Title: Play it Again, Sam
Fandom: Man from UNCLE
Word count: 600
Disclaimer: Ain’t mine, wish they were.
Prompt: 83 - These twisted keys reminded me of a piano we found once that had been destroyed by a fire. The story started from that.
Illya was just standing, staring at the piano keys. Like everything else, they had been twisted and mangled by the explosion. This had once been a thriving bar, a place for people to come and let loose after a long day of work or just reconnect with friends and family. Now it was a tomb.
I watched Illya reach out and touch the keys. They were useless, just bits of black and white garbage now. This piano would never make music again. He looked… lost, for lack of a better word.
Carefully I picked my way through the debris, stumbling once on the jigsaw remains of a chair. I had to watch both my feet and my head in here. Hell, we shouldn’t even be in here, but I knew Illya needed closure.
“You okay, Partner?” I kept my voice low, partially out of respect for the people who had been charged with digging out the remains of the bar patrons and partially to keep my question intimate. No one else needed to hear what I was saying.
“I used to sit right here and play.” He rested his bandaged hands on the keyboard, his right index finger automatically touching the C ivory. “Never again. She is gone forever. She will sing no more.”
If he’s not been injured in our last mission, Illya might have been here last night. He might have been one of the many injured, or worse, killed. I slipped my hand onto his shoulder and squeezed. Memories would be all that we would have left now.
I smiled and remembered that first night.
“Play it again, Sam,” I ordered, plunking down a glass of vodka in front of him. Illya had been sitting at the piano for the last fifteen minutes, fingering the keys. I could tell by the confusion in his eyes that he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. “It’s a line--”
“From Casablanca. Yes, I know,” he interrupted. “We have movies in the Soviet Union, you know.”
“You just looked puzzled.”
“That’s because I wasn’t playing anything, just noodling.” He made that keyboard sing and I grinned, wondering if he could do that with a piano, what could he do in bed? Later that night I found out. It was our first tryst, but not our last. After that night, something changed in me forever and I knew I never wanted anyone else at my side or in my bed. That night was forever green in my mind and yet that memory was now stained with the stink of smoke.
That’s when I realized he’d been talking to me. “Sorry, wool-gathering.”
He gestured to the group of people picking though the remains of the place. “You and a dozen others.”
“What were you saying?”
“Are the owners rebuilding?”
“That was the last I’d heard. Why?”
Illya let his fingers trail over the twisted keys one last time. “I think I know the perfect Grand Opening gift for them.”
I caught his hand and brought those cold, bandaged fingers to my lips. “I think that’s the perfect idea. Let’s go home, Partner.”
Together we made our way back out onto the street away from the charred remains of our past and into the warmth of our future.