Somewhere on the French coast, in a dark starlight night, two enemies stood close together.
“What have I ever done to offend you so, Sir Percy? We may be on different sides, but I did not think you held enough hatred in your entire body to actually consider sending me to my death,” drawled Chauvelin.
“To your death? Never, my good citoyen,’ Percy exclaimed as he finished tying the Frenchman's hands behind his back. He could feel Percy's warmth on his back even though his cloak. The man was standing entirely too close to him, Chauvelin decided.
“You know what citoyen Robespierre threatened to do should I fail to capture you and bring you to justice, my Pimpernel. I know you know it, as you were there in the room at the time, wearing one of your ridiculous disguises.” As Percy walked around to face him Chauvelin tried the ropes- damn it, no give at all.
“Ah, true, I do know that. But what you do not know my Chauvelin, is that that citoyen Robespierre will be entirely too busy by the time you return, and he shall sorely need your help.” If Chauvelin could have wiped the grin of that face-
“Your Chauvelin? Truly Sir Percy, I do not know whether I’m more surprised at your audacity to think me anything of yours, or the fact that you have actually managed to remember my name!” He tried to sound condescending, but his tone betrayed the surprise he felt.
A glint in Percy’s eyes was the only clue that betrayed any feeling besides glee, but Chauvelin thought it might be a happiness, or perhaps excitement, that he saw in his old enemy’s eyes.
“If that is your concern, my citoyen, then I shall not regale you with what is happening in Paris even now–” Percy leaned in so close that they were almost touching, the grin on his face still annoyingly smug.
“Please do not tell me, I dread to think what madness you might have inflicted on our beloved Paris this time,” Chauvelin interrupted. That horrid Englishman truly had no concept of personal space.
His grin almost extending into a full smile, Percy cupped a warm hand around Chauvelin’s chin (too warm too close) and continued anyway: “–Shush citoyen, let me finish. As for your name, you’ve probably guessed that I know your name quite well. Indeed, how could I think of so many different names to call you without knowing the real name with which they should match?”
Seeing Chauvelin’s eyes narrow he continued: “As for why I called you mine: perhaps it’s wishful thinking of me– certainly it’s quite arrogant isn’t it?” As he said it he let go of Chauvelin, who could not repress a shiver as the touch left his skin, and cold night air rushed to fill it’s warm place. An almost hungry look crossed Percy’s face then, too quick to see in the dark night.
“You see, my dear, the answer is also the answer to your original question. I do not hate you.” Another almost-hungry look, this time impossible to miss even in the dark. This one went all the way down Chauvelin’s body and back up, and ended up lingering on his eyes. “In fact, I find myself fascinated by you, by your tenacity, and by your inability to give up. It’s admirable.”
“Admirable??” He must have misheard– perhaps he’d been drugged. Perhaps it was something to do with how close they were standing.
“Quite so!” Percy took a pocket watch from underneath his cloak, and squinted at it, trying to see the time with what light moon and stars provided. “I’m afraid I must be off now, my citoyen, the tides wait for no man, and I must be in England tomorrow.”
As he looked up from his timepiece a thought seemed to strike him. All the warning Chauvelin received was the small smile that tugged at Percy’s lips. Then those lips were on his own.
For a moment he froze, lips impossibly warm against his own night-cold skin.
Then the feeling was gone, and Sir Percy Blakeney ran off into the night, leaving Chauvelin’s mind spinning in wild circles of too-warm-too-close-not-enough —
His thoughts only barely stopped spinning when his soldiers finally found him.