Genre: Slash, eventually
Word count: 882
They are one step closer to their quarry, but Illya feels a million miles away from his. Written for the Beta Challenge on MFUWSS. Prompt: Ice and Invisible. My thanks to Sparky for her beta.
Illya watched the people come through the gate and was beginning to grow concerned when he saw a familiar shape moving among the crowd. Napoleon exited and nodded to his partner.
“How was your flight?” he asked casually. To anyone around them, it would appear that Illya was simply on hand to greet an old friend.
“The child apparently had an ear infection, a situation compounded by the altitude. The mother was less that sympathetic. I believe her comment to the stewardess was that she should try living with it. I now know why some animals eat their young. He finally fell asleep over Colorado.”
“I had a chatter. All the way across, except when she fell asleep. Then she snored.” Napoleon led the way to baggage claim. Both men approached slowly, scanning the crowd, looking for anything, anyone who might raise a red flag. The area was filled with people coming and going. “I believe we are Carousel Three.”
They stood there, looking for the world like two tired businessmen, blending in easily with everyone else, invisible to most people
“No, surprisingly enough. Napoleon, this club we are going to. What do you know about it? Aside from the name.”
“That’s it.” Napoleon grabbed his suitcase and pointed to Illya’s. “All I know is the name.”
“I don’t mind charge into flaming guns half asleep, but I do half informed. Delno Vickrey is not a man to be trifled with.” Illya caught the handle of his suitcase and pulled it from the belt. “I think some reconnoitering is in order.”
“I agree. I think we would be well advised to check into our hotel and get the charming ladies in Research to chew on it while we get some rest.”
Illya stifled a yawn. “I second that motion.”
The ride to the hotel was uneventful. Napoleon and Illya knew all too well that Vickrey’s men could be anywhere or anyone. They spoke of niceties with the cab driver until they reached their hotel. While Napoleon checked in, Illya studied the layout of the lobby.
It was small, but the Maxwell wasn’t a large hotel. It was a sort of shabby easily over-looked place, just right for hiding in plain sight. The word that came to Illya’s mind was red. Everything was red, the well-trodden carpet, the velvet looking wallpaper and all the furniture. Illya didn’t need to sit in anything to know it was all cut from the same uncomfortable mold. He could spot that type of chair on sight alone.
“We’re on the fifth floor. The elevators are over here.”
There was a car creaking to a halt as they approached and a trio of young girls tumbled out, very excited and enthusiastic about their trip to the City by the Bay. Illya watched Napoleon’s eyes follow them, a slight smile on his lips.
Illya pushed past him and into the car, startling Napoleon, who followed a moment later. “Something wrong?”
“I’m tired. I want to get to the room.” It was not exactly a lie, close enough to the truth. Illya knew Napoleon would never look at him like that and it made him both sad and angry.
“Okay…” Napoleon punched the button and the elevator moaned to life, crawling up the shaft like a man dying of thirst in the desert. “I’m glad Mr. Waverly has his finger on the pulse of cutting edge hotels.”
Illya grinned at that, without meaning to. He stopped when Napoleon frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, really. A dream, that’s all. You were the Cheshire Cat. You smiled just like that and vanished.”
“Not to worry. While I share many traits with cats, being able to vanish with nothing left behind but a smile has still eluded me.”
“I guess this affair just has me on edge. Vickrey is not a man to take lightly.”
Flashes of Napoleon second away from being killed flashed through Illya’s mind. If he’d been only a minute later, Napoleon would have been dead. “Of that I have no doubt.”
The elevator stopped and opened into a red hallway. “They really like red.”
“Indeed they do. What’s the room number?”
“This way.” They walked down the corridor a short distance and Napoleon pointed to a door. “There we are.”
The door opened to reveal a cramped room with barely space enough to walk around the double bed. The bathroom door was ajar and Illya could see the toilet and tub peeking out. “Is this the right room? Didn’t we reserve a large?”
“I think this is what passes as a large room here.” Napoleon eased in and set his suitcase against the wall. “But look, we have a balcony – just big enough for two. That won’t do.”
Illya walked to it and tested the lock. He shook his head. “Just big enough for one of Vickrey’s goons to come in through and shoot us both as we sleep.”
Napoleon sighed. “I’ll call the front desk. Hopefully there will be another room ready.”
“And ask them where the ice machine is.”
Napoleon smiled. “All right. Any other requests?”
Yes, ask them what it’s going to take for you to see me, Illya thought, but he shook his head. “No, that will do for now.”