blini n. Russian hotcake.
crumpet n. soft, rounded, muffin-like British delicacy.
And in the moments that followed, he deployed it—a diabolical incendiary device that originated somewhere in the distant shadows and slid ominously; almost undetectably towards its target. Clinging below the ridge of his dramatically lowered brow it tracked smoothly on until, in one shimmering wave of energy, it emerged like the blast from a fully fed furnace..smouldering, white hot; intense.
The effect was immediate. Napoleon buckled under the weight of that devastating glare and suddenly felt compelled to inspect the ground around his feet.
"This is serious!" growled Illya. It was clear he didn't appreciate his partner's "make a souffle" response to the previous question.
The two lapsed back into silence.
The mid morning light enveloped the Russian—his icy snow queen complexion, a delicate white-out broken only by small points of sharp, sable tinged sideburn and vividly divided by slick, black, knife edge frames. ..The whole affair fading into his hairline, a silky mop of carelessly arranged blonde pashmak.
The last mission had gone badly and covers were blown, forcing the subsequent use of an intermediary on whom they now depended to deliver the codes. Never one to sit back and cool his heels, Illya felt uncomfortable. He much preferred to be in the thick of the action, making decisions and influencing the outcome of unfolding events.
He tilted his head sideways and stretched his spine into a long arch to ease the tension in his neck. This made his paperfold collar sit bent up at odd angles, like a squashed origami beetle. The rest of his shirt imitated a thickly swirled meringue—all glossy white folds and arctic shadows.
With the wave of impatience spreading, Kuryakin started pacing back and forth across the room. As he did so, the rippling trouser fabric painted around neatly formed hips gave an impression of sculpture in motion. This point was not lost on Napoleon who was becoming increasingly hypnotized by the creases hugging Illya's thighs and the way they deepened rhythmically around his legs with each stride. He was somewhat relieved when his partner finally planted himself on the table edge.
"We should have insisted on a meeting closer to the drop-off point. That way we could tell if the source has been compromised" Illya concluded.
The drop-off point was The Khabarovsk, which had a history as a vodka drenched, Sino/Soviet hole-in-the-wall that traded tea and secrets, on more than one occasion, for the price of a human life.
"We won't gain anything by changing plans at this stage" observed Napoleon. "At least wait until the contact arrives...and he's not due for another hour".
The comment, though logical, did little to allay his partner's concerns. As the Russian's brain ticked over his index finger, which at first rested pensively on the centre of his mouth, started tracing the edges of his lips.
Napoleon was entertained once more. The deeper Illya descended into thought, the more exploratory the finger's journey became. It didn't help that his tongue had joined the expedition, catching and sliding under the finger at each pass.
The distraction finally proved too much for Solo and he moved to stand directly in front of the Russian. A second or two elapsed as he considered his approach and then gently removed the wandering finger from its former abode. Looking straight into his partner's eyes, he sank the digit into the warm, wet recess of his own mouth, wrapping it in a soft, velvety sheath from base to tip as he withdrew.
Illya's eyes widened. He searched the American's face for clarification; an exercise that was problematic to say the least.
Napoleon had an arsenal of interpersonal mechanisms, designed to daze and confuse; a brilliant combination of form and purpose which worked to disarm his chosen target entirely. One could lean in to the inky sensuality of his eyes, but before falling completely, be caught by the play of brow above. They wrote his reactions as expressively as the bold strokes of a calligraphy brush and, when pinched above his nose, displayed an innocent, pleading quality.
His smile was broad and easygoing though a momentary flash of dimple often (as it did now) suggested a hint of impish intent.
This was the clue Illya had sought and, detecting the self-satisfied expression, snapped into gear. He opened his mouth to object but before a word could emerge, reached out, grabbed the knot of Napoleon's tie and yanked it forwards bringing the wearer with it.
The American's lips landed fully on his partner's. Any trace of smugness disappeared from his face instantly and the previously flirtatious brows shot skywards. Without any warning he found his mouth filled with Illya's tongue in a deep, gyrating kiss.
The Russian now worked his own daze-and-confuse strategy for all it was worth. With a firm hand and almost bruising pressure, he levered his partner's shoulder away, turning him around and back onto the table. Amidst the commotion, a container toppled and pencils tumbled out, scattering in all directions.
Napoleon barely had time to breathe before he gasped at the new sensation of Illya's hands travelling along the warmth of his inner thighs, over his rapidly tightening crotch and further up across his heaving chest. They finally came to rest on either side of the American. The rest of the Russian followed and he sat back on his heels, knees astride his quarry.
"Looking straight into his partner's eyes" Illya loosened the buckle of his belt and eased it through the loops. Napoleon lifted his head and watched as the last of the leather tongue flicked out with a smooth "thwack!", then fell back and closed his eyes. He wasn't sure if it was the irony or sheer bliss but a little smile escaped the corner of his mouth.
Oh Napoleon, never mind Waterloo, this was defeat over the table, Suite 42!
Meanwhile, across town.........
If the basement workshop had a soundtrack, it was the cadence of sanding and planing that regularly filled it. Today however, there was an added melody; the voice of Dr. Donald Mallard in full narrative flight. "Ducky" was a storyteller for the ages; a virtuoso of the anecdotal scenario and misunderstood in his own time by those who would devalue the traditional art, were poor listeners, or did not have an extra hour to spare.
Gibbs could have counted himself amongst the latter, most days; yet looked forward to a Mallard recitation whenever circumstances allowed.
This one concerned the case they were working on when he had just met the good doctor. He broke into a smile here as he remembered the moment he first saw Duck conversing cheerfully, as he often did, with the severed limb (all that remained) of a recently deceased client.
The doctor finished his story, suddenly becoming aware of the one-sidedness of the discussion. This was not out of character for his friend though he did wonder if he had anything to say in light of current, more personal events. One thing was certain. There would be no comment until Gibbs was ready.
The service liked their leads hot and their operatives cold, and they had their man in J. L. Gibbs, a prickly mix of clear cut decisiveness and stubborn resolve. He was cool under pressure and his read-and-respond time in any field encounter was without match.
To the uninitiated, those who'd never been in the department mystery chair on the pointy end of a Gibbs interrogation, his smiling eyes and faint air of bemusement gave an almost kindly impression.
Duck sat perched on the edge of a rough wooden chair, nursing a cup of hot liquid. It was obvious that his host was not familiar with the finer points of tea making. On the other hand, sipping the crude teabag brew from a paint spattered mug, amongst the clutter of tins, tools and wood shavings (Gibbs' private world) had its own charm.
During a pause that was too long to be comfortable, the doc raised the mug again. While his face remained turned to the cup, his eye followed Gibbs as he moved around, inspecting the boat hull, seeking any discernable clue to his thinking. Was he having second thoughts since those first awkward moments? Had it been a mistake?
Life had mellowed the doctor's countenance though the softening of his features worked like an exquisitely ornate frame, leading the viewer in to his still sumptuous blue eyes.
Duck held his silence for a few moments longer then decided to end the standoff as painlessly as possible. "Well, Jethro, I should get these signatures into the office" he announced. "Thank you for the tea".
Standing up, he took one last swig from the mug, gathered the pages and threw his jacket over his arm. In an attempt to make a graceful exit, he offered an impromptu report on the state of the city's traffic flow as he moved towards the stairs.
"At least I missed the standard gridlock this morning. Did you know that, for some reason, the trip is always quicker on a Thursday...I have my own theory on this......"
The years had transformed his voice from the sharp clarity of youth by laying down tone in translucent veils which, in combination, suggested the textural complexity of a symphonic score.
Jethro saw that one of the papers lay under the chair and, seizing the opportunity, scooped it up and moved towards Duck. Handing it over, he looked into the doctor's face for the first time since he'd arrived. Perhaps the return gaze of those round, cerulean eyes was what he'd been avoiding.
The doc was still mid sentence in the traffic report when Gibbs leant close and then continued on past his face, until his mouth rested beside Ducky's ear. The tickle of warm breath made the words trail off and after a brief silence he became aware of Jethro's voice flooding his ears as he whispered, almost inaudibly, something so deliciously vulgar that he dropped the papers and jacket where he stood.
Turning his head to follow the sound, Duck found the agent's lips and covered them with his own, still moist and hot from the tea. The effect was a full, pliant, almost buttery meld. Gibbs was hungry! He shifted his face back a little to view the source of his pleasure and placed a hand lightly under Duck's jaw. The doctor felt a momentary hint of fear, a reflex linked to the knowledge that his partner was a trained killer, as Jethro ran his hand downwards, fingers stroking either side of his neck.
Gibbs moved on, this time sliding his hand between brace and shirt, running down between the two... smooth elastic pressure revealing the form beneath.
Ducky watched the hand descend and as his eyes lowered, the corner of his mouth curled into a wry smile. This agent may have been good at hiding his thoughts but there was no mistaking the message delivered by his straining jeans fly.
Jethro walked Ducky backwards until the wall stopped them and ran his fingers along the band of the doc's pants, looking to relieve the burgeoning tension. He found his mark and the M.E. drew a sharp breath which condensed into a rich throaty moan.
As Gibbs dropped to the ground before him, Ducky realised his powers of controlled, analytical description, the legacy of a rigorous Oxbridge drilling, were simply falling away. At that moment he reached up and pulled the most visceral imagery into focus...colours bursting, melting flesh, streaks of neon tracery, slipping fingers, fluid tongues...lurid, hot and sweet!