck when Lissouba Sassou appeared.

“Mr Silva? I’m sorry, I’m late.”
Raoul’s face was utterly closed; he shot the man directly in the left knee. A painful cry came out of the African’s mouth.

“Damn it! Are you crazy?! God!”
Raoul cocked his head on the left:
“God?”
Raoul snorted:
“You could have taken anything from England, but not him.”
Sassou frowned:

“What?! Bond?! “

Raoul shot him in the right arm. The man yelled once more.
“Yes, our dear James Bond. And I do have a problem with torture and being closed up in a cell.”
Raoul took a mother tone:

“That is not a good thing at all, Mr Sassou. No, no.”
He started laughing like a crazy man.

“So what?! Just for his arse?! Then just go and fuck him! Go to fuck the England’s whore!!”

Enough was enough. The next bullet was shot between the two eyes.

“Oh but he is only mine, he just does not know it yet. And as a possessive man, I do hate when filthy hands touch what is mine.”

Raoul sighed and walked over the corpses. He had a blondie princess to save. He opened the door and froze. Bond was breathing too loudly and to heavily to be fine.
“İ Maldita sea!”

He got rid of the links and took James’s face between his hands. He was unconscious and burning.
“James, James, what you obliged me to do.”

Raoul lift the agent like a bride and got out of the boat. He managed to lie him down at the back of his car and drove to the nearest hospital.
When the nurses confirmed James was safe, he walked out of the hospital to call M.

“So?”
“Sassou is dead.”
“Good, anything else?”
“Yes, I need to extract a wounded agent.”

He heard M sighed on the other side of the line.
“Fine. Deal with it with Q.”
M hung up.

Raoul was overwhelmed by rage. No! He had to stay calm. A storm was coming and would be worse than M.

 

James blinked. The light was hurting his blue eyes. He groaned: yeah, it hurt like the headache radiating at the back of his head. The agent wanted to sit up but gave up when his shoulder brought him back on Earth. For now, he was truly feeling like a wreck.
The blond man sighed: obviously he was in a hospital … and still in Kinshasa.
A nurse came in and smiled:
“Oh, you’re awake mister Bond.” The young woman said.
“I hope you don’t feel too bad, you had a quite serious fever.”

“Under such good hands, I can’t imagine myself not being well.”
The nurse laughed and blushed.
“Well, mister Bond, since you’re awake, the doctor will come to check your wounds and to verify you don’t have any further wounds. You probably will stay here several days and then, if you’re better, you’ll be free to go.”
She greeted him with a smile and wished him a good day. But just before she walked out, James asked her:
“I’m sorry to bother you with that but, I can’t remember how I arrived here. Could you help me refresh my memory?”

The African nurse glanced at him surprised:
“You don’t remember anything? Right, Mr Bond, you arrived here feverish five days ago, your friend drove you here.”

James frowned:
“A friend?”

She nodded:
“Yes, a Spanish man with bleached hair. He stayed here three days without leaving you, but the evening before yesterday he informed us he had to leave. I think he said it was for his work.”

James was feeling more and more confused. He hesitated several seconds to ask:
“Did he let anything for me? A message?”
“Yes, as soon as you feel well enough to travel safely, he would like you to come back home. He sincerely regretted your accident.”

James nodded, perplexed.
“All right, thank you.”

The nurse got out and James lied down on his bed. What the Hell Silva was doing here? And the Mission? He was answered when he heard about a local rebellious chief found dead. The British agent tried to sleep but the more he was thinking about all of this, the more reluctant he was to come back.

 

Silva has been back in England for five days and he had expected to see M before. The BBC was broadcasting news about the death of the leader of some armed group. There was no evidence and nobody to claim the murder. So it was a well done job for Raoul. He was feeling great but his good mood had its limit. He did not know James would be there, on the same mission. The Spaniard got out of the elevator and went past Tanner’s desk. This one gestured the door:
“He is waiting for you.”

Silva knocked and came in. M was calling the PM.
“Sure, M’dame, sure, yes, we are all very pleased with that; my regards.”
He hung up.

“Take a seat mister Siva. I dare say you coped very well with the situation in DRC. The PM is more than pleased and that is not something we can’t be proud of. So anything else to report before your next assignment?”

Silva was wise enough to take a surprise look.
“Anything else? Mmm, I don’t think so. Unless you were expecting something else.”

The man looked at him, silent, with an unreadable face.
“No. Nothing, then here is your next job. It will be more static but it is still….”

In the end, the file was more than enough to have a clear sight of the situation. He had to teach to a bunch of kids too young to know anything about the Internet during the Cold War things they were already supposed to know, or they would not be there. But this joyful bunch of teenagers was interesting enough to be a matter of reflexion. They would be divided into two parts:
The “Full of themselves” and the “Victims”.
The first were utterly arrogant, hungry for power in such way that it was flowing over each pore of their skin. Well, to nuts to survive.
The others… a shame… full of potential but too shy to go anywhere and to give a well-deserved high-five to the first.
He guessed it could have been worse. He chuckled, going towards the elevator, but stopped when he saw Bond getting out of Q’s office to go to the stairs. The sexy bastard had obviously not seen him, and Raoul decided to go to see Q.

“007 is back?”
Q looked at him and went back to his screen before answering:
“007, I don’t know… But Bond, or what remain of him… yes.”
Raoul cocked his head:
“What remain of him?”
He was just behind Q, almost stuck to him. Q jumped, trying to escape the sudden heat behind him. He was utterly ill at ease with such presence.

“Well… You know… he is different.”
Silva got even closer, pushing the younger against his desk. To keep an imbalance Q put his hands on his desk.
“How?”
Q slammed the desk and escaped the man. He was as red as a tomato.
“He seems to be passive-aggressive, he can be silent and then to be ready to ripe anybody’s head off his body.”
Raoul let him go. That was bad, very bad.

 

James‘s strategy to take the stairs in order to avoid seemed to work. He had not seen the Spaniard since his return and honestly, the confrontation he have had with M was more than enough for the time being. He remembered well.

“I truly wonder how you managed to come back this time.”
“Do not worry Sir, I do share the wondering.”
“Arrogance won’t save you Bond. You failed killing Sassou.”

James felt rage making his blood boil.
“Yet, someone had the good idea to be there to save the Crown’s interests. Such good timing to be there at the same time and at the same place than me in order to kill the man.”

M frowned:
“Speak for yourself.”

“I only find rather strange that the contact seemed not to be waiting for me, I do find weird not to have the good schedules. Visibly, I was missing something.”

M slammed the desk and stood up.
“Only things you did not need to do your work. Know your place agent or take your leave. Now get the Hell out of my office with that fucking file Tanner will give you or disappear once and for all!!!”

James saw red but said nothing. He got out and took the file. For once, he took the elevator. He did not wait for a long time after he rung for the lift. He was so busy thinking about the argument that he did not notice he was utterly pressing the file against his chest, as if he was afraid someone took it away from him.
He was also in the same position when two levels later, the doors opened on a very surprised Silva to see him there. Both men stayed silent and static for some seconds before the older finally decided to come in. the tension was heavy on their shoulders, the air was electric and the moment awkward.
Raoul could see James’s fists tighten on the paper, creasing it. He felt he was driven crazy.
He suddenly hit the button to stop the elevator before the doors open on the hallway and violently pushed James against the cold metal of the lift cage.

“Damn it Bond! If we are to storm, then let’s do this now!

James was ready to hit him to get away but the older man’s grip was too strong for him.
“Get the Hell away from me!!”
“Away?! Do not make fun of me! You are incapable to survive on your own!!”

James felt his heart sank. Who was the man to dare to judge him like this?!
“Then why did you save me?! I asked NOTHING to ANYBODY! You! M! ALL OF YOU! Just go to Hell and let me do my job!!!”

He laughed weakly. The only hit he had given the man was so, so weak, it would have done nothing to anybody. He was even not looking at Silva anymore.

Silva frowned and slightly moved away from the agent.
“James. I did not know you were here. I’m sorr…”

“Stop it.”
The tone was quiet, but harsh and dry. The Spaniard was now looking at a dangerous and wounded in his heart man. Cold-blooded, quiet and unreadable: Mother Nature had found back her dear child the Fury.
“Take my job Silva. Take everything: my job, my number.”
He spoke louder:
“You can even take my name Silva! But you will NEVER have ANYTHING else deeper!!!”

Then James violently pushed him away and run out of the elevator once it opened.
Silva was alone in the elevator, the doors remaining open. Mierda… this time it was his turn to hit the partition. İ Chingao! Of course James knew nothing!
“Take your job…”
Of course he would believe he wanted to get rid of him.
“İChingao!” he said again.
The words of the agent were echoing in his mind: he could take anything… but not what he wanted the most…

 

Q was listening to Nocturnes, by Chopin, interpreted by Brigitte Engerer. He was finally at peace and was sipping a cup of Earl Grey. James appeared in front of his desk.
“Q, I have to take my supplies now. I have a fly to catch.”

Q grimaced.
“For Russia? But do you feel well enough to do the job?”

James tensed and looked at him straight in the eyes. Q swallowed his saliva. Those eyes would be the death of him someday.
“You are doubting me now? You too?”
“NO, no! It’s just… Look, I just want you to be ok. All right?”

James relaxed a bit and smiled softly.
“Thanks. So what do you have in store for me?”
“Nothing special. The big part is the poker game and that is entirely up to you; you have the common things: a Walther and an earpiece.”

“Right, I should go then.”
James took the box containing the equipment and walked out.
Q almost did not have the time to say:
“Be careful!”
He was alone:
“And if you don’t bring back the equipment, then, you, come back.”

 

The fly to Russia was quiet. After his meeting with Silva, James only wanted to relax. The success of the mission rested on his state of mind and any failure would lead him to finance a terrorist attack in Eastern Europe. So he had to keep both eyes open, be confident and aware of the other‘s hands. Everything would be all right; he kept repeating the mantra while his was listening the Requiem in D minor, by Mozart. A true master piece where the violins and the echoing voices were just perfection embodied by music.

He arrived at the hotel and ask the key for the reservation at the name of John Harcker. Seriously, he would have to say to Q to stop ready vampire novels.

“Sdravstvouïste Miss, I have a reservation to the name of Harcker.”
“Dobrie Vetcher Sir, here is your key and.. Oh! A gentleman delivered it for you earlier in the evening. I hope you will enjoy your time among us.”

The young woman held him out a luggage. He took the object and smiled:
“I’m sure I will.”
James took the elevator to reach his suite. The sight from the living-room let him speechless. It was absolutely marvellous thanks to the huge window. The room had a sight on a Russian architectural style Church. It was located in the middle of a huge place and was beside a fountain. The lights of the sunset were reflecting through the water. The result was divine.

He finally decided to check the bathroom. It was all golden and white-marbled. A huge Italian shower was facing a mirror and two golden taps. A bathtub was in the back of the room. It was surrounded by products to wash up or to relax. No bugs here, he put the earpiece, letting it turned off.

He went to the bedroom. A huge king-size bed was sitting in the middle of the room. Emerald green curtains were hanging around the bed, with dark purple sheets, to offer more privacy to people. Very agreeable result.

He checked his watch. 21:45. It was time for him to join the Casino. To have an access to the Casino, you did not need to be a client of the hotel. You “only” needed to be massively wealthy, smart and intelligent enough to understand how to play to poker. And when James arrived in the Casino, regarding the number of people in the room, he had to conclude that a lot of people in Russia had the required criteria.

James stopped on the terrace giving an access to the games room thanks to the two lateral stairs. Plenty of tables were offering various games to the gamblers. Black Jack, roulette…. You only had to travel on the red carpet. The light was coming from suspensions James was incapable to say whether it was crystal or not.
The long but narrow windows let appear the garden and the crescent moon.
An orchestra of violins was on a little scene, at the bottom of the room, on the left corner. A shame he could not stay here for tonight, yet the room was far too noisy to distinguish whose music was played.

He quietly crossed the room in his navy blue suit. He perfectly knew which effect he had on the women of the room, and maybe on some men. It deeply amused him. But distraction was not a mistress to please tonight. However, because Bond was still Bond, he smiled at the heiress in her white dress, waiting alone at a table. Probably was she waiting her fiancé. He smiled at her. She blushed to the ears.
But he already had disappeared.
He walked through a green carpeted corridor. Two lobby boys opened the doors

Impassive face in place, it was time to work.
He was to face six other adversaries. The poker game was organised by a Russian syndicate willing to entertain the chiefs of the various terrorist groups. At first sight, they were all looking like heirs or subordinates.
And Mr Harcker in all of hat? Who was this honourable man?
Merely a man sent by his employer as a professional gambler, in order to meet potential clients.
He was unbleached among those people whose first occupation was certainly not to manipulate cards.

James got closer of the master of the game in order to get registered.
“Mr John Harcker, isn’t it?” the Luxembourger man smiled.

They shook hands.
“You are well-informed. A pleasure Mr ….”
“Horace. Egmund Horace, at your service. I’ll be at your service all the evening. Whether you need anything, just ask.”

James greeted him and headed to the bar of the room. The place was reminding him of the Casino Royal.
A table was located on a kind of little blue-carpeted stage. It was wooden as the chairs. The rest of the room was covered by the same royal blue carpet.
James looked at tis watch: 22:00.
Let’s the game begin.

Mr Horace clapped his hands in order to get the attention of the audience.
“Gentlemen, I’m Horace and I hope you are enjoying the evening. As you already know, the winner tonight will come back with exactly 120 million $. This, plus the blind bets and all of the other bets. So it adds more or less 10million $. We are going to register all the gamblers and to place you.”

James was the last arrived, so would be the last to be placed. He used this time to observe all of the other players.
The first called was a well-known Russian heir, Dimotriov Gostivevitch Birskof. If you are to forget how sadistic the man was, you would admit the man was a great gambler.

The second one… a Japanese named Shizuke Saïso. Not a yakuza but not a clean man either. A businessman searching new clients. Not so much troubles.

The third, a Bosnian… How strange. Maybe was he James’s target. The filed mentioned a Russian, a Belorussian and a Bulgarian but not a Bosnian. And there was no Bulgarian in sight… Alekseï Myrkoff then.
Thing would be much more complicated.
James noted the said Belorussian.
Surprisingly, there was a German and finally, a Cypriot. The man was unknown to James. A certain Yanis Sartakos.

“MR Harcker, if you would like to join us.”
It was 22:00.

About two hours later, James could confess nothing was going like he had imagined.
They were seven, and now, the Japanese, the Cypriot and the Russian have folded.
James was confused. The Russian? All right, in the end, he only had a mere pair and was unable to call. But James thought he would be much more determinate. For the Cypriot, no surprise.

Two turns later, James was against Myrkoff, the German (Wolfgang Durmschteing) and the Belorussian. He only had a three of the kind.
Kusmanov, the Belorussian, had the best hand with a … probably a full house. The German raised… ok, why not? And the Bosnian called.
Damn it! He had supplies but his account had its limit. The Queen was not going to gracefully providing funds for a long time. So James bluffed.

But three hours later, the situation magically evolved. Obviously, it was time to showdown. The Bosnian threw his cards on the table. He had nothing.

James slowly sipped the cocktail he had ordered, looking at the Belorussian. This one probably wanted to slaughter all the room.
The German sighed:
“Gentlemen, I guess I’m lucky tonight.”
He shew a straight flush.

James put his glass on the table:
“Not so sure.”
Straight flush royal.
He won.

Mr Horace clapped his hands.
“Congratulations are in order then, Mr Harcker. I let you give your password for the transfer. And for all of you, I have t say bravo, it was a great game.”

James was relieved, taping the code. Tonight, he had avoided a future attack, but still, who was the man he had to stop?”

James drank a glass of champagne and walked out of the Casino.
He rang for the lift. Inside, he loosened his tie.
It was hot here.

He swallowed. It was hot and he was thirsty. James looked at the remaining floors until his. He was feeling more and more ill at ease in his suit.
He groaned and took his tie off. What the Hell?

He leant against the cold partition of the cage. What was in the drink? Drugs? Then, which one?
The doors opened and James put the earpiece, before throwing himself out out the elevator.
“Q?”

“Good evening 007. We confirmed the transfer; congratulations by the way. Were you able to find who was the potential terrorist?”

James swallowed his saliva with difficulty.
“No, and I don’t feel right. There was something in the drink. Can you help me to find what it was?”

In England, Q sat in front of his computer, ready to focus.
“How do you feel? Symptoms?”
“Hot and ill at ease in my clothes.”

Q frowned: no…. not in Hell.
“Mm, 007, I think you absorbed an aphrodisiac.”
James opened his suite:
“What? I told you I feel hot and…”

“Precisely, so then you…”
But James was not listening anymore to the Quartermaster. In front of him, in one of the armchair of the living-room, was sitting Raoul Silva. He had not bleached his hair, which was as brown as the earth. He was waiting, calmly, crossed legs, in his black suit.
The drug was not helping James to think coherently.

“So, you said you were hot and…?”
“What the HELL are you doing here?!” James said, breathing loudly. He was started to feel aroused.

Silva stood up and cocked his head on the left:
“Oh. I see the problem. Poor James, drugged by little Russian toys. Outch, gonna be complicated to deal with it.”

James swallowed harshly:
“What? Whatever! Answer my question!”

Raoul sighed, almost as if he was in front of a child he had to explain something simple to.
“Well, I understood last time we saw each other you may have suffered from a lack of information. As I did.”

The more Silva was walking toward him, the more James was stepping back to the door. And may Apollo damn his hormones! God! Damn traitors to make him feel this way! He was too hot and felt his pants tighten between his legs.

Raoul’s smile spread:
“I did not know you would be in Kinshasa, neither you did. So imagine how surprised I was when I saw you precious arse on that boat”

His arms were framing James’s head against the door. They were nose to nose.
“Chained to a chair, delirious…”
“Go away from me.”
Raoul bent to blow inside James’s ear. The British agent shivered. His heart skipped a beat.
“How was I supposed to stand that?”

James was trying to push him away but his arms were too sluggish, his knees threatening him to let him fall.
“Oh no, James, Darling, stay with me. I want to apologize sincerely.”

Silva was holding him up against the door.
“Another time then. Come back later.”
“Oh no, now is a perfect time.”
He blew once more in his neck:
“To claim what is mine.”

James held on a moan, his eyes widened:
“You are crazy! Go away!”

Silva looked at him, straight in the eyes, poker face: the Sky was joining the Earth.
“My dear agent you have no idea.”

The Spaniard bit his neck.
James let out a small moan, his knees absolutely giving him up, his arousal pulsing to no end. Only Silva’s hands on his ass were holding him, while the other agent was busy making a mess of his neck.

“Jamie, if only you had listened to me on the island, you would have never face such things. If you had listened to me before leaving for Russia, you would have known about this delicious drugs turning even the hardest into lustful creatures.”
A knee found its way between James’s tights, leaning on his groin. At this point James had given up the earpiece which fell, turned on, on the floor, and the idea to reject Silva. His hands were tightly holding the back of the Spaniard’s jacket. He was feeling pre-cum in his boxer.

Raoul’s tongue was fire on his neck and on his chest. The shirt was wide open, letting a total access to this splendid for Raoul. The older man was licking everywhere, playing with the skin, the nipples. Each moan was a divine music.
He bit one of the nipple.
James moaned loudly.
“Ah! God! Don’t…”

Raoul did it again, amused by the reaction:
“Should I stop here then? And …”

His hand slowly went down, barely touching the skin, from the flat and muscular stomach to James’s arousal, and sized it. James’s back hit the door, making him groan.
“And let you deal with that on your own?”

The Spaniard was obviously pleased, it was the result he wanted: the British man was a total mess, his chest exposed, full of bites like his neck. He was breathing heavily, the eyes lost in the pleasure. His gaze fell on a certain part of James‘s anatomy. Oh, oh, someone was getting impatient.

“Or?”
James focused on him, questioning him with a gaze.
Raoul’s left hand fiercely sized his chin:
“Or should we take care of it together, mm?”

The British agent was going to crack, it was obvious: he was to admit loudly he was giving himself to the Spaniard. He kept massaging James’s arousal.
His poor victim was clinging to him, moaning, but Raoul did not want to let him come that easily. He wanted his answer after all.
“So? James, what do you want? Tell me, or I go back to Britain…”

James yelled:
“Damn it! Fuck me already!”

Silva’s eyes sparkled. He smiled like a shark:
“Should have said it earlier Corazón Mío. Your wishes are my commands.”

He deeply kissed James, fucking every corner of his mouth with his tongue, his hands holding James’s face. He was going to punish the man for having driven him crazy.
James’s shirt fell on the floor. Raoul threw himself on the flat and muscular stomach of his victim, letting his tongue wandering on the skin.
Since the Spaniard was kneeling in front of him, James had found an anchor through Raoul’s hair, urging him to go further with small moves from his hips. But Silva was not paying attention, his hands keeping him in place, holding back James’s moves oh the hips. No, James’s navel was far more interesting. A very sensitive place obviously.
Raoul kissed it again.

« Not afraid to regret it later James? »
The Spaniard glanced at James’s face. The mind of the British man was utterly lost in pleasure. He managed to answer the man with a hoarse voice:
« You ask only now? »

« Then… »
Raoul got rid of the belt and of James’s pants. Useless, useless and useless. Raoul slowly slipped the boxer to let appear the verge.
« Not that bad James. »
The length was full of blood, some pre-cum was leaking from the head. Raoul blew on the head and licked the pre-cum flowing on the verge. The Spaniard triggered all a serenade of moans.

« I did not tell you my dear 007, I’m a selfish man and I don’t share what is mine. Not at all. »

And without more ceremonial, Silva took James’s length in his mouth, obviously playing with his teeth and his tongue to drive the man crazy. He was compelled to support him with one of his hands, so he could feel the difficult breathing, the muscles tensing under the treatment. James has started moving his hips in rhythm with Silva’s mouth. Sure, the drug should deliver him of any reluctance.
In a final move of comings and goings, James came in Silva’s mouth. The Spaniard swallowed and stood up to kiss James:
« Bitter-sweet darling, my favourite. »
James sighed, stumping unto the man, his head in his neck.

« Feeling better? The game only began you know. »
The Spaniard moved away from him to undress. His clothes fell on the floor and he did not bother on where it landed.
He came back to rub James’s face with a thumb. The younger man was as red as a tomato and consumed by lust.
Before Raoul said anything, James kissed him hungrily. Both men were now fighting for dominance. Silva’s hands were always going lower and lower on James’s back, whose hands were untangled in Raoul’s locks. And he was so busy with the man’s mouth that he could not help himself to let escape a cry when he felt a finger following the border of his hole.

« Ah! What the… Ah! Raoul! »
He heard the Spaniard laugh in his neck. His finger found its way in James’s hole.
« What are you doiiing?! »
James embraced Silva’s shoulders with his arms, hiding his face in his neck.
« You could warn! »
The Spaniard kissed him on the cheek:
« Then I warn you. »
And he added a second one. And a third. He spread slowly his fingers to prepare properly James. The younger man bit his shoulder, holding tight his hair. He let out a painful cry.
« Shh, shh, you’ll feel better very soon, I promise. »

Silva kept moving his fingers, fucking James’s hole. James started moaning again, he thought he could see stars when Raoul hit a certain point.
« Found. »
With his other hand, Raoul stroke James’s hair.
« See. I told you. Now if you could spread your legs a little further for me. »

James did as he was told. Raoul lifted him against the door, using it to hold his lover-to be. He came into James in once, making the man cry of pain. He let James locking his legs around his waist and to adapt to him. He kissed softly the other on his cheeks, on his mouth and on his neck to soften his pain.
« It’s all right, breath in and out. Tell me when you’re ready. »

James always had his hands at the back of his lover’s neck. He finally tightened his grip and moved his hips to encourage Raoul to start moving. This one was more than happy to oblige and started trusting into James, making his back hit the door.

« Silva… »
« My name, James. »
« Raoul… »
James’s grip tightened when Raoul accelerated his moves.
« My real name! »

« Tiago! » James came, crying the name he had wanted to hear once again in someone’s mouth for years. Tiago followed James.
They collapsed on the floor. James’s head rested on his chest, their legs tangled together. The only noise you could hear was their breathing.

Tiago stroke James’s hair.
« Better? »
James sized his other hand and kissed it.
« Yes »

Some minutes after, James rose on his elbows:
« You said you wanted to apologize. »
Tiago sighed:
« Yes Corazón Mío, M tricked us. We were on the same mission but not with the same information. I wanted to tell you, but, well I understood your reaction. »

James bent to kiss him on his forehead:
« Still you are here. »
« Mm, yes, and… »
James cocked his head on one side:
« And? »
« You have a wonderful table in your living-room. »
James smiled and started kissing Tiago’s chest:
« Very comfortable, I’m sure. »

He stood up and walked to the living-room like a cat, some cum was flowing on his left leg. Tiago could only marvel at this sight.

 

On the other side of the world, at the same time, Eve was looking at Q. the man was blushing and could not hold his cup of tea, his shivers were too strong.
« Q? Are you all right? »

He could not look at her, not after THAT!
« Eve? »
« Yes? »
« I think I need a shower, a very cold shower. »
And he ran out of the room.
« And for Bond? » Eve shouted
« He is between good hands! »

 

As Q said, James was safe, with a Tiago busy with a certain part of his body.
Tiago definitely loved this table, just the good level to have a leg-spread Bond just in front of him.
The many things he could do with that hole…

SLAM!! The door was violently open by the Russian and the German, both of them holding guns pointed on the individual they thought to be alone… with a woman… whatever! They were certainly not expecting to see Bond curving his back and spreading his legs to let to Tiago a better access to his ass!! Neither were they expecting to see a very annoyed Tiago.

Awkward silence.
The Russian hysterically burst in laugh:
« Seriously, the famous 007, the womanizer, being fucked by a man! »

Bang! The Russian fell dead on the floor, a bullet in the head. The German looked at the corpse near him, utterly frightened and looked back at Tiago who was holding a gun.

« I did not catch his words. »
The German blinked. Tiago sighed:

« It does not matter. We all know that you were hired by the very dead man at your feet. So, since you are of no use anymore to trigger a terrorist attack which was just a trap to hide the murder of his dear father, and since I feel generous tonight… »

He lowered the gun:
« You can shut up and disappear. Or…
He lifted the gun again:
« You are stupid, you repeat what he said and you join him. Because as I said, nobody touches what is mine. »

The German decided to run off like a mad man but was shot to death on the doorway. Tiago putted and looked at James. This one shrugged his shoulders, having caught his gun he had let on the table earlier in the evening:
« What? He saw me like this. No problem with you but certainly not with them. And none of them touched me, by the way. »
« They insulted you. »
« … All right. »

Tiago looked at James:
« Where were we? »
« Tiago! »
« What? We are not bothered anymore. »

James gave up and fell back on the table. This man was impossible.

 

James woke up feeling the warm of the sun through the curtains of the bed. At least Tiago had closed the door, before people rang again to take the body and to apologize for the troubles. James laughed at the memory. He was going to stand up when two powerful arms brought him back against a strong and muscular chest.

« Where do you think you are going? »
James abandoned himself in the embrace.
« Mm, now that you speak about it, nowhere. »

He could feel Tiago’s mouth at the back of his neck, kissing him. He shivered.
« James. »
« I know. »
Tiago sighed.
« You can’t go on like this forever. Yesterday ended well but tomorrow? M will succeed in killing you someday. Kinshasa was only a beginning. »

James frowned and rolled over to face him.
« By the way, why are you here this time? »
« That is the point, to finish the job and to finish you if you had messed up. »

Tiago caressed his cheek:
« If only I could promise you I would always be there. »

James stayed silent and it worried Tiago.
« I love my job, even if Mallory spoils everything. »
« James, I… »
« Wait. I love it but, will you question my methods? »

It was Tiago’s turn to be surprised:
« No, never. »
« No order, no boss. »
« Just you and me… and some henchmen I’m afraid. »
James looked at him, his head resting in his palm.
« Then I’m all yours. »

Tiago smiled like a shark:
« Ouch Mr Bond, who would have thought? »
« Call my bluff. »
Tiago rolled over him:
« You have no idea how fun it will be. »
James smirked:
« I do have one in fact, but for now… »
James made one of his leg slip against Tiago’s body:
« Should you use your divine appendix in a better way. »?

The Spaniard laughed:
« Indeed my commander. »

 

James was coming back home. He was greeted by his henchmen when he arrived on the island. They had learnt to appreciate and respect the man plus, none of them wanted to die.

James took his sunglasses off and held a rifle bow to one of the subordinates.
He walked alone through the buildings and finally found the only one which interested him. He came in and took the stairs.

He opened the doors of Tiago’s office. The man was standing, showing him his back while he was checking papers put on his desk.
James smiled and took the man in his arms, sticking his chest to the Spaniard’s back. He let his head rest on Tiago’s shoulder:

« The money has already been transferred Darling. The client is pleased, and my beloved killer is home. What could I possibly want more? »

He said that, always checking papers.
« Mm, I do have an idea, my dear rat. » James said, taking Tiago’s left hand and leading him to their bedroom.

Tiago laughed, letting himself to be guided. Such fellow rat, but he was HIS rat!