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Alex is seriously considering dislocating his thumb to slip the cable tie on his wrists when the door to the room he is shut in opens and another person is shoved in, the door shut again.

“Fancy seeing you here,” he says to the newcomer, looking him up and down. A sharp, classically cut black suit, white shirt, black tie, all of them very flattering on the man’s lithe form. Alex cocks his head to the side and enjoys the view because why not?

“Hello, Alex,” Yassen replies from where he’s sprawled on the floor, tipping his head so that it rests on the wooden floor, looking at Alex upside down.

“They got your feet too, huh?” Alex gestures to Yassen’s feet, bound with a zip tie, like his. “Gotta hand it to them, they’re pretty thorough.”

Yassen hums and sits up, gracefully, his hands bound behind his back. He swivels around to face Alex as if they are simply sitting opposite one another in a café.

“Nice suit,” he replies a propos nothing. “Who’s your tailor?”

“A lady in St. Tropez. Yours?”

“Saville Row, actually.”

“Very… MI6 of you.” Alex grins.

Yassen looks towards the ceiling with a long-suffering expression.

“Can you give me a hand?”

“I’d love to but as you can see, I’m a bit tied up at the moment.”

“Just turn around and get one of my cufflinks,” Yassen orders and spins on the wooden floor until he has his back to Alex.

Alex complies, turning around and scooting closer, reaching blindly for Yassen’s wrists, his fingers snagging on the zip tie. He manages to undo one of the cufflinks, holding it securely between his index and middle fingers.

“What now?”

“I’ll need you to put it in my mouth. Give me a second.”

He can hear Yassen grunt and then there are warm lips closing over his fingers, teeth scraping his skin as Yassen secures the cufflink. Alex turns around and is greeted by the sight of Yassen on his back, his hips up in the air as he contorts and shimmies until his hands are cuffed in front of him, rather than behind him.

Alex had no idea Yassen was so bendy. It was an inspiring sight.

Yassen brings his bound hands to level with his lips, the swivel-bar of his cufflink touching the zip tie. There’s a quiet buzzing noise and suddenly Yassen’s hands are free.

Alex gapes.

“You have zip-tie cutting cufflinks?”

Yassen arches an eyebrow. “You don’t?”

Alex huffs. “I don’t exactly have access to gadgets since I left MI6.”

Yassen frees his feet and stretches his legs, lolling them from side to side.

“Pity. The lack of gadgets, I mean.”

Alex looks at Yassen, who gazes back at him steadily in silence. Alex clears his throat.

“Could you untie me?” When Yassen makes no reply, Alex adds through gritted teeth, “Please.”

“Since you’ve asked so politely,” Yassen replies dryly. “Here on a job?”

“No, I regularly attend parties hosted by dictators, it’s a hobby of mine.” Alex rubs his wrists once they’re free, and tugs his black suit sleeves down into place.

“What a fascinating life you lead, Alex.”

Alex reaches for the lock picks he has hidden in his sock garter and moves towards the door.

“Information retrieval, if you must know,” Alex gives in. “You?”


“How’s that going for you?” Alex has the door open, his hand resting on the door handle. He turns to Yassen, who’s standing close behind him, his hands down his sides, still looking unfairly attractive in his suit.

“Already done.”

“Me too.”

“This calls for a drink, don’t you think?” Yassen tilts his head to the side, his eyes low-lidded.

“Are you buying?”

“I thought you would, as a thank you for getting you free.”

Alex opens the door and gestures Yassen through first.

“Why not. Age before beauty?”

“Brains before brawn, yes,” Yassen agrees and passes by him, checking quickly that the corridor is empty.

With a huff, Alex follows Yassen. Yassen’s suit fits just as nicely in the back as it does in the front, he notices.

“How did you get in?” Alex wonders aloud.

“How did you get in?”

“My pretty face got me in,” Alex quips. “You?”

“Mmm, I’d say that face would open a few doors. I hacked the guestlist.”

“Well, your face would open a few doors, too. Especially paired with that suit.” Alex replies without thinking.

“Oh?” Yassen raises an eyebrow, his lips pulling into a smirk. “Would it open your door, Alex?”

The guard who found Alex comes around the corner but before he has the chance to raise alarm, Yassen is on him, a quick jab to the neck and the guard is crumpled at his feet. Yassen checks him over, grabbing his gun and putting it in the back of his trousers, underneath his suit jacket. Alex moves quietly and grabs the guard’s legs before Yassen has to ask. They carry the guard back to the room they were shut in and lock the door.

“You know,” Alex says conversationally, entirely side-stepping Yassen’s last question, “it’s curious that we’ve never run into each other before on a job.”

“Who says we haven’t? Maybe you just didn’t notice?”

Alex throws a quick glance at Yassen. “I would have noticed.”

“I don’t know, you seemed quite preoccupied with that dancer in Puerto Limón.”

The hallway is clear all the way to the ballroom - of course this guy has a ballroom in his mansion, because what else would totalitarian dictators spend their money on? - and Alex stops Yassen just before they rejoin the rest of the guests by grabbing Yassen’s sleeve.

“I thought it was you that sabotaged me.”

Yassen shrugs. “Nothing personal, you understand.”

Alex rolls his eyes. “It cost me a pretty penny to get out of that situation alive.”

“I always knew you were resourceful,” Yassen smiles at him patronisingly.

Alex narrows his eyes and reaches out to run his fingers through Yassen’s hair to mess it up. Yassen grabs his wrist tightly, quirking an eyebrow in question.

“People will remember two men sneaking in one after another - but not if it looks like they were out for a quick shag,” Alex shrugs his shoulders. “Might as well look the part, no?”

Instead of releasing him, Yassen uses his grip on Alex’s wrist to tug him closer and back him up against the wall. Alex’s eyes widen.

“What - ?”

Yassen presses their bodies close together, one of his hands hiking Alex’s leg over his hip, the other burying itself in Alex’s hair, fingers combing and pulling. Alex sucks in a startled breath at the feeling of Yassen’s warm body pressed so intimately against him.

“You never answered my question, little Alex,” Yassen murmurs into his ear, just as the door to the ballroom opens and a few people come out.

Alex ducks his head into Yassen’s shoulder, his fingers tight on the lapels of Yassen’s suit. He can feel Yassen pressing the side of his face against Alex’s head, the perfect image of a couple caught in flagrante delicto.

“What question would that be?” He replies into Yassen’s shoulder, tracking the movement of the guests by the level of noise they make as they pass them. There’s a high pitched giggle and a huff behind them and quick footsteps, going in the opposite direction.

“Would the combination of my face and this suit open your door, so to speak?” Yassen trails his lips over Alex’s earlobe.

“It is a very good suit,” Alex replies breathily.

“So glad you approve of my sartorial choices.” Yassen runs his hand down Alex's arm.

“It would look good on the floor of my hotel room.”

Yassen laughs. “That line ever work for you?”

“You tell me.”

Yassen cradles his head, nudging it away from his shoulder. He tilts Alex’s head until they’re looking at one another and smiles.

“Buy me that drink and we’ll see.”