The young photographer sighed. There were hundreds of people cheering, clapping, swaying. Hundred of people waving cameras, flashes and perhaps, somewhere, evil birds plotting evil tricks. “Perhaps” was the problem. They were watching over the staircase to the Palais du Festival, in Cannes, jurors, actresses, actors, directors parading on the red carpet. “Perhaps”... He shrugged his shoulders. Wrong reports, mistakes.. red herring... They were wasting time and energy... Probably...
“Hey... Young man?”
A man in his fifties, thinning on the top, in a tuxedo was studying him with interest. “ I'm preparing a movie...” He tilted his head. “It's about POW planning to escape from a German camp, during World War II and there is a character...” He bit his lips and nodded, “a young English officer, blond, rather short in stature... You're... you're exactly him...”
But a wave of people was dragging him forward and he just held out a card to the young blond.
The reporter joined the photographer. His clenched jaws betrayed his annoyance. “Nothing. It was a wrong track!” He pointed his chin at the group on the red carpet; “Who was he?”
Illya Kuryakin peeped at the card. “A movie director... John Sturges...”
Napoleon Solo raised an interested eyebrow, “ Sturges? Oh, yes! You saw The Magnificent Seven, last year?”
“The remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai?, yes... not bad.”
Napoleon Solo knew this face. “And? What did he want?”
Illya Kuryakin smiled innocently. “Oh... he just wanted me to play a part in his next movie...”
Balanced knives are undoubtedly the best. You don't have to get used to a balanced knife. It's all about the center of gravity, at the middle, exactly. You can throw it from the handle or from the blade, it doesn't matter.” The man had smiled ironically. “Anyway, you'll kill your opponent.”
But there was no opponent. Just... just a rope.
A rope and a few seconds.
A few seconds and dust devils.
Dust devils blurring his vision.
A rope and his partner. His friend.
A knife. Balanced? Unbalanced?
A deadly rope.
His own skill.
His own will.
And Napoleon's luck.
Everything around me is gray, blurred behind the striped curtain of the rain.
I'm dripping, literally, despite the canopy of tree leaves. My hair are ridiculously flattened. Some tiny torrents are running down my face, my neck, drenching my tie which is spoiling my shirt with bluish snakes, ruining my suit. Will I tell about my shoes? Shoes? No. Muddy sponges.
I hate rain.
You think I'm whining? Yes, I am. In a few minutes, Illya will join me. Muddy, drenched, dripping and... gorgeous. Incredibly gorgeous.
Look. Here he is.
Delightfully drenched, pleasantly muddy, exquisitely dripping...
Illya Kuryakin woke up instantaneously. No one could have guessed it. He kept his eyes closed, controlling his breath. But he was listening.
It was clicking. Clicking and clicking again in a tempo both unpredictable and obviously scheduled.
It was clicking. Sometimes distantly, sometimes close.
It was kind of a metallic scratching. Metallic but smooth. Smooth but threatening.
He felt the familiar hump of his gun under the pillow and prepared himself.
It was clicking.
Illya Kuryakin froze. He knew the sound.
The ominous snip of the scissors.
He woke up in a sweat, damp locks brushing his forehead.
The day before...
“You could do with a haircut, Mr. Kuryakin...”, Alexander Waverly stated, pointing his pipe at his agent's hair.
He stretched slowly, carefully his legs, causing the springs to moan ominously and cursed as his toes hit the metal bars.
The room – a “chambre de bonne”, the old lady said... a “maid bedroom”... -, was slightly smaller than a closet, with a short, narrow, obviously single bed. The woman had pointed at a blanket and a pillow on a chair.
“Un de vous va devoir coucher là...” “One of you will have to sleep here”
Illya, the Russian, his new partner had thanked her in his impeccable French and she had left, adding that the bathroom was at the end of the corridor.
“At least, we won't have to use a “pot de chambre”... A chamber pot...”, Illya stated with an insufferable half smile.
Napoleon rolled his eyes. Apparently his partner was enjoying himself. Though, he was about to suggest they could toss a coin when he realized that Illya had already set up the pillow and the blanket on the chair.
At the moment, Napoleon Solo was fully awake, fighting an irrepressible craving for moving, tossing and turning which he couldn't do because of the squeaking, creaking it would result in.
Of course, there was not even a curtain and the room bathed in the lights of the street.
It would a long night. A very long night.
Icing on the cake, Illya, his partner was soundly asleep, literally spread on the chair, blissfully unaware of the dazzling light, of the uncomfortable position and of his partner's misery.
First he noticed a red rose on his desk. And... a cigar. Then, a Spanish fan...
Though, he smelled a rat... Waverly had called him in, unexpectedly and Illya... Illya had vanished into thin air.
“No, sir, I...”
Icy eyes sparkled through bushy eyebrows. “It's no use arguing, Mr. Solo.”
“But... but I can't sing, sir! I can't perform opera!”
“Right!” Alexander Waverly leaned forward with an evil grin. “But Section 4 – Thanks to Mr Kuryakin – worked out the difficulty. They fashioned a wonderful device. All you'll have to do is...” Evil grin, again, “ ... Miming... You'll be a great Don Jose...”
Thanks to Mr. Kuryakin... Thanks to Mr. Kuryakin... a fuming Napoleon Solo muttered as he was heading to his office. Leaning against the wall, Illya was casually playing with the fan, humming a vaguely familiar melody.
“Illya! What the hell...”
“The Flower Song, Napoleon... La fleur que tu m'avais jetée... The flower that you had thrown me... Don Jose... Eeeeh...” He ducked when the pencil cup came flying at him. “A flower, Napoleon!”
With barely concealed amusement, the Russian leaned forward and studied the amazing injury.
“I'm not sure we'll be able to fix it...” He sighed theatrically. “Stitches? Won't be enough... Though...”, he hesitated, “at the moment...” He grabbed the lips of the wound and joined them not too gently.
“Hey! What are you doing?”
“Take it easy and grit you teeth...”
Illya took a safety pin and stitched up the wound. “At least, it isn't bleeding...”
“This isn't remotely funny! I know this smile of yours and...”
The Russian brushed dust away from the torn pants. “Mr Waverly's gonna love that...”
They peeped at him in a very unpleasant way. Then he saw his reflection in a window pane. He froze. A fuchsia Hawaiian shirt... pink shorts... pink flip flop? A few minutes ago, Wendy had pinned his ID on his gray jacket lapel... He knew it for sure. What the hell...
“Napoleon...”, a familiar voice hissed. He turned to his partner and gasped. Illya was hiding behind the door. He wore white dance tights, blue tee-shirt... ballet shoes, a flower in his hair. He looked desperate.
“Mooooomyyyyy! She took my UNCLE dolls! She dressed them with her Ken's clothes!”
I wrote this drabble for slashthedrabble... last year...
The fight had been merciless. He sat down on the limp body, releasing his wrists.
It was no use.
The man had been defeated. He knew it.
Victory was exciting. He smirked, bending over the man, until his lips brushed the cold temples. The other kept his eyes closed, but he was alive.
His shaking fingers were fighting against belt, buttons. A desperate, vain fight. He cursed.
Suddenly, he found himself lying on the snow. Soft blond locks tickled his face. Blue eyes smiled at him. "Never
Napoleon could defeat a Russian in winter snow. You didn't remember History?"