hypatia_66 (hypatia_66) wrote in section7mfu,

ABC Affair II. E -Edinburgh

Tartan. kennedy-ancient-10oz-wool-tartan-swatch_lg.jpg
The Kennedy tartan

Illya found he was talking to himself and, feeling a little foolish, looked around for his partner who was nowhere to be seen. The Royal Mile was far from crowded just at the moment but, judging from the general lack of interest around him, nothing untoward appeared to have happened so he retraced his steps.

He had reached Canongate so presumably Napoleon was still in High Street somewhere. Illya peered into some of the shops and was attracted into one that sold tartans by the strange attitude an assistant appeared to have adopted. He seemed to be bent deferentially listening to someone out of sight. “I might have known it,” Illya grumbled, hearing his partner’s genial tones coming from behind a curtain. “What is it about Americans and tartan?”
The assistant looked round at the new customer. “I’ll be with you in a trice, sir. I am assisting another gentleman in the changing cubicle just now.”

“I’m in no hurry,” said Illya and smiled a little.

“Is it a tartan you’re looking for?” the assistant asked, since his other customer also appeared to be in no hurry.

“Not really,” said Illya. “I doubt whether you would have anything relating to my family name.”

“Is that so? May I ask what that is, sir?” His face fell on hearing it. “Och, no, I fear not. Do you have roots in Scotland, at all?”

Illya shook his head, disappointing the assistant. The customer’s clean, shiny, blond, collar-length hair seemed to give him pain, too. His own Scottish thatch was brutally shaved up the back of his head, leaving a thick mass of reddish hair which had been allowed to continue in existence provided it was kept firmly under presbyterian control with hair oil. He watched the young man surreptitiously. This foreign hippy might need to be watched – you never knew what they might try to get up to – that superficially inoffensive appearance might be a disguise for who knew what. In this, if in nothing else, he was right, though Illya was unlikely to tell him so.

“I think your other customer is a friend of mine,” was all Illya said in explanation for his incursion. With that, Napoleon came out of the cubicle with a flourish and, swaying, made his kilt dance out from his hips as to the manner born. Illya closed his eyes to this horror.

“How about it, Illya? Suits me, don’t you think?”

Illya opened one eye. Napoleon was still wearing his own short socks, rather than the long hairy ones that ought to cover the lower male leg and looked absurd, though thankfully he hadn’t been offered a sporran to complete the outfit. “Do you really want to know?” he asked.
At the expression on Napoleon's face, Illya relented a little. “Well, as long as you’re not too traditional about underwear,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not supposed to wear any – as I understand it.”

Napoleon blanched. “No, no,” said the assistant, “that’s an old traditional more honoured in the …ah… breach, if you’ll pardon the pun, than in the observance.” His customers absorbed that in silence.

“So, what about a tartan for you?” said Napoleon.

“No thanks. How did you find that one, anyway?”

“Och, now, he chose the Kennedy tartan,” said the assistant. “Couldn’t be better. You, sir, might like to try the Edinburgh tartan – unless you have a preference for a Scottish name…” and he flicked through swatches of colourful material relating to Mac this, or Mc that.

“I think I’ll pass, thank you,” said Illya firmly. “Are you going to change out of that thing?” he said, addressing Napoleon who was preening himself in a cheval glass. “We haven’t much time and I’m not walking through Edinburgh with you looking like that.”

The assistant gathered up his swatches and retired behind the counter, offended.

“What time are we due at the Palace?” said Napoleon, suddenly.

“In about twenty minutes.”

Napoleon disappeared in a rush. The assistant, now intrigued, asked, “Would that be Holyrood Palace?”

“Is there any other here?”

“Is it Her Majesty you’re seeing?”

Illya smiled. “If she’s in,” he said ambiguously.

Tags: abc affair ii, gen, illya, napoleon
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