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Christmas had always been a somber time for James.

No family members left, since his aunt Charmian died. No close friends considering his line of work and the amount of travel he disappeared for.

There were work friends; Tanner, Q and now Eve, and there was M. Not just a boss and not quite a friend. She defied explanation beyond the confines of a psychologist's couch. Sparing with her always lead to fantasies he hoped to one day fulfill.

Sometimes he just wanted too...and then she would...and he would bury his face in her neck...and breath in her scent as he...her eyes flashing at him just before she closed them...throwing her head back against the pillow...lips parted as a moan escaped them in a cry that makes him...oh Christ! Damn his vividly overactive imagination.

Breathe...in...breathe out...in and out. He pulled the car up to her flat and tried to calm himself before he got out of his car.

James walked up to the front door and mumbled to himself as he hit the buzzer, beside the Christmas wreath. "Well this is new. Using the front door for once."

He had been to M's flat many times before. Sometimes she had even caught him. Tonight he drew the short straw at work and had to be her driver and bodyguard. It sounded like a nice gift on the surface, but being close to your crush was a double edged sword, and M was beyond razor sharp. He had done this before. Been her bodyguard during a daytime conference, full of ministers and self important blowhards. It was painfully boring, but it had became conspiratorial and entertaining, quipping barbs with M. Making fun of ministers and gossiping about who was sleeping with their secretary.

This however, was an evening Christmas affair, hence the tux he was ordered to wear. The door suddenly swung open and Bond tried to school his features, to not look completely shocked. Standing in front of him was Professor Nigel Mansfield similarly dressed in a tux. The man smiled and ushered him in. Damn it! In his musings he had somehow completely forgotten about the husband, Again! He alway forgets about Nigel, having never met him officially, until this moment. It had always been easier just to pretend that he didn't exist at all.

Bond tooks in the decorations at a glance. The mistletoe was hung between the hall and the front room. Bond imagined the old man pulling M in for a kiss as she walked under.

Every morning Professor Mansfield likely sent her off to work with a kiss, regardless of the mistletoe. Bond found the juxtaposition of M being...well, M and a wife amusing. He imagined M giving the old man a peck on the cheek before heading into work...that place she went to control her spies and assassins. Sending others out to do nasty jobs for Queen and Country under her direction. All of these domestic fantasies roamed through his head in the seconds it took Mansfield to allow him into their home.

"Good evening." Nigel Mansfield. "So you're the driver tonight?"

"Yes I am sir. Bond, James Bond."

From upstairs he heard M call out.

Darling is the driver here yet? I could have sworn I heard someone say Bond?

"Yes darling, a James Bond is here to be our driver!" Nigel yelled up the stairs to M.

They heard something smash upstairs. Bond immediately tensed and was about to dart upstairs, but Nigel was closer. "We'll be down in a moment. My lovely wife can be a tad clumsy at times."

James pulled the collar of his shirt away letting off some steam. Tanner and Eve were having a fast one on him. Not telling him the husband was accompanying her, to whatever event they are off to tonight. Everything had to be completely hush, hush and above board now.

Damn it! James won't even be able to flirt with her openly. It's the only thing that makes his time playing bodyguard enjoyable. He loved to get her going, make her eyes sparkle in mischief, or even laugh. M's laugh was wonderful. It was very rare to hear it at work, but at functions as she tried to be charming for the occasion. M could be very charming if the need arose.

M walked down the stairs behind her husband in a black velvet evening gown that seemed to show of the entirety of her upper body somehow. It barely touched her shoulders, defying gravity to stay up at all, as it plunged down into a V deep in her cleavage.

James had never seen so much of her on display before, and he was frozen like a deer in the headlamps. M was a stunning woman, he had always been acutely aware of that, but now…James' heart was pounding under his ribs and his breathing shallowed.

Merry Christmas to him, he just hoped his tongue wasn't sticking out. He should look at the old man instead, or she would hit him with her clutch. There was no way he could hide the mirth bubbling out of him, at seeing her this way. He could tell that she was about to take him to task by her eyes. He deserved it for the way he was smirking at her, with her husband right there.

M saw 007 smirking at the bottom of the stairs and can scarcely believe it. Upon hearing his name she dropped the antique hand mirror she was using to look at the back of her hair and dress. The back of the gown dips almost as low as the front.

M felt like feeling sexy tonight. Since this function was not work related, she didn't have to worry about tongues wagging at work about her attire. This evening was her husband's work gathering, the university's Christmas party.

Tanner arranged for a discrete bodyguard and driver for the evening. He never told her it would be James, bloody Bond.

M glared at Bond, as she walked down the stairs behind her husband. From the look on his bloody face, you would think she just came downstairs in a corset and feather boa. He should have just remained outside, ready to drive them when there were damn well ready to go. Now he was standing with Nigel looking at her like he was about to say something flirtatious and inappropriate about her dress. That would be all she needed.

Nigel had been on her about retiring again. They argued and then made up in the most entertaining of ways. Just like when they were younger. Try as she might to stay angry with the man, he had always been her weakness. Bond on the other hand, was another of her weaknesses, and one she had cautioned herself many times against allowing too close.

James had the unique ability to make you feel like you are the most desirable woman in the room, it's part of his training. A double 0 agent must be able to seduce a nun, if the need arose.

James always looked at her, like a cheeky flirting remark was about to sprout from his mouth at any moment. This maked M want to take him down a peg or two before they left. Nigel would not understand her reaction, or he may just understand it too well, and their argument from earlier would resurface again. Unfortunately, her dressing down would have to wait until they have a moment without Nigel in earshot.

Nigel passed Bond in the hall to put his overcoat on, and moved to take one down off the hook for his wife.

"No darling I will just grab a wrap from the closet. Bond stood beside M as she opened the closet door, blocking them from her husband's view as the door buzzer sounded. James should have attended to the door, but was momentarily stymied by her close proximity and abundant cleavage.

Nigel opened the door. "Hello."

Merry Christmas professor, but we are looking for your wife?

Nigel stepped backs as two men with guns forced him back towards the closet door. Nigel shoved the closet door, forcing it closed. This forced Bond and M into the closet together.

Bond placed a hand over M's mouth, he sensed she was about to let out a series of objections or expletives, that would endanger her. He held her, still pinned against him in the closet.

James was on high alert. Waiting to make his move. He twisted M into the back corner of the closet incase they opened the door. Making him the only target. He can feel her breath on his hand and leans close to her ear.

James whispered, "shush." so quietly that it barely tickled M's ear.

What the hell was going on? She could feel the heat increase, with two bodies in such a small confined space. M's level of panic rose as quickly as the heat. Being pressed up against 007 wasn't helping her blood pressure any. M managed to stay still and slowed her breaths as Bond loosened his hand from around her mouth. However, he did not loosen the grip of his arm around her waist, pulling her up against him.

Where is your lovely wife this evening? Not finished getting dressed yet? You two stay here with the professor as I go search for the dear old doll. I do hope I catch her putting on her stockings.

They heard the man say with a laugh. Nigel yelled after him. She left early with the car because she forgot something at work!

They heard the man come back down the stairs for a second.

PJ, take the good professor to our car while we look around the house.

Another voice sounded. Come on then professor, and no one will get hurt.

Bond moved his gun out of his holster, careful not to make a sound. M still rested against him in this tiny confined space. They could hear Nigel's objections as they pulled him out the door.

Bond was torn between attacking the one in the house and keeping M safe. He could feel M tense as her husband was taken away. He prayed logic won out and she remained silent in his arms. Although, Bond had more than a crush on Mansfield's wife, he really didn't want to get the old man hurt. Nigel did well to create a plausible excuse for his wife being missing.

It didn't take the men long to finish their abrupt search and return to the entrance. It was a haphazard search and not a very professional operation as far as Bond was concerned.

He must have been telling the truth. Well, now what?

I don't know. I'll make the call.

Its me...The wife's not here...we searched the house and the husband said she left early for work before heading to the university Christmas party.

What do we do with her old man?

The warehouse then...fine. Will you need help getting to her at the party? Ok...we will see you later.

Come on, time to leave. He's going to take care of everything later at the party.

The two men left and after a few minutes of silence, Bond eased out of the closet with his gun in his hand and his arm wrapped protectively around M.

Bond pulled her along with him. "Stay quiet," he whispered. M nodded her head once in agreement. At least they were out of that bloody closet and she could breath again.

Damn it! They have Nigel! M was frustrated and angry for this intrusion into her personal life. This ruined everything! They would have to move again and have constant guards until a new secured home could be found and altered for her use.

Bond brought M with him as he checked the rooms. They cleared the upstairs realizing that all three were gone, along with Nigel.

M shook out of his grasp in her bedroom. "Bond, you could have just left me downstairs!"

"No; you are safer with me and I needed you close to keep you out of trouble M. There was no way I was going to leave you alone in the front room to clear the rest of the flat."

He could see her bed and dressing gown tossed on it, with clothing tossed here and there from when she got changed earlier, it struk him as hard as being pressed up against her in the closet. This glimpse into her personal and private life. The one he craved being a part of.

Before he had the chance to say anything about the abduction or Nigel, M stormed angrily downstairs and towards the front room.

M huffed, flushing red as she smoothed out her gown. M seemed more embarrassed about being held by him than she should. It was damn nice having her body pressed up against his.

M pulled her mobile out of her clutch.

"Tanner there has been a level 5 breach. Yes, they have Nigel...yes he is here... and no he didn't. Nigel did more to keep me safe than Bond. No...Nigel kicked us into the closet as I was collecting my wrap. They mentioned a warehouse? Track Nigel's mobile. You've got it! Get a team there and keep one alive for questioning. I want to know who at the party is behind this attempt. Yes...Bond will take me, call in later."

Bond looked chastised and confused. "You are not seriously walking into a room full of people, one of whom likely wants you dead?"

"Yes we are, and this is why we pay you so well Bond. You will watch the room as I mingle and find out who's watching me."

"Christ M! In that dress it will be the entire room!"

M's head tilts to the side as she regards him. "Bond, please!"

"What M? You are unbelievably sexy, and in that dress quadruped-ally so. I'm surprised the old man let you finish getting dressed at all."

"Whose saying he didn't delay me?" M said with a devastating smirk that made Bond groan suddenly.

M frowned at the reaction he had to her jibe. It was the first time she had ever used anything that could be construed as sexual, to toss back in his face.

"Sorry to sicken you with the idea of an old married couple enjoying themselves Bond. Could you at least try to be a better bodyguard at the event. I would rather not die during the holidays."

"It's not that!"

"Not what?"

"The idea of an older couple making love is fine, it's picturing you making love that does me in."

"Bond?"

"M, I need to make a confession to you; I have always found you very attractive but tonight...tonight you make my blood boil."

"007 what the hell are you saying?"

Bond pulled M, flush against him. "I'm saying that I have never wanted a woman as badly as I want you right now." Bond pulled her to his lips and presses his advantage.

M felt her knees weaken as he held her tightly, while he parted her lips with his talented tongue. She cannot believe this was happening. The electricity she felt being against his hard body in the confines of the closet, comes rushing back to her. Then so too, did the reality that she was a married woman in her 60's and Bond one of her most deadly employees. This managed to come crashing through the sensory overload that James' kisses were causing.

M pushed him away and slapped him. "James! You will refrain from kissing me like that ever again!"

M's face was flushed in passion, and or embarrassment, for revelling in his kiss. James did not know which, but he was damn well going to kiss her again. He pulled her back into his embrace as he pointed up to the mistletoe as an excuse to kiss her again and keep her close.

Bond gave her another quick kiss. "Merry Christmas M."

"Bond! That is a flimsy excuse even for you. You cannot seriously want an old woman, when you have so many young willing ones to entertain you. What in the world has come over you?"

"I am not lying to you M and I need you to know, that I have wanted you, since the moment I met you. Every time I have you in my ear on a mission, and have to take a mark to bed... it's you, who I think about. It has always been you. I really had hoped that the old man was a beard for work. I figured it was only a matter of time before you started to flirt back with me, and this song and dance would waltz you straight into bed."

"Bond that would be highly unprofessional!"

"I don't give a damn about that, and your age means nothing to me. I see past every line on your face. All I dream about is your eyes and how they might look, with you under me."

Bond's hand moved as he traced the side of her face to her neck. "Trying to give you the most pleasure I can. As you know, I am very well trained M, and very good." It's a gentle form of hypnosis that he uses to entrance his intended and make them feel...

"007 are you drunk?"

Bond still had one of his hands on her hips. M's bent her upper torso away from him in a attempt to distance herself from his touch and his lips.

"No, but I did come here tonight hoping for a Christmas miracle."

"You want me, an old married woman for a Christmas gift?" M asks incredulously.

James Bond could seduce anyone with a look and a kiss, but not M. He realized that M was not just saying that she engaged with the old man to tease him. "You really did make love to your husband before I arrived."

"Yes I did! I love him and I always have."

The words were true, yet why did the sad look that graced Bond's handsome face, make her heart ache for him.

Was it pity?

M did love Nigel a great deal. Earlier there was an interlude of passion, that was far too rare between them now. Perhaps it was just that she had gotten use to the long gaps as they had gotten older. Although the passion waned over the years, the love remained.

James' kiss triggered feelings that she had not felt in an age, but she must trample those rogue feelings. They could never be allowed to reach the light of day, that flustered passion with little control. Damn him for being so good!

Bond looked dejected. "I thought so. I saw his smirk as you walked down the stairs in this gown."

"Bond let me go. Mistletoe aside it's not professional." It was the last hope to come out of this encounter unscathed. To cave to him would be dangerous and not just to her career.

"Nothing about my feelings for you are professional M. Your husband's the luckiest man in the world to be able to touch you and hold you this close. That sojourn in the closet is best Christmas gift I will receive this year."

"You could still find a little something at the party, to meet up with after you drive us home Bond."

"Not tonight M. I will only be thinking about you pressed up against me in the closet and our kiss under the mistletoe. This is the closest to seven minutes in heaven that I will ever get."

Bond's serious face turned to a teasing smirk, lightening the moment which made her feel more at ease with him so close to her. It also served to deflect the hurt he was feeling, behind the mask of the joking trickster.

"I think you likely managed seven minutes in heaven when you were but a teen." M scoffs. Bond still hasn't let her go and M's beginning to be concerned. "I did get you a nice bottle of something to warm you this Christmas."

"I know what I want to warm me, and it doesn't fit in a bottle unless you are a magical genie M."

"Bond; do you actually believe that you can seduce me away from my husband of many years, by kissing me and holding me against you? What do you take me for? A swooning lily that cannot help but be overcome by your charms."

Bond let's her go when he sees a slight look of panic on her face. She was uncomfortable with his declaration of love. Now released, M moved to the tree to bring a bottle of something for him, and to the closet for her ever elusive wrap.

"No. M never would I think that. I just needed to be honest with you about how I truly feel. It's Christmas time and I...I just wanted too..."

"Well how very chivalrous of you, at least you had the decency to use the mistletoe as an excuse."

"Once I made this admission, I would have kissed you no matter the time of year. The festive decor just helps you with an excuse, should we have been caught M." Bond gave a flirty wink to prove that he was still 007, not a lonely man who waited desperately for a woman that he cannot have.

M glared at him. "Is this romance in the twenty-first century? Go up to an unsuspecting woman and kiss her and hope she caves? Is this your standard move on the job Bond? And why in the bloody hell, would you use it on a woman who is old enough to be your mother?"

Now M was just being a bitch. "Damn it! No, and don't dismiss me like that M. What I said is the truth! What I did was completely motivated by the passion that I genuinely have for you. You could hardly call our relationship maternal in nature. Definitely not after seven minutes in heaven."

M dismissed the entire thing and waved him towards the door.

"Seven minutes of panic you mean. Come, we need to go. I need to know the culprits behind this kidnapping attempt."

"You are the most dismissive and frustratingly irritating woman alive M. I know I have made you feel uncomfortable, with my declaration, but could you at least think about this as something real. Something hot, desirable and ultimately rewarding. I promise to be completely discrete."

"You...discrete? Really? Your about as subtle as a tank in a china shop!"

"I'm deadly serious M and you know that you are soft on me too."

"So what do you want Bond?"

"I want you?"

"How?"

Bond's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Missionary to begin with, but I am up for about anything really."

"Jesus Bond! That's not what I meant and you know it! Stop being a cheeky sod and answer me. On second thought I don't want to discuss this at all. It's ridiculous and none of this happened." M opened the door and stormed outside and down the stairs toward the car. James had to hurry to catch up to her, and open the door for her.

"Just because you choose to ignore it M does not make it, or me go away."

"I can always send you to Siberia."

Bond closed the door and shook his head as he moved to the driver's seat.

"To answer your question of how I want you...completely M. I can write up a report, if you like. I know how paperwork makes you happy. It will detail how and when we would meet and still manage to keep everyone else from knowing."

M frowned, while sitting in the back seat of the car. She flashed her eyes meeting his in the mirror. Christ was he insane? The looks he was giving her through the mirror told a tale of passion that she could never reciprocate.

"I'm old enough to be your bloody mother, could you stop looking like you want to devour me. We are about to be in front of my husband's work colleagues."

Bloody hell! Bond was going to have to escort her now. This would not go over well, but perhaps it would smoke out the one they are looking for. M arriving with a handsome toy boy on her arm for Christmas. It would look like she and Nigel were separating.

"M I have never thought of you as old and I still want you more than any woman I've ever met!"

"Did you get knocked on the head today?"

"Metaphorically, by you; yes. Quit assuming I am insane for falling in love with you."

"Bond you need to understand this; I am married, and I do not fool around with my subordinates. Please understand this." M begins pleading for his understanding.

Bond sighs and frowns back at her and changes the subject. "Is you husband free yet?" He managed to blindsided her and she didn't want to deal with all this right now. She did still love the old man.

M looked at her mobile. "Yes they just freed him. Tanner messaged me and will call soon. You need to stop all this nonsense. I am married and your boss, end of story."

"Not the end of story M. It's the beginning of a story. I for one, will still be around until my luck runs out, or you have me shot."

"That is entirely within the realm of possibilities Bond."

At least he was keeping his intensity...jovial. If he decided to overstep her carefully crafted boundaries between them it would be dangerous.

Who the hell was she kidding? Bond had been jumping across that line for years, but she had, had a soft spot for 007 for an age. She had no one to blame for this but herself. Putting up with his not so subtle flirting in the office, and not to mention, she never had him reprimanded or shot for breaking into her flat. The way she cherry picked all the hard assignments for him, because she knew he was her best.

M had been grooming Bond for years. It shouldn't surprise her that the man saw through what she was doing. Add some deep seated mother issues, and now he was in love with her! He took it further than M thought he would, considering her age.

M was startled out of her musings by her mobile. "Yes, you are sure? He's fine? Thank god! A note? Read it to me. Bring him to the party in one hour. That will give Bond and I time to flush out the one who planned my kidnapping. No; it's not serious, the entire thing is a prank, and thank you Tanner."

"They found Nigel unharmed?"

"Yes, tied unharmed to a chair with a note on him saying, M this was suppose to be an opportunity for us to speak, we need to talk...Merry Christmas love A. I know who we are looking for, so follow my lead and when I find him, I may just ask you to shoot him."

"Who is it M?"

"Someone who gets under my skin as quickly as you do Bond."

"Really? So I'm under your skin M? Perhaps your protests are all for show?" Bond cannot resist an opportunity to push a thorn further into her side.

"I can have you shoot yourself, to put you out of my misery 007."

Bond laughs. "Who is this person who irritates you as much as I do M?

"An old friend of sorts."

"Define, of sorts?"

M looked out the window instead of answering.

"M?"

"Yes."

"Does of sorts, mean he was a lover of yours?"

"No." M said slowly and not convincingly at all.

Bond's curiosity was peaked. "Then what does it mean? That NO sounded hollow and calculated, like there is actually a novel hidden behind that one word answer."

"Mind your own 007. It's none of your business."

They arrived at the university and Bond helped her out of the car. He offered his arm to her, and surprisingly she took it.

Gliding into a formal event with M as stunning as she was, made Bond's heart soar. He was irrationally hopeful, but it would come to nothing, once her husband arrived to take her back.

This surprise must show on his face, because M turned to regard him with a smirk.

"Nigel's not here so you are my escort until he is. This should make tongues wag amongst Nigel friends and likely play right into his plan."

"Who's plan? Are you in danger M?"

"No, not from Arthur."

"Arthur?"

"Well, Sir Chester King actually."

"King? As in Sir Robert King?"

"His older brother."

"Were you Robert's lover?" Bond had always wondered. Bond walked in on a rather comfortable meeting between the two of them years ago.

"None of your business 007."

"That smacks of a giant yes in my book M. Sorry, but I remember the two of you reminiscing in your office over drinks."

M rolled her eyes at him. "Could you keep your mind on the job at hand Bond?"

"The job at hand, is me watching your body very closely. Would you like to take a detour to check out the coat closet inside with me M?"

M laughed despite herself. "Stop it. That is the last time I get trapped in a closet with you 007!"

"Until next Christmas?"

"Don't make any plans James."

Bond looked down on her adoringly. "I finally got you to call me James. It's a Christmas miracle!"

"It's a Christmas miracle I haven't had you shot!"

"Admit it M, you like me best."

"I will not! Besides, I like Tanner best. He's far more helpful." This banter between them made this all seem normal again until...

"Does Tanner give you gifts like this?" Bond pulled a small box out of his tux jacket and handed it to M.

"James?" This was going too far. M knew this and in her heart she knew he loved her too much. There was danger in this realization.

"You already gave me something so I thought this would be the most opportune moment. I was going to slip it on your mantle in your flat, but your husband opened the door and then we had our lovely closet adventure."

The two of them were standing outside the building, as M stared at a wrapped box in her hand, then looked up at Bond with trepidation.

"It won't bite M. Open it."

M opened the box to reveal a stunning strand of antique pearls with a diamond pendant in gold hanging at the bottom.

"James...this is...far...too much. How could you spend this much on me?"

Bond took it out of her hand and opened the clasp, moving quickly behind her before she can object.

"I had them cleaned only. These were my grandmother's and I was cleaning out a safe deposit box when I found her jewels. Along with those of my aunt and mother."

"Still; it's hardly me you should be giving these to."

"I disagree and I will give them to whomever I wish, and I wish to give them to you. They look stunning even if the pendant does give one the need to stare at your chest even more than the plunging V of this dress."

M turned to look at him with caution and dismay.

"M relax, I can see the wheels spinning in you head, trying to assess for danger. I will not go off the rails and kidnap you like whoever inside tried to do, just to speak with you alone. Take it as a gift from a good friend who only has the utmost respect for you." James winked at her.

M swatted his arm and he grabbed her hand to tuck into the crook of his arm. They made the journey inside the entrance to the gathering. "Behave yourself 007 or I will ship you off somewhere cold for a month."

"I just gave you a fantastic gift, and all I get is threats?"

M needed to normalize this, already abnormal situation with Bond. "I do have a reputation to uphold and you are about to ruin that for me with my husband's work colleagues."

"Will we be walking into a situation M?"

"Not one other than a gossip mill." M pulls his arm to stop him again. "I am not in any danger Bond. I know this because of the letter, so please don't shoot anyone that comes near me."

"Fine." Bond said with a frown. Just inside the second set of doors Bond spied a sprig of green and red above the door. Could he possibly get two chances in one night?

M made small talk with someone in the entrance that she knew. The woman's eyes were bugging out of her head, seeing James on her arm.

M leaned over to speak to him as they walked away. "James, smile and stop looking around the room for someone to hit. You wanted to play the toy boy earlier what's the problem now?"

Bond guided her through the second entry way and stopped her looking up. He then looked back down at her and kissed her. Not as passionately as before, but still enough to get all these academic tongues wagging.

M seemed shocked and flustered by the sudden and very public kiss James gives her. She could feel her face flush in surprise. M's positive that was the effect he was hoping for. The man excelled at throwing her off guard.

"Toy boy eh? Is that what you think I want to be? Your deflecting again. You know damn well that I want to be more than your toss away toy boy M."

"Bond what else would I think? I could not possibly fathom, your rather ill advised profession of love for me. A toy boy is what all these tongue wagging hags, will assume you are anyway."

Bond pulled her to him and toward the festive dance floor. He dipped her low suddenly, and kissed her dramatically again. With not even a sprig of mistletoe in sight.

"Bond! What the hell!" M whispers with a glare.

"I am your toy boy remember M, and look here comes the first fish to the bait."

A older gentleman cut in before M could compose herself fully. There was a lovely blush to her face from Bond's impromptu kiss.

Bond moved to the edge of the dance floor, but not before he caught her small talk with the unknowingly brave, Professor Moore. Bond relaxed because she seemed to know the bloke, so he moved to watch the crowd.

As expected, many are watching her. M was lovely and animated, the perfect charmer and a very different woman in this environment, than at other functions. Bond never realized how good an actor she was until now. But what was the real M? Was she two completely separate personalities? Did she really not realize how he felt for her?

"You should be careful letting her charm these academics too much."

Bond looked beside him, at the tall silver haired gentleman, with a lovely younger woman on his arm.

"They only get to see her once a year at this Christmas party, and they practically fight for the chance for a dance with her. I think this party may end in violence, what with that dress she's wearing. Wouldn't you agree Mr. Bond?"

Bond arched he brow and nodded at the man. This must be King.

"Christ that woman does defy age! Nigel outdid himself with the gift this year. Her pearls are amazing, but then so is she."

"I agree. You must be Sir King."

The man smirked, "she figured it all out quickly. Good to see the department is still up to speed."

"Yes, and you are A?"

The man nodded, but pulls his companion forward. "May I introduce you to my lovely companion? This is Angelique."

"Charmed." Bond says as he grasped her hand and kissed it. The woman was stunning. No more than 35, with dark hair and green eyes that reminded him of… "Shall we dance Mr. Bond." Angelique asked.

"Yes and please call me James."

Bond looked around to see the sly silver fox darting across the dance floor already in pursuit of M. He approached and tapped poor Professor Moore on the shoulder. King cut in while Bond was distracted with the Vesper look alike.

Did he know? Who the hell was Chester King really? Was he this mysterious A, and what were his plans for M?

M looked angry at King. She stood still on the dance floor and said something to him. Her arms crossed under her breasts and then he said something that made her laugh. She swat his arm flirtatiously, as he quickly pulled her close...to close. Bond got twisted around by his partner, but he swore King kissed M.

They danced for two songs and King disregarded any attempts by others to cut in on their dance. He was holding her as close as possible. They talked animatedly during their extended dance. Catching up while King caressed her back with his hand.

Bond was weaving as close to them as possible with his own partner who remained thankfully silent as Bond concentrated on getting closer to M. King's hand moved to the bare skin on M's back and Bond involuntarily let loose a growl.

His partner laughed. "James, Mr. King will not hurt your mother, why so overprotective? Oh wait, is she your mother?"

Bond turned back to the woman who reminded him briefly of Vesper shaking his head. "No, not my bloody mother. Just like King is not your father, but you might just call him daddy, if that's your kink."

The woman glared at him. "I was told you were a handsome charmer. At least they got one thing right!"

Bond smirked at the woman. Any other time he might have taken her into a dark empty room here and showed her just what he was made of, but not tonight. Not after laying his love down at the feet of that irritating, tiny, often despotic ruler of his life, known as M.

"Who is this THEY?" Bond said intensely serious as he swung her forcefully over towards M and King.

M met Bond's eyes, as they danced closer by. She looked over his dance companion and looks back to Chester with an angry look on her face. M pulled away from King, holding her hand to halt his advancement towards her. M stormed off toward the door.

Bond left his dance partner, but paused when he saw M stop and wait under the mistletoe.

Nigel came in with Tanner following. M talked to Tanner for a moment and he left. Nigel and M stood in the centre of the entrance and kissed for a long time under the mistletoe. Giving a very clear and strong message to any here watching. If they thought they stood a chance with her tonight, they were sorely mistaken.

This included James Bond and Chester King.

"Damn lucky man!" King said.

Bond turned to see Chester King with his arm around the woman that Bond barely realized was no longer beside him.

M had him so tied up in knots his attention to detail was sadly lacking this evening. The way her ivory skin contrasted with her red lips and black dress, her silver hair perfectly in place even after their impromptu seven minutes in heaven at her flat. The pearls...lying on her perfect breasts.

Angelique left King and Bond standing together, watching the loving embrace of M and her husband.

"I was hoping you and I would be working together soon 007. I heard you were her best, but I wanted to test something first, and you failed miserably."

"Oh really, and what was the test?"

"The test 007, was not to be in love with your boss, as much as I am."

"Sir?" Bond looked at the man who knows far more than he should. King met his eyes then turned to watch M again.

"I still can't get over the fact Nigel met her first, and while getting a bloody book from the library for me of all things. Then my bloody brother gets in the way after they had a lovers spat."

"Your brother, he did date her?"

"Annoying moments in time I relive in my mind constantly. One of those...what if scenarios. Best friend meets girl. I fall for same girl. They fight and break up, and who picks up the pieces while I have pints with a depressed Nigel, but my own bloody brother!"

"This was all...what a practical joke? You wanted to dance with her without Nigel being around? Get her under the mistletoe?"

"Yes, and unlike most women, she could have me killed for the attempt. There is no code 5, her family is not in danger. I knew where they lived, I been invited there before, and the men are friends of mine who have no idea who M is. I just wanted a moment alone to speak with her about something."

"This seems very extreme for a dance and a kiss."

"You don't really believe that, do you young man?"

James shook his head as he continued to watch her.

"Chalk it up to the curse of age 007. Living long enough to know exactly what you missed out on, and exactly when you let it slip through your fingers."

"What are you suggesting?"

"Nothing at all. Did you give her that necklace that Nigel now seems fascinated with?" Nigel was glancing in their direction with a confused look on his face.

"Yes, so what of it?"

"Pearls hold several meanings, perfection, purity, love and protection. What are your feelings for M?"

"I have my doubts that she actually believes in my feelings for her, but the necklace is my way of telling her. I have my doubts as well. This is all new and old at the same time."

Bond had no idea why he was confessing anything to this man. However, something told him that he was a man similar to him. Completely lost in her charms.

"Yes and now her husband knows too. Doubts often surface at this time of year. It's a time for reflection on what's missing in our lives."

Chester King walked away and left Bond still puzzled about him. He turned back and watched M move around the dance floor with her husband Nigel.

Bond sighed wondering if he let that moment slip through his fingers earlier tonight? He moved back into the shadows to watch the room.

Chester King and his young woman eventually speak with Nigel and M.

Nigel and King laugh, clasping hands on shoulders like old friends and companions sharing a joke.  As for the explanation of the kidnapping, M still did not look amused as King tried charming her out of her anger.

"Friends of a sort." Bond said to himself, as he wondered if that's what M considered the two of them. A friend whom was in love with her, and could do nothing but watch from the sidelines.

Sir Chester King had been doing that for a very long time. How did he know about all this, MI6 and his name and number?

Whatever they would be working on together, Bond would be involved for the very reason he failed King's test.

James Bond loved M, and he would protect her with his life. Something told him, that whatever King needed help with would be dangerous.

M would need her best man on the job and that was him...according to King.

M must have told him that he was her best. This confirmation, and her kisses, were the best hidden gift, that Bond had ever uncovered at Christmas.

Merry Christmas.