Word Count: 787
My thanks to everyone who helped me clean this up over on MFUWSS, where the current chapter can be read here.
The nightclub was a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes.
Illya held onto Lean as he felt the man start to wobble. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, these heels are just a bit higher than I’m used to.” At Illya’s double take, he laughed. “Got you! You think everyone here is gay, don’t you?”
Illya smirked, “You say that like it’s a bad thing, but no, I do not. However, I’m going to wager that a good number of people here are. Do you know what Delno Vickrey looks like?”
“I studied his photo, yeah, although with the lighting, he might be hard to spot… if he’s here at all.”
“Do you want a drink?” Illya guided Lean to a small table.
“On, off, we would look odd to be at a nightclub without something. Wait here.” Illya squared his shoulders and headed for the bar. He was wedged in between a young man who was wearing just a bit too much cologne and a… person, although Illya would be hard pressed to go any further than that. Various employees roamed the club, dressed as Alive in Wonderland characters while above their heads, a giant Cheshire cat, its animatronic tail swished now and again, making the platform it rested upon swing lazily back and forth.
Then he saw him and instantly spun back to face the bar.
What the hell was he doing here? The tall Russian stopped just inches from Illya and the bartender nodded, acknowledging him curtly. He bent and pulled out a bottle of vodka. Grigory reached past Illya, grabbed the bottle and moved away, brushing against Illya as he did. Thankfully Grigory didn’t realize it was him and left, disappearing into one of the many nocks and crannies the nightclub offered.
The bartender set his drinks down and Illya dropped a bill on the bar, scooped up the glasses and headed back for their table.
There was a group of people crowded around their table. “There you are,” Lean said, overly animated. “All these sweet, sweet boys thought I was without an escort.”
“Never fear, I am your knight in shining armor.” He set down the drinks and rolled his shoulders. “Anyone care to joist with me?” The crowd dispersed and Illya moved his chair around so his back was to the dance floor.
“It’s going to be rather hard to see someone staring at the wall. Well, Mazel Tov, Happy Birthday, Joyous Noel, pick one.” Lean sipped. “What the hell is this?”
“A White Hare. It seemed appropriate.” Illya tasted his drink and pushed it aside. “I’d opt out if I were you.”
“I just saw someone who couldn’t possibly be here.”
“How long have you been an agent?” Illya longed to tip back his drink, but the bartender was far too long out of his sight to trust the drinks. “And you still believe in coincidence? You are right. The people out here are different.”
“Maybe he’s just visiting.”
“The man I know doesn’t have two cents to rub together. He gets by mooching off of his friends.”
Illya held the drink to his mouth and quickly scanned the room. “The tall man over by the mushroom. The last times I saw him, he was passed out on my couch.”
“And how long have you been an UNCLE agent? You let someone stay in your apartment? Alone?”
“I’ve known him since college.”
“Who better to pick as your nemesis than a friend?”
“I can’t… I won’t believe that?”
“You’d better because if I’m not mistaken, he’s chatting up our THRUSH friend and they look very comfortable with each other.”
Illya closed his eyes, saying a silent prayer then berating himself for being taken as a fool. “Napoleon needs to know this.”
“Well, he’s listening to every word we’re saying, so he probably already knows.” Lean sat up. “Look out here he comes.” He grabbed Illya by the lapels and pulled him in close, kissing the surprised Russian before he even had a chance to protest.
“Get a room,” Grigory snapped. “We don’t like that sort of thing here.” Thankfully he moved off without pausing.
Illya pulled away and looked at Lean as if he were trying to decide whether to punch the agent or grab him for another kiss.
Instead, he turned, shielding his communicator from view. “Open channel D. We have a problem, Napoleon.
Napoleon? Napoleon? Are you there?”
Napoleon’s communicator on the bench seat of the car sat lonely and seemingly forgotten, but its owner was nowhere to be seen. A hand reached in and picked it up, then dropped it to the ground and crushed it beneath his heel. Everything was going exactly to plan.