Rumour Has It
Fandom: James Bond
Characters: James Bond, Olivia Mansfield, Eve Moneypenny, Claire [OC]
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respective owners.
Summary: It has been three months since Olivia took over the position of M. Within those three months, there has been much speculation among the staff that perhaps, she got her promotion by other means and it wasn’t due to her credentials.
Notes: Brief AU that takes place during Goldeneye.
Rumour Has It
Olivia was no stranger to rumours, having had her fair share of them over the years. The constant whispering behind her back caused her to roll her eyes. She knew what they were saying about her; some were harsh in their comments while others she could have them dismissed for sexual harassment. As if she needed to sleep with those arse covering prigs to get to where she was now. She had expected that particular comment before she had officially taken over from Sir Miles three months ago. If these agents showed as much interest in their jobs as much as they liked gossiping about her, maybe their paperwork would get finished on time.
She continued to walk to her office ignoring the stares as she passed agents and personnel. It took all her willpower not to turn around and say something. The sooner she reached the confines of her office, the better.
Olivia was just about to walk into the corridor that would take her to her office when she stopped in her tracks at hearing an unknown female voice. Leaning against the wall, she listened in to what she was saying.
“I was told she sleeps with agents and officials to get what she wants.”
“Highly unlikely Claire.”
Hearing the disbelief in Moneypenny’s voice, caused Olivia to smile.
“How else do you explain the reason she got this job?”
“Perhaps due to her credentials. I’ve seen her file and let me tell you; it would put most men who work here to shame.”
Claire gave a scoff, “Credentials? Did those include lying on her back…”
“She’s your boss, show her some respect!” Moneypenny hissed at the other woman.
“My, my it seems she already has you under her thumb, Eve. What did she promise you… a promotion?”
“No! I just prefer using my common sense rather than ill-informed gossip! I thought you of all people would be ecstatic that the head of SIS is female. You complained about this place being male dominated often enough!”
“I have no problem with that; I do have a problem with how she went about it!” Claire told her frustrated.
“What proof do you have? Comments made by bigoted agents whose egos have been damaged because they have been reprimanded?”
Olivia waited for Claire’s reply to Moneypenny’s remark.
“You may want to tell that to your friends Tanner and Bond; I’m sure if anyone knows about her it would be her own Chief of Staff.”
“Oh, so they obviously didn’t tell you. I’m surprised, especially with the way Bond flirts with you, she probably got jealous that his attention wasn’t focused on her. But, It seems our boss has a way of charming younger men into her bed.”
“Are you insinuating she has slept with Bond?”
“I even heard it from the horses mouth…”
“Really, and what exactly did you hear from the horses mouth?” Olivia asked as she came out of her hiding place having heard enough and stared down at the younger woman.
“Nothing Ma’am.” Claire quickly deflected.
“Don’t stop on my account, you seemed to be relatively happy to inform Moneypenny of my adventures of sleeping with personnel. So, do enlighten me what it was you exactly heard?”
“It was just something Bond said, Ma’am. You know how he is…”
“No, I don’t. Care to elaborate?” Olivia feigned innocence trying to keep her temper in check. She knew all too well what 007 could be like with that over inflated ego of his.
“He told us how you bribed him into spending the night with you and if he didn’t… you threatened to have his license revoked.”
“I see, and what about Tanner? You mentioned him as well.”
Claire looked towards Eve hoping she would help her out, but she just looked as pissed as M.
“He has been complaining about how you don’t know how to handle operations here and that you rely on your numbers rather than instinct. He refers to you as the Evil Queen of Numbers.”
“Does he now? It seems I’ll have to have a few words with Mr Tanner and 007.”
Olivia turned to Eve, “Tell Tanner and 007 I want to see them in my office immediately.”
“Of course Ma’am.”
“Claire was it? My office. Now!”
Eve gave Claire a smug look as she followed after M.
Once in her office, Olivia hung up her bag and coat and walked towards her desk.
“Close the door!” She ordered the younger woman.
Claire did as ordered not wanting to provoke her anymore. She turned around to see M standing behind her desk, her piercing blue eyes boring into hers caused her to feel uneasy.
“You’ve had your say; now it’s my turn!”
Claire suddenly found the floor fascinating, dreading what the older woman had to say.
“Firstly I want to make it quite clear that if you have a problem with me or the way I run this agency, you tell me directly! Not to Moneypenny or any of your other colleagues!”
“Second, if I wanted to watch and listen to people talking bullshit, I would tune into CNN!”
“I’m just telling it as it is…”
“And what claims do you have to go on? A double-0 agent, that charms and sleeps with more women than he can bloody count? Not to mention a Chief of Staff whom I have clashed with on certain matters on more than one occasion?”
“There are others…”
“Others? You mean your male colleagues who have to take orders from a woman! Yes, because that is real solid evidence to go on! Do you think this is the first time I’ve had to work in a situation like this?”
Claire shook her head feeling more foolish with each passing second.
“I’ll tell you this first hand. I have never slept with the Minister or anyone in the committee to get where I am! And I have certainly not slept with 007! I have a husband, and I’m not some stupid woman who would throw away twenty years of marriage for some career! You can pass that information to your colleagues! Whether you choose to, believe it or not, it is completely up to you, but I will not have you or any other employees in this building spreading rumours! If you want to continue, do it in your own time, preferably outside this building! Do I make myself clear?”
“Consider this a warning. If I as so much hear your voice discussing me behind my back, or if I even hear your name mentioned in any of this gossip. You will be out of this building before you know what has happened!
“Now we understand each other, you are free to go.”
“Thank you Ma’am.” Claire murmured and left her office.
Olivia had just sat behind her desk when Moneypenny walked in.
“Bond and Tanner are on their way up Ma’am.”
“Thank you, Moneypenny.”
Olivia watched as the younger woman debated with herself.
“Was there something else?”
“It was something Claire said. I can’t believe Tanner would do something like this. James I can understand, but Tanner…”
“I see your point Moneypenny, but these may again just be rumours. Tanner and I have had disagreements on more than one occasion about my methods. I would hardly be surprised if he does have a nickname for me.”
“Moneypenny, 007 can try and charm me all he likes, but to be honest, his efforts are wasted. If I’m brutally honest, I find it rather amusing.”
“I think his ego may take a hit if you told him that.”
“Good, maybe it would deflate it a little.” Olivia tried to contain her smile.
“If only Ma’am.” Moneypenny sighed resigned that chances of that ever happening were non-existent.
She was about to leave when Olivia’s voice stopped her in her tracks.
“You seem to be the only person here who disregards the rumours. Why?”
“To be honest Ma’am, Why would you need to sleep with anyone when you can just scare them into giving you what you want?”
“There is that.” Olivia’s eyes twinkled in amusement.
“I’ll send Bond and Tanner in Ma’am when they arrive.”
“Thank you, Moneypenny.”
The younger woman gave her a smile sensing there was a deeper meaning behind her words. She had just made it back to her desk when the two men in question stopped in front of her causing her smile to disappear.
“Go on through.” She told the two of them with a hint of annoyance in her voice.
Tanner looked at Bond, who just shrugged his shoulders just as confused at her hostility.
“Has something happened?” Tanner cautiously asked her.
“I’m sure you and Bond already know the answer to that.”
Hearing his surname from Moneypenny caused his confusion to grow. She had never called him Bond; it was always James.
“Moneypenny…” Bond started only to be cut off.
“She’s waiting for you.”
The two men walked into M’s office wondering what had happened.
“Good, you’re both here. Take a seat.”
The coolness in her voice made them cautious as they each took a seat in one of the two chairs that were in front of her desk.
“From your faces, I can assume you don’t know why you have been called here?”
“No Ma’am.” Tanner took his seat with Bond, following suit.
“I’ve just had an enlightening conversation with one of your colleagues.”
“And what’s that got to do with us?” Bond raised an eyebrow.
“It has quite a lot to do with you. No doubt you have heard the rumours about me that have been circulating this building?”
“The ones that detail how you’ve slept with agents and government officials to get this job? Yes, we are aware of them M.” Bond told her in a bored tone.
“Then you must also be aware that this colleague has it under good pretenses that you and Mr Tanner have also been spreading rumours.”
“What?” Tanner’s voice held disbelief.
“What sort of rumours?” Bond looked at Tanner not liking where this was going.
“One rumour claimed that you, Tanner have been complaining about the way I handle operations and that I rely on numbers rather than instinct. The Evil Queen of Numbers, now that is a new one for the books.”
Tanner looked away from her embarrassed. “About that Ma’am…”
“So that one is true?” Olivia leaned back in her chair.
“I didn’t mean it in a bad way, just that it can be frustrating sometimes when you rely on numbers rather than facts or instinct.”
“And the name?” She raised an eyebrow.
“It just slipped out. I apologise Ma’am.”
“Tanner, if you have a problem with any of my methods, you speak with me and only me. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Tanner agreed.
“As for that nickname… while I don’t appreciate being called the Evil Queen of Numbers, there is truth in the statement so I will let it slide. Just don’t let me catch you saying it in this building again Tanner. I mean it!”
Her face was blank, but Tanner thought he noticed amusement in her eyes before it disappeared.
“Of course, Ma’am.”
“What was the second rumour?” Bond demanded.
“This one detailed how I bribed you into spending the night with me and if you didn’t… I threatened to have your license revoked.”
“What?” Bond hissed.
“I take it you never said this?”
“I think I would bloody remember if I had!”
Olivia raised an eyebrow.
“No offense M, but if I spent the night with you, chances are it would have been me that charmed you into spending the night with me. Not the other way around.”
“If your charm worked on me that is.”
“There is that too. My charm always seems to fail when you’re concerned…”
“So, it is safe to assume that this one was a blatant lie?”
“Yes. And even if it wasn’t, do you think I would tell people you threatened me? I would be a laughing stock.”
“Yes, it would damage that ego of yours wouldn’t it?”
Bond gave her a charming smile, “Damn right it would.”
“I thought as much.”
“So, what is going to happen?” Tanner asked her slightly fearful for the answer.
“Well, considering one rumour was a blatant lie, and the other was due to frustration on your part. The answer is nothing. I just wanted to prove if the claims were true or not.”
“I see.” Tanner told her relieved.
“Although you may want to tell the truth to Moneypenny, otherwise you may still feel her wrath in the coming days.” Olivia looked between the both of them.
“We did wonder why she looked as if she wanted to kill us.” Tanner mumbled.
“Well, now you know.”
Tanner gave a sigh, “If that’s everything Ma’am I would rather get it over with.”
“Very well, just don’t give me any other nicknames.”
Bond watched amused as Tanner left the office to make peace with Moneypenny.
“Don’t you have work to do Bond?”
“I’ll leave in a moment; there is just one more thing I want to ask.”
“Who was it that told you?”
“You know I can’t disclose that information, Bond.”
“Worth a try,” he muttered and rose from his seat.
Olivia leaned forward and looked at one of the files on her desk.
“I take it there is something else you want to say?”
“Just that, if you ever want me to spend the night, you don’t need to threaten me.”
Olivia looked up at him watching as he gave her a wink and left her office no doubt with that insufferable smirk on his face.
She knew if she ever did ask him he no doubt accept the invitation and that thought itself was a little worrying. She made a mental note to keep an eye on Bond’s behaviour. She wouldn’t worry about it too much, after all, the thought of him showing any interest in her was laughable.
Putting those thoughts to the side, she made a start on the pile of paperwork that seemed to have collected on her desk in the past few days.
Bond walked to his office after clearing up the rumour mess with Moneypenny. The first few days he had heard the rumours about M, he had found them amusing, now they were just getting annoying. Some of them were ridiculous than the next.
Entering his office, he sat behind his desk as he thought over the latest rumour. He wouldn’t mind spending the night with her if he was given the chance. He let his mind wander only imagining what she must be like in bed. James hoped her husband realised just how lucky he was to be married to someone like M.
While he had never thought about marriage or a committed relationship, the thought of being with her seemed appealing. He knew nothing would come of it. One, she was married and two, she would never be involved with one of her agents. Especially if it would validate those rumours that seemed to be floating around.
James recalled those three months before their first meeting in Sir Miles office. He remembered looking through her file finding the photo of her younger self. Even then she was beautiful, but even more so now. Opening the top drawer of his desk he pulled out the photo he had copied from her file. He had no idea what possessed him to do it, but he didn’t regret it either.
The sound of his office phone ringing caused him to come out of his thoughts as he quickly answered the call.
‘007, I need you in my office.’
“Twice in one day M, no wonder people are talking.”
‘This is serious, James.’
He paused at hearing his Christian name. She had never called him, James.
‘We’ve just got vital information on the whereabouts of Colonel Arkady Ourumov. I’m sending you and 006 to investigate. Be in my office in five minutes for a debrief.’
“I’ll be right there Ma’am.”
He replaced the phone back on the receiver and stood up with the photo still in hand. Placing the picture in his trouser pocket, he left his office and made his way back to M.