~ * ~ * ~
"This is insane."
Illya Kuryakin sighed impatiently, his mind already analyzing the situation. "Thrush plots usually are."
"Hang on, I think I see something..."
Illya listened intently while his partner scrambled forward through the inky darkness. He could see the tiny pinprick of light too now, but given their situation, it was most likely—
"Damn!" Napoleon Solo pounded his fist against the unseen barrier. "Wait...the light's over there, too."
"The effort is useless, Napoleon," Illya told him. "The reflections will only confuse us. We will have to feel our way out."
"Great," came the muttered reply.
More sounds of shuffling ensued as Napoleon started moving again. Illya holstered his weapon and followed suit, fingers sliding along the cool surface in front of him until he came to a corner—that led to an opening which led to another corner that led to another opening—and so on, until Illya was entirely disoriented. He stopped and listened. Nothing.
"Napoleon? Where are you?"
"Over here." The words echoed off the jumble of makeshift barricades, making it difficult to pinpoint his exact location.
"Did you find a way out?"
"Not yet. Tell me again how we wound up here?"
Illya snorted softly. "We were chasing a clown."
"Aren't we supposed to chase Thrush agents?" Napoleon's voice sounded even farther away.
Illya stopped, rolling his eyes. "Has the absence of light impaired your ability to reason?"
Soft chuckling. "No, just my sense of humor."
"Kind of reminds me of New Year's Eve, though..." Napoleon's unfinished thought hung in the air, teasing.
A smile tugged at Illya's lips. New Year's Eve. The citywide blackout had lasted for hours. Oh, the things they'd done to keep warm while welcoming in the new year...
Shaking off the provocative memories, Illya resumed his tactile exploration, but his own efforts to find an exit proved just as unsuccessful. The maze appeared to be endless. He was about to call out to Napoleon again when he heard the distinct sound of another person close by, shuffling softly. Grabbing his Walther, he froze and waited, only to relax moments later when the scent of Napoleon's expensive after-shave tickled his nostrils. Roaming hands soon made their way round the corner, latching on to the first thing they encountered.
"That is not a doorknob!" Illya gasped.
The hand continued to grope his groin, squeezing curiously. "Apparently not."
The smile in his voice made Illya grit his teeth. "Napoleon!"
Lips descended, finding their target with unerring accuracy even in the dark, and for a moment, Illya couldn't resist their lure. He kissed back, countering his lover's tender touch with the fierceness of his own sudden arousal. When Napoleon tried to pull him into an embrace, though, Illya pushed away.
"We're wasting time; we need to get out of here."
"You're right." Napoleon's tone was now entirely businesslike. "And I've had just about enough of this place. Cover your head."
Illya barely had time to get the question out before he was spun around and pulled against Napoleon, who covered both their heads with one arm. The sound of gunfire and shattering debris startled Illya then, the noise magnified by the close quarters. He could feel the Walther's kickback right through the layers of flesh and clothing as Napoleon emptied his clip in the opposite direction.
When Illya finally opened his eyes again, he saw dim shafts of light poking through the numerous bullet holes.
"Well, what do you know...an outside wall."
"You'll forgive me if I don't applaud," Illya snapped, shaking glasslike shards from his hair, but Napoleon wasn't listening. The senior agent was already moving to inspect his handiwork. A few well-aimed kicks knocked out a portion of the wall large enough for them to squeeze through, and minutes later they were outside in the humid early morning air, staring at the dead body of a clown lying on the midway grass.
Napoleon tsked. "I think Clancy's going to be late for work tomorrow."
Illya rolled his eyes again. Only Napoleon Solo could manage to solve their immediate problem and get the bad guy all in one dramatic act. "Mr. Waverly will not be pleased. You destroyed the carnival's House of Mirrors."
"Ah, who needs mirrors anyway."
Illya's eyebrows rose in a flash, his head cocking slightly as he shot his partner a dubious look.
Laughing, Napoleon took the cue, feeling along the side of his head. "Is my hair okay?"
~ * ~ finis ~ * ~