He's had this nightmare before.
It was the hallway of a very grand town-house, an embassy perhaps, and a wide staircase led up under a spangled chandelier to where the butler was standing at the door of the drawing-room, from which came the murmur of a large crowd of guests.
A silly one, not really a true nightmare, but a bachelor's nightmare. Moreover, a bachelor who does not enjoy gaudy scenes--
Tracy, in oyster satin, was on his arm... Bond was dressed in tails (where in the hell had he got those from?), and the wing collar stuck into his neck below the chin. He was wearing his medals, and his order as CMG, on its blue and scarlet ribbon, hung below his white tie.
--or attention. He dreamt it on the Swissair flight from Zürich to London--a subconscious reaction to a genuine marriage proposal. The actual wedding did not resemble the nightmare. It was a small civil ceremony with only Marc-Ange and the Head of Station M in attendance. Bond wore no tails, no medals, no ribbons, and Tracy, gratefully, did not look like a clipping from a bridal magazine. Save for a few excesses on the parts of the guests and the Consul General's wife, the wedding was everything a secretive bachelor like Bond could hope for.
But this nightmare did not reflect reality. Nor, as Bond and his bride stepped through the drawing-room door, did it even reflect its predecessor, for the drawing-room was a morgue.
Bond stopped in the doorway, his feet sticking to the floor like the hoofs of a reluctant horse, for there were so many he recognized, and all of them dead. He saw Quirrel, a smoldering body of scorched flesh; he saw Tilly, still haughty and authoritative, but with her head slung back at a limp, unnatural angle. He felt himself unwillingly dragged deeper inside the morgue and saw, laying stiffly on a stretcher, Vesper Lynd in an endless sleep. He leant over her, examining her face, and the lids that he never thought would open again did. The deep blue eyes stared lifelessly at him. Her straight torso moved up like the lever and her face turned robotically, watching him as he was pulled deeper and deeper, staring, horrified, at the woman he once thought he would marry. Bride and groom came to a stop. Bond pulled his eyes away from Vesper, turned his face towards the altar, towards the two people standing on the steps above them--
--his blue, frozen tongue protruding grotesquely out of his lips, caked with frost, and a rope hung round his neck; she tried to stand on broken, bloody legs, the one side of her face scratched clean of skin by the jagged edge of the mountain--
--his parents, Andrew and Monique Bond. James turned, ran down the aisle made for him by his dead. Tracy was not by his side; she stood at the doorway, waiting for him, patiently. He was going to take her out of here. They would marry someplace else. But he stopped in front of her, horror slowly overcoming his face. He reached for her veil, pulled it from her face. And there she was, his beautiful, young bride, red hair framing the exquisite, smiling face marred only by a single, draining bullet hole in the temple.
Bond wakes, groaning, in a sweat.
No. That was the past. He cannot change it. He must accept it. He must move on. But he's been moving on for years. He still hasn't found a way to stop his dead from haunting him.Quotes in italic come from On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming.