For those of you who were stunned by Skyfall's ending, here's a happier ever after for you - literally. I've always loved the relationship between M and Bond, but this time, did anybody else besides me detect something deeper between them - a spark, perhaps? Call me crazy, but I think M is Bond's match in every way - she's intelligent and tough, but she also has a great heart and she truly cares deeply for Bond. And it's evident that he really loves and respects her, so I can actually picture them together without much difficulty. So... inspired by my new friend RebaForever15 (read her Bond stories; you'll love them!), here is a new M/Bond love story, inspired by my favorite country love songs. In this first chapter, the events pick up right after Bond kills Silva and M collapses in his arms - although Bond and Kincade are able to rush her to the hospital. All Bond can do is pray for a miracle... pray that M won't be taken from him because he's realized just how much he really loves her. Inspired by the final chorus of Tim McGraw's "Don't Take The Girl."

For RebaForever15... thanks a million for your insight and for inspiring me to write my own Bond/M love saga. This is coming from a Yank, but - you're bloody awesome!

"007… what took you so long?"

Still glaring down at Silva's corpse, hate and disgust seeming to steam from his pores, James Bond was jerked back to reality by the one voice that had always served as his lifeline… the voice that penetrated his carefully constructed wall of defense and touched his heart in a way no other woman's voice ever could. The minute its husky warmth reached his ears, Bond looked up at her and found his anger subsiding. M – his boss, she of the take-no-crap personality and the blue eyes that saw right through you – was standing before him, criticizing his timing, as usual. Now this is more like it, he thought, fighting a smile. "I…" He coughed for a second, still chilled by his all-too-recent plunge into the frozen lake. "I got into some deep water," he chuckled, knowing full well that she would roll her eyes at that absurd one-liner and offer a smart retort of her own…

But all traces of levity were suddenly shot to hell with an anguished gasp from M, who swayed on her feet. His heart nearly stopping in his chest, Bond rushed forward and caught his boss as she fell, cradling her in his arms as they both collapsed to the floor. No, no, no, the thoughts ripped like bullets through his brain. His hand rested on her side and touched something warm and wet; pulling it back, he could see, even in the dim light of the chapel, that it was coated with M's blood. One of Silva's rats had shot her in the hip and penetrated deep, for her wound was weeping blood at an alarming rate… enough for exsanguination to become inevitable.

M seemed to sense that herself, for her next words were barely a whisper. "I suppose it's… too late to make a run for it."

Don't say that, Bond wanted to say, desperate to give his boss an order he never thought he'd have to give her: to live. "Well, I'm game if you are," he said, trying to smile at her through the tears he felt welling in his eyes. Dear God, M, don't die on me! Don't leave me! I need you… I… Bond stopped himself mentally, realization hitting him full force. I love you.

M opened her eyes, lifting them to Bond's gaze. In her eyes, he saw hunger – for one last look at his face, no doubt – and pride, which was evident in the next words she breathed. "I did get one thing right."

Bond's heart skipped a beat and he lightly brushed M's cheek with his fingertips. "What?"

Managing a weak smile, M reached up and touched Bond's cheek; it was all he could do not to close his eyes at the tender sensation. "You, James. You."

The floodgates finally broke and tears flowed freely down Bond's face at this admission. Never before had M said something so sweet, so emotionally charged, to him, and he reached up and clasped her hand in his, feeling a burning desire to kiss her fingers, her palm, her whole hand all over. God, M, I love you so much. I love you, I love you...

Just then, M's hand dropped out of his grasp and her body went limp in his arms. Panic and dread gripping his chest like a giant's fist, Bond quickly pressed two fingers to her neck, praying he'd find any sign that she was still alive. Sure enough, the faintest pulse was evident under her skin, and Bond immediately looked to the one person who'd remained silent during this entire ordeal. "Kincade, come help me lift her. We have to get her out of here right now, or she's going to die."

The old Scotsman blinked for a second, but nevertheless rushed to M's side, taking her legs while Bond continued to support her upper body in his arms. "How are we going to get her anywhere, son? It's miles to the nearest hospital, and your car's been blown to Kingdom Come. But we are in a church, if you're talking about friends in high places..." Kincade said, raising his eyes heavenward.

No sooner had he said this than the whirring of helicopter blades sounded above them and searchlights flashed through the windows of the chapel. Blinking, Kincade could just barely make out the Union Jack on the side of the chopper outside – one flown by MI6. Kincade turned astonished eyes to Bond, who was sporting a grim smile. "How the devil..."

Shifting M's weight to one arm, Bond reached into his pocket and pulled out the miniscule radio that Q had given to him just days before. "Emergency contact. Thank God Q made the little bugger waterproof."

Three hours later at Highland General Hospital, Bond felt like doing anything but thanking God. When M was admitted to the emergency room in critical condition, the doctors had made a bleak prognosis. "She's fading fast," the chief surgeon said, "But we'll do everything we can to try and pull her through."

It had been all Bond could do to keep himself from seizing the man by the front of his scrubs, slamming him against the wall and growling in his face, "You'd better bloody well pull her through." Knowing that M wouldn't want him making such a fool of himself, he had worked his face into a cold facade and given the doctor a tense nod as the emergency room doors swung shut. There was nothing left to do now but wait, but patience had never been one of Bond's virtues. It had been two hours since arriving. Two bloody hours, and nobody had so much as poked their head out of the ER to say "She's fine, we're doing our best, sod off, mate." Fed up with the lack of updates and unable to shake the waves of nausea in his stomach brought on by worry, Bond was pacing the waiting room like a caged lion. Watching him from his nearby chair, Kincade wouldn't have been surprised to hear him roar.

"Sit down, James," Kincade finally said after Bond had walked the room a dozen times. "You need to rest."

"No, Kincade. I know you're worried, but –"

"But nothing, boy; that wasn't a request," Kincade barked, in the voice Bond remembered from his boyhood – the voice that brooked no argument and promised a thump on the head if you talked back. "You keep pacing like that, you'll wear a hole in the floor and I'll be burying you in it. Killing yourself is not going to help Emma, and you know it."

Under any other circumstances, Bond would have smiled at the name Kincade had bestowed upon M, having mistaken the letter as a shortened form of Emma. Only he knew M's true name, which she kept hidden under penalty of death – so to speak, if anybody knew her death glare well. Only he knew that lady was not just a perfect description for M; it was her title. Lady Barbara Mawdsley. Would her name die with her, God forbid? Would he ever get the chance to say her name out loud, to call her by it? Would he ever hold her in his arms again and tell her how much he...

"You love her very much, don't you, son?"

Kincade's voice yanked Bond out of the whirlpool of thoughts he'd allowed himself to be sucked into. "M? Of course I love her; she's my boss."

Kincade smiled knowingly as Bond sat down. Even in the tall, hard-muscled man he now beheld, the groundskeeper from Skyfall still saw the boy he knew long ago. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fooling me twice ain't going to happen, James. When you brought her to Skyfall, I could tell how much you loved her as your boss, but watching you hold her in the chapel, the way you've been pacing and fretting over her ever since we got here... it's a deeper love than just colleagues, isn't it?"

Bond chuckled once without looking up at Kincade. "Jet around the world and people see you through a glass darkly. Come home, and all of a sudden, you're clearer than crystal." He finally turned his eyes to his old friend. "It's bloody insane, Kincade. All the women I've ever been with, and not one of them has ever gotten as close to me as M has. Not even Vesper. It was all just a part of the job, but all I've ever wanted was a woman whom I can respect, who I know won't betray me and..." Here he actually smiled. "Who can give me a kick when I need it."

Kincade's eyes crinkled in a grin. "This is coming from you? The cocky little whelp who bloodied every bully who came his way? Who used to sneak girls off to the woods so he could show off by shooting mistletoe out of the trees and then kiss them under it? You actually want Emma to give you a swift kick?"

"That was always half the fun; our verbal jousting matches. She won every single time, although I'd never have told her. Didn't want her to have the satisfaction of seeing me grovel, which I think she actually knew. She liked that I didn't let things get to me; that's why she promoted me to double-0 status in the first place." Silence passed for a moment, broken only by a sigh from Bond. "I did let one thing get to me."


Bond sighed again and massaged his temples. "I can't lose her, Kincade. I've lost too many already, but to lose someone I love this much..."

Kincade rested a hand on Bond's shoulder. "You don't have a tunnel to hide in anymore, son. All you can do for Emma is hope and pray."

Bond let out a mirthless laugh. "Pray? God didn't save my parents from falling to their deaths in the Aiguilles Rouges; what makes you think he'll save M?"

"Nothing's impossible. I'm just saying you might want to consider your options." Kincade rose from his chair and began shuffling in the direction of the hospital cafe. "I'm off to the cafe for a bit. You want anything?"

"How about a miracle?"

"Don't ask me for that one," Kincade called over his shoulder as he disappeared down the corridor.

All alone, Bond now had time to think about what Kincade had said to him. Pray, of all things. Pray to a God who hadn't saved his parents from death, whom he hadn't prayed to since he was a boy. Was he really that crazy? You're crazy enough to have fallen in love with your boss, an inner voice chided. Crazy times call for crazy measures. Like Kincade said, nothing's impossible. Give it a shot, you arrogant berk. You love M, but would you do anything for her?

Grudgingly, awkwardly, Bond lowered himself out of his chair and down onto his knees on the shining hospital linoleum. If he was going to have a come-to-Jesus meeting, so to speak, he was going to bloody well do it right. "All right," he said, feeling like a total idiot for speaking to empty space, "All right. If you can hear me, I've got a favor to ask. My boss is lying in the emergency room under the knife right now, and she may be dying. If you're as all-powerful and all-loving as those childhood sermons said, you can save her. Do you hear me? I'm begging you; save her! If you need to take somebody, then take me!" Bond was dangerously close to shouting now, tears of grief and rage pouring down his cheeks. "Take my heart, take my very breath, anything! I'll take her place if that's what you want! Just please..." Despair filling him, Bond sobbed quietly, wondering if he'd ever see M alive again. "Please don't take M. I'll die for her; I love her that much. Don't take her, please..."

Then all of a sudden...

"Mr. Bond?"

Cliffhanger! As for the last bit, Bond's never struck me as a religious man, but honestly, if it meant saving the one woman he's ever truly loved, I think he'd pull out all the stops if it meant M had a chance. As Kincade said, nothing's impossible... which is exactly what the angel Gabriel said to Mary. And I think the Lord just might pull off a miracle for Bond... stay tuned and please review!