A Friendly Game

Fandom: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Category: gen

Rating: G

Word Count: 241


The world is measured in black and white squares, battlefield tiled in ivory and onyx. Innocents plod forward among the maneuvering of the diplomats, side-stepping spies, and the direct attacks of fortresses. All revolve around the kings, dancing in and out with their opponents, deferring to the dangerous ladies. The fallen are gathered and numbered.


“It is contrary to all logic,” grumbled the manipulator of the Black.

“Just because you’re from Russia, it doesn’t make you an expert chess player.”

“I’ve read Mikhail Botvinnik. I’ve studied the games of the masters. I’ve played every variation. And still you win.”

“I once dated a girl named Lydia Rudenko — well, danced with, I should say. She might have been related —”

Illya rolled his eyes. “I’m serious, Napoleon. It’s disgraceful. I should be ashamed to show my face, if I return home.”

“Nonsense. There’s no shame in being beaten by the best.” Napoleon smiled.

“You are the soul of modesty,” Illya rejoined dryly, slyly moving his knight into a fork between Napoleon’s white queen and bishop.

“I hope not.” Napoleon nudged his bishop out from behind a rook. “Um… checkmate.”

“Damn.” Illya sighed. “I know this is just a game, but I think I’m the one being played.”

“If it makes you feel any better, you’re still better than me on the parallel bars.”

“Are you sure your ancestors didn’t at least come from Russia?”

“Not unless they were on vacation. Play again?”





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