A/N: Hi! So, for this drabble, please completely disregard the fact that Christmas was yesterday, because I'm running a little bit behind schedule. So just pretend that it's still Dec. 25, and you got an update from Middy Miles as a present. Merry Christmas! (Or whatever other holidays you celebrate; I'm non-discriminant.) Also, be warned that my little brother/editor is busy, so this is hot off the press and not proofread super well. Sorry.
His dinner jacket lay tossed on the floor of the rented hotel room, two meters away, and a woman's handbag on top of it. A bit of mussed hair had fallen into Alek's eyes, reminding him at a very inconvenient time that he needed a haircut. He stared at the ceiling, trying to forget what he'd just done as his breathing came in shallow gasps.
"Oh, and merry Christmas, darling."
A pang of guilt ran through Alek's chest as he heard the words, because he knew he should be hearing them from someone else. And that someone else was just downstairs in the ballroom, probably dancing with men that weren't Alek and drinking champagne and...
He tried not to think about it. There were more pressing issues to attend to at the moment, and she wouldn't worry that he was gone for another few minutes.
A thread of cigar smoke swirled around his head, snaking up his nose and clouding his thoughts with the thick, cloying scent of burning tobacco. Alek refused to shy away from it, not wrinkling his nose when it lingered in his mustache.
"Merry Christmas to you, too," he replied, observing with an impassive face the empty room in front of him.
She stood directly behind him, Alek knew, both because they'd been exchanging tight conversation for several minutes and because she wouldn't leave him alone. It was simply too risky to leave such a... resourceful man unsupervised.
He'd made sure of that.
With a single click of a heeled shoe on the floor, the woman took a step and was pressed up against the back of his chair. The sequins that positively covered her dress scratched his hands, and he resisted the urge to yank them away. Another ring of smoke descended around him, further hindering his vision of the dimly lit bedroom. The deep scarlet silk of the bed looked almost as black as the beautifully carved posts that held the canopy overtop of it.
"You really shouldn't be snooping around in a lady's room, dear. It's simply scandalous."
"My apologies," Alek said, rolling his eyes. "But I have to ask: is the cigar entirely necessary?" he asked, ignoring how close the woman was, how he could feel her breath on his neck and how it made goosebumps rise on his skin.
"What?" she replied mockingly, and blew smoke down onto his face. "Does it bother you?" Her voice was right next to him, no doubt leaving lipstick on his ear. He could see the edges of her perfectly black curls, feel them itching his face.
"Of course not," Alek said, his mind working wildly. "I'm merely afraid it could... hinder the evening's activities. Satin is very flammable."
Snickering, she said, "It's a pity you aren't wearing any," and put out the cigar on Alek's shirtfront. The embers hissed, singeing through his button-up, burning his skin. The woman held it there just long enough so it would leave a scar, then tossed the dead cigar into the ashtray. "Now don't try to distract me."
Alek grit his teeth. "Forget I said anything."
"Good." Her gloved hand slid down his chest, reigniting the pain and freezing him stock still. "Now that that's settled, maybe you'll tell me what I want to know. What were you doing in my room?"
Pivoting around her hand, the woman stepped to Alek's front, giving him his first full view of her.
She was devastatingly beautiful, in a low-cut dress as red as blood and eyes the color of coal. Her black gloves slithered up to her elbows, and around them rings covered her fingers and bracelets her wrists. There was a long slit up the side of her dress revealing a single, well-muscled leg, and she scarcely tried to cover up the thigh sheath she wore or the wicked blade it held.
He acted as awestruck as he could, like he couldn't keep his eyes off of her, but instead he was furiously trying to untie the knots on his wrists, or reach the knife hidden halfway up his sleeve.
She straddled his legs shamelessly with hers and slid forward until she was sitting on his thighs, one leg freed from her dress by the slit.
"Enjoy this while you can, fool, because I may be the last thing you'll ever see," she mused, pulling out her knife and pressing the flat to bottom of his chin and pulling his head up to look into her eyes. "How would you like a shave? I should warn you, though, I'm terrible at it. I always seem to slip..."
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
Alek strained his neck to look around the woman with the knife, and sure enough, Deryn was there, in the only dress she tolerated wearing, looking not the least bit amused.
"Well, yes. But I was just wrapping up," Alek said. "I've got this completely under control," he added.
"Oh, really?" asked Deryn. "Because from what I can tell-" She cut off when the woman twisted around and slung her knife at Deryn, who ducked away and didn't stop to notice that it planted in the wall exactly where her head had been. "Could you cut that out? I'm trying to have a conversation here."
His captor's mouth twisted into an unflattering scowl, and she muttered a choice curse.
"I've got this, Deryn. Just give me a minute, and I'll have her tied up and ready for transport," Alek assured her, and the spy turned back to him, mouth gaping open.
"What? I'm the one that's got you tied up!" she exclaimed, reaching for a sharpened pin in her hair as she was now at a loss for her knife.
"Are you sure about that?" Alek quickly brought his arms around and grabbed the woman's wrists in one hand, using the rope that had restrained him previously to tie the woman's hands together.
Then he unceremoniously pushed her off of him, watched without pity as she fell to the floor, and brushed imaginary dust from his pants as he stood. Just for good measure, he took off one shoe and sock, and shoved the sock in the woman's mouth. "I hope that tastes brilliant, I really do," Alek told her.
Her only response was a glare, filled with hatred.
"See? I told you I had this under control." Alek gestured to the woman on the floor, turning his eyes to Deryn. He put on his shoe.
"Under control?" She sighed. "It would have been better if you hadn't been caught in the first place. How'd she get you tied up, anyway?"
Alek grimaced. "I'd rather not talk about it. She's a lot stronger than she looks. But I would have been just fine."
"Whatever." Deryn chuckled, leading him down the stairway and out the door of the hotel to the cold streets of London. "So I suppose that means we're done for the evening? I've been dying to spend some quality time with you. It's Christmas, after all. Why couldn't Barlow have called in someone else?"
"Better yet, why couldn't the bad guys respect it being a holiday and stopped doing bad things?" Alek demanded jokingly, because he knew that was just as likely.
Deryn punched him on the shoulder. "Let's get out of here, daftie."
His arm found its way around her slim waist, and hers around his shoulder. "Nothing could make me more happy."