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The Master

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MFU 13

Napoleon didn't like the tone of Waverly's voice and he reached out to grip Illya's arm, stopping his reluctant advancement into the office. They exchanged looks, saying without words how this should play out. Only then did Napoleon lead the way.

Mr. Waverly dropped a folder on the round table and sat down, looking up to notice that Napoleon had followed Illya in. "Mr. Solo, your presence is unnecessary."

"You'll forgive me if I disagree."

"Mr. Solo, you are overstepping your bounds." Waverly stood up suddenly, his face red with anger.

Napoleon was puzzled. He couldn't understand what was causing such rage in Mr. Waverly. He and Illya were a team and a damn good one. He knew anger was not going to solve this problem. Tilting his head toward one of the chairs, he pulled out the other and sat down. Adjusting the crease in his slacks, he asked with studied casualness, "Am I still CEA?"

"That is still up for debate," Waverly responded dryly.

Napoleon wanted to roll his eyes, but he didn't. He leaned forward and asked. "Just what the fuck is your problem?" Shocking not only himself but Mr. Waverly as well. He spared a glance at Illya, whose eyes were wide.

"That, Mr. Solo, is none of your business." Mr. Waverly haughtily replied.

Illya snorted. He picked up the duffle that he'd hoisted through the hallway and into the room and rummaged through it. Finding what he wanted, he tossed it onto the round table and spun it so that the film canister until it was in front of Mr. Waverly.

Waverly froze and he pushed away from the table with something that could only be interpreted as revulsion. "What is this?"

"Read the label," Illya suggested. He rose from his chair with a swiftness that surprised Napoleon. Anger quickly followed by sadness settled over him. "If you have any further questions for me I will be in my office."

Mr. Waverly looked at Illya and snarled, "Sit down, Mr. Kuryakin. You no longer have an office here."

Illya froze. Never in all his time working for U.N.C.L.E. had Waverly used that tone. He felt a reassuring pressure on his arm and looked at his partner.

"Go to my office and wait for me there."

Napoleon was using his command voice, the one that he knew Illya hated. The one that gave him no choice but to obey.

Napoleon waited until he heard the door swish open and shut, then he spun the table until it whipped around and the reel stopped in back in front of him, instead of where it had been in front of Mr. Waverly. He tapped the canister. "The label says Alexander Waverly and Victor Marton." He looked up and smiled.

"I'll take that back, Mr. Solo," Waverly ordered gruffly.

"Be my guest," Napoleon responded with a forced cheerfulness as he spun the tabletop around. "The only thing you'll find is two men during a time of war taking pleasure in each other. You'd need an expert to identify them. Who they are and what they are doing is no one's business but theirs. Just like it should be with anyone else in this organization."

Waverly's eyes brighten. "So, you admit that something is going on between you and Mr. Kuryakin."

Napoleon wanted to close his eyes in frustration. Nothing was going on but he wasn't about to admit it. "Just who is this Master that has you so worked up over nothing?"

"That, Mr. Solo, is none of your business."

Napoleon stood up and shook his head. "Illya's life has been turned upside down and you say it's none of our business? I used to think you were human, now I'm not so sure."

He walked out of the office, deaf to Waverly's demand to come back this instance. The glare he received from Lisa Rodgers was disquieting. He'd always gotten along well with her. It kept him in a pensive mood all the way to his office.

The door slid open and he was just in time to hear Mark's rant. "It's discrimination, mate. Pure and simple discrimination."

He stopped just inside the door. Illya was in the midst of taking a swig from a flask, he cocked one brow as he passed the silver container back to Mark.

Napoleon shook his head in resignation while Mark offered him the flask after talking a healthy slug. "What's this about discrimination?"

"Mark thinks U.N.C.L.E. is discriminating against homosexuals and people of color."

"Heh?" Napoleon had been so distracted by his conversation with Waverly he almost missed what Illya was saying.

"Haven't you noticed? I have. Look at Jason, he could easily be in Section Two instead he's stuck being a Section Three agent. Instead we have a jerk like Carmine." Mark shook his head in disgust.

"First off, Jason requested Section Three. He has a wife and two little girls, not to mention he stands out, as big as he is. He doesn't quite blend in as an undercover agent. If we need a linebacker he's the first one I'd call."

Mark nodded, accepting Napoleon's explanation. He fiddled with some of the papers on the desk before blurting out. "Rumor has it that you two are lovers."

"You want to field that one, Napoleon?" Illya's eyes twinkled with mischief.

Napoleon cleared his throat. "While I would have no objections, Illya is rather reticent. Wouldn't you say that was a fair assessment?"

"Not necessarily, lyubovnik." Illya did a slow blink, that always made Napoleon scrunch his nose. "What did Waverly have to say about the Master?"

"He wouldn't say a damn thing. He doesn't even admit the man exists."

"You can't be talking about Percy?" Mark asked. shocking both Napoleon and Illya, who exchanged perplexed looks.

"You know skinny guy, looks like a cadaver? Kind of creepy, but nice enough once you get to know him."

"You know him?"

Mark snorted. "Do I know him? If it weren't for him, April and I wouldn't be partners." Mark pulled the phone to him and started to dial. "Hey, Sherm, Slate here. Can I speak to Percy? no? He's what! When did that happen? Ah,uh. Okay, thanks for telling me." Mark hung up the phone and looked stunned.

"Let me guess. He's dead." Napoleon hoped.

Mark comes back to earth and shakes his head. "No." He frowned. "At least I don't think so. He's decided to retire, but it seems he mentioned something about one last prank."

Just than an announcement was heard over the loudspeaker. "Mr. Slate, please report to Medical."

"Wonder what that's all about." Giving a shrug, Mark said reluctantly, "Since you're here I guess I'll be going."

"So, do you still have a job?" Illya asked Napoleon once the door slid shut.

"I'm not sure. When I left things were rather up in the air." Napoleon frowned. Waverly's attitude confused him.

Illya sighed. "Well, I'm planning on going home, taking a shower and get a good night's sleep.