The Grey-Eyed Goddess

The ancient Greeks believed that the goddess Athena was never a child. Instead, she sprung fully formed and adult from the head of her father, the god Zeus.

The girl is sitting in a leather chair in M's anteroom, her legs tight together and her fingers clenched so stiffly around the small metal box in her lap that they've turned white. She is wearing black trousers and a plain grey jumper. Her shoes are flat and faded from their original black. She's twenty or twenty-one, he thinks.

Her eyes are grey like her wool jumper, but instead of being drab and plain, they are luminous. The rest of her is highly unremarkable, the result of his genes. He's a little bit sorry about that.

"Sophia?" His voice sounds huskier and more halting than he intended.

"Mr. Bond?" She stands up quickly, but she doesn't really look at him. Her gaze bores into the wallpaper to the right of his head.

"Come in," he says, and she follows him into M's inner office, which has been left vacant for him. He sits in one of the large chairs in front of his boss's desk, and his daughter takes the other, still holding tightly to her box.

"I haven't come here to get anything from you," she says. Her voice is soft but clear, and she stares out the window, her eyes as far from him as they can possibly be. "I just came to give you this." She intends to sound assured, he can tell, but he's used to listening for undertones, and he hears how much effort it takes for her to keep her voice level.

She turns to him finally and holds out the tarnished metal box. He reaches out to take it, but her eyes stay trained on her hands, and she does not look up. He resists the urge to brush her fingers with his own. He doesn't want to upset her, but he can see that her hands are freezing, and his are always warm.

"Thank you," he says, not knowing what else to say. He starts to open the box, but his daughter gets up and turns toward the door.

"I'll go now," she says.

"Wait," he says firmly, thinking she probably won't.

She stops dead with her back to him, and he finishes opening the box. All it contains is a tattered rope bracelet. When he sees it, his mind casts back to a summer in Venezuela when he walked down the street hand-in-hand with an expatriate British prostitute with the most beautiful grey eyes he'd ever seen.

"What happened to her?" he asks.

"She was stabbed in a bar in Chelsea, and she died the next day." The girl comes and sits back down opposite Bond, and he can tell that something is keeping her in the room that has nothing to do with the force of his personality.

"There's one more thing. I promised her I would—tell you that you were the best man she was ever with." She spits out the end as if it's monumentally difficult for her to say. Instead of standing back up, she stares at the floor. "I did it," she says, almost like she's talking to herself instead of Bond. "Now I won't have to feel guilty."

Bond usually likes to comfort himself with the idea that the women forgot him as quickly as they think he forgets them. The idea that anyone has ever considered him a high point in life is so ludicrous it's almost beyond belief.

"I guess I should thank you." For the first time, the girl called Sophia really looks at him, though she looks away a moment after. "You're the only reason she didn't have an abortion. She regretted it after I was born, but at the time she was so in love with you that she couldn't make herself do it."

Bond has no idea what to say. It's been quite a while since he's been around a woman and felt himself at a total loss. All he can think about is the unwelcome desire choking him, a desire to somehow prove to his daughter that he isn't a bad man. Of course, he thinks, that would be an impossible task, since he's as bad as her imagination can possibly be painting him and probably much worse.

The girl stands up. "I won't bother you again, Mr. Bond." It sounds strange to hear his name out of her mouth. It's perfectly normal, and that's the strange part, coming from the lips of his only child. Well, the only one he knows about he admits to himself.

Impulsively, Bond reaches out and takes a piece of paper and a pen from M's desk and writes something down quickly. "Here," he says, standing up and holding it out to Sophia. "That's my telephone number in case you ever need anything."

"Oh," she says. He wants to yell at her to look at him—really look at him—but he doesn't let himself. Instead, he watches her leave the building and realizes with frustration that he wishes she'd stayed. He doesn't really know why.

Sophia returns to her East End flat via the Underground. She doesn't feel anything. Well, that's not strictly true. The split second she allowed herself to meet her father's eyes stirred up emotions she doesn't want to feel, and they are hard to completely eradicate. She clutches the piece of paper with Bond's phone number on it tightly. She'll throw it away at home, she thinks.

The flat is dark when she arrives, which is strange. Kara should be here. Her foot crunches as she steps through the doorway, and she feels her stomach clench. She turns on the light.

The living room is strewn with broken glass, paper, and even the stuffed animals from her sister's bed. For a moment, Sophia is immobilized with horror. When she can move again, she rushes to Kara's room. It's empty. Somehow, her mind registers that there's no sign of blood anywhere. She wonders if that's a good thing or not.

She realizes far too late that whoever did the damage might still be in the flat. Thankfully, they're not, and she's alone. She dials the police emergency number. At least she has enough brain left to do that. She wonders if she's in shock.

The operator asks for her emergency, and with a shaky voice she answers, "My sister Kara is missing, and my flat's had a break-in." She gives her address, feeling a surreal lack of connection with what's happening, as if she's watching herself in a movie.

A/N: This is my first James Bond story. I hope you enjoy!