Sunnydale, December 1998
Oz sniffed the air as he silently opened the front door. Since M had made this a safe house, there had been a total of three agent in last six months that had crashed here; some more quietly than others. There was a new odor in the air, indicating probably another agent needing sanctuary for the night; however, this odor seemed oddly familiar. Granted, it was nothing his wolf recognized, but it was definitely familiar. Deciding that it never hurt to be prepared, Oz slid the green and blue stripped umbrella from the stand by the door. He had yet to try Q’s birthday gift, but from note, he guessed it would be useful.
He dropped his bag on the steps, unfortunately making a thunk that echoed through the silent house. There was a responding noise coming from the living room. As stealthily as he could, he moved to the living room doorway. In a quick movement he opened the umbrella while ducking and rolling away from the door. A dart shot out of the tip and embedded itself in the mantle, a few inches shy of his visitor.
“Now, is that any way to greet your father?” The droll English accent cut across the room.
“Bond!” Oz jumped up, dropping his umbrella shield.
“I swear the Americans have eroded what few sensibilities I put in you, Oz.” Bond smiled. “At least you remembered to lock your front door.”
“It’s good to see you, too.” Oz grinned. “Does that mean I have to replace the skylight again?”
“I still swear that was the CIA, and they’ve paid us back for it. No, I’m perfectly capable of coming through the back door.”
“So what brings you to town? Layover from Bangkok?”
“Actually I’m here on business.” Moving into their familiar pattern, Bond helped himself to a drink from the liquor cabinet while Oz grabbed a drink from the fridge. “MI6 has concerns that a certain safe house on the West Coast may be compromised. She sent me to investigate.”
“Was it San Francisco? I heard they had a mole there.” Oz settled down on the sofa across from Bond.
“Actually, it’s Sunnydale.” Bond slid a single manila folder across the coffee table.
Oz picked it up, and found his school record inside. “I can explain this.” His voice had a studied neutrality that Bond recognized as his poker voice.
“Really? I find it hard to justify failing your final year of high school based on attendance. How do you expect to get into college without a high school degree?”
“Is college really that important? I mean, my music…” Oz trailed off seeing that look on his father’s face that generally meant one more word and you’d be meeting the double-o.
“It’s one thing to fail because of stupidity or inability. You didn’t even try. You may think your music will get you through, but there are hundreds of starving musicians for every one that makes it. You need a back-up plan.”
“What, you expect me to follow in the family business?”
“There are worse things to do than saving the world on a daily basis.” Bond snapped back.
“Yeah, well, maybe I can save the world my own way. I don’t need a diploma from this pathetic school. There are more important things for me to deal with than the French teacher’s ineptness.”
“Speaking of which...” Bond’s tone was just light enough that Oz knew he was really in trouble, as in worse than the time he had accidentally blown up Q’s car. “Why didn’t you tell me about the other things you had to deal with? I’m your father; I’m supposed to know these things.”
“Like it would have helped.” Oz grumbled.
“It could have been a great help when I was shanghaied yesterday first by M,” He nodded at the folder, “and then by Money Penny, wanting to know if you had caught it from Jordy. From the way the woman was ranting, I thought you had contracted Ebola.”
“You know there have been no cases of Ebola in California.”
“No documented cases.”
“You should have told me.”
“You’re right, Bond. I should have submitted a case file every time my girlfriend had to shoot me with tranquilizers to keep me from eating somebody. Agent down, and all that jazz. I’ll write it up in the future. Are you happy? Do you get to stamp Mission Accomplished on my file now?”
“I guess that makes me mission impossible.” Oz sunk back into the sofa, sulking and nursing his bottle of soda.
“No wonder Q says you take after me.” Bond muttered, taking a long sip of scotch. “So, 7.5, I was sent here on a mission, and here it is. M wanted me to deliver this message. Either you come home for Christmas and let her talk you into re-entering high-school next year, or you stay here, she sends agents out to get you, the American house gets repossessed by MI6, and you will be sent to Eton whether you want to or not.”
“I could run away.”
“You could, but that would be incredibly stupid. I guarantee you, it’s impossible to become a notorious rock star while on the run from Interpol.”
“Point. I could disavow any knowledge of this conversation.”
“I have yet to fail at a mission; I doubt M would believe I failed this one.”
‘Two points. I could move in with Ken and Mo.”
“Right, and when Jordy hits puberty, are you planning to battle him for dominance? That’s what male wolves do, after all. I doubt they’d keep you on as a house guest after that.”
“I would have moved out by that time.”
“Point. You could come home for Christmas.”
“Are you going to be there?”
“Whether you’re coming home, too.” Bond smiled at his son.
“Well, I guess it would be wrong not to have snow for the holidays.”
“Indeed, practically an insult to the queen, all this sunshine.”
“When are we leaving?”
“Can’t.” Oz glanced up at the skylight.
“It’s not a full moon.”
“No, but Hannukah starts tonight. I promised Willow I’d stop by and spin the dreidel a bit.”
“Doesn’t her family know you’re not Jewish?”
“They think my name is Oswald.” Oz shrugged. “It’s more to keep up appearances. Besides, Willow was teaching me how to play, and I think I’ve figured out a way to load the dreidels to make a real killing when we challenge her cousins. I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on in the casinos.”
“You don’t think there are dreidel cartels in Monte Carlo?” Bond arched his brow in that way that only three people in the world could tell he was really kidding.
Oz shook his head, trying not to laugh. It was odd that no matter how long they were apart, no one shared his sense of humor quite like his father. “How about we call it my back up plan?”
“Fine, but I’m not going to be the one to tell M; she’s got a wicked left hook.” Bond tapped his nose in memory of old punches.
“Great, so why don’t you hang around a bit, and we’ll leave in eight days?”
“Well, actually, if it will be that long, I may just drive up to San Francisco and check out the house there. A mole you say?”
“How else do you explain 009, the CIA, and the skylight?” Oz winked. He got up from the couch, dropping his empty can in the kitchen’s recycling bin and grabbing his bag by the door. He’d have to leave now if he were to reach Scooby Central on time. He probably should have invited his father along, but he guessed Bond would be more amused trailing him, than actually driving him to the library for the latest apocalypse. After all, what fun would it be if there was no mystery in their relationship? He just hoped Q had taken his suggestions for the holy water lapel pins seriously.
“Is that so? Take care 7.5.”
“You too, 007.”