Title: From Russia With Love
Author: Serpentis lord_alexander
Pairing: Monaboyd and, well, you'll see. Definitely Monaboyd though.
Rating: This is a R.
Summary: But then Boyd was Boyd. Boyd was paid to take out people whom his government didn't wish to deal with. One little squeeze of that trigger, and his target was no more worry for MI5. This changes when 006 is captured and murdered by the enemy; both the Secret Services and 007 want their revenge. It had got personal.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Definitely not belonging to me. So so not.
Feedback: is smoother than a martini, shaken not stirred.
Author's Notes: This is a long fic, I warn you. It's a long fic, with guns. Now, I'm liking longs fics with guns, especially sexy guns wielded by sexy men. It's so strange in someone who really doesn't like violence that I find men with guns rather saucy. I think this is why I like Tarantino films so much. Anyway! This is a shameful rip-off of about four Bond films , of which you'll see when you read it. Actually, I really like Bond, and I'ms tarting to think that the best ones have Gold in the title. Goldfinger. The Man With The Golden Gun. Goldeneye. Plus, they had good Bonds. But then what's a Bond when you've got a Boyd, right?
There was always something so distinctive about the Walther PPK that it had almost become a cliché for a Double Oh to use it. Boyd found it a useful weapon, though a little too Germanic, a little sleek and tooled. The way it sat in his hand was as a machine rather than an extension of him, the way the cold metal didn't have the tactile qualities of other handguns. He favoured a Glock 9mm, neat and delicately wrought as he was, a nondescript gun but a decent little weapon none the less with the extension of the barrel and the matt surface ridged under his hands. It might be almost as Teutonic as the Walther, but there was a quirkiness that appealed to the more discerning agent. Many of those he'd neutralised would testify, if they lived, that one shot from Boyd and his little handgun was worth more than a Uzi semi-automatic to the stomach any day.
But then Boyd was Boyd. Boyd was paid to take out people whom his government didn't wish to deal with. One little squeeze of that trigger, and his target was no more worry for MI5.
Other Double Oh's had playboy lifestyles; Ferraris, and women, and glittering wristwatches, and Armani suits. They looked rich, they played hard, they lived every inch of their lives because it took a nanosecond for something to snatch that time away. Tearing across the world like firebrands, eight woman and one man - the nine. Or there had been nine.
001 was McKellan. Handsome, suave, extremely homosexual. He was the eldest of them all, nearing retirement, wanting to settle down with some young boy he'd picked up in Havana the last time he was out there on business. No one had a steadier shot than him - no one had ever tried.
002. Mortensen. He wasn't British but his brilliance was such that he was brought in after jumping ship from the Danish secret service. Ice water boiled too hot for this cool gentleman. He was a poet, and a preacher, and a damned good spy if he stepped from the clouds and came back to earth.
003 was a damned Yank, but a good Yank. Young, frighteningly so, pretty as a picture with innocent eyes and curling hair, he was one of those new breed of computer hacking types who could destroy through sending of viruses. He travelled. Every country Wood had stamped on his passport lost secrets to his skills.
004 was another American, but then Astin was a good guy, he was one of the best. Settled, and with a wife and daughters, this was his last stint before a cushy desk job was his for the taking. He was more diplomatic than active, but he had a cool head and a relaxed personality, and he'd done his duty in the front line.
005 was even prettier than Wood, and twice as tall. Bloom was essentially British, handsome, good with the charm and the ladies, and looked better than anyone in black tie. He was a grinder, one of the guys in the background, but a decent operative if you trusted him with your life. Everyone did.
008, Monaghan, was the new boy. He'd been seen, but not spoken to, he'd no background apart from high enough examination results to fast track him into the intelligence service. An unknown quantity. Moneypenny said he was attractive, but then Moneypenny was menopausal and thought Astin was attractive.
009, the striking Welshman, Davies had long service and a large voice, and he looked hard as diamond. Underneath he was a sensitive man, but he had a reputation across the globe as a man not to cross. After all, in one case, he'd taken down the warlord he was fighting with his bare hands.
And where was 006? Assumed neutralised.
It was the language that did it, that faint whiff of antiseptic as M pushed the papers over to Boyd. She was an elegant women, iron-grey hair and power suits that were nipped at the waist and trousers rather than a skirt. Manicured nails, and with the covering of claret varnish Boyd was convinced she could shatter glass with a strike of her fingertips. M. Madame as the other operatives called her. She had an attitude the size of pre-disintegration USSR, and a mouth that was painted as deep red as her nails.
"We're had reports, 007, that 006 was neutralised by the followers of Neremovsky two days ago."
That was hard to take, even for a man as internal as Boyd. 006, after all, was a friend. A good spy, a hell of an agent, but a friend and that was the crux of the matter. It wasn't usually encouraged, closeness between the Double Oh's. It did, after all, increase their personal liability. Once one was taken down, then the rest would follow like a strip of dominos if they were involved out of work hours. And that was why Boyd had taken a week's absence of leave. He'd escaped the walnut desks and glass fronted glitter of MI's 5 and 6 and had slid away to do his mourning in privacy. A week of silence in the Highlands, with a fishing rod and a shotgun, and damn he was good at both. But then Boyd was a man who played hard, like his associates did. Just because he didn't have the Ferrari and the women with breasts that could slay a man at fifty paces, and crimson painted mouths that could kill a ma by going down on him, it did not mean that he wasn't trying his damndest to live his life.
006. Bean. A good man, with a Sheffield drawl and a quirky grin, slightly long hair and large capable hands that could be gentle but were as strong as tensile wires. The one of the nine that Boyd trusted, had worked with.
He'd been there when Bean was taken. The frozen wastes of the Arctic sea had half-exploded around them in a hail of AK-47 fire, and they'd been half-buried in their dug out snow tunnel from where they'd been assessing danger. Neither man had seen that they'd been pulled into the most perfectly executed trap. In the gun battle, where Boyd was wounded through the shoulder, it had been Bean who'd staggered into the no man's land between them and the guerrillas, the hired thugs of some oil magnate who was draining Russia white as the snow that Bean crushed under his knees, his hands up and begging for his life to be spared. He had been screaming in Russian that he was alone, that he was with no one else.
Boyd followed protocol, and Bean followed his own. Protection of fellow agents in order for them to escape. The Scot was out of the hideout, was crawling through drifts when the shot rang out. He had slithered across compacted ice to where the snowmobiles were concealed, blood heating his frozen numb flesh from sluggish wounds.
There had been one single shot that had echoed across the sky.
When he finally collapsed in the British Embassy in Moscow, after four days of snowblindness and the wound seeping endlessly though it was too frozen for the blood to pour, four days after that piercing shot, he'd been informed that Bean was still alive. They'd had the video footage through, behind his beaten form the television with the antennae covered in foil to assist reception showing the news of the previous day. And after that, when Boyd returned to England to have his shoulder operated on...nothing.
Nothing until finally that word of death.
M looked over her narrow spectacles at people; it was most disconcerting, like being examined minutely by a headmistress at her very strictest. Boyd, seasoned in these things, knew that bombshells were to be dropped, and he crossed his legs in his neat, elegant manner in order to prepare for what was going to hit the fan.
"Boyd, we are vexed by the loss of 006."
A file was pushed over - a file was always pushed over - and inside it were photographs of a corpse. It was incinerated, the flesh blackened away to bone, the skull grinning agonisingly, the jaw still connected by the faintest wisps of sinew and cartilage.
"They poured premium grade over it in an attempt to demonstrate that oil will defeat any attempts by our governments to quash the problem of Neremovsky. There's a dossier on him, 007, you're required to read it and it is included in that file. As you are probably aware, we do not like losing agents, especially ones that have as much service and ability as 006. His loss...is a great one. Therefore, Boyd, we are sending you back to Russia and this time you will succeed in removing Vadim Neremovsky. We are positive that you were not identified, and that it was considered Bean was the only agent they had expected; therefore you have a free rein. We have your papers and tickets printed in the name of Robert Kingston, and have managed to wangle you a job with British Petroleum. They are not particularly happy with the threat of Neremovsky over North Sea Oil, and therefore are happy to be working with us. Your background is included in the file, and I would like you to meet your secretary who will accompany you on this mission. Come in, 008, stop loitering."
It hit Boyd like the bullet that had incapacitated him for a month, though this tore into his chest. A partner. An associate. Another Double Oh with him on a mission. It was wrong. It should have been Bean, with his easy smile gleaming with whitened teeth, and a long Sheffield drawl of a voice. And when he'd lost Bean, Boyd had told everyone categorically that he wasn't willing to work with another agent. It was too risky.
He didn't want the blood of another on his hands.
They'd never be Bean.
"I don't operate with another agent..."
M stared at him, and her gaze was serpentine and unblinking. "You will do as you are directed, 007. This isn't some film where you are the hero and therefore have to work alone. This is life, this is to remove the man who had an associate of yours assassinated, and you will work with Monaghan whether you like it or not. He's experienced in the technology of the company and though this is his first mission he will be able to learn..."
"Then give me Mortensen, or McKellan. Give me someone who knows their job like the back of their hand!" It was ludicrous, and Boyd was standing, his fingers pressing against the desk as he leaned towards his controller. She didn't flinch. "Don't give me some boy who's not even been on a mission before, let alone something as dangerous as this!" Sending in a young man with no experience was tantamount to getting them both killed. Monaghan, fresh out of training, was a mere child - he'd die in the first five seconds of a gun battle, everything would be lost.
There'd be more blood of a colleague spilled.
"I don't want to work with him. I want to go alone."
"Thanks, mate," murmured a voice, and for a moment, as it was northern, he thought that Bean was there behind him. There would be the mocking tone, and that insouciant grin, and he'd be scruffy in his faded blue jeans and shirt sleeves rolled to the elbow. But when Boyd turned, pinched at the nose and his cheeks blanched though his eyes were alive with hope, there was no Bean. Instead, there was a young man in a black suit and white shirt with the collar buttons open. He had a clever, cheeky face with a snub nose and misaligned jaw, and the hair was so painfully fashionable that Boyd was aware he was staring with horror for almost ten seconds. Too pretty, too vain. It was going to be a massacre. He needed to flee, because he was looking at a young man who was going to die, and there was nothing he was going to be able to do to prevent that.
"I'll be at home. Looking at the file."
With that, the Scot made himself scarce.
It was stupid. Stupid, and foolish to have the young man on a mission with him, but then Boyd - Mr Kingston, not Boyd now since they'd slipped from MI5 - had to admit that Monaghan was pleasant, charming, witty, and had a knack of making him feel ten years younger. The bickering had begun the moment that they'd been collected from Whitehall in one of the limousines used for ferrying about the VIP's, and it had never really stopped. It had, however, strangely morphed from being agonisingly annoying to something that was quite enjoyable. Boyd had no idea how or why, but he was almost liking working with this young agent. It had never occurred like that before, but then he'd never quite had someone who sparked off him so well. Indeed, they were quite the double act, had similar senses of humour and were partial to similar things, they fitted well together and it was when the Lear touched down in St Petersburg that Boyd was revising the life span of Monaghan. He gave him a full half a minute rather than the five seconds previously thought.
It soared to a full minute when he saw how good the man was at acting.
They'd been given characters to play, and as usual the Double Oh's fleshed them out a little more. Boyd was talented, he was considered the best of the agents, though he was far more modest than several of his contemporaries. His passport read Robert Kingston, and with the placing of the retro shades on his nose and the stretch of an elegantly coutured thigh, Boyd was settling into the role. He was now a high-ranking arsekicker for BP, newly employed though his employment history could be traced through ICI and other petrochemical companies. Part of this was thanks to the boffins who were able to hack company computers to place this information, though those who were being destroyed by Neremovsky were more than willing to plant this data without the need for programming. Kingston was in his mid thirties, Scottish Presbyterian, a hard-working and rather modest man with a drive to succeed - indeed, he was rather like Boyd in most senses, but unlike the agent Robert Kingston had a life in the public eye.
And he was a man with a fatal flaw.
Racehorses. Poker. Gambling of all kinds. He was a man who was in debt to men as dark as the Russian oil baron, and therefore he was willing to sell his soul to fund his lavish lifestyle. It was perfect cover.
That was how Boyd was to get access to Neremovsky. The man needed contacts, and it was known that he had links with almost major oil company in the world. Indeed, it was reckoned that to protect their market share from the man, who threatened terrorist activity in destroying every pipeline into and out of Russia, and therefore crippling the entire world's supply of oil, large sums of money were being handed over. It was, in a nutshell, gangster activity. If Kingston could guarantee Neremovsky the secrets of BP so that extortion could be undertaken, he'd ask for a cut of the profit.
It was being covered up, however, from his 'bosses' at BP as a little holiday. With his lover.
That had been a surprise more to Monaghan than Boyd, though the Mancunian had started to laugh the moment he'd read that Kingston and his character, Stuart Greville, were in a relationship.
In lay terms, Kingston was bonking his secretary.
It was already documented by those brilliant people in the offices that disseminated false information that the young man had been employed for two years, and had held out for sixth months against the charm and seductive accent of his master. But then Boyd had often used the same little ruse when he and Bean had travelled together. It was easier passing each other off as a lover, it explained their closeness and preference of sharing a room. This was perfectly innocent in sexual manners, though in espionage matters they were far from naive. Sharing a room meant that resources were pooled.
Indeed, it was as if Monaghan was a less taciturn and more youthful Bean when he thought of it, without the faintly gruff nature and quietness. Indeed, if it came to loquaciousness then the young man beat everyone into second place with his talk. He hardly was silent, babbling away about everything that was suitable, giving out an affable and rather waspishly amusing feeling, combined with a surrealism and the ability to spark Boyd beautifully. They did, after all, compliment each other. It played so beautifully for their cover as lovers that they were almost made for each other as they were so very convincing.
And it wasn't exactly Monaghan's fault that he was so very attractive. Boyd, who was rather closeted - he preferred his privacy to remain - found it a more and more difficult as their visit extended. It was surprisingly easy to worm their way into meetings with Neremovsky's minions, but it meant the Scot's prolonged exposure to Monaghan, with his easy smile, and the way he squinted when he laughed. He had a beautiful body, and Boyd knew that as they shared the king-sized bed in the exquisite St Petersburg hotel suite that had been hired for them. 008 slept in his underwear, tight Calvin Kleins that fitted to his thighs and round arsecheeks, leaving his slim torso naked. He was more rangy than Boyd, less neat and more firm, and he affected silver rings on his long fingers and necklaces at his throat. His clothes were designed, it seemed, to fetishise him; tight denim boot cut jeans that rode almost too low at his hips, fitted shirts, suit jackets with white tee-shirts underneath, a black fedora that he wore rakishly to one side. Boyd, who was smart in Armani grey pinstripe with shirts and ties, his hair cut short and neat - he was neat, even his hands - felt rather dull when the peacock strode in.
Finally. Invites to a masked ball given at a beautiful mansion far to the north east of St Petersburg, not too distant from Archangel. Boyd and Monaghan had managed to convince the minions that they were offering a chance of a lifetime, and Neremovsky took it. Masked ball, fancy dress. The costumes would be great indeed considering the clientele were some of the richest and most corrupt fuel magnates in the world.
The theme, of course, was Mother Russia - how could Vadim Neremovsky, who was reputedly steadfast in his support of his homeland, proclaim anything else? Caviar from the Black Sea, sturgeon from the Volga. Young, beautiful waitresses in Russian peasant dress filled glasses made of ice with gold handles frozen into them with vodka that was reputedly the finest that money could buy. In the vast echoing ballroom, the ceiling plastered in trailing fronds and tendrils of Art Nouveau grapes, and the wooden floor scored and polished over a hundred years of use, were gathered some of the most wealthy and dangerous men and women. Boyd recognised a minor British royal, a Zimbabwean dictator's daughter, and the Defence Secretary of the United States who had his hand on the rounded backside of the young black woman who's father sold arms to East Timor and the Tutsi.
Considering that there were people in the room who knew what Boyd was - he'd worked for the British government officials who had come to this vast cream and gold ballroom - it was appreciated greatly that this was a masked ball. Monaghan, who had come as Alexander Nevsky because his legs looked incredible in the long boots and tights, had covered his face in the same rich black velvet as his doublet, formed into two twisting horns from his forehead and embroidered lightly with silver thread. Boyd had played safe and was one of the Alan from beyond the Caspian Sea. Silk shirted and with billowing trousers cross bound to the knee, he wore a pointed Sarmartian helmet with a covering of discs of metal from the brim that served as a metal coif, but the cleverness of the design meant that only his warm green eyes could be seen.
Plenty of room for the Glock and Monaghan's Mauser to be concealed, along with a few less sexually alluring tools of the trade.
And Neremovsky did not appear.
"We'll have to look for him," Boyd murmured as he and Monaghan waltzed slowly around the dancefloor, the elder leading. A ruse to make sure that they were considered lovers, like their had held hands and whispered intimately in corners. It had flushed Boyd's cheeks, though under the clinking metal it could not be seen. Indeed, the redness was almost full-body reaction to the closeness of his fellow agent. He was used to having quick, sharp lusts on associates; Bean had been a constant, and several of the other Double Oh's had starred in dark, lusty fantasies. Monaghan was just a sexual desire, he told himself firmly, turning the younger man and feeling a lean hosed thigh pressing almost between his.
"Give it half an hour, and everyone else will be pissed enough for us to sneak off. If we're caught..."
"We're just off for a quick shag and wanted somewhere private. Aye, I know."
It sounded tempting. One quick fuck, get this man out of his system. Since he'd come to Russia, Boyd's concentration was shot to pieces.
They slipped through rooms and locked doors like spectres. Boyd had abandoned the heavy helmet, Monaghan had removed his mask and the doublet. In looser, more comfortable clothes, and they'd chosen their costumes perfectly to conceal their working attire underneath, they padded across landings and through hallways.
"No bloody sign," whispered Monaghan, his eyes looking faintly disconcerted. "He's supposed to be here, we were promised an audience with him, and there's no sodding sign of the bugger."
"Patience..." Young agents were so brash, so desperate to be in the thick of the action. Boyd turned to say something to Monaghan, his hand reaching out to touch the black-clad wrist, when there was the distinct click of a submachine gun having the safety removed, and Boyd froze. So did Monaghan, his cheeks fading to chalk before being overwhelmed by a blush.
"SO what we got 'ere then?"
They both gave a start at the voice, for east end London wasn't to be expected near Archangel. East End, with a hint of something a little more educated, as if the speaker was putting it on. They were taught to read people through the slightest nuance, because it could mean the difference between life and death for them or whoever they were saving more often than not. Boyd let the accent flow across his mind again.
"We got lost, we're looking for a bedroom..." Monaghan camped it up very slightly, but then it was possibly the right thing to do in the situation. After all, effeminate poofs were less likely to be a threat, weren't they? Camp men were softer and gentler according to the stereotype, and it was incredible how that still worked even in enlightened times.
There were footsteps, and an order to turn around, and they found themselves staring at a man in his early forties, with unruly dark hair, pale eyes, and a sensual mouth. And Boyd had been correct about the Uzi. A nice little miniature version, for people who didn't want to blast too many holes into elegant 19th century panelling. Broad in the shoulder, muscled in the forearm, he was an attractive but quirky man, who gave a lightning, close-lipped smile and clicked at the trigger.
"I think that two blokes wandering around here looking for a bedroom's a bit suspicious, yeah? I mean, you could be wanting to fuck, but then why come all the way across here, through locked doors to do it? One of you a cat burglar or something. Come on, shift. Neremovsky'll love to meet you two."
Irony, Boyd thought with an internal savage smile. Irony. They said they'd been looking for a bedroom, and they'd been marched into one by the Londoner. He looked too comfortable on that Uzi for Boyd or Monaghan to have tried anything, plus unless they could take down this man in one shot, they'd both be dead. The slightest move of hands towards the body made hands move a little too knowingly over the trigger of the submachine gun, so they'd gone as quietly as lambs to the slaughter. Monaghan, Boyd could sense, was trapped between an awkward but thrilling sense of adventure that was common in the newer agents, and abject terror. Indeed, a hand had snuck into Boyd's as they'd been walked from the landing they'd been discovered on, and hadn't left.
A bedroom. The walls were rich crimson leather, the bed elaborately carved black wood and four poster to boot. Everything in the room was that rich red or black, from the rugs on the wooden floor to the glasses and pitcher of water on the wrought iron of the bedside table. It was too constrictive somehow, too hot, like being inside a lava chamber, and Boyd found it uncomfortable. He'd slid into his agent mode, picking up on everything as he'd been trained to do. The tinest thing could mean death or escape, and he feigned pressing nearer to Monaghan to get the young man's attention. There was a balcony out of the long French doors. It was a chance, especially as the Londoner was between them and the door.
"Vadim, I found these guests wandering around looking for a bedroom. I thought you might like to deal with them."
When Neremovsky pushed himself up from the bed into a sitting position, obviously naked, and stared at Boyd...
His hand slid from Monaghan's grasp, and he stumbled forward, half-falling over his own feet as he collapsed onto the bed. Because looking at him, mouth widening into that slow, lazy smile, cool green eyes amused, was Bean.
"I thought they might send you, Billy."
He was frozen, shoulders feeling the pressure of feet from under the bedclothes, that pretty little cupid's bow mouth parted as he stared into the eyes of a dead man. Bean was dead. Bead was dead, and someone had stolen his face - it had to be. Plastic surgeons could do anything these days; smash cheekbones, dye skin, they could make black white and European Asian, and could do the most brilliant of cosmetic changes to create a new face. But...what would explain the voice, low and caressing and Sheffield? What would explain the exactity of the surgery? How could every flaw, even the sodding 100% Blade tattoo of the true football supporter be there, impressed on the flesh of a man who was not Bean?
"Boyd...? Boyd...? What's going on?"
Hearing the bewildered note in Monaghan's voice, the warm green eyes broke with those which he noticed were as cool as the Baltic, and Boyd carefully looked over. The young man was wide eyed and shockingly attractive in his fear, nostrils flared and generous mouth twisted into a cross between trying to control a shaking voice and a slight moue of confusion. Boyd wanted to stride over and slip an arm around the snaky hips, reassure the young agent, but he found he couldn't.
He'd probably get slugs from the Uzi through his chest if he shifted.
"Tell him, go on Boyd. Which one's this?"
"Ah, Monaghan? We've heard about him. Good looking kid an' all. You always picked the pretty ones out though, didn't you? GO on, Billy - tell the pretty lad who I am."
Temptation was there, torn between flinging his arms around his closest friend, and shooting him through the forehead. It was human versus agent, and Boyd couldn't tame either side. This was Bean. Bean who was his contemporary almost, who had been his greatest ally in the Service. Who was under satin and silk and was called Neremovsky.
"Monaghan. This is Bean. This is 006."
The young man stared, silently, though his shoulders slumped at the implication. They all knew that if it came to a battle, none of them would win. Bean knew their techniques, he was MI5, he knew the protocols. Anyway, that Londoner with the Uzi who looked as if he was born to wield a submachine gun was an unknown factor. He was leaning casually against the bedroom door, a lit cigarette in his mouth, looking for all intents and purposes like a Communist in a Western propaganda film. Noticing Boyd staring, Bean gave one of those smiles that could melt lead, the sort that the Scot had been obsessed with for rather too many years.
The Londoner gave a short mocking wave, before going back to smoking. Boyd had the uncomfortable realisation that it was as if the man was anticipating every move he and Monaghan was making. Bean stretched, his back and neck clicking as he did, before looking over at 008. The young man seemed almost surprised to be noticed, even more so when he was told to go and sit next to Boyd at the foot of the bed, and he wound himself onto the king-sized. But he wasn't cowed, there was no cringing fear being communicated, no submissive body language.
Boyd was impressed. He'd seen agents in less danger crack, and here was this mere boy in the terms of the Service, looking Bean in the eye as he took his place on the satin and silk.
"Why did you betray us?"
Boyd hadn't realised who said the words, which were soft with shock, until he felt his tongue lay back in his mouth and came to the conclusion it had been him.
"Idealism, Boyd. You never read my files, did you? If you had, then you'd not have had to ask...Andy, give us a fag?" The man padded across the softly rugged floor, offering one from a crush packet of Benson and Hedges, lighting it for Bean. About to depart to guard the door again, the northerner's mouth curved, fingers flexed on the sheets, and Andy, grinning, ended up sitting on the edge of the bed, legs stretched out along the sheets and Uzi resting against his crotch as Bean's hand slid over a muscled thigh. "Where was I?"
"Idealism," Monaghan murmured, hypnotised by the caress of fingers on black denim.
"Aye. Idealism. Almost noble of me, but not quite. I want to continue the work of my mother Arina Neremovsky..."
It hit then, with such shocking clarity that Boyd's hand clenched Monaghan's fingers - they'd crept into his grip again - so tightly that the young man gave a squeak. He'd done his reading, though Boyd had never expected the name to arise. He'd found it as a footnote to the dossier, just a passing mention, as if there wasn't any importance attached to the name, though a little more reading produced a fascinating story. He never knew the human side of it, however, but Bean, watching the realisation slash like razors, added the facts.
The ancient and noble house of the Neremovsky could be dated back to the boyars of Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century. They had risen from mere landowners to being one of the wealthiest and most secretive family companies in the whole of imperial Russia, and by the fall of the Czars the Neremovsky were amongst the business elite that spanned two continents and thousands of miles. They had wealth, and taste, and the house that they were currently situated in had been their northern summer residence. But then with the defeat of White Russia to the Reds, there was no room for entrepreneurs, especially those of closed ranks and secrets as the Neremovsky. They endured, however, though the wealth of the family was hacked away chunk by chunk until the nucleus of the family - Vadim, his wife Natasha, and their clever daughter Arina - were to be found in a crumbling apartment block situated in the slums of Leningrad.
But Arina was pretty, and Arina was intelligent, and overall Arina was proud. She was the heiress of a destroyed empire, and with her father's slide into alcoholism and her mother's desperate attempts to keep a roof over their heads, she slowly became more and more obsessed with reviving her family's fortunes. It was easy enough for such an attractive blonde with Baltic green eyes that never warmed to raise enough money to defect; even then there were a thousand men willing to part with their roubles for a little favour from an innocent young woman. For in her pride, Arina found hardness and the ability to close herself off, and she swore to her son that she'd never feel again after her degradation at the hands of peasant men. But the money mounted, little by little, and then, finally, she was able to afford to pay to be smuggled out of Russia and into Finland. From there, the young woman made her way to Britain, married a decent upper-middle class man who was forty years older than her and needed a wife to provide an heir.
And in this heir was sublimated the wrath and hatred of the Neremovsky to their position, and a burning ambition to build a new empire that would put the disintegrated USSR to shame.
And this heir was Bean.
"So this is all to get back at men who are long dead?" asked Monaghan, innocently, and there was a silence that was only shattered by Andy's finger clicking at the safety of the Uzi.
"Why join MI5?" At least Boyd knew how to not antagonise a man who had a Londoner with a hair-trigger, and who was looking at the agents as if wishing to know what they'd look like decorating the walls with their intestines.
"The best cover, and I get to know what you're all up to. Christ, you were running around like wankers trying to sort out the Neremovsky case, and all the time he was sitting opposite you in the office, asking you out for coffee, and buying everyone doughnuts."
Boyd's eyes were always calm, though now there was a flicker of betrayal that burned like hot wires. He should have cared about the money, and the fraud, and the fact that people were dying, but instead he was fixating on the breaking of trust. Bean had faked his own death. Bean had used his resources to make it seem he'd been executed on service. There was a plaque on the wall commemorating his fall in action, and Boyd's shoulder still ached on frozen nights where a bullet had ripped through flesh and muscle. And the worst of it? He'd broken Boyd's belief in him. The irony was that if he'd been straight with Boyd, if he'd told him the story and had disclosed he was Neremovsky, then maybe it would have been easier to deal with. Yes, it was idealistic and awarding virtues to a man who was stealing huge sums of money with terrorist activities, but Boyd had placed his friend, his elder, his closest associate on some sort of pedestal. He'd been there, gilded, and now he'd been toppled.
Everyone turned to Monaghan, who looked as if he was blazing with indignant anger. Boyd's fingers squeezed a warning, but it was ignored, the Mancunian snatching his hand away to point at Bean, as if his finger was his Mauser.
"You fucked Boyd over, you bastard! You bloody Yorkshire bastard! He was always talking about you, and how good an agent you were, and how you were his closest friend, and you've fucked him up the arse you fucking cunt! Do you know how hard it is living up to the image of a dead man? I tried and tried and never got any bastard where, and you're sitting here with your poncy Art Nouveau house, and your sexy bodyguard who's really your boyfriend the way you're touching him up like some nancing poof, and you think it's dead funny that you've been fucking around with Boyd's head when you were bloody good friends, you bastard! Yeah, and he saved your life, and you saved his, and you were like...brothers in arms or something, and then you go and have yourself kidnapped so you can mince off and fucking well play terrorist Godfather while he's mourning you! While he's still mourning someone anyway, because whoever the fuck you are, you're not Sean Bean. You're not 006! No agent would treat a friend like that!"
In the silence that followed, and it echoed like empty mausoleums, Monaghan's anger seemed to dim to burning glares. Andy flicked the safety on and off almost compulsively. Boyd waited for the shot and the blood and the knowledge he'd be next because Bean was a hard sod in the Service, but he'd never thought he was wrought out of iron bars and granite.
"I'm not. I'm Vadim Neremovsky," murmured Bean, looking straight at Monaghan, who stared back with a gaze that showed he was perfectly aware that he was asking for his brains to be blown away, and was too emotional to even think of retraction. "I'm Neremovsky. The boy's an asset to you, Billy. A little too protective, but an asset. Wonder why that is...any idea, Andy?"
The pale opaline eyes blinked, before the Londoner was smirking. "It's because he's queer for the Scot, innit?" The smirk curled into something rather filthy, before Andy turned and stroked a finger across Bean's jaw line. "He wants to fuck him, and suck him, and kiss him, and everything poofs do. Like we do. Like when you're begging for me, and I'm tormenting you...like this." Lips meshed softly, a long, teasing kiss of continued caresses, the Uzi however still held to attention and trained on Monaghan. A beautiful, sexual kiss.
Boyd was shaking with the image. He'd have had to have been made of stone to have not responded to two attractive men sharing that passionate moment. Being fairly closeted, when homosexuality was brought up like this, and involving a man he'd loved as a friend and brother, and had wanted for too long, it was like lighting a fuse paper. Monaghan, next to him, was squirming slightly, his sexy mouth drawn shut in an effort to control himself. Not that Boyd realised, his gaze fixed on the two older men.
"I think," Bean murmured, his head falling back as kisses were slowly trailed down his throat and to his naked shoulder, "that you are missing out, Boyd."
"What do you mean?" Tension tore his throat, roughening the usually sweet voice.
"On this. What you make in a year in London, you make in a month here. I could give you all of this, Boyd. The house. The cars. The money. That would come to you, of course. But what if I gave you more? I trust you, Boyd, more than almost any man apart from Andy. You're...correct. Not good - no spy can be truly good - but you are honest, and have a sense of fairness, and you know you've always been fascinated with the other side of the fence. The criminals, the drug-pushers, the gold-smuggling aristocrats, the heiresses. You've always wanted to see what it's like, I know that and you know that. You've got a choice, Boyd, because you were always there. And. I like you. Maybe too much. If you were any one else, I'd have had you killed before you got to see me, but you're Billy. So...don't do it because I'm offering a load of money and power. Do it because it's an adventure. Do it because you'd be fucking brilliant at this. Do it because you can be the person you've always wanted to be. A boyfriend, and no one to say you're a filthy queer. No M dictating to you about who you work with. No paperwork. Do it because you're the man I always thought you'd be."
"And what if I refuse?"
"I should have you shot, but I won't. I've got enough people around me to be able to protect myself from anything you hit my way. I'll let you and 008 go, and you can go back to London and tell M from me that Bean is dead. Long live Neremovsky."
"What'll happen to me?" Monaghan, small-voiced, looked pale.
"Whatever Billy wants done with you." Sean smiled, white teeth glittering shark-like in his attractive face.
They were making love, silver and pewter in the moonlight that streamed through the French windows. Everything was made brighter - skin, eyes, the soft bed linens - by reflection of thick snow, though in the red and black room it was like hell, or a furnace, or being safe.
It had been making love for the past week. Not having sex, certainly not fucking, but making love ever since the pictures of two corpses were wired back to MI5 in London. Dominic, and Boyd hadn't even known Monaghan's name was Dominic, sacrificed his rings and necklaces, his Mauser and clothing were strapped onto a cadaver and then it was incinerated with premium grade crude helping the flames to melt flesh. Boyd lost his clothes and Glock in the same manner. It had been six weeks since Neremovsky had informed the secret services that they held two British Double Oh agents. Six weeks, and no one knew any wiser when the photographs of the corpses, blackened and twisted beyond all recognition, were seen by M.
Neither had family to mourn for them. The other agents, those who hadn't mourned Bean but accepted it as an everyday casualty of life, afforded the same for 007 and 008. They'd never been close, after all. They'd all followed the no fraternisation policy.
Monaghan collapsed onto Boyd's stomach with his silent climax, that incessant chattering quietened for once with his orgasm, and the Scot followed him ten seconds later. They weren't in tune enough to come together yet, but Monaghan had discovered that Billy, and he adored calling his lover that, though they tended out of habit to adhere to surnames, preferred being the penetrator. He'd ridden the smaller man, hips undulating as if urging a horse towards the winning post, had raised that howl that chilled the Russian tundra that was Boyd's finish, before slumping into a tight embrace.
Boyd wouldn't have stayed if it wasn't for Monaghan. Asking for respite to sleep on making a decision, they had been given an elegant though obviously cell-like room, with the most beautiful four poster bed as the central piece. Comfort was taken with fingers twining as they lay side by side and staring at the canopy, and that slowly morphed into the Mancunian's head pillowed upon Boyd's shoulder.
The bullet wound still looked fresh, a little pink though it had healed. The trauma remained.
Bean had got to Monaghan by dinner the next day. Dominic came back starry-eyed, and Billy had fallen head over heels in lust a little more with the sparkle in the kittenish grey-blue gaze. Bean had told Monaghan that he'd been impressed by his loyalty even if his tongue had been too sharp, and that men like him were rare. There had been discussion of Boyd, though he was not informed of that, and delicate enquiries into whether the young man would accept a position within Neremovsky's organisation. Flattery, and promises, and cold, hard cash had won out. He was young enough to still be excited by the prospect of the sexiness of being a criminal more than a spy.
Monaghan was promised Boyd.
Boyd, half-consumed with desire, tried to fight off the urges of lust for Monaghan and possibly for what was being promised if he switched sides. Sensibility won out.
And, most shockingly enough, Bean apologised.
Giving a tiny groan, Monaghan fell sideways to sprawl half on the bed and half on Boyd, nuzzling his face into the damaged shoulder and his tongue found the pucker of the scar.
In the end, it wasn't sensible consideration that won Boyd over. Their stay extended into a week, and then a fortnight, and he was still wishing to return to London when Monaghan sat next to him. Black jeans, a shirt that was heavy Chinese silk, his rings that made those beautiful hands even more erotic, and the strangest expression on his sexy face. He put his hand on Billy's thigh, splaying his touch.
"I'm not going back to London. I'm going to stay here."
Someone dropped weights into Boyd's chest, and he swallowed dumbly to combat the odd sickness that was bile and acid in his throat.
"Stay here with me?"
And that was all it had taken. No imploring from an old friend. No monetary bribes, or promises of power, or favours. Just a quiet plea from a beautiful young man, and Boyd was lost forever.