Illya literally saw red and he immediately took a step toward the man who'd caused his life to turn miserable, his hands curled into fist. Fortunately Napoleon was able to stop him. He looked closer. This man was not as gaunt and his features were of a peaceful nature.
A light bulb went off in Napoleon's head and he pulled Illya away. "Illya, wait. I don't think..." He looked harder at the man with the serene expression. "You're not him, are you?"
The change in the man's face was immediate and distasteful. "I'm assuming you are referring to Percival. My brother and I do not see eye to eye."
Was it possible that there were two of them or was this a cruel joke, Napoleon wondered.
Illya stared at the monk incredulously. "I don't believe this. Twins?"
"Indeed. We share parents, but not much else. I have tried for years to convert him. Much to my regret I have not succeeded. I am Father Peter. I assume you were sent by Percival? Has he seen the error of his ways?"
Napoleon choked, sure that the man's name would have been more appropriately Beelzebub. "We never got his name. He's dead."
"I see," Father Peter said. His expression saddened somewhat. "That explains much of what I have been feeling lately."
"Why would he send us to you?" Illya wondered aloud. He exchanged a look with Napoleon, who seemed no closer to an answer than he was.
Father Peter sat, his head down, his hands folded as in prayer. "I'm not sure... but perhaps." Then making up his mind he stood and said. "Follow me."
Standing, his body type was more rotund and it was easier to see that he wasn't The Master. In spite of that he seemed light on his feet, as his sandals made nary a sound on the stone floor. Lit candles in holders were the only illumination down the hall, at the end of which was a wooden door. Father Peter withdrew a rather large key from somewhere in his robe and inserted it the lock. He reached for one of the lit candlesticks as he pushed the door open.
Single file the three men made their way down some narrow stairs. Napoleon was last in line and shuddered. "I hate to say this but it's feeling just a little too creepy," he whispered to Illya. Then to change the subject he raised his voice to ask, "Just how did you end up in a monastery?"
At first he thought he wouldn't get an answer.
"Percy and I not only shared a womb. You have to understand that back then being that way was not considered acceptable behavior. Our sainted mother -," Father Peter made the sign of the cross. "-she would not have understood. She thought people like us were an abomination. Our father, well let's just say that it was evident early on that Percy and I weren't as manly as he would have wanted. He would have denied we were his sons if not for the fact that we looked exactly like him and he went to drastic measures to try to correct our defects as if we chose to be the way we were." He shook his head sadly. "Times were different back then. People looked down on homosexuals."
"They still do," Illya muttered. Napoleon patted him on the back in an effort to console him.
Father Peter continued as they made their way through walls of barrels. "Then came the war. Per and I both enlisted. People were dying all around us and you took comfort wherever you could find it." They'd come to another wooden door. He paused to retrieve his key once again. But before he used it to opened the door he finished his story. "After the war, the same men who sought comfort refused to acknowledge him. It turned him bitter."
"So he felt it necessary to get gay men to admit to being ..." Illya started.
"No, no, no. You have it wrong. I'm sorry to say that he only targeted straight men in order to prove that they were just as bent as he was." Opening the door, he stepped aside. "I'm not sure what he has in here, but now that he's gone, you may do whatever you want with it."
Illya stood there, clearly stunned.
That put a whole new spin on everything. The Master's plan had nearly worked. Illya had certainly questioned his sexuality after their encounter and the reaction of certain people at UNCLE hadn't helped.
Napoleon was staggered, but for a different reason. Was the fact that he wasn't targeted mean that he leaned that way?
It was quite a while before the two men realized that the door was open and Father Peter was nowhere in sight.
One glance into the dark cavernous space was enough to make either man question as to whether they should enter or not.
"Did you bring a flashlight?" Illya asked.
"No. Did you?" Napoleon snapped back. The creepiness of the situation they found themselves in making him short-tempered.
Illya just shook his head in annoyance. He couldn't really blame Napoleon. They had no idea what they'd find so hadn't thought out that they should need one. Bravely he took a step inside and threw his arm up to cover his eyes when the room was bathed in blinding light. He shut his eyes and when he opened them saw that Napoleon was squinting blindly into the bright light as well.
When Napoleon could see again, he noticed that the room was large and the walls were metal lined along the lines of those UNCLE headquarters. Shelving lined the walls along with rows of files and bookcases. The light source reminded him of the futuristic effect that screened The Masters lair.
He immediately went for the file cabinets. The records were extensive and went back centuries. All of it was sexually oriented. Illya was going through the books, his eyes wide and his mouth open. The look so comical he had to know what caused it. Slamming the file cabinet shut, Napoleon started toward Illya when metal doors slid loudly into place.
Napoleon watched as Illya dropped the book he'd been ogling the instant he heard the familiar sound of a door swishing shut. The two men ended up slamming against the door at the same time. Both frantically trying to find a way to open it. He banged his fist against the metal in frustration. The Damned Master had foiled them once again.
"I don't suppose you have any explosives on you?"
Illya reluctantly shook his head. "I left it in the jeep."
"Not doing us a lot of good out there," Napoleon griped, not so much because he meant it, but because Illya would expect it. The half-smile that flitted across the Russian's face let him know that Illya knew what he was about.
Turning his back to lean against the door, Napoleon let out a disappointing sigh. "Well, we can only hope that when Father Peter realizes we never left, he'll check on us." He pushed away as he remembered something and walked over to where Illya had dropped the book he'd been looking at.
Illya followed him. "We can only hope."
"Ah, I was wondering what you found so interesting." Napoleon wiggled his eyebrows as he leafed through the book.
Illya turned red and snatched it away before hurriedly putting that particular book away. "Some of these are ancient and all of them are old enough to be labeled as a classic."
"From what little I saw, that one could be classified as pornographic," Napoleon stated.
A blond brow raised. "I was unaware that you were knowledgeable about such things."
"I minored in literature in college," Napoleon responded haughtily.
"American schools teach porn?"
Napoleon didn't deign that with a response. What red-blooded boy wasn't interested in erotica in any form? Napoleon turned away and looked at the lines of shelving while covertly adjusting his trousers, it was time to change the subject. "Have you noticed that there is no dust in here?"
"Perhaps the monks come in once a week and clean."
Napoleon gave that the due consideration that it deserved and continued to explore. Personally he was concerned that the room was hermetically sealed and he really didn't want to think about it. At least Illya sounded as if he was in a better mood.
Illya's voice sounded far away. The echo in the chamber made it hard to tell where Illya was.
"Napoleon, over here."
He twisted around until he got a fix on Illya's voice and followed it.
"I think I've found his dirty movies," Illya informed him.
Sure enough there were stack after stack of film rolls. Each one seemed dated along with, what Napoleon assumed, were participants. Some predated World War I.
"Hey, this one says Hitler. You don't suppose?"
"It's possible. I did hear he leaned that way. I also saw one that said Stalin and two or three that had popes names on them."
"Blackmail do you suppose?"
"Anything's possible. Oh, my God."
Illya was at Napoleon's side in an instant. "What is it?"
"Nothing," Napoleon said hastily as he pulled the metal container close to his chest.
Illya snatched the reel canister out of Napoleon's hands. "Alexander Waverly and..." He looked at Napoleon in shock. "Victor Marton?" His head swiveled as he searched around the room. "Where's the screening room? He's got to have one around here."
"You can't be serious?"
"Serious as a heart attack," Illya announced grimly. "Oh, and this one too."
Napoleon just followed along until they stumbled upon the projector. Illya expertly threaded the roll of film and turned on the projector while Napoleon pointedly looked away.
"Napoleon, does that look like Mr. Waverly to you?" Illya asked as he tilted his head to one side.
He didn't really want to look, but curiosity got the better of him and he looked at the screen. What he saw was grainy, but the man being plowed into had the distinctive mustache that adorned the face of Hitler. From the background, it appeared that the time period was correct. "If it's a fake, then someone went to a lot of trouble."
It was then that he notice Illya slide down to the floor, Napoleon's eyes rolled into his head and he joined Illya on the ground.