It was impossible to tell what he was thinking.

The white shirt was opened nearly to his waist and his blond hair remained vainly defiant against a gentle breeze coming in off of the Atlantic.

It was unlike Kuryakin to strip down like this; he carried his shoes in one hand, the socks stuffed down into one each. Leaning against the railing of a boardwalk relic, he looked abandoned but, somehow content.

As the mission had ended without the bodily damage that was so often present, it had occurred to one or both of them (it was hard to recall now), that the proximity of the beach here in Atlantic City was reason enough to relax, if only for a few minutes.

Napoleon had been hesitant to expose himself to the elements, his dark suit still untouched by the recent scuffle with a low level Thrush courier. Illya, on the other hand, was not concerned about the sand or the salty mist that blew across the unresisting span of beach.

The contrast between them was glaringly evident, and the American took note of passersby and speculated on their accompanying observations.

Napoleon was unscathed by the mission, and equally so by this environment. Except for a few stray hairs, he retained the always suave and well-appointed image that was his stock and trade. Solo never faltered. It was his veil of separation from eyes and intentions that would deign to hover too closely, expecting more than the apparition he allowed them to see.

Illya, although equally determined to remain elusive, yielded to moments like this when, open to all the observers who cared to notice, he would let himself meld into a moment of abandon or some uncharacteristic act of…joy.

That's what it looked like. Without being raucous or in any way obvious, a silent joy permeated his demeanor and body language. Perhaps only his friend and partner would recognize it, as it was subtle to be sure. The mostly solemn Russian sometimes seemed impenetrable, his face rarely breaking into smiles that charmed and cajoled as did his partners' always present ones.

But, here he was, in repose rarely indulged; it spoke volumes to his closest friend. One moment of rest and thoughts of…what? Or of whom.

Napoleon would, most likely, never know. He could read the mood, and sometimes he could read his thoughts. Not this time.

This contentment was something he had yet to interpret.