Disclaimer – I do not own The Da Vinci Code or any of the characters.
Sophie hated these things.
It was just another social gathering of high society French, trying to one up each other by parading their wealth. And all that entailed for her were a bunch of European 'cheek-to-cheek' style kisses and phony smiles.
What a joy.
A whole two months had gone by since her and Robert's unusual meeting in the Louvre's Grand Gallery. And though it of course wasn't love at first sight, considering the circumstances, over time they grew more and more fond of each other. So finally at they're bittersweet separation standing before the Scottish Countryside, they promised they'd meet again in Italy.
When four weeks came and went, Sophie held to that promise, taking a weeks worth of sick days and hopping the quickest flight to Florence, Italy.
Imagine her surprise to not be greeted with a warm pair of arms at the airport, but the small, scribbled note at the Brunelleschi.
Sorry I couldn't be here.
An old friend, Vittoria, called and needs my help immediately. She said it was an emergency, I hope you understand.
Have fun in Italy.
Of course upon reading this, she had not had fun in Italy.
Instead all that had been on her mind were the words, "She" and "Vittoria." Like a plague Sophie could feel a certain green monster by the name of "jealously" enveloping her.
Vittoria, Sophie thought, I heard that name before, she saved the Vatican years ago with Robert…
The past month hadn't been any better, only a message on her answering machine, again apologizing and saying he might not be able to be contacted for the next few months.
Standing me up and then blowing me off for a couple more months!
Sophie felt herself boil at the thought. But she knew Robert wouldn't do that without a valid reason, always the gentlemen that Mr. Langdon.
Or so you think.
Putting her thoughts to the back of her mind, Sophie focused on the situation in front of her.
The Direction Centrale Police Judiciaire's annual gala ball.
Or as most agents in the DCPJ called it, "a royal bunch of stuck up pains."
And right they are, thought Sophie giving a smile and shaking another complete stranger's hand.
She didn't even think the department would let her come considering she was wanted for murder only a few months ago, she almost hoped they wouldn't. But apparently Captain Bezu Fache insisted that the whole incident was his fault, and with the real suspect caught Sophie shouldn't have to be penalized.
So thanks to the Captain's unusually kind words, here she is. And she still is not quite sure whether to hug him or strangle him for it…
Speaking of the Captain, Sophie thought glancing to her right. Captain Fache was at the main entrance greeting guests and at the moment were shaking hands with a very startled looking prime minister, himself looking professional and serious as always in his tuxedo.
Sophie stifled a laugh, Fache's naturally intimidating personality always had that affect on people such as the prime minister at the moment, but she always found it funny that he could scare people out of their wits with a glance. And though usually at ends with each other maybe Sophie could try to be bit more patient with him tonight.
Letting her gaze linger a bit longer than she should have, Sophie accidentally caught the Captain's eye. Abruptly turning his attention from greeting the minister to her, Sophie felt like a kid caught in the cookie jar. Quickly averting her gaze to the floor, pretending to find a sudden interest in her sapphire colored shoes.
Why's that? She wondered absently. But as her mind wondered Bezu had excused himself from the Minister's company and was now headed her way.
Gripping the wine glass in her hand she smoothed out the wrinkles on her dress. Not that there was anything on her dress that could make her look anything less than stunning tonight. Sophie looked down, admiring the dark blue fabric that hugged her petite but curvaceous figure from the chest to the waist, and then flowed like deep blue waterfall of silk all the way to her knees. Of course it was strapless to show off her tan, narrow shoulders, all that really bothered her about the dress was the rather low cut exposing a bit more than what she's comfortable with. But other than that exposure, she was picture perfect.
Sophie always hated gloating but, dam do I look good tonight.
"Bonjour, Agent Neveu." Bezu greeted, as strict and formal as ever, nodding at her.
"Bonjour, sir," Sophie responded politely, "Before I forget, thank you for your kind words before, it's the only reason I'm here tonight," she grumbled letting sarcasm and bitterness spill all over her words.
"Don't worry about it," he said behind a smirk, as he gave a phony wave to an elderly couple walking by, "Think of it as my thanks for making me chase you across Europe."
"Is there something you need sir," Sophie urged, "Or did you just come here to châtier me more." Not meaning it as a question, but an "I'm annoyed with you" comment.
"Actually," he said turning to face her, "I was wondering if you have been in contact with Mr. Langdon."
"Yes," Sophie replied slowly, a little confused, "But I'm sure he would not like to sit down and have tea with you any time soon sir,"
Sophie saw his face turn another shade of red as his anger increased at her disrespectful tone, but he managed to stay under control as he said, "Good, then we both agree on that." He gestured to the prime minister and his wife, "But they were the ones who were interested in having tea with him."
"Oh-h," she stuttered trying to find a good comeback, or even something to say, "I'm un-sure of Mr. Langdon's current location at the moment." She said quietly.
"Odd," Bezu inquired, "I thought you'd stay in touch…"
"Well, I guess you thought wrong." Sophie snapped back.
The Captain growled under his breath and mumbled something to himself.
The Captain gave her a surprised look, followed by an unusually fake smile, "Nothing," he waved her off.
The orchestra's rhythm began to quicken and the classical Mozart began to morph into more of a Spanish salsa feel. Sophie immediately recognized the song, La Cumparsita by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez. She may have been French, but was very internationally connected having visited with many Spanish friends she acquired in Royal Holloway over the years; she could dance this tango in her sleep.
What completely bewildered her was when the gentlemen next to her stuck out his hand in invitation, "May I?"
Sophie raised a skeptical eyebrow, "You," she stressed, "tango Captain?"
Bezu put on a knowing smirk and gave a low whisper, "Still have a few surprises up my sleeve," he gave a courteous bow, "Ms. Neveu."
This was the most shocking thing Sophie had ever experienced, just a minute ago she was bickering with her bull headed Captain as usual, and the next he wants to tango? And worse yet, he was acting like a gentleman, which gives her absoulalty no reasonable excuse to decline his offer.
With some apprehension she put her smaller hand in his larger one. The feeling of his warm, calloused hands sent shivers up her spine, they were rough but worn in, you could tell Bezu Fache was the kind of man that worked for a living, and wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty to finish a job.
I like that; Sophie thought unconsciously, He's determined and hard working, like me. A smile slowly crept itself on her face.
"Sophie," Bezu said stopping dead center in the middle of the floor, "I believe that is the first genuine smile I have seen from you the whole night."
He's acting… charming? Sophie wondered suspiciously, Maybe its just one huge sarcastic joke I'm not catching…?
"Really," Sophie played along, "I also believe that is the first time you've used my first name, your entire life."
"Miraculous," he leaned in whispering in her ear, "I hope these miracles continue, for you have quite a lovely smile."
Nope not a joke, that was definitely real, she admitted to herself flat out.
She surprised herself even when an embarrassed laugh escaped her lips, and her cheeks flared up a scarlet color.
Sophie jumped a bit as a sudden warmth envelope her left hip and the Captain took her hand in his.
Bezu leaned in, "You have to put your hand on my shoulder."
"Of course," Sophie scoffed, "I know this dance."
The music flowed enticing and entrancing Sophie's very being. Locking eyes with Bezu's dark brown orbs, her feet fell into step immediately. Maybe it was the heat of his body next to hers, but a sudden fire began burning throughout Sophie's body, lighting a fierce passion for the dance.
And suddenly it was not a dance between to human beings, it was a competition and everything in the Captain's eyes was daring her to take the challenge.
With swift, elegant spin Sophie silently accepted.
The dance floor then and there, disappeared. The background and former thought of anything else faded into the shear blackness surrounding their figures. It was only they in their dashing formal wear, dancing like it was their last.
Her blood boiled with excitement, as he spun her out and back into his firm chest, with one very crisp movement. Glancing up into Bezu's chocolate eyes Sophie found his gaze looking back at her completely unreadable.
What are you thinking? Sophie wondered, momentarily taken out of the dance.
But then thrown back in as Bezu spun her out again, the royal silk of her dress spun like fountain on the floor, the violins blared in her ears and the dance continued.
Twists, turns, lefts and rights, Sophie was moving her body in ways she hadn't in a while and though her body ached in pain sometimes. She loved this, the passion, the moment, the mystery, the daring in his eyes.
They excited her. Made her feel dangerous, yet scared her at the same time.
For such a large man Bezu Fache moved with surprising grace and wit, moves that the style of music only complemented.
Faster and faster they danced this dance they do, until completely immersed in the entrancing music beyond thought. Finally as the music began to come to the end, Bezu took her in his strong arms and dipped her low in one swift movement.
As the music came to dead halt the spell on them was broken. And they came back to the elegant floor, with flowing champagne; a shinning diamond chandelier sparkled above them, and smelled of expensive perfume mixed with Cuban cigars. With the addition of roaring clapping, Sophie quickly looked around to see what everyone was so excited by, but only found hundreds of eyes staring back at her.
Me? She gaped, No, WE.
Sophie looked over at Bezu to see him taking a short bow and quickly walking off the floor. Slowly, she gave a short curtsey and the crowd grew even louder, obviously her tango wasn't as rusty as she thought. And then followed right after the Captain, eager to get out of the spotlight.
She tried to locate Bezu as she exited the floor, but the crowd swallowed his form.
He seemed in a hurry to get away…? Sophie questioned herself.
"That was amazing!" Said a familiar voice from behind her.
Sophie turned around and was immediately brought into a tight hug by her good friend Madeline Ames. Madeline may be quick to assume things and an unconscious flirt, but also a very smart woman holding the Head of Forensic Sciences position in the department.
"What are you talking about?" Sophie inquired, when finally being released.
Madeline giggled, "I'm talking about your little danse there with Captain Fache!" she squealed excitedly, her English carrying a heavy French accent.
"I mean Sophie," she carried on, "I know you have un faible pour for older men, with Mr. Langdon and all, but can you please tell me when you draguer our boss like th-"
"Arrêt, arrêt!", she stopped the manic girl, "I was not 'flirting' with monsieur Fache, we were politely dancing."
"So you say…" Madeline wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
"Whatever," Sophie glanced at the crowd sitting at various tables, "We should find our seats it looks like dinner is about to be served."
"Ah," Madeline registered, "Oui en effet, lets see…" she thought for a second, "If I remember correctly I was sitting at table 'A3'"
Searching her memory Sophie thought back to her invitation, "That can't be right," she mumbled, "I'm sitting at 'A3' too."
"What's wrong with that?" Madeline shrugged.
"Wouldn't you be sitting with the Head of Departments?"
Madeline only responded by shrugging to her friend in confusion again.Something's not right…
Sophie marched to the front of the ballroom with long, purposeful strides; although with her dress was a challenge, glimpsing each table number as she went…B2…B3…B4…
"Here," Sophie stopped, "A3…" But her voice fell by the end of the number.Oh no…
"No, no, no," Sophie whispered backing away, "Let's find another table, Maddie."
Madeline took one look at the table, and put on a mischevious smirk, flipping her long, blonde hair behind her shoulders, "I don't think so Sophie, and I mean this is our assigned table…"
And without another word she walked the remaining few steps to the front of the table quickly, and sat down in an empty seat.
Sophie groaned and walked over.
The table wasn't what troubled Sophie of course; it was a perfectly circular, rosewood table. It was the people residing at the table that troubled her: Madeline was seated with her back facing the dance floor, a familiar elderly couple to her left, the now Major Collet next to them, then a young blue eyed man and residing to his left was no other than Captain Bezu Fache.
Florent Bodine that blue-eyed boy was the main reason for her hesitation. Or to most people, "The most talented agent yet," and to most agency women, "The hottest thing alive."
But to Sophie, her residential admirer/ stalker and most annoying person on the face of the earth. She continually turns down his offers to "get something to eat," and politely declines after pathetic pickup lines. And what made things worse was that, he was not only a superior agent but he never gives up. He still hasn't.
"Sophie," Florent beamed, obviously confused but equally excited, "I wasn't aware you'd be joining us tonight?" he said as Sophie took her seat between Bezu and Madeline.
"Neither was I," Sophie laughed awkwardly and looked pointedly at the Captain. It was odd for her to be sitting at this exact table, considering that familiar elderly couple are the prime minister and his wife. And as they all knew it was a DCPJ tradition to have the heads of the major departments dinning with the minister and his company.
"Excuse me for not informing you earlier Sophie," Bezu exclaimed for the whole table, "The Head of Cryptography unfortunately could not be here tonight, so I changed Ms. Neveu's seating that a high ranking official from the department could join us."
Everyone nodded in understanding.
Sophie stayed quiet for the next few minutes as the people made idle small talk and Bezu took time to introduce the Heads to the minister.
"Let me introduce the table to you monsieur," the captain said as he stood, "Ms. Madeline Ames, Head of Forensic Sciences. Major Jerome Collet, Head of Homicide. And Major Florent Bodine, Head of Intelligence." Gesturing to each as he said their titles.
If only he had any intelligence. Sophie laughed to herself.
"I don't believe we have met this young lady." The minister's wife gestured to Sophie, giving her a gentle smile.
Bezu opened his mouth to speak but Sophie beat him to the punch. "Sophie Neveu, Madame, it is an honor." She bowed her head respectfully.
"Sophie Neveu…" The prime minister pondered, "I believe I knew your grandfather, Jacques Saunière?"
Sophie smiled fondly at the mention of her grandfather, "Yes, if you know him I'm sure you heard of what happened a few months ago."
"Oh yes," he said gravely, "What a wonderful man, it truly was a loss for all of France."
"If you don't mind me asking, how were you aquatinted with my grandfather?" Sophie questioned with true curiosity.
The prime minister's wife answered, putting on small smile, "Your grandfather, as I'm sure you know, was not only the curator of the Louvre but also a great scholar."
"And upon hearing this from my collogues," now the minister continued for her, "I asked if he could assist me with some international issues, he agreed and helped me a good deal, from then on we have been good friends."
"We are truly sorry for your loss." His wife finished, with real sincerity in her voice.
The minister turned to Captain Fache, "Your unit led an investigation into Jacques' murder, right Captain?"
Bezu opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the minister's wife, "Of course, and no doubt Ms. Neveu was at the head of it."
Sophie smirked at Bezu and could see his face grow redder at the second, and his anger at her ticking like a bomb. She decided it was in the best interest of her safety to save him, "Yes, Captain Fache graciously obliged to me taking over the case."
"And I'm sure the one responsible was brought to justice."
"Oh yes," Sophie replied, "Although it was a hassle chasing them all across Europe." She gave a wink to Bezu. Obviously toying with him, and taking advantage of the fact that the minister and his wife were visiting in America during their little adventure.
A few minutes later dinner was served and Sophie just sat there in silence fiddling with the dish on her plate.
The Captain has been acting odd tonight… Sophie pulled her head up to meet his eyes, but he turned away almost in a panic…What are you hiding? Does it have to do with me?
Sophie was ripped from her thoughts suddenly when she heard a familiar name in the minister and Collet's conversation, which sparked her interest.
"…Professor Langdon, from Harvard University is-"
"Excuse me." Sophie piped up from her revere.
The minister smiled at her, "Ah Ms.Neveu, I was just commenting to Major Collet about the increase in homicides, but thankfully intelligent minds to solve them like Professor Langdon in Dijon," he finished.
"Professor Robert Langdon?" Sophie stated clearly, just to make sure she was hearing him correctly.
Bezu suddenly opened his mouth, "Prime minister may—"
"The one and only," he put on a happy face, completely oblivious to the Captain, "With his new fiancé of course, Miss Vittoria Verta."
Sophie just sat there and listened in shock as he continued.
"It was the most amazing show of teamwork and investigative skills I've ever seen," he went on like a proud father, "Their friend Mr.Glick was apparently murdered, when trying to investigate more into the matters discovered at the Vatican a few years ago,"
"Anyway..." he was about begin.
But Sophie put in a quick, "Excuse me." With a small sniffle, before another word was spoken. Got up in the rush and in a quiet panic exited the ballroom.
"Sophie!" Bezu stood up, but she was already gone…
A/U – Please review and tell me whatever you think! Reviews are great inspiration and I'd love to hear what you have to say!