Title: How to Tie a Cravat: or how the Scarlet Pimpernel was successfully able to seduce Armand Chauvelin in one-hundred words exactly.
Author: Simply Kelp
Pairing: hinted Pimpernel/Chauvelin
Rating: pg-13 (swearing)
Summary: But he still chases because that is how their game works; and he would hate to miss his chance to finally catch this man. vaguest hints of slash-- Pimpernel/Chauvelin
Disclaimer: If I owned The Scarlet Pimpernel, Chauvelin would be a more likeable character-- and Margot would be dead, or non-existent...
A/N: I'm not quite sure where this fits in the books, movies, musical, etc. I think I've based most of it off of the 1934 movie (because it's my favourite, and Leslie Howard is the best Pimpy ever!), but Massey sounds too much of a Mafioso/Count Dracula hybrid, so I'm not going with him specifically as Chauvelin-- not to mention that I've always imagined Chauvelin as being the same age as Percy, i.e. late twenties.
A/N2: This is supposed to take place before The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I couldn't bring myself to date it in 1792 because it's far too early!

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Paris, 1793

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I.

Chauvelin has caught that rogue, the Pimpernel. He confesses that it really was much easier than he had thought. The way in which the others were talking, he had thought it would actually be a challenge. But he had met, and subdued the cornered Englishman in the Cordéliers district in only minutes.

He had tied the man's wrists, and was walking him to the Tribunal révolutionnaire, where he will be sentenced to a kiss from Mme. la Guillotine. The Pimpernel walks stolid, and quiet beside him. Chauvelin frowns; the Pimpernel is far too tall. Standing next to him makes Chauvelin feel very small in comparison.

As they approach the Tuileries, the Pimpernel laughs softly. "M. Chauvelin," the Pimpernel says, voice smooth, and all too agreeable, "do not assume I can be easily caught."

Chauvelin raises an eyebrow, but he is certain his prisoner cannot see. The last thing Chauvelin remembers is a fist coming at his face. The rest is black.

II.

As Chauvelin watches the carriage laden with aristos approach the Place de la Révolution, his eyes dart to the crowd. He does not think the Pimpernel is stupid enough to attempt to hide his tall form in the crowd, but the impulse is easier indulged than ignored. So far, however, the day has gone by without a hitch. He touches the bruise on his chin, and hopes that he will meet up with the Pimpernel soon to settle the score.

There is a weight at his shoulder, and a voice saying: "M. Chauvelin, would you direct your attention here a moment?" He turns to see the Pimpernel, smiling serenely at him.

Chauvelin tries to speak, but the surprise has stopped his tongue. As he reaches for his sword, there is a shout, and the crowd clamours more than ever. By the time Chauvelin turns around, the aristos have been freed; when he turns again, the Pimpernel is gone.

III.

This man Chauvelin has cornered is not the Pimpernel, but he knows the man is one of his associates. The man's sword is drawn; Chauvelin draws his. They scuffle, and Chauvelin manages to land a light scratch at the man's side.

The man smiles; not exactly the reaction that Chauvelin would expect from a man duelling. He takes a step back, but is met with something sharp poking at his back. "M. Chauvelin, is M. de Robespierre aware of your incompetence?" a voice asks from behind. Chauvelin glances over his shoulder to see the Pimpernel smiling at him.

"Thank god you came when you did," the other man says as he passes Chauvelin. "Another moment, and I might have been done for." The Pimpernel suddenly pushes Chauvelin forward. In the time it takes to regain his balance, both men are gone. Chauvelin curses under his breath.

IV.

"M. Chauvelin, your cravat is ghastly," the Pimpernel says, cringing as he tugs at the piece of fabric around Chauvelin's neck. The cravat is easily untied, and falls haphazardly at his shoulders. "Would you like advice?" the Pimpernel asks brightly.

Chauvelin manages to sputter a "no" before the Pimpernel dashes down the street. Chauvelin follows; he does not notice his cravat has fallen until a moment later, when he is breathing heavily, and cursing that the Englishman has once again slipped form his grasp.

V.

Chauvelin is running down rue St. Honoré. An old woman had said she has seen a tall Englishman coming this way, and he would be damned if he let the Pimpernel get away again.

"M. Chauvelin!" comes a shout. Chauvelin turns to find the Pimpernel standing at the street corner. He shoots Chauvelin an amused smile-- and Chauvelin, mouth gaping, and eyes blinking frantically, is certain he is an amusing sight. "I daresay you are not even trying today," the Pimpernel says, eyes laughing, as he hops into the passing carriage.

Chauvelin curses, and punches at the nearby wall. "Damn," he mutters, looking at the torn skin of his knuckles. That was really stupid of him; the Pimpernel has that effect on him, though.

VI.

Chauvelin can see the Pimpernel's men ahead, clambering into a carriage with the ci-devant Marquise d'Estrées, and children. The Pimpernel-- Chauvelin recognised him immediately because he is a head taller than any of his companions--, stops when he sees the carriage take off.

"M. Chauvelin," the Pimpernel says pleasantly, turning to face Chauvelin. He sounds so cavalier, as if they were sitting to tea, and he had not just a moment ago been running for his life. "Are all Frenchmen so incredibly stubborn, and choleric?" he asks affably, smiling slightly.

Chauvelin smiles, and he is sure there is nothing friendly in it. "You Englishmen seem to rival our stubbornness," he counters. The Pimpernel's smile widens; before Chauvelin can stop him, the Pimpernel has vanished down the intersecting street. "Damn!" Chauvelin mutters.

VII.

Chauvelin begins to wonder at these meetings with the Pimpernel. He thinks both of them could very well be insane: the Pimpernel for making a point of finding Chauvelin, and Chauvelin for looking forward to these meetings.

"M. Chauvelin, how much is my head worth these days?" a voice asks from somewhere behind him. He turns to find the Pimpernel leaning casually against the adjacent building. His sword is drawn, the point pressed to the ground like a sharpened cane. How queer, Chauvelin thinks vaguely. The sunlight reflects off the silver as the Pimpernel twirls his sword lazily.

Chauvelin blinks. "Forty thousand," he says blandly. The Pimpernel nods, and walks away. Somewhere far away, Chauvelin thinks that he should be following.

VIII.

"M. Chauvelin, have you been practicing?" the Pimpernel asks, materialising out of thin air, and beaming widely. Chauvelin raises an eyebrow at the man, and wonders how he is able to smile showing every one of his perfect teeth. "Your cravat looks splendid!" the Pimpernel says, tugging experimentally at Chauvelin's cravat.

Chauvelin feels his face burn; he hopes the Pimpernel does not notice this. Indeed, he has been practicing. More often than he would like to admit. (And he even asked Citoyen St. Just for help! Which was entirely unpleasant because the man only has one emotion: surly disinterest. Chauvelin wonders how Citoyen Robespierre tolerates him.)

Chauvelin realises that he has been standing stock still, gaping at the Pimpernel for nearly a minute. He coughs slightly into his hand. The Pimpernel chuckles, and disappears with a swish of his frock coat.

IX.

Chauvelin turns the corner, and is assaulted by a pair of strong arms. They push him against the closest surface-- the side wall to Citoyen Desmoulins' house, he thinks vaguely. There is something cold at his neck; it stings slightly as he tries to look down. The glint of metal meets his eyes.

"M. Chauvelin," the Pimpernel says calmly. Chauvelin forces himself to look at his attacker. The man is smiling languidly, despite his rigid posture. Chauvelin wonders idly if he will die today. "I daresay your fanaticism is trying my patience."

The blade presses into his neck, and Chauvelin can feel his cravat dampen. His eyes unconsciously close, waiting for death. But death never comes; and when Chauvelin opens his eyes, the Pimpernel is gone. He presses a hand to his neck. He does not think the wound is fatal, but he hopes that Citoyenne Lucile is home as he walks-- becoming increasingly dizzy-- to the front door, and knocks.

X.

The bandage at Chauvelin's neck itches. The wound has mostly closed, but it is wont to reopen at any swift motion; like when he now turns his head to see whether that tall man walking past is the Pimpernel. He winces, eyes snapping shut automatically before he can look at this man. "Damn," he mutters, opening his eyes. The man is not the Pimpernel; he has watched the Englishman enough to recognise him.

"M. Chauvelin, have you Republicans tired of this little game?" a voice asks. Chauvelin turns quickly-- damn, his neck hurts--, and is met with that inane smile.

"Perhaps your English parliament is a game, but there is no play in our politics," Chauvelin counters, hand pressed to his neck. He hopes the bandage will not bleed through to his cravat. The Pimpernel's eyes are blue, and laughing as he turns down the next street.

XI.

The Pimpernel made his dramatic exit with more aristos; Chauvelin pursues. And by god-- or reason, or l'Être suprême, or whatever the government sanctioned deity is today--, Chauvelin will find that damned Pimpernel, and make him pay for every daring escape, every bon mot, every rogue thought passing through Chauvelin's head, every...

And then he sees the man. Standing, waiting, watching; an amused smile is plastered on his face. "Are you not going to prod at my patience today?" Chauvelin asks bitingly. The Pimpernel smiles roguishly-- Chauvelin feels his face redden--, and dashes away.

Damn him! Chauvelin thinks as he chases the spectre, certain that, at the first turn, he will have disappeared. But he still chases because that is how their game works; and he would hate to miss his chance to finally catch this man.

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Thank you all for reading; I hope you enjoyed it! I would be much obliged if you reviewed. And it might motivate me to write more Pimpy/Chauvelin...