It was supposed to have been a simple infiltration, a bit of thievery, a simple bit of sabotage, and a simple escape. But Illya knew by now that missions rarely were ever simple.
And, sure enough, they found themselves running from some rather annoyed THRUSHies that were determined to make them pay for their intrusion. Considering that they had, at least, successfully stolen the information they had come for, it wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that they were outnumbered, ten to two. The tactic then changed to running after it became clear that taking prisoners would be out of the question.
They ran—they didn’t like to run, but they did. Adrenaline made them temporarily forget their cuts and bruises as they ran through the maze of trees that surrounded the forest hideout. Zig-zagging through the gauntlet, they eventually made it to a small clearing.
Napoleon took a peek over his shoulder, making sure that they had lost their pursuers.
“How about that?” he said, grinning. “We managed to outrun all ten of ‘em.”
“But not without a few injuries,” Illya observed, noticing Napoleon’s split lip and bruises on his chest visible from a tear in his suit.
Napoleon blinked, touching his lip and then staring at the blood on his hand with a surprised “Huh…”
“I suppose I must look as bad as you,” Illya sighed.
Napoleon gave his partner a look.
“Well, I can’t see the bruises under your turtleneck, but I know they’re there,” he sighed. “But I can see that black eye of yours.”
Illya muttered something under his breath.
“Well, what should we do now?” Napoleon asked. “I know we outdistanced our pursuers, but if we wait here too long, they might catch up with us, and that would be utterly tragic.”
“You think?” Illya deadpanned.
“Well, call it a hunch,” Napoleon said, without missing a beat. “So our options are to call for an extraction and risk waiting here, hoping our ride will arrive before our enemies do, or keep going further into the forest with our bruised and battered bodies, tough it out, and call for an extraction after we’ve put more distance between ourselves and our foes.”
Illya sighed. If the extraction team arrived after or as their enemies found them, they might get caught in the ensuing crossfire.
“We should keep going for a bit longer.”
Napoleon grinned, giving Illya a wink as he gave a playful, yet encouraging nod to his partner.
“That’s my Illya,” he said, with approval. “Come on, Tovarisch, let’s go.”
Illya had to look away, if for no other reason than to not let Napoleon know that his attempts at flirting were working.
…Only Napoleon Solo could successfully flirt in a situation like this, he realized. But he saw no reason to let him know that.
He followed Napoleon deeper into the woods; they’d endured a lot, and were sure to have to endure more, but they would endure it. They were fighting for something bigger than the both of them, that was true… but they were also fighting for each other.
And neither of those fights were ones they were willing to give up.