hypatia_66 (hypatia_66) wrote in section7mfu,

Flames on a train (Great episode challenge. 19 Jan 2018. Adriatic Express Affair, prompt 2)

What was it with Illya and crazy blondes?

Flames on a train

adria142 (1).jpg

Illya hadn’t returned to their compartment after the strange ending to the mission. He had agreed with Napoleon that they should exchange compartments with Eva, to relieve her distress over the death of her employer, and had then disappeared. Not prepared to lower his moral standards by attempting to seduce a nineteen-year-old virgin, Napoleon found himself alone. He had a pretty fair idea of where his partner was, however. Two doors along, bursting into flames with that crazy girl. He seemed to be taken with crazy blondes, or more probably they with him, though not invariably with this kind of success. There had been a moment, not long ago, when it looked likely that Tracey Alexander might have her wicked way with him – but no. Illya couldn’t offer enough money or status for more than a kiss. It seemed he was a bit luckier this time.

Honey was extrovert, excitable, and definitely inflammatory. She had taken the lead earlier, dragging him into her compartment and giving him reason to anticipate closer acquaintance. Her glee when he was upside down outside her window, had almost made him laugh even when in imminent danger of losing his life. So, he hadn’t made any excuses to avoid her.

He tapped quietly on her door, and opening it she beamed and pulled him in. Embracing, let alone removing clothes, is awkward in a rocking train. It forced them first to sit on the bed, and then to find it better still, and more comfortable, to lie on it.

“I didn’t bring any soda.”

He raised himself on one elbow. “Do you want me to stop?”

“Oh no…”

There was a trying interruption at the border when they had to find passports and enough cover to present them in a state of decency. Illya hoped his partner was dealing with the police who had been called to take charge of all the bodies – he didn’t have anything else to do, so it was only fair. The delay was considerable, but Illya and Honey, being otherwise engaged, barely noticed, except that the jerk of the train as it restarted added a certain frisson to the proceedings.

“Was that you, or did the Earth move?”

“Both, I think.”

“Mmm. Good timing. Nice.”

“I aim to please…”

As it grew light they drew the curtain back to watch the landscape of northern Italy becoming visible in pink and gold in the rising sun. It burnished bare skin and blond hair as they looked at each other. There were snow clouds following the train, however, and it was cold.

“I guess we must be approaching Venice; We’d better get up.” Vast experience of being caught without luggage (this time, the bags were back in Vienna) had taught Illya to keep not only his passport with him at all times, but razor, comb and toothbrush, though, as this time, not always all the weaponry. He also had a change of underwear: but not in his pockets; it was in the briefcase he had left with Napoleon. He’d have to slip back to compartment G to retrieve it.

Clean and shaved, he wrapped the somewhat exiguous towel round his hips and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Napoleon was startled to be awoken by a semi-naked vision, tripping over his shoes.

“Grrmm,” he cleared his throat. “Where are we?”

“Approaching Venice. You need to get up.”

Napoleon blinked. “Did you sleep well?” he managed to utter. He’d been up half the night with the police. They were very lucky that the train had been permitted to go on at all since the investigation at the border.

“Sleep? No.” And with that, he was gone again. Napoleon sat up and rubbed his hands over his face and through his hair.

Thankfully, his own story to the police had passed muster. After all, Napoleon hadn’t actually seen the chauffeur die, nor had he been there when Dr Ingster was killed. His presence at the death of Madame Nemirovitch was merely as a witness to what looked like a heart attack. He told them that she had been very upset about her chauffeur and wondered if that was what had brought it on. She had a gun? Well, goodness. He had no idea what might have possessed her to shoot Dr Ingster. Careful coaching of Eva had ensured the same story, so the baffled police let them return to their compartments. The smartly-dressed American hadn’t seemed a likely candidate for arson either. The scene in the baggage car was beyond them. They would have preferred to leave it to the rail company to deal with, but the damage was all-too-clearly criminal. The simplest explanation was that the chauffeur was trying to steal from the luggage and Dr Ingster had found him (or vice versa), they had fought, started a fire, and everything had got out of hand. That would cover everything.

It was unfortunate for the distraught lady concerned, that Illya’s return over the very short distance between the two compartments coincided with her decision to go to the dining car. At least this male body was alive; it was just – there hadn’t been many unclothed men in her life, and there was so much more than she was expecting, so the shriek she started to utter modified to a coo of appreciation. Illya slid past her with an apologetic grimace and slipped into Honey’s compartment again.

“We’ll go and join Napoleon and Eva, shall we?” he said, pulling trousers on. “We can order champagne for breakfast.”

“Great idea, lead me to it.” No longer attired for carefree hippydom, Honey had tied her hair back and was dressing once more in the demure suit she had worn for travelling. “Will you be staying in Venice, Illya?”

“Not for long, I’m afraid. We didn’t plan on being on this train. But we’ll be here till tonight, I guess.”

“Great! Here, take the address of my hotel – it’s right near the station.”

Napoleon had already ordered champagne, and he and Eva were drinking it. The snow clouds had caught up and they were watching snow falling outside the window. When Illya and Honey joined them, Napoleon observed with interest (and a certain irritation) that while a sleepless night had done him very little good, Illya didn’t appear to have suffered at all. Bright as a button. He looked extremely pleased with himself, and was smiling mischievously. Little rat.

They were on the causeway that took the railway line across the lagoon into Santa Lucia station, and there was water either side of the train. Venice in snow looked magical – but also very cold. There was a frigid wind blowing straight off the Dolomites.

Well, whatever his partner was going to do before the three of them caught the night train back to Vienna, he’d have to at least give Eva a good time, even if she preferred a gondola to a speedboat. A gondola in snow? Surely they didn’t operate in winter? He shuddered and sincerely hoped not. A vaporetto down the Grand Canal would be less romantic than a gondola, not as fast as a speedboat, but a lot warmer than either. It would take them as far as they wanted to go.
Tags: almost het, episode_challenge, illya, napoleon
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