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I'll Do Anything for a Woman with a Knife

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She entered the world screaming.

Although this was the same world that would soon be the one that constantly tried to remove her, she was given a moment’s peace to rest.

Her name was James Bond.
Her parents were expecting a boy, she would be told later, and although there were many other options at hand to name a female baby, somehow James stuck.

It was a simple name – a boy’s name in fact – but it stuck. That was that.

She suffered many infections in her infancy – small things, that would be nothing more than a mild concern were she not quite so small – but proved near life-threatening for a child of her age. It soon became clear that despite her ailments, young James Bond had a remarkable capacity for life.

 

--

 

The first and last time her mother was ever properly close to her was when she was ten. Her parents were a busy pair, travelling across the world to do clients' work on a moment’s notice. They were kind, but distant. Perhaps that was where she got the trait from.

Her mother had made it home for her birthday for the first time in two years. James had had a party, a very small affair where she and a few local children had run about the estate for a couple of hours, but she was uncharacteristically quiet after the guests had departed. She slumped down in front of the small fire in one of the house’s studies, and rubbed her hands to warm them up.

It was mid-October, and cold outside.

Her mother, despite being somewhat detached from her daughter’s life, knew what her child was like when she was happy. Monique had always been empathetic, far more so than James’ father at any rate. “James?” She asked, settling down in one of the leather armchairs in the room’s corner. “Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?”

James shrugged, staring off into the fire. Her light brown hair shone from the firelight. “Nothing’s wrong.”

“James, ma chérie, we both know that you are not being truthful.” She continued, softly. “What is wrong?”

James was silent for a few more moments, then sighed and said, “Why’d you give me a boy’s name, mama?”

Monique hadn’t been expecting the question and was somewhat taken aback. However, maintaining the utmost poise she tried to have during most occasions, she said, “Your name is not a boy’s name.”

“The other girls say it is.” James continued, miserably, “They laugh at me.”

So, that was why James was so unhappy. It made some sense, but Monique couldn’t fathom why the other girls would become quite so obsessed with her daughter’s name. Her daughter was far more than her name. She was witty, and intelligent, and didn’t deserve to be treated badly. “James, look at me.”

Sullenly, and after a slight pause, her daughter turned around to look at her, “What.”

She held out her hands for her daughter to grasp.

James did so, warily.

“Your name is not a boy’s name.” Monique began, “It is your name. Any person who does not respect you can –“ She struggled for the word she was looking for. Her English was not wonderful, but James was more fluent in it than in French.

“-leave?” James asked.

“That will do.” Monique said, although the word she had been searching for was considered to be far ruder. She did hate seeing her daughter unhappy. “They can leave. You were named after your grand-pere, who was a very good man. He was strong and smart, like you, James. Your father and I know that you will be as good as he was.” She stroked her thumbs over her daughter’s hands and marvelled at how she had grown. Had it really been ten years since she was born?

James looked down, and blushed slightly. “Thank you, mama.”

“Your father and I love you very much, James, and we are very proud of you.”

James blushed even redder, “Thank you… Um… so, I heard that you and father are going climbing soon?”

“Yes.” She stood from her chair and pulled her daughter up with her, “We plan to climb up the Aiguille de la Persévérance next week. I will tell you about the trip while we have dinner.”

“Thank you, mama.” James, in a movement very uncharacteristic of her, grasped her mother around the waist and hugged her.

Monique patted her daughter’s back and sighed gently. She did like spending time with her daughter, but she did wish it didn’t have to be under such upsetting terms.

 

--

 

James wouldn’t necessarily have been called brilliant as a child.

A more accurate term would round out somewhere along the lines of stubborn, or crafty, or daring, but certainly never brilliant.

She would firmly attest it was not any fault of her own, of course.

Her parents drove her to learn multiple languages; French, German, Latin, and especially English, to set her up on the course to become a well-rounded professional like themselves, but lessons were not preferable when the outside world was waiting.

She would carefully lift the latches on one of the windows of her parents’ sitting rooms, pull open the window, and squeeze out, taking off down the estate to climb the tall trees that lay on its southern edge.

There wasn’t anything wrong with her studies, but learning languages could be so dreadfully dull, and adventure called her name far more than Latin verbs did.

 

When her parents died in a tragic fall from the north-east ridge of the Aiguille de la Persévérance a week after her tenth birthday, James stopped climbing trees.

She was a daredevil, that much was true, but she’d never stopped to think of the consequences of her actions before.

 

Death was heartbreakingly, achingly, final.