Chapter I

Palermo

It was a fresh night.

Two men of British origins were walking on the street, which happened to be deserted because of the latest dangers. One of them was tall, had black hair, blue eyes, pale-like skin, and was dressed in black, with a white tie. The other one had brownish-red hair, pale skin, brown eyes, his hair was a little longer than the first one, was dressed in white, with a black tie.

-He wants to see me, Lloyd.- said the taller one.- He said he wanted to apologize about having a grudge against me.-

-I'm not sure, Mr. Rawlins.- Lloyd replied.- I think he wants to play a joke on us.-

-How many times do I need to tell you can call me Dan?- Mr. Rawlins replied.- We work together, we're a team, we're the...-

-Seriously, sir. We need to go back to the party.-

-You scared?-

-No, just worried. Besides, what kind of rich person would live near these streets?-

-One that likes either the noise or doesn't want the company of others.-

-Let's turn back now before it's late.-

-I know he hates me because I married his sister, but what if he really wants to "start over again"?-

-I don't believe anything.-

-Not my problem, you know?-

-I have a bad feeling about this.-

-Then just return to the party. I'll be back as soon as we start things over again.-

-Sir, we need to go back. It's getting quieter every five seconds.-

-You're afraid, aren't you?-

-Dan, "The Tiger" escaped from jail yesterday. He might be anywhere.-

-Stop complaining. I didn't send that criminal to jail. Plus, why'd he be around here? He's not from Italy.-

-But was sent to Palermo's jail because of the security. He might be hiding between these houses.-

The men were still discussing as they continued their way to God-knows-who's house.

.

.

After a few minutes, the alley was surrounded by a dead silence.

This made the fear inside Mr. Rawlins to grow, and he decided he'd prefer to be hated by his wife's brother rather than being surrounded by a creepy silence.

-Fine, you win.- Mr. Rawlins said.- We'll go back.-

Lloyd sighed in relieve.

But suddenly, it was interrupted.

The first step they took to turn back was the last one.

-xxx-

Two days earlier...

Marlinspike Hall. Tintin is already awake and was doing some yoga. He's a fast healer, unlike the Captain, who, because of trying to evade Wagg and company yesterday, felt his legs "killing him" again.

It has been a week since they returned from Mexico. His article was critically acclaimed, and many of those critics commented about the boy getting himself in situations like that because "he might love adrenaline". That country is known by their violence and habit of adding pepper, chilli, and other spicy ingredients, to their cook. Even children were able to bear that kind of "red alert". The beverages were exotic as I said before. And the lad recalls Captain Haddock started to curse Professor Calculus because of his "goddamn 'anti-fun' pill" when they were offered some tequila or Mexican beer.

Tintin laughed at that and continued with his activity.

Once he finished, he went to take a bath.

He removed his shirt, and saw the few scars he had left. One was from the knife back when MarĂ­a cut him just to let a drop of his blood go and the rest of those were from the burns he received.

Just a few weeks more and my chest will be clean again. He said in his mind.

After a good time, he finally finished his bath and suddenly heard the Captain cursing.

He might have fallen from the bed again. Tintin thought, trying not to laugh. He finished dressing himself and went towards Haddock's room.

-Not again!- The Captain shouted.

-Captain, what happened?- the lad asked as he approached him

-I was having nightmare about getting married with that crow-nosed opera singer.-

Tintin then laughed.

-Oh, Captain. That would never happen. You even said that you preferred to eat plastic, glass, and even being the Professor's guinea pig if you happened to be her husband.-

-And I'm still with my word. I'd rather be the guinea pig of that goat than the husband of a crow. Talking about him, did he invented the antidote of that pill?-

-I think not, Captain.-

Then, Snowy arrived with a fancy letter.

-What is it, boy?- Tintin asked as he took the item from his pet. Then, he opened it.- It's an invitation.-

-If it's from you-know-who, then I decline it.-

-Easy, Captain.- Said the lad as he read the invitation.- It's not from her.-

-Then who sent it?-

-Some man named Luciano DiLeo.- He then turned to the Captain.- He invited us to his 80th birthday party.-

-I think he might be an admirer of yours.- The Captain replied.- And how his name sounds, I believe he's Italian.-

-And he is.- Tintin replied.- This party starts in two days. You think we need to go?-

-I think not, lad. What if it's a trap?-

Suddenly, Nestor appeared in the Captain's room.

-Sir, Madame Castafiore called.- he said in his neutral tone

-Blistering barnacles.- The sailor cursed.- What does she want now?-

-She said she's coming tonight to pay a visit to you. She wanted to know how were you feeling.-

-Well, if she happens to arrive, tell her Tintin and I had to leave to Italy.- Haddock replied.

-Okay, sir.- the emotion-less butler replied.- I hope you feel better soon. Remember you need to take your pills in two hours.- said as he left the room.

-So...- Tintin wondered.- You changed your mind?-

-What are you waiting for?- The Captain demanded.- Go and pack your stuff and let's leave to the airport. We have to go to a fancy party in two days!-

After they finished packing their stuff, they left immediately.

Five seconds after the door of the mansion was closed, the phone rang. Nestor then went immediately to answer it.

-Hello?- he asked.

-Oh, it's you, my dearest Fester!- the Signora replied.- I'm so sorry and so embarrassed of this.-

-About what, may I know?- Nestor replied with an "I-don't-care" voice

-Well... I was invited to the party of one of my dearest friends in Italy and I won't be able to pay a visit to my dear Captain Hancock and Tintan, as I need to practice my notes to perform in the event. I just hope they understand this... Oh! And I need to go. My plane has arrived! Ta-taaa..!-

Nestor hung quickly before the diva started to sing.

How much I despise that woman's singing. Nestor said in his thoughts and then continued doing his chores.

Meanwhile, at the airport, the Captain was with a smile on his face, having the security that Castafiore and company will be in his house, while he, Tintin, and Snowy are in Palermo, meeting new people.

They managed to arrive to their plane, and took their respective seats.

-Captain, I've noted your smile since we left Marlinspike Hall.- Tintin asked.- Does it have to do because we left before Madame Castafiore arrived?-

-You're saying the truth, lad.- The Captain replied.- I'm guilty.-

Both laughed.

-Well... I've been wondering why you hate her so much.- he asked.

-She's annoying, boy.- the sailor replied.- And I don't know what's more annoying, she or her singing.-

-Give her an opportunity, Captain.-

-Let me think... no!-

-Why?-

-It could be a trap. What if my nightmare comes true? The other last things I need are little lads running and screwing up my life and a more-than-bossy Castafiore.-

Tintin laughed.

-What's so funny, lad? It's the true. If that happens, I won't be able to be with you in these kinds of situations. Plus, if it happens to you, your kids will be in a great danger.-

-I just prefer not to think on that, Captain. I know if I settle down with a wife and kids, I will just be repeating the cycle all-over again. They might grow up without me.-

-Oh, yeah. Remy did that when you were very young.- said as he was starting to chew some tobacco, as smoking was forbidden in a plane.

The plane finally arrived to Palermo.

While they were leaving the airport with their luggage, Ivan I. Sakharine, who was in a wheelchair and was accompanied by his two daughters, spotted both men and dog and went towards them.

-But look!- Sakharine said.- It's Tintin, his dog, and Captain Haddock!- he greeted cheerfully.- What a pleasure!-

-Hi, Mr. Sakharine. It's nice to see you again.- Tintin greeted.- And what brought you to Palermo?-

-A family friend's going to celebrate his 80th birthday in two days. My daughters, Anastasia and Bonnelyn, and I decided to go.- the Russian man replied.

-Ivan, why are you in a wheelchair?- the Captain asked

-My last trip to Greece with that absent-minded Morris ended in me having the lower half of my body paralyzed for a while. In a few days, I'll be as good as new.- Sakharine replied.

-I see.- Tintin replied.- Well, if you excuse us, the Captain and I will search for an hotel...-

-What if you pass the nights in my house?- the black-bearded man suggested.- You will be saving the hotel money for other things.-

-What do you say, Captain?- Tintin asked.

-Well, I...- Haddock said and then, because he saw something, decided to accept.-... we accept.-

-Oh, excellent!- Sakharine replied with a smile.- Let's go to the house so you can rest a little. That trip might have left you very tired.-

The group then left to a limousine waiting for them at the entrance of the airport.

-xxx-

A/N: I hope you liked this.

I preferred to use the Original Sakharine instead of the movie-verse one. But don't worry. Spielberg's Sakharine will also make an appearance, and I think it's obvious who he will be in this fanfic.

I swear I'm going to do my best to make this fanfic even more 'epic' than "The Circle of Paris". I'm aware "Tintin in Mexico" might need some repairs, but I'll leave that for later... when I have vacations.

Please Read and Review!