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The Master

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MFU 11

As it turned out the ship's captain was friends with Captain Morton and Illya's arrival was not an UNCLE-sanctioned act. That friendship did come in handy when they asked to use the projection room and not just any projection room, but the Captain's personal and private one.

This reel, like the other, was grainy. About all that could be made out were two men in uniform, circa WWI. They hugged and partially undressed, nothing too scintillating. Napoleon tilted his head and squinted. "What do you think?"

"Well, the formation of the ear on the shorter one matches Waverly's. Then there is the mustache on the tall one, the face formation and the gait. I'm pretty sure he is Victor Marton." Illya shrugged. "That being said, there is nothing terribly incriminating on here."

Napoleon sighed.

"You wouldn't actually try to blackmail Mr. Waverly?" Illya asked with a look of incredulity.

Napoleon sat back in his chair and tapped his fingertips together. He appeared to think it over, then he shrugged. He looked at his watch. "Oh, look at the time. We've got to get you dressed in something suitable. Don't want to disappoint Margo now, do we?"

Illya snorted and began putting away the equipment.


They ended up back in Napoleon's cabin with just barely enough time to get shaved and dressed then make it to the Captain's table. As it turned out, one of the musicians working the cruise was close to Illya's size. Once he found out that Illya played not only the bass, but the French horn, piano, and guitar as well, he was more than willing to lend Illya some clothes. In exchange, Illya agreed to fill in for various members of the band so they could have a night off.

The two men arrived just as the captain did and introductions were made. Napoleon nodded and smiled at the other guests at the table, while Illya made a continental bow, earning approval from all the ladies. Margo, once she got a good look at a clean-cut Illya, was so impressed by his transformation that she totally neglected Napoleon. Napoleon sat back and watched as Illya played up to the ladies, laughing and dancing with them.

Margo seemed to be a little put out that Illya wasn't devoting more attention to her and seemed to be doing her best to see that he had plenty to drink, especially something called a mojito, apparently in the hope that he'd loosen up.

Not that it worked with Margo. Illya remained unfailingly polite. As Napoleon knew Illya could be overwhelmingly charming when the mood struck him.

It amused Napoleon when eventually Margo, seeing that her charm and intoxicating personality wasn't working, gave up and decided to return to her cabin. When she stood up to leave she almost fell over and the Captain offered the assistance of one of the stewards. Once she disappeared Illya began to relax. Perhaps a little too much. Napoleon had to admit it was subtle, but eventually he ended up having to drag Illya to their cabin.

Illya fell across the bed, giggling and Napoleon looked down on him strangely. He'd never heard his partner giggle before. Slowly Napoleon sank down on the other side of the bed.

"Just how did you rate the Captain's table, Napoleon. The food was delicious and the service was impeccable. Almost as good as that kiss you gave me when I arrived." Illya pointed out.
Napoleon turned red, embarrassed by his inability to keep from showing Illya just how much he had missed him. "Sorry about that. I couldn't seem to help myself."

Illya twisted his head back so he could see Napoleon and his voice softened. "You needn't be sorry for it, as it turns out I rather liked it."

Napoleon can't help but give a look of disbelief especially when Illya started to giggle again. He shook his head and glared.

Suddenly Illya appeared to turn green. He clutched his stomach and groaned. "Napoleon, I don't feel too good."

The next thing Napoleon knew he was sporting a lapful of vomit. "Shit, Illya. Not my new suit!"

Illya was curled up into a ball, facing away from him.

"Illya?" Napoleon gripped Illya's shoulder and tried to turn him over. He really didn't look too good. "Illya, what's wrong."

Illya rolled away and shook his head violently.

Napoleon reached for the phone and dialed for the ship's doctor. While he waited, he moved a waste basket closer to Illya and did his best to clean up the mess his sick partner had made. He was wiping down Illya's face with a wet cloth when someone knocked at the cabin door. He'd no sooner opened the door when Illya let loose with another volley of vomit.

"That's the patient?"

Nodding, Napoleon let him pass. The ship's doctor sat on the side of the bed. "You done with the vomiting?" Without waiting for an answer he checked Illya's eyes and throat. Then he put on his stethoscope to check his heart and lungs. Illya lay back and started giggling. "Hmmm, second case like this I've had today."

Napoleon's interest was piqued. "Really?"

"Yep. Young lady got sick on the way to her cabin. It was difficult getting information from her, she kept giggling, just like your friend here. It seems someone gave her some pills, said they would relax her." He reached into his pocket and brought out a prescription bottle without a label. "I'm going to have them analyze them," he said before letting Napoleon take them from him to check them out. "If those are what I think they are, your friend will be right as rain in a little while."

Napoleon only hoped that was true. He was also going to have a few words with dear little Margo. If his suspicions were correct, she must have spiked Illya's drink. He shook his head, before standing and slipping off his jacket, carefully draping it over the back of the desk chair. After straightening the room and cleaning the mess, he settled into the chair to wait until the Sleeping Beauty woke up.

An hour later Illya woke up, wondering what was wrong with himself. His shoes were pinching his feet and he couldn't be bothered to get up to unlace them. Using his feet he toes out of them, letting them drop to the floor with a clunk and a sigh of relief.

Napoleon was startled out of his slumber at the sound of the shoes hitting the floor. "How are you feeling?"

Illya gave him a disgruntled look.

Napoleon laughed, then turned away and unzipped his ruined trousers, bending to help them down before stepping out of them. He tossed them into a bag to leave for outside the door for the steward to pick up and deliver to the cleaners. Taking the jacket from the chair back, he settled it over the pants and adjusted the way it draped before putting them away in the closet, hoping that the cleaner could do something with them. Finally he turned back to the bed, where Illya was trying without success to get his pants off.

"Need some help?"

Illya gave up his struggle. "Yes, please," he admitted petulantly.

Napoleon made quick work of the button and zipper, all the while keeping his amusement at bay. He slipped to Illya's feet and in one smooth jerk pulled the trousers off. Illya was fast asleep before Napoleon was finished undressing him. Napoleon moved him to one side of the bed, removed the rest of Illya's clothing, then did the same to himself and climbed in next to him.


Illya's eyes opened and he immediately noticed his state of undress. He looked around the cabin and saw that he was alone. To his great relief he knew where he was and with whom. But just where was his wayward partner at the moment? That question was pushed to the side as his bladder made known its presence. He slung his legs over the side of the bed, and went to open the door to the bathroom, only to find Napoleon, also wearing only his underwear and undershirt, in front of the mirror shaving. Napoleon ran his razor down one side of his face and asked, "Sleep well?"

"Not bad. Do you mind?" Illya asked. The room was too small for more than one person.

Napoleon bowed and backed out of the room letting Illya move to the toilet. After he made sure the seat was up, he let loose with a stream while heaving a sigh of relief. Illya shook the last few drops and put his penis away. Exchanging places with Napoleon, Illya asked, "I have a couple of questions."

Napoleon went back to his shaving. "Fire away."

"I realize you were happy to see me, but why did you kiss me?"

Napoleon paused in midstroke and looked at Illya who was leaning on the doorjamb. "I thought I'd answered that all ready. Wouldn't you rather start with one of your other questions first?"


"I didn't think so," he muttered to himself as he wiped the shaving cream from his face. "Well, it was like this. I explained to you how I woke up in my bed with no idea how I got there?"

"Um, hum."

"When they called me to the bridge I had no idea why. When I saw you I kind of got carried away." He glanced at Illya and saw him nodding. "I would have done the same thing for April."

He was saved by the bell, or more precisely, a knock at the cabin door.

Illya finally came out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but a towel, to find Napoleon sitting on the bed, still in his undershirt and studying a piece of paper.

"What's that?" Illya asked as he used a spare towel to dry his wet hair.

Napoleon looked disgruntled. He held out the note he'd been reading to Illya. Settling the towel around his neck, Illya studied while Napoleon summarized. "Evidently Mr. Waverly has learned you are onboard. He wants you back in New York immediately. He's sending a helicopter."

"Odd," Illya muttered.

"Very," Napoleon agreed.

"Why did he not use your communicator?"

Napoleon shrugged. "I can only assume he knew I would argue with him. We'll be pulling into port in another day and I'll be flying back on a commercial airline. There is no reason why we can't fly out together."

Illya threw the paper aside and began rummaging through his duffle for clothing. "I was hoping to do a little swimming, not to mention I have a gig tonight."

Napoleon chuckled. Illya appeared unconcerned. There was no point in worrying about things now.

They met up with Margo for breakfast and she laid claim to Illya once again, as if nothing had happened. Napoleon fully intended to bring it up, but Illya shook his head. For a while it was amusing to watch as she hung onto Illya and chattered away. That was until she started pointed out people and bad mouthing them, laughing loudly and gesturing with a limp wrist. Napoleon was highly offended, but because she was his assignment he felt that he couldn't say anything. The only thing he could think was that the fact that she was drinking mimosas might figure into to it.

Illya had it lucky. He was called to play the drum with the Caribbean band playing on the Lido Deck. Since Margo had run out of people to criticize, they followed along. Much to Napoleon's amusement, Illya's costume consisted of white slacks, a shirt with multi-colored ruffles on the sleeves, a straw hat and sandals. Illya started out on the bongo drums, but after the first set was switched to guitar, then to the maracas, finally ending back on the Djemb drum. It came with a strap much like the one on the guitar and since he couldn't sit, he ended up doing a little dance step. The crowd loved it.

The last set was over and the band was taking its bows when the whooshing of helicopter blades were heard. Napoleon shaded his eyes and caught sight of the U.N.C.L.E. logo on the side. With great reluctance Napoleon eased out of his chair and headed to the deck where the copter would come down, Illya at his side still carrying the drum he'd been playing.

Margo trotted along behind trying to keep up. "Who is it?" she asked breathlessly.

Napoleon didn't bother to answer. He and Illya made it to the deck level just seconds before the helicopter set down. The blades slowed and the door nearest to them opened. A familiar pair of slender legs emerged followed by a body dressed in the latest fashion. The long hair flattered the smiling face and Napoleon let out a breath of relief.

"Hello, Napoleon. Who do we have here? Desi Arnaz? Do you play Babaloo, Illya darling?" April Dancer asked, doing her best not to laugh. She looped her arm with Napoleon's and led the way from the copter.

"Who's this Desi?" Illya asked Napoleon.

April turned and made a cutting gesture across her throat. The pilot leaned out of the cockpit and yelled over the noise of the still spinning blades, "Waverly wants him back right away."

"I'm sure that he wouldn't begrudge us a meal on board a cruise ship." April batted her eyes.

The pilot gave that serious consideration, then flipped a switch cutting off the motor.

She leaned in close and lowered her voice to ask, "What's going on? I haven't seen the two of you in ages and now Mr. Waverly is screaming at the top of his lungs that you two need to be separated."

Napoleon came to a sudden stop and looked at April. That didn't sound like Waverly, but then things had been a little strange lately. He wanted to ask what she was talking about, but couldn't help noticing that Margo's face was full of curiosity and that she was taking it all in. "Margo, I'd like you to meet another associate of mine, April Dancer. April, Margo Fontaine."

Quick on the uptake, April held out her hand. "Charmed. Would you be a dear and show Stan were the buffet is?" She linked her arms with Napoleon and Illya to lead them in following Stan and Margo. "Is there somewhere we can go to talk?"

Illya dropped off the drums, but not before playing Babaloo for April, and changed.

"You know, I think Illya was being facetious when he asked who Desi was," Napoleon whispered to April.

"You think?" April whispered back.

Napoleon lead the way to his cabin and ushered April in while Illya brought up the rear. He shut the door and leaned against it with his hands behind him, crossing his legs at the ankle and following April with his eyes. April was strolling around, taking in the room's size, decor, and most importantly the unmade double bed. She looked from Napoleon to Illya to the bed and began drawing the wrong conclusion.

April plopped on the bed and threw a flirtatious look Napoleon's way. "Being CEO has its perks, I see."

"April," Napoleon spoke warningly. He sat rigidly in the one chair in the room. "Let's have it."

All of a sudden April was all business. "Mark and I returned from our assignment to find all hell had broken loose." She sent a pointed look Illya's way.

Illya pushed away from the door. "What did I do?"

April's expression grew pensive. "We're not sure. All we know is that Carmine Lagussa was being sent to get you back. I managed to talk him into letting me come and Mark stayed behind to hopefully learn more."

Napoleon and Illya exchanged looks. Carmine was not a fan of Illya. He would have enjoyed this assignment too much. "Just what did you have to promise him to get Carmine to let you go in his place?" Napoleon wanted to know.

April checked her nails. "I agreed to go out with him." She blew on them and polished them against her jacket. "I just didn't say where." The grin she gave them was pure evil.

Illya shook his head and let out a sigh. "I guess we'd better get going. Might as well face the music."

"Let's not be hasty." You could almost see the wheels turning in Napoleon's head. "April, this ship docks tomorrow."

"I had the impression that Mr. Waverly isn't willing to wait," April informed them.

"And he won't have to. Hear me out. April, you and Stan stay here and finish my assignment while Illya and I take the copter back to New York. It's about time we settled whatever this is once and for all." To make his point he slammed his fist down on the table hard enough to crack it in two.

"They don't make tables like they used to," April pointed out.

Illya's comment was. "They better not take this out of my paycheck."

Napoleon just fell back in his chair and sighed deeply.