Vulnerability of the Gods

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the way the Greeks viewed their gods was their overarching humanity, gods made in the image of man. The Greek deities were full of the same flaws, weaknesses, and frailties as their human counterparts, even though they had greater power.

"It's me," Sophia hears, muffled outside the door, and she quickly scrambles to pull the barricading chairs away while her father unlocks the door of their room. When he comes inside, she sees that he has newspaper parcels under his arm and two fizzy drinks in his hand. "I brought fish and chips," he says shortly.

"I'm not hungry," answers Sophia, whose tears have barely dried. She's sure her face is still streaked with the obvious signs of crying, and she's a little bit embarrassed.

"Don't be like that. We both need to eat," says Bond, holding one of the parcels out to her. She half rolls her eyes as she takes it and starts to unwrap the traditional newsprint. She has to admit, the food looks good, and worrying and crying have taken it out of her. She nibbles on a chip tentatively and then with more enthusiasm as the golden taste fills her mouth.

Her father sits opposite her and makes short work of his meal, starting with the fish and going on to the chips. She gets distracted watching him because he has such an incredibly posh way of eating. She wouldn't know how to describe it to someone, but it's like he's eating at a five-star restaurant even when he's munching fried fish off a newspaper.

"What?" he finally asks.

"Nothing," she says quickly. "Just—you're not what I ever expected."

"What did you expect?" he asks.

"Somebody from Mum's world," Sophia answers. "You know, a pimp or one of her regular clients. I never believed what she said about you. I thought it was Mr. Reed for a long time, but I guess he was just being nice. He was one of her regulars—eighteen years, until he died of a heart attack. He used to give me birthday presents."

"Well," says Bond, "you can call this your birthday if you want. We're going shopping."

"Huh?"

"MI6 is going to get you something to wear," he answers. "We might as well occupy ourselves while Q does his job."

"Oh."


James Bond almost laughs at the look of surprise on his daughter's face. It's been a long time since he's shopped for a woman. He used to be good at it, able to size them up instantly in every way. He wonders if he still has the touch. At any rate, given that the girl in front of him actually chose to wear something as drab as a grey jumper with black pants and shoes, he knows he's not exactly dealing with someone who tends toward flamboyance.

"Where are we going?" she asks.

"Taxi to Princes Street," he says. "Lots of shops there."

As they stand to leave the room, Bond grumbles, "If I'd have known we were going to be here a while, I'd have rented a car."

"I bet you're hard on rental cars," Sophia muses, and he looks over at her quickly enough to see the small smile on her face, though it doesn't banish the worry that never leaves her eyes.

Before he opens the door, Bond takes the black, voice-controlled gun off the table and puts it back in its case, noticing as he does that his daughter's eyes are riveted on the process. "I'm sorry," he says quickly, the words coming out a little more clipped than he intended. "This is an awkward situation for both of us. It's not ideal for me to leave you on your own, but if I have to, I need to know you have some way of protecting yourself."

"I get it," says Sophia, "but I'm not sure I could actually shoot anyone."

"Nobody knows what they'll do until they're threatened," says Bond, turning off the lamp and putting the room key in his pocket.

"Mum—kept us out of things," Sophia says softly. "That was one thing she did. We lived in a lot of bad places, but she protected us from the worst of it."

"Good," is all Bond answers as he leads the way into the hall.


A/N: Thanks so much for all the kind reviews. I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to all of you personally. I've had the flu most of the week. I'll hopefully have a longer chapter in the next couple of days.