Kuryakin, again in his role as a gondolier, was dressed in the traditional black and white striped shirt, black trousers and the ribboned straw hat. He was rowing along the Grand Canal in Venice, with Napoleon as his sole passenger. He had just finished tying the colorful bandana around his neck after wiping the perspiration from his brow. Rowing wasn't an easy job, given his demanding passenger...
It was "Illya stop rowing, Illya row faster, Illya turn around do this, do that."
To keep his cover, Illya was singing in Italian. Like any good gondolier; he chose a popular a song about a blonde woman who becomes very tired while on her boat ride, and falls asleep in the gondolier's arms. It happened because of the relaxing movement of the boat, the water, and the soothing voice his singing. A white cloud covered a half moon, and there was a gentle breeze as he felt the movement of the woman's hair against his breast. It was quite a romantic song as well as a pleasant thought for Kuryakin, given his unpleasantness at the moment.
Illya's voice wasn't strong, but it was clear and most importantly, unlike Solo's voice, was always on key.
"La biondina in gondoeta l'altra sera gò menà dal piasser ea povareta la s'à in in bota indormensà. La dormiva su sto bresso, mi ogni tanto la svegliava e la barca che minava la tornava a indormensar…"
"Biondina in gondoéta. Nice choice of songs ,tovarish," Napoleon took a moment to look away from his observing their target through his binoculars.
"But your accent...she'sa not so gooda, il mio paisan."
"Excuse me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my accent. When a person is singing, accent comes very little into play, my intonation and Venetian dialect are perfect. And you have a nerve questioning my accent when your French one is always so awful!"
Napoleon snickered, satisfied that he'd completely annoyed his partner.
There was nothing wrong with Illya's accent at all, but the American was just in the mood to give his all too serious friend a bit of ribbing.
In truth, Napoleon was bored as this assignment was going nowhere. Their target just wasn't doing anything questionable at all, much less nefarious. He was just taking a stroll and not interacting with anyone.
"This looks like a dud,"Napoleon said as he looked through the binoculars again.
The man was merely suspected of being in cahoots with THRUSH, but so far there was no proof and probably wouldn't be.
"Say Illya, when you row a gondola on the lovely
Venetian canals you don't get seasick? Yet you do everywhere else we go on the water. How is that?"
Napoleon thinking he was being cute, made the boat rock back and forth.
At this point Kuryakin had ceased his singing. His nostrils
flared at his partner's unwelcome badgering.
Illya was in fact nauseous, but not enough that he felt like being sick. His concern at the moment was their assignment. Napoleon was right in that it was going nowhere.
The Russian smiled inwardly, wondering whether to vomit on his partner or toss him into the dirty canal.
He decided neither and choosing to ignore Napoleon, Illya began to sing instead.
"Let's call it a day tovarisch," Napoleon finally said. "This
assignment is a bust, plus I've had enough of your singing
for the day."
That did it. Illya spread his legs apart, taking a wide stance
to keep his balance as he forced the gondola to violently
heave to one side.
Napoleon grabbed hold, hanging on for dear life as he fell backwards.
"Illya what the hell are you doing!"
Solo lost his grip and went over the side, but Illya apparently rocked the boat a little too much. He
lost his balance and went into the drink as well.
Two heads finally broke the surface of the water, sputtering as they splashed about before latching onto the boat.
"Why did you do that?" Napoleon demanded after spitting out a mouthful of water. The look on his face was one of pure disgust at the taste.
Illya said nothing as he hiked himself into the boat; he was annoyed with himself that his actions had backfired on him.
Napoleon followed suit, pulling himself up with a grunt.
If it wouldn't have resulted in them going into the water again he would have slugged his partner.
"ACHOO!" Illya gave the loudest sneeze Solo had ever heard.
Napoleon smiled his satisfaction upon hearing that. Illya was prone to colds and it served him right getting one for what he'd done.
"Thanks Mother Nature,' he smiled his satisfaction upon hearing that sneeze.
As soon as he thought that, guilt immediately set in. If he hadn't zinged it to Illya then the Russian wouldn't have gotten angry et cetera, et cetera.
"Illya, sorry for the ribbing. I guess I let it get out of hand."
"I too am sorry for the dunking."
"Tell you what tovarisch, you sit down, and I'll row the boat to the dock. We need to get you...and me into some dry clothes. Can't have you getting sick while we're in Venice. There's too many balls we could attend, and a lot of ladies who need romancing. That is, since our assignment seems to be at an end."
Napoleon grabbed the rowing oar and tossed a blanket to his shivering partner.
Kuryakin nodded his thanks as he wrapped the blanket around his shoulders.
"You realize that this was a new suit I was wearing," Napoleon said.
"So the water's ruined it, and I'm putting it on your expense account instead of mine."
Illya shrugged his indifference.
"ACHOO!" This time it was Napoleon who sneezed.