Solo and Kuryakin had been recuperating from a strange and unusual mission in the Balkans when the mysterious message had arrived.
“Hmmm, someone wants us to come to dinner,” Napoleon informed his partner as he read the note.
“Anyone we know?” the Russian asked not really interested in the answer.
Napoleon checked the note then turned the envelope over. “Afraid not,” he said thoughtfully. “Aren’t you the least bit curious?”
“Curiosity killed the cat, Napoleon,” Illya warned.
Napoleon thought a few minutes more before ripping the note in half and throwing it away.
That evening as they were leaving their hotel on the way to a nearby restaurant, they were grabbed roughly from behind and tied up. From the back seat of the car where they’d been unceremoniously thrown, they did their best to keep track of the route they were taking.
“Ah ... see here, my good man,” Napoleon politely asked the driver. “Would you mind telling us where we are going?”
The driver spared them a glance in the rearview mirror but said nothing. When they reached their destination, which turned out to be a castle, they were urgently pushed up the stairs and thrown to a floor in a great hall. Their captors hauled them to their feet and expertly searched them and, after taking away any equipment that might be useful in escaping, untied them before leaving the great room.
The two agents got up off the floor and regarded each other as they rubbed their sore wrists.
“Come here,” commanded a voice that echoed eerily from the far end of the hall.
Napoleon cocked an eyebrow while Illya gave a shrug, then the two agents as one started toward the voice their eyes taking in the surroundings. The hallway was lined on one side with portraits of men from the early 13th & 14th century. The other side was lined with extremely erotic painting. Napoleon stopped to look at one and gave his partner a inquiring look.
“Been there done that.” Illya muttered with a sigh causing Napoleon to look more closely at the painting and smirk.
They continued down the hall to they came to very strange man sitting on a throne. He was long legged and extremely thin and had a strange glint in his eyes. A glint that was turned first on Illya than on Napoleon. “It was very rude of you to refuse my invitation.” The European accented voice had a sinister quality to it.
“My sincere apologies. I would have sent a note of refusal if there had been a return address,” Napoleon said politely after exchanging furtive glances with Illya.
“Excuse me if I appear rude, but may one ask why we are here?” Illya inquired in his softly-accented voice.
“It’s quite simple. I have heard a lot about the two of you and wanted to see for myself.”
“A lot of trouble for a dubious outcome,” Illya remarked.
“Don’t antagonize the man,” Napoleon muttered softly out the side of his mouth. The Master's accent reminded him of Boris Karloff, who played many a horror movie. That and something about the current setting, sent a unhealthy shiver through him.
“Dinner is served.” A butler appeared at the doorway and the two agents were escorted to an enormous dining room laden with the finest of food.
Illya had no trouble making himself at home at the table and immediately digging in. Napoleon, on the other hand, was more cautious. He watched carefully as the wine was poured, letting his host take the first sip. Even then he brought the glass to his nose, sniffing it before daring to drink.
By the end of the meal, Napoleon had no more idea as to why they were there then he did when they started. The meal was sumptuous by anyone's standards. The first course was a plate of oysters served in a variety of ways. This was followed by a consommé of rich chicken broth flavor met with Illya's approval. A Crab mango salad with avocado was next. Napoleon appreciated the flavors of crab lump meat gently folded with cilantro, lime, avocado and mango. The citrus mango sauce made for a wonderful salad. It was followed by salmon with asparagus on the side. It wasn't until the dessert of a rich and creamy chocolate mousse followed by figs that Napoleon realized that most of the courses consisted of foods that he considered aphrodisiac in nature.
Throughout the meal, Napoleon kept expecting to be interrogated, or at least garner some clue as to why they were there. The conversation during the meal was unremarkable. Their host spoke eloquently and used impeccable English on subjects such as art, theater, food, and quantum mechanics. Napoleon spared a glance for his partner. He was worried. Normally Illya was even more cautious then he was, but tonight Illya was eating and drinking as if he hadn't a care in the world. His eyes were blissfully shut as he licked the last of the sinfully delicious dessert off his spoon just as the clock struck midnight.
Their host wiped his lips and set his napkin aside. Pushing back his chair, he stood tall and smiled his sinister smile. "It is late, so I will bid you bonne nuit. Boris will show you to your room."
"Yes, Master." Boris, the one servant who did not stand tall because his shoulders stooped, bowed.
Napoleon shivered. If he didn't know better it felt as if someone had walked on his grave.
The two agents followed the slow moving servant down many halls. Illya, who had drank quite a bit that night, was moving slower than usual and Napoleon grabbed him by the arm to drag him along. Eventually they stopped and Boris opened one of the doors that lined the hall and stepped aside. Napoleon, not sure what to expect, reluctantly entered.
Surprisingly the room was large and nothing sinister like Napoleon expected. The furniture was massive as was the bed, with posts that seemed to be seven feet tall, that was the focal point of the room. The ceilings were at least twenty feet tall. Napoleon turned to thank Boris only to find that the man was already gone and the door shut. He walked over and wasn't really surprised to find that the door was locked from the outside. He turned around to find Illya pulling off his clothes and dropping them to the floor. Dressed in nothing but his BVD's he climbed into the large bed and pulled up the covers.
Napoleon frowned as he looked at his partner, who was out like a light. Something was wrong with Illya. In fact there was something wrong with this whole scenario. Heaving a sigh, Napoleon checked the room making sure it was clean of bugs and other surveillance devices. He knew there was probably something, but he wasn't able to locate anything. Slowly he stripped off his clothing and then picked up Illya's to neatly put them away in the huge dresser before slipping into the bed with his partner. He lay awake staring at the ceiling. Eventually he closed his eyes, never noticing the gas that flowed from the headboard.
Their host was watching everything on the camera hidden in the top of one of four posters on the bed. He was dissatisfied with how things were going and once both of the men were snoring, he flicked on the switch activating the gas. When that didn't result in the activity that he'd hoped for, he switched off the monitor angrily.
Napoleon woke up the next morning with the nastiest of hangovers and the stiffest hard-on he could remember ever having had. He made his way into the attached bath and did his best to relieve his stiff cock enough so he could piss. It wasn't easy but he managed.
As he washed his hands and applied cold water to his face, his eyes roamed around the old fashion bathroom. The toilet, while not exactly primitive, wasn't the most up-to-date and at least it was flushable. At eye level he discovered a cabinet attached to the wall. Carefully he opened it and found soap, toothpaste, and more importantly, aspirin. The tub was an antique claw-foot with running hot and cold water. While the tub was filling, Napoleon searched and found some bath oils along with towels and wash cloths. He shed his underwear and climbed into the tub, no easy task. He stretched out and relaxed, letting the warm water rise around him. Even as his body was relaxing, his mind was in overdrive as he sorted through the villains that he knew and didn't come up with a match. None of what was happening to them made any sense.
Illya stumbled in, his eyes half closed as he made his way to the toilet. Napoleon knew that something was wrong, especially since it appeared that Illya was having as much trouble getting his dick to cooperate as Napoleon had. Napoleon rinsed the soap suds off and climbed out of the deep tub. Drying himself off, Napoleon commented, "I recommend the tub highly. A nice soak will make you feel better."
A grunt from his partner was the only reply. Leaving him to his own devices, Napoleon pulled on his underwear and went into the other room. He sniffed with distaste as he dressed, wishing that their captor had had the foresight to get their suitcases.
Illya eventually emerged, his hair damp, and he, too, began pulling on his clothes. After he pulled his turtleneck shirt over his head, he shook it to get his hair to settle in its normal place. By silent consensus the two then did a more thorough search of the room and found the cameras that they'd been too tired to find the day before. Illya looked directly into the camera. "I don't suppose food would be on the agenda anytime soon?" he asked rather defiantly.
Almost before the words were out of his mouth, they heard the key turning in the lock and the door opened. Boris stood in the doorway glaring at them. "Breakfast is being served." he growled before turning and walking away.
Illya jumped down from the bed, a smug look on his face. The two men followed in silence. They went down narrow stairways, along several hallways, up spiral stairways, through doors covered by tapestries, until Napoleon was thoroughly lost. He wasn't too worried. Illya probably knew exactly where they were, not to mention that, surely someone from U.N.C.L.E. had to be searching for them.
Eventually they ended up in the large and cavernous room from the night before. The only illumination came from the lit candelabras set on the table. There between them were two side-by-side place settings.
"Kippers!" Illya cried delightedly and rushed to sit down, leaving Napoleon standing with his mouth open.
Napoleon sighed and moved at a more sedate pace and cautiously sat down. You did not get in Illya's way when food was nearby. He picked up his plate and inhaled the scent. Kippers were not his cup of tea. One of the servants poured coffee and he sniffed that as well.
"So, where's our charming host?" Napoleon asked the world at large.
Napoleon's shoulders stiffened. The voice had come from directly behind him. No one had been standing there when he sat down. With studied casualness, he turned around in his seat. Sure enough, their host was standing there, his silhouette thin in the shadows. He had not been there when he and Illya had sat down, of that Napoleon was certain. What puzzled Napoleon the most was that there were no doors in that area, none. So where had he come from?
One of his men pulled out the chair at the head of the table and the Master glided over and sat down, waving aside the minion that offered him food while accepting a crystal goblet that appeared to hold red wine. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs. His face looked even more skeletal then it had the night before and you could tell that his eyes were the lightest of blues. Taking a sip from his cup, he closed his eyes in ecstasy, which was frightening on its own.
"You do know that when we don't check in they'll come looking for us," Napoleon informed him.
Illya put down his fork and turned his back to their captor and leaned into his partner to whisper apologetically, "Napoleon, I.. .um... forgot to tell you. Mr. Waverly gave us three days off."
Napoleon's mouth went dry and a painful look crossed his face, quickly covered, he hoped. That was not information that he was wishing for.
"Ah, dear Alexander. I am sadly disappointed that he did not send you to see me," the grotesque man bemoaned.
Illya's eyes widened. "You know Mr. Waverly? How?"
A smirk appeared on the gaunt face, causing Napoleon to shudder. "Extremely well. Unfortunately he's resisted my attempts to tempt him to the dark side."
Napoleon and Illya exchanged puzzled glances. What did that mean? Was he in reality part of THRUSH, like Victor Marton? If he were, why were his minions not dressed in the standard uniform favored by most of THRUSH?
Illya peered at the man intently. "Exactly why were we kidnapped?"
Oddly enough, the Master actually looked hurt by the question. "I would prefer not to use that term. You are guests in my home. I've heard a lot about your partnership and I merely wanted to see for myself."
Napoleon looked at Illya, who looked back at him, and it was easy to see that Illya had no more idea as to what the man was talking about then he did.
"Really, Mr. Solo. Your naïveté is most unbecoming."
The Master's men snickered nastily. Napoleon closed his eyes. He hated being kept in the dark and he hated being laughed at.
The Master stood up menacing and slammed his goblet on the table shattering it. "Neither of you have been acting in the way I expected." He seemed to grow taller right in front of their eyes. "I am the last in a long line of libertines. I am recording our history for posterity and you two are research."
"Huh," was Napoleon's unintelligent reply. He looked at his partner, the master of trivial information. Perhaps he knew what their captor was talking about. Evidently he did because the look on Illya's face was not reassuring. He opened his mouth to ask Illya what he knew when Illya put a hand on his arm to forestall him.
"I am afraid that you are operating under a misapprehension. You see, Mr. Solo, here, is without a doubt, one hundred percent, a ladies' man," Illya informed the ghoulish man.
That might have worked if Napoleon hadn't been looking at Illya as if he were crazy. Illya returned with a look that plainly said to keep his mouth shut. Napoleon wasn't sure why, but he was smart enough to follow his partner's lead.
The Master sat back down in his chair and laughed aloud. It was not a pleasant sound to hear. "You may believe what you want, but I know better." Madness gleamed in his eyes and he spread his arms wide. "All I ask is that the two of you kiss."
Napoleon frowned. Just what kind of whack job were they dealing with? He shrugged. If that was all the man wanted, he thought. He leaned over and chastely kissed Illya on the cheek, much to his partner's surprise. With a pleased smile on his face, Napoleon turned to face The Master, somewhat shocked to find that the man looked ready to explode.
Napoleon watched as with a wave of the Master's hand, one of the minions grabbed Illya by his long yellow hair and pulled the Russian's head back and held a very sharp knife at his throat. Napoleon jumped up in alarm only to find himself pushed back into his seat. He set his hands on the table to push himself back up when two bands sprang shut around his wrists.
"Wait!" Napoleon yelled in desperation. Okay, so he'd been a little flippant about the kiss, but he hadn't thought this guy was serious. He shifted through what he knew about this man and came to the conclusion that he was a massive pervert of the first order. If for whatever reason he wanted him to kiss Illya, Napoleon would pull out all the stops. Seeing the knife so close to Illya's throat guaranteed that.
"It's too late. Prepare him," The Master ordered.
Two large goons grabbed Illya and started to drag him away. Illya put up a fight and received a chop to his neck for his efforts. His eyes rolled upward and he dropped to the floor unconscious. Napoleon squirmed trying to loosen the bands around his wrist and go to him. Struggling proved no use.
Maniacal laughter ringing in his ears sent shivers up Napoleon's spine. One thing Napoleon knew for certain was that Illya needed rescuing fast. Frantically he looked around for something, anything that would help him out. He looked around and discovered he was alone, the Master having disappeared. He stretched his fingers in an unsuccessful attempt to reach the silverware. He didn't even come close.
Frantically he clawed at the table cloth which brought the tableware closer. Maneuvering the knife proved difficult, but eventually he managed to slice through the band holding him in place.
With knife in hand Napoleon swiftly ran up the stairs and down the hall keeping close to the wall. Following the innate connection the two men shared, Napoleon, in a blink of the eye, was at the door to their room. He burst into the room, shocked and not quite sure what he was seeing. Two men were holding Illya face down. He had no time to think when one of the men came at him and Napoleon slammed the knife he was carrying into the man's belly. The second man appeared to be holding a rod of some sort and Napoleon sincerely hoped he wasn't doing what he appeared to be doing.
Napoleon immediately pounced on the man, twisting his head until he heard a resounding snap. Illya was beginning to move around. He didn't appear aware of his surroundings. Thank goodness, they hadn't completely undressed him. A quick slap to the face brought Illya around enough for Napoleon to drag him off the bed. Swiftly he helped Illya pull up his pants before grabbing one wrist and urging him out of the room.
They no sooner got to the door when Napoleon heard the clatter of footsteps heading their way. There is no time for words. There is only one way to go. Reversing course they reentered the room now cluttered with dead bodies. Slamming the door, Napoleon swiftly guided an unresponsive and groggy Illya into the bathroom. Climbing into the tub, he pushed open the double window. From the bathroom he could hear the sounds of their captors smashing in the door. With nothing left to lose, Napoleon wrapped himself around his partner and squeezed through, dropping three stories to the ground below.
Chapter 2: The Master
Napoleon can't help but worry when after their escape, while he recuperates out of the country, Illya is ordered back to New York and nobody will let him speak with the Russian.
Two weeks later Napoleon hobbled up four flights of stairs, cursing whenever his foot would come into contact with a newel post. All things considered, he'd been pretty lucky. Landing on the bottom, he'd broken his leg and fractured some ribs. Illya had been luckier, or not, since he had the responsibility of getting them away. Not an easy job.
Once they'd managed to contact Waverly, things had moved pretty fast. Napoleon had been held up at the hospital for three weeks before he was deemed ready to move. He talked his way out after two. Illya was ordered back to New York after three days. Napoleon had on several occasions tried to talk with Illya over the communicator, Waverly had put a lockdown on information, but Illya was never around.
Finally, Napoleon arrived at the door and he paused to get his breath back. He really shouldn't have that much trouble using crutches. Balancing on one foot, he wacked the door with one of his crutches. No sound was forthcoming.
"Open the damn door. I know you're in there, Illya," yelled Napoleon. Pressing his ear to the door while balancing on the crutches, he though he heard movement inside. The door opened. He'd known it would be bad, but just not how bad. Illya looked worse than when he was in that South-American prison camp. His hair was unkempt and greasy and his face sported a scraggly beard. He smelled worse, too. "You gonna invite me in?"
Napoleon hobbled past Illya, his eyes making a swift survey around the apartment. Illya wasn't necessarily the neatest of persons, but this looked bad even for him. His gaze returned to his friend, Napoleon's nose twitching with distaste. "Why don't you clean up, Filthy?" His tone leaving little doubt that it was an order.
Illya crossed his arms over his chest indignantly and returned a glare, then he looked down at himself, sniffed and one corner of his mouth rose slightly in amusement. He dropped his arms in acquiescence and set off for his bathroom in a huff.
Using his crutches as a makeshift broom, Napoleon gathered all the empty boxes and bottles into one spot. He checked the kitchen with its dirty dishes and pots. The kitchen was a lost cause. The refrigerator was even in worse shape. Heaving a sigh, he worked his way to the bedroom and the mess that awaited him there. Rumpled bed linen, clothes scattered about, nothing hung. He picked up a hanger intent on hanging - something, when Illya emerged from the bath.
The shock must have shone on his face, because Illya's face had reddened and he was doing his best to hide behind the skimpy towel that he was using to dry himself. Too late, for nothing had prepared Napoleon for the loss of weight that left ribs showing and the yellow, greenish marks on Illya's torso.
"Nobody told me that you were in a scuffle with Thrush," Napoleon said.
Illya turned away, tossing aside his town, and rummaged through one of his drawers for underwear. With his back turned, he slipped on a pair of boxers and muttered, "That's because I wasn't."
Sadly enough, Napoleon was not terribly surprised. After his unproductive meeting with Waverly, he'd noticed a few nasty looks that came his way from fellow employees. He supposed Illya had received much the same. Looks Illya could handle. Normally Illya wouldn't have let something like that bother him. Had it escalated to blows? This looked like it had gone further. If it had there was going to be hell to pay.
"You had to tell them. You just had to tell them," Illya growled.
Napoleon stepped back, puzzled. "What the hell are you talking about? Tell who what?
"How else would they have known?" Illya accused angrily. "They seemed to think I enjoyed what happened to me."
"Illya, I swear by the God you don't believe in that I've not said anything to anyone. Not even in my report, which Waverly, by the way, refused."
"If you didn't, then who?"
"I don't know, but I plan to find out."
Since Illya's cupboards were bare, Napoleon called out for some Chinese takeout, over which the two had talked now that Illya's anger had been quenched.
"Talk to me," Napoleon ordered as he settled on the couch, using chopsticks to enjoy his meal. His plaster-encased foot was propped on a pillow, a clothes hanger close by, in case of itching.
"What about?" Illya asked before allowing a long string of chow mien to slide down his throat. Napoleon gave him a look that let him know not to bull shit around. Letting out a sigh, he commented, "There were three of them. In the parking garage."
"Did you recognize anyone?"
Illya shook his head. "They wore masks."
Cowards, Napoleon thought as he finished off his chow mien. They shouldn't be too hard to track down, Illya was sure to have left marks. Slowly he got up and reached for his crutches. "Get some sleep. I'll pick you up in the morning."
He waited until he heard the lock drawn before he slowly made his way down the stairs. That night he slept poorly. It didn't make sense. It wasn't like Illya to hide away like this.
Napoleon finds out from April that Illya's medical report has been making the rounds and homophobia rears its ugly head.
The next morning Napoleon tried to get Illya to work on time, but Illya refused. Not that Napoleon blamed him, but it wasn't like him not to face things head on.
When he did get to headquarters he couldn't help but notice that the receptionist stood up and handed him his badge rather than placing it on his lapel. It was just another sign that things were not right. He wished that Illya was walking by his side, his head held high.
Right now, he had a bone to pick with Mr. Waverly. Tightening his jaw, he limped his way through the halls heading for Waverly's office. Lisa Rogers saw him coming and swiftly moved to block his way.
"I'm sorry, but Mr. Waverly is unavailable at the moment." To Lisa's credit, she did look sorry.
"Just when will he be available?" Napoleon asked heatedly.
Lisa tilted her head, spread her arms and shrugged.
Napoleon wanted to argue the point; however, his better judgment had him turn away. What was he going to do now? He meandered through the metal lined hallways, noting who met his eyes and who didn't and filing it away for later review.
He paused when he found himself at the doorway to the commissary. He wasn't really hungry, but he smiled, thinking that Illya would probably be. He hobbled through the doorway and suddenly all the noise stopped. He turned around and looked behind him. No such luck - everyone was reacting to him. The really weird thing was he and Illya hadn't done anything to engender this. He didn't really have time to deal with this, however, on the other side of the room he spotted the one person who might be able to help him get a handle on this.
He was somewhat surprised that she hadn't heard him coming. When finally the beautiful redhead looked up, she smiled. "Napoleon! I heard you'd gotten back." She waved her hand toward the seat across from her. She actually looked happy to see him.
"Talk to me," he insisted as he set his crutches aside and sat down.
"About what?" Her eyes, innocent, looked at him through her long lashes as she sipped the straw in her milkshake. Napoleon studied her and apparently April Dancer knew not to play around with him. She let out a heavy sigh. "Illya's medical report has been making the rounds. Personally I think you make a cute couple."
Napoleon stopped breathing. He thought he knew why Illya was being ostracized, but he was at a loss as to how anyone knew. He remembered quite clearly pulling Illya off the bed and trying to get his pants pulled up over his erection before dragging him into the bathroom and jumping out the window. The only thing he could think of was that Illya had enjoyed having something stuck up his ass, not out of the realm of possibilities. Napoleon had had the pleasure himself. He needed to talk to Illya about it. But, right now he had other matters to occupy his time.
April kept talking the whole time, but he wasn't really paying attention. He tuned back in just in time to hear her say, "...if it doesn't bother me that Mark's that way..." April had paused suddenly and her face took on a pinkish hue and she looked as guilty as hell. Was she saying that Mark like men? That little nugget he filed away for later perusal. He got up and leaned in to kiss her on the cheek, leaving April blushing a bit more.
There was a smile on his face as he made his way across the commissary to the door, ignoring the growing volume as people returned to their gossiping. He looked both ways debating where to go next when he spotted Mandy Stevenson gossiping with fellow employees. He had a pretty good idea as to what the subject of conversation was and that decided for him. He turned to go the other way. No such luck.
"Napoleon! Napoleon," Mandy called as she hurried to catch up with him. When he stopped for the inevitable, she startled him by giving him a hug. "I'm so happy for you." Then she hit him in the chest. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Huh?" was Napoleon's brilliant response. "You don't, by any chance, have a copy..."
"Sure." Mandy rifled through the stack of folders she held in her arms and pulled out one. "Here."
Napoleon opened the file and blanched as he read the detailed report. It was obvious that certain things had been left out. Like the fact that Illya had been drugged and in essence raped.
"Wasn't it a tad unethical of medical to release that information?" Mandy asked with a frown.
Clearing his throat, Napoleon nodded his agreement. "Mandy, I couldn't agree more." He slipped the folder under his armpit and hobbled away.
With renewed determination, he headed for the Medical Section. The door swished open before he reached it and out stepped the attractive red-headed nurse that he often flirted with. To his surprise, she smiled at him as she walked past, wiggling her behind as she glanced over her shoulder and winked at him.
He continued into Medical with a lighter heart. Maybe things weren't so bad after all. Then he saw her. Blonde, big boobs, and as tall as he, she standing in front of the file cabinet filing medical reports. Nurse Helga was his and Illya's arch nemesis.
He moved closer and brought his crutch to tap her shoulder, amused when she jumped and turned around. "What do you want?" she asked, spitefully.
Napoleon held his temper. "I'd like to see the medical records of agents treated in the past two weeks."
One shapely blonde brow rose as she moved to sit behind her desk. "You know we cannot release that information."
"It didn't stop someone from releasing this," Napoleon snapped, as he tossed the folder containing Illya's on her desk.
Dr. Edison Wilds walked in just then, his eyes on the patient's chart in his hand. The infirmary was overrun with patients of late. His dark hair was sprinkled with grey, his dark eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses were almost black. . Fifty-four years of age, he had the distinction of being the head of U.N.C.L.E. medical in New York City. At 5'8" he was three inches shorter than his head nurse and normally had to look up at her.
"You harassing my nurses again, Solo?" He asked without looking up a smile, then frowned when he finally did and he took in Napoleon's physical condition. "You here about the leg?"
"Actually, I came in to check on any recent patients you might have."
One brow rose. The request itself was not unusual, it was the tone in which it was asked that was.
"And I told Mr. Solo that we do not tell just anyone that information," Helga responded firmly.
"That's true," Wilds agreed. "However, Mr. Solo is not just anyone. As head of Section Two he does have that right." He looked at his nurse, bemused by her attitude. Then he saw the file lying on the desk. "Is that Mr. Solo's file?" Picking it up, he leafed through it and his frown deepened, his eyes widening the more he read. "This appears to be Mr. Kuryakin's file. Come to think of it, I haven't seen him in here lately. When did these come in?" He waved the folder in her direction.
"And why is this the first I've seen of these?" Wilds demanded.
"You were in surgery. I did not wish to bother you."
Napoleon could tell that something about her answer bothered the doctor, but he wasn't sure what. Wilds nodded and continued to study the file as he walked to his office. He turned back, crocked his finger at Napoleon to follow, at the same time he made a request of Helga. "Oh, Nurse, kindly get me Solo's file."
He settled into his chair and studied Napoleon. "I don't think you should read this without Mr. Kuryakin's permission."
"You've got to be kidding," Napoleon exploded. "Half the people in this building have seen this report."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Wilds asked.
Napoleon told him.
That brought Wilds up short. "Just where did you get this?" he asked.
"Mandy in translations."
"How the hell did she get it?"
"They're all over the building." Napoleon frowned, a spark of anger going through him. "My guess is Helga been passing them around."
Doctor Wilds gave Napoleon a good, hard look trying to discern if he is telling the truth before turning his attention to his chief nurse. "Nurse, do you have any idea what he's talking about?"
Helga crossed her arms in front of her massive chest, her lips pressed firmly together, before she spat defiantly, "None."
"I'm disappointed. You know these records are confidential." He waved the file in Helga's face.
His head nurse refused to look him in the eye. That in itself was highly unusual. Helga backed down to no one.
"Why would you do that?" he asked.
Helga glared at Napoleon, her body posture stiff. "People should know just what type of person they are dealing with." Her voice dripped with venom.
It was obvious that nothing could have shocked Wilds more. He fell back into his chair, his facial expression changing in a matter of seconds. "The file, your request, the abundance of patients. It all makes sense now." What Napoleon couldn't know was that this brought back memories of Wild's older brother, whose life was tragically cut short, and the reason he'd become a doctor in the first place. "Clear out your desk."
She gaped at him in shock. "You must be joking. We've work together for over ten years."
"Did you think I would side with you on this?" Wilds stood up abruptly. "Do I have to call in security?" Nothing pleased Napoleon more than watching Wild reach for the phone and he almost laughed when she turned and stalked out of the doctor's office. If he had his way there would be no transferring to another headquarters. He'd make sure of that.
The doctor fell back into his seat, "I'm afraid I'm feeling older than my fifty-four years. She was one of the best nurses I've ever worked with. I hate losing her."
Napoleon didn't agree, how good of a nurse could she be if she felt that way?
Dr. Wild had, in the meantime, opened the large file and found the original exactly where it should be on top. He flipped through the multiple sheets and compared the records with Illya's last checkup. He shook his head. "This, I fear, does not match up with Kuryakin's last physical. The details in this latest medical chart are damning and written so that even a nonprofessional could understand." He muttered, talking to himself. Then he looked over the rim of his glasses. "You weren't responsible for this damage, I hope."
Napoleon looked affronted. It had not been his fault that they'd been kidnapped, though he did feel guilty. "No."
The phone rang. Wild's held up a finger and answered.
"Wilds... Yes, I fired her and no, you cannot transfer her. I want her memory wiped and her out of here today, now."
He listened for a moment rolled his eyes at Napoleon. "Let me speak to Sherman." He drummed his fingers on his desk and then straightened as someone apparently answered. "Sherm. I assume you're aware of the medical records floating around?,,, Ahuh, she's the party that is responsible. ... You think I'm being drastic? I can't trust her. ... How would you like it if your medical records spread around headquarters... Thank you. I knew you'd see it my way."
Wilds slammed the phone down and smiled with satisfaction. "I hate bigots," he muttered. "Now let's see that leg of yours."
Napoleon confronts Illya after rumor's around headquarters the they are lovers and convinces him that his responses to the situation with The Master were normal. A month later they were both back on the job, though assigned separate missions. By chance they happened to meet up at the same hotel in the Balkans.
Together they decide to confront The Master.
Napoleon stood at the bottom of the staircase in Illya's apartment building and wondered why his partner insisted on living there. Some days he had no heat, and there were days when he had no hot water. The excuse that he was rarely home anyway just didn't cut it. Napoleon knew for a fact that Illya could afford something better.
It had been a longer day then he had expected. He let out a deep sigh and slowly made his way up the three stories to Illya's apartment. Fortunately, Dr. Wilds had changed the lumpy and heavy cast for a newer, lightweight boot that had just been developed and Napoleon no longer needed the two crutches and was now relegated to a cane.
His normal cheery mood was darkened with each step following his lack of getting answers. He'd learned a lot. For instance, not everyone had actually seen the report. Of those that did, ninety-five percent didn't care one way or the other. Some were concerned about Illya, realizing that he didn't ask for what happened to him. Others were under the impression that Illya swung that way anyhow and weren't surprised at all. Still, others seemed to think he and Illya had been doing it for years. It didn't help that when Napoleon was leaving one of his fellow agents called out. "Hey, Solo. I knew you'd run out of women one day, but did you have to be so rough?"
Napoleon paused at the door, trying to get his act together. He tapped the door with the head of his new cane. He waited and waited. He heard someone come up behind him and quickly whipped the sword from his cane, whirled around and placed it against the throat of his would be assailant.
Illya dropped his grocery bag and froze, the tip of the blade pressed against his Adam's apple. "Napoleon, I knew you were angry with me, but..." he croaked.
Napoleon smoothly slid the sword back into the cane. His brow furrowed as he asked, "Like my new cane? Why would I be angry?"
Illya picked up his scattered groceries and unlocked his door, ushering Napoleon in. He headed toward his small kitchen to put away his purchases. "Mr. Waverly dropped by."
"The hell you say," Napoleon blurted out as he plopped onto the only couch in the room. So that's why he was unable to connect with the old man.
"It appears we were set up," Illya continued. "By UNCLE Northeast."
"Beldon!" Harry Beldon had always rubbed Napoleon the wrong way. "I always felt he was in the pay of THRUSH."
Illya nodded bitterly. "And I gave him all the ammunition he needed."
"He has all of it on tape."
"Napoleon, don't be dense," Illya hissed. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Napoleon. "Nobody will want to work with me. Not with a ..." He looked away, unable to say it.
"A fag?" Napoleon shook his head amused. He patted the sofa with his cane and ordered, "Sit."
Illya reluctantly sat on the far side of the sofa, which considering its size wasn't that far. He stared down at his clasped hands, hanging between his spread thighs.
Napoleon considered where to start. How do you ask your partner and friend about his sexual preferences? "Illya, look at me," he requested softly.
"Does this affect your ability to blow things up?"
Illya looked at him from beneath long blond lashes. A small smile crossed his lips as he shook his head.
Napoleon nodded thoughtfully, then he had to ask, "How long have you known that you were ... you know?"
Illya looked up in surprise and squirmed. "I didn't - until ..."
"I'm not surprised," Napoleon said solemnly, and he wasn't. He never suspected something like that of Illya and he was rarely wrong.
"But...but, I responded and ... enjoyed it."
Napoleon laughed and drew Illya's hand to his groin. Illya snatched it back as if burnt.
"That proves nothing. You get hard at the drop of the hat."
Napoleon winked. "True. In fact I even enjoy having something shoved up my ass." Memories of pleasure he'd received at the hands of a few women of his acquaintance fresh in his mind - women he had never seen again for fear of where that pleasure might lead.
Illya paled and scooted as far as he could get from Napoleon. He pointed at him and accused. "You ... you're one of them... a pervert?"
Napoleon was highly insulted. "Hey, if I'm not mistaken it was just a few minutes ago that you thought you were one."
Illya straightened up in surprise. "Oh, that's right."
"The point I was trying to make is that you're still you. Just because something feels good, it doesn't make you any less of an agent." Napoleon took his cane and patted Illya's leg. "Did you bring food or do you want to go out. I'm sure you're hungry." He grew thoughtful. "I always thought I was a pretty good judge of character and I never would have thought you preferred men."
"I don't... prefer men."
Napoleon wondered if it was possible to be gay and not know it. Suddenly a strange sound emanated from Napoleon's midsection reminding him that he'd not eaten that day. He glanced up just as Illya tried to hide his grin, Illya's stomach was usually the one growling.
Napoleon leaned back and drawled, "Got anything eatable in your lawder?"
Illya burst out laughing at Napoleon's deliberate mispronunciation and gracefully got up, heading for the cramped quarters that qualified as a kitchen in his apartment.
Settling back on the sofa, Napoleon reached under his thigh lifting his healing leg to the coffee table. Pain was starting to set in. He reached for his pain meds, wishing he had thought to ask for some water when, as if by magic, Illya returned with a glass and just like that things were back to normal.
A month later they were both back on the job. By chance they happened to meet up at the same hotel in the Balkans.
"Fancy meeting you here," Illya said with his usual snarky manner.
Something twisted in Napoleon's gut. It must have shown on his face because Illya asked with a frown, "You did know I was going to be here?"
Reluctantly Napoleon sighed and shook his head no.
"Oh, Mr. Solo. A message arrived for you." The manager behind the counter waved a folded sheet of paper aloft as he called out.
Deja Vu, Napoleon thought as he plucked the note from the man's hand. Illya was undoubtedly looking over his shoulder so there was no need to read it aloud.
"Not again," Illya muttered. "Well, old boy. Shall we adjourn to your room for a drink to celebrate our fortuitous meeting before going off?" Illya asked loudly with fake cheerfulness as he clapped Napoleon on the shoulder.
"Absolutely, old chum," Napoleon agreed as he pocketed the note and his mind raced rapidly through various scenarios in response to the anonymous invitation that duplicated the last one they'd received even as Illya dragged him away.
Once in the elevator Illya asked, "We're not planning on walking into a trap, are we?"
Napoleon put a finger to his lip, then hoisted a thumb upward. Illya looked up at the trapdoor in the ceiling of the elevator and rolled his eyes before placing one foot in Napoleon's laced hands, accepting the boost up through the ceiling. Turning he reached down and helped hoist Napoleon up. No sooner was the trap shut when the elevator stopped and the two held each other to keep from falling over.
Shots rang out beneath them, then someone yelled. "Hey, they ain't here."
Napoleon and Illya hurriedly pulled the elevator door open and scrambled out, rushing to the find the nearest stairs. Illya followed as Napoleon swiftly led them up three flights and out onto the rooftop. They reconnoitered before leaping to the next roof and kept going until they ran out of roofs and hid behind a smokestack just as the door to the roof access flew open. They were far enough away that they couldn't hear what was said.
Once things quieted down across the way, Napoleon sighed heavily.
"Where you expecting something like this?" Illya asked leaning over him to look around the chimney.
"Not really. It had occurred to me that something might happen, so I have a contingency plan in place," Napoleon said. "Follow me."
In no time at all, they were back on the street and weaving through back alleys and breaking into a rundown garage. There was nothing inside but a tiny BMW two-seater.
"Take off your clothes," Napoleon ordered as he went to open the hood.
Napoleon didn't notice that Illya had stopped in his tracks, his mouth open in shock. They'd never really talked about the last time they were in this predicament and he knew that Illya was fine with that. Napoleon had not taken advantage of him in any way shape or form until now. By the time Illya started breathing again Napoleon had pulled out a couple of suitcases and opened one, withdrawing clothing.
Napoleon looked up and notice the look of apprehension in his partner's eyes. He thought back to what he'd just said and started laughing as he tossed a set of clothes over. Now Illya was looking hurt. "I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing with you," Napoleon said as he stripped his briefs down and pulled off his socks.
"You will note that I am not laughing," Illya said as he followed suit, his face reddening.
Napoleon didn't stop there, he looked down at his hand and pulled off his pinky ring, then did the same with his watch, throwing both of them on his discarded clothing.
Illya didn't seem sure of what to think of that, but he followed suit, reluctantly taking off his wedding band and his watch. By the time he was done, Napoleon was pulling on fresh clothes, certain that even though Illya had no idea why they were getting rid of their jewelry, he had enough respect for Napoleon to follow his lead.
By the time Illya had finished pulling the black turtleneck over his head and slipped on some shoes, Napoleon had jumped into the driver's seat and started the car. Illya no sooner opened the door to slide in, when Napoleon revved the motor and took off. Making a tight turn Napoleon tossed an incendiary on the pile of clothing setting it on fire.
Illya turned in his seat to watch as the flames went higher. Then he turned to Napoleon. "Have you lost your fucking mind?"
Napoleon glanced at him before turning his attention to his driving. "Does your mother know you use that sort of language?"
Napoleon laughed to himself as Illya slumped back in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest. He could tell that Illya was growing increasingly alarmed the further they drove and he recognized the route while Napoleon was racing down winding roads as if the devil were after them and maybe he was.
"Don't you find it odd that we wind up in the same town at the same time and we get another invitation?" Napoleon called out.
Illya sat up, taking an interest in the conversation for the first time.
"I did a little investigating and found that nobody did a follow up on what happened to us. Tell me you don't want to do something to put this all behind us."
"What do you plan to do?"
Napoleon looked a little guilty. "I thought we'd go where this all started and see what happens."
Napoleon could tell that Illya wasn't sure if that was such a good idea. True Illya had a lot to settle with The Master, in fact it seemed as thought he'd dealt with what had happened. Perhaps Illya wasn't sure why he couldn't put it behind him, after all he'd managed to put his childhood behind him to the best of Napoleon's knowledge.
All of a sudden Napoleon put on the brakes, sending the car into a skid. He looked through the windshield then he looked at Illya. As one they both rose and sat on the back of their seats looking over the windshield. They both were surprised to see that the road ended. The road in front of them was ... empty.
Napoleon pulled out the road map. He'd been so sure that this was the right road. He sensed Illya getting out of the car and look down into the deep chasm in front of them. "This can't be right. This is the only road listed." He looked up and watched Illya toss a rock into the chasm. He certainly never expected the rock to bounce back and to almost hit Illya in the face. Fortunately Illya's reflexes kicked in and he dropped to ground before it could happen.
Napoleon reached down and pulled Illya up. "Are you all right?"
Illya dusted himself off. "I wasn't expecting that."
The two men looked at the realistic chasm, both reaching out at the same instant and coming into contact with a hard surface. Two pairs of hands roamed over the smooth shell, the closer they got the more pixilated the screen became.
"Unbelievable," Illya muttered.
Napoleon nodded his agreement. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to make it look like the road ended here. "We need to move the car. Then we need to find out how far this thing goes."
They stashed the car a fair distance from the road, where it could not be seen. When Napoleon opened the trunk and tossed Illya a loaded field pack.
Shouldering his pack Illya asked, "Do you know where you're going?"
Napoleon gave him a disgruntled look and continued walking back to the road. Unfortunately Napoleon's sense of direction wasn't as good as he'd like and they ended up bumping into a wall, literally. As they ran their hands over the screen, trying to find some way in, Illya shook his head. "I can think of only one organization that has the technical knowledge to pull something like this off. THRUSH?"
"You don't really think U.N.C.L.E. is behind all this."
Napoleon shrugged. "I'm not discounting them." He opened his back pack and pulled out a folding shovel. He tossed it to Illya. "Dig."
Illya looked as if he wanted to argue.
"If you are worried about someone spotting us, remember this place is pretty isolated and probably doesn't get any traffic, except for those who use this place. Unless you want to wait for them to come to us, I suggest you get digging," Napoleon ordered.
Illya shrugged and did as he was told.
It was nearing dusk when the hole was deep enough to crawl under. As it turned out, they edged out on the other side behind some bushes saving them from having to scramble to find cover. The wall behind them was blank and no sounds, not even crickets, could be heard.
"What now?" Illya asked, only no sound came out. They must have a sound dampener somewhere. "Sound dampener?" he asked silently.
"At least we don't have to be quiet," Napoleon mouthed as he pulled a U.N.C.L.E. automatic out of the backpack. It was eerily quiet as they carefully made their way around the side of the building, keeping to the bushes, and on to the door. A sudden break in the bushes had them both looking up, both remembering landing in this very spot.
Lit from a nearby window let Napoleon see Illya's blue eyes turn a stormy grey as he was assaulted by vague memories of what had happened. Illya still was not sure how they got away, what with Napoleon's leg broken as it was. Suddenly Illya found himself wrapped in strong arms and Napoleon let him know that everything would be okay.
Napoleon felt Illya relax in his embrace and knew without a shadow of a doubt that today The Master would pay for what he had done. The two separated and, with renewed determination, set out to enter the fortress.
They slipped into the hallway, hiding behind statues that lined it and felt surprised that the halls were empty. Slowly they made their way through the downstairs, until they came to the door of the dining room. They separated to stand on each side of the door, their guns at the ready. Napoleon counted down to three before they burst into the room and froze.
They lowered their guns, stunned to find the room almost empty, devoid of the furnishings and wall coverings that they remembered from their last visit. Well, not completely empty, as in the middle of the room, on top of the dining table, was a coffin.
They exchanged looks and Illya indicated through sign language that Napoleon should go look. Napoleon wanted to argue to point and remind Illya that he was senior agent by two years and insist that Illya do it himself, but couldn't bring himself to do it. Damn Illya and his superstitious ways. Girding his loin, he bravely walked the ten feet to where the coffin rested. He took a deep breath and lifted the lid.
What he saw had him jumping back in shock and coming up against his partner. There was indeed a body in the coffin and it was The Master's.
Napoleon Solo didn't scare easily, but the smile on the corpse's face sent shivers down his back. Oddly enough the body was dressed in a white nightshirt and the hands were crossed over the chest. In them was an envelope.
Illya had no intentions of crossing the floor to see what was inside that coffin, but evidently he wasn't going to stay at the doorway by himself. So as soon as Napoleon moved forward, he didn't know that Illya was right behind him. He had glanced over Napoleon's shoulder and caught sight of The Master's body and part of him cheered. Hopefully he was now ready to put the past behind him. Napoleon was unaware that something, a flash of something out of the corner of his eye perhaps, had caused Illya to bend down. Underneath the table was a familiar device, red numbers flashing as they counted down the minutes. Illya tugged at Napoleon's trousers and immediately Napoleon stooped down next to him.
The choice was easy. Napoleon snatched the envelope, grabbed Illya, and ran. They made it out the door when they were flung across the lawn by the force of the explosion. Suddenly there was sound and Napoleon covered his head as all sorts of things rained down on them. When things had died down, he tried to get to his knees but couldn't. Something heavy held him down.
"Don't move," Illya cautioned him, as he whipped off his turtleneck to smother the flames that were a tad too close for comfort.
Napoleon slumped down, waiting until Illya gave him the okay to move. Once the weight was lifted off of him and he was able to get up with Illya's help, they raced back to the car. They leaned up against the car, panting heavily. It was then that Napoleon noticed that Illya was shirtless. "Where's your shirt?" he asked.
Illya gasped for breath and held his crisply fried shirt in the air, which in Napoleon's opinion went along nicely with the way his head felt. In the distance they heard sirens coming down the road.
The question is is the Master really dead? And what is in the envelope found on his body?
Illya had literally no memory of how they made it back to New York and quite frankly he was afraid to ask. He looked up as his partner slipped into the booth across from him and waved the waitress over.
"So he's really dead?" Illya asked after they'd ordered and sent the waitress away.
"Looks that way. It was a pretty elaborate plot if he isn't." Napoleon took a sip of water.
Illya shivered. All things considered anything was possible.
"Oh, here." Napoleon pulled a crumple envelope from his pocket and passed it over.
"Where did you get this?" Illya cautiously opened it and looked up questioningly.
"It was... ah... on the body. Can you read it?"
Illya studied the sheets which contained hieroglyphics and slowly shook his head. "It is nothing that I recognize," Illya said handing it back.
Napoleon grunted as he put the envelope away. "On the bright side, both our missions were deemed a success and nothing has been reported on our other little adventure." Once their food was served, Napoleon continued. "I, for one, am glad that all this is behind us."
Illya snorted. "Perhaps it is for you," he muttered.
Napoleon looked up in surprise. "Illya, nobody cares."
"Trust me somebody does," Illya asserted.
"Let me rephrase that. Nobody who counts cares. I certainly don't."
"Let's see how you feel when someone calls you a pansy."
Napoleon chewed his food as he thought this through. "I suppose I could make it easy for them. Walk with a swish and start talking with a lisp. Besides the last time we talked about this, you weren't even sure that you are... you know... that way."
"See, you can't even say it." Illya pointed his knife at his partner.
Napoleon sighed. "You really need to talk to someone."
Illya glared, threw down his napkin and left.
Napoleon's eyes followed the irate Russian, then he looked at the empty plate that he left. At least Illya's appetite was still good. He was just debating with himself about following Illya when his communicator went beep, beep, beep.
Napoleon looked furtively around before pulling out his pen. "Solo here."
"Mr. Waverly would like to see you in his office immediately for a new assignment." The curt order was in a voice he didn't recognize.
"Shall I pick up Mr. Kuryakin on my way?"
There was a rustle of paper heard on the line. "Mr. Kuryakin's presence was not requested." Before he could respond, the connection was cut.
With a frown, Napoleon put away his communicator and waved down a waitress for his check. Not surprising Illya had left him with the bill.
Twenty minutes later Napoleon pulled up in front of Del Floria's and trotted down the stairs. Tossing a salute to the man behind the counter, Napoleon slipped into the middle booth and turned the hook that let him into U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. Fortunately the girl behind the desk was one of his favorites and flirted just the right amount before pinning on his badge.
He walked down the steel lined hallway and got cheery smiles right and left and wondered what Illya's problems were. Nobody was giving him any grieve. That is until he got to Waverly's office.
The woman sitting at the desk was not Lisa Rogers, Waverly's usual secretary. Even Lisa's formal politeness was warmer than the coldness of the new girl. "Mr. Waverly is waiting." No small talk there.
"Have a seat," Waverly ordered the moment Napoleon came through the door.
Even before Napoleon was settled into his seat, the round table was spinning in his direction and a folder coming to rest in front of him. He slid the folder closer and studied the papers within. As assignments went, this was one was difficult, but not impossible. "Just Illya's cup of tea, when do we leave sir?" He looked up with a smile.
Waverly looked ticked off. "Surely there is someone else other than Mr. Kuryakin who is capable of assisting on this assignment."
Napoleon thought about it. "Not if you want this ending quickly and successfully."
Waverly stood up so suddenly that Napoleon feared he'd have a stroke. "Are you questioning my judgment?"
"No, sir," Napoleon tried to be reasonable. "I just feel that the mission will be better served if he has my back."
Waverly hmmphed. "Contact travel about your arrangements."
And just like that Napoleon knew that he had won. It took extreme effort, but he managed to keep the triumphant expression off his face. However, he was unprepared for the glare that he received from Lisa's replacement, which had him wondering just what was going on.
A quick trip to Travel and then Napoleon headed for the commissary for some much needed coffee... and maybe something sweet. The whole conversation with Waverly was strange. The assignment wasn't so much complicated as requiring special skills, skills that Illya had in spades. From the looks of it, it would require a skin diving expert, someone good at breaking and entering and a demolition expert. It might even require a disguise. They would know more once they got there. He himself could handle most of those requirements, but Illya... he could have done the assignment all on his own. Recruiting the damsel needed might prove a problem. However it was a problem he was perfectly willing to solve.
He settled down with his coffee and pulled out the paper, that was the only thing left from their misadventure with The Master. He was so intent on trying to figure it out he didn't notice Mandy entering the commissary and rushing over to his table.
"Hi, Napoleon, I was passing by Travel and they had your tickets ready, so I offered to bring them to you," Mandy cheerfully spouted. Then she spotted the paper on the table. "Oh, I haven't seen one of these is ages," She settled across from Napoleon and pulled the paper to her. With quick motions, she folded the paper until a message that made sense appeared.
Napoleon took back the paper and stared. A grin spread over his face. "Mandy, I could kiss you."
"By all means," Mandy said enthusiastically. She leaned forward, closed her eyes and pursed her lips.
Napoleon leaned forward and chastely kissed her on the forehead.
By the time she opened her eyes and looked around, he was gone and so was the paper puzzle.
Napoleon pulled out his communicator and activated it as he hopped into his car. "Illya, you mangy Russian. I hope your bag is packed, we have an assignment."
"You sound mighty chipper," the gruff voice groused.
"Yes, yes, yes." He looked at the folded paper lying on the seat. "Pick you up in twenty."
Napoleon decides that they should follow the clue that Mandy solved after they complete their latest mission, without notifying Waverly. Just what will they find once they get there?
Twenty-five minutes later, Napoleon pulled up in front of Illya's apartment building.
"You're late," Illya groused as he tossed his suitcase into the back seat. He paused, picking up the folded paper lying in the front seat before sliding in to sitting down. "What is this?" he asked as he studied it, his eyebrows going up as he recognized the familiar paper. He scowled, disgusted when he realized that he should have been able to figure this puzzle out himself.
The message was now clear. A location. The question was - how do they get to it? Illya no sooner thought it when a pair of tickets slap against his chest.
"Our next assignment," Napoleon informed Illya without taking his eyes off the road.
Checking the packets, one of Illya's eyebrows rose. "Did you know that one of these is first class?"
"Are you sure. It's not like the Old Man to spring for first class. Whose is it?"
Illya checked the name on the ticket. "Yours."
"There's gotta be some kind of mistake. We'll fix it at the airport."
"Welcome to my world," was Illya's snide retort. It seemed to Illya that ever since he'd returned after The Master's Affair that he'd been getting the short end of the stick.
Napoleon gripped the steering wheel firmly, his jaw tightened as he came to the realization that even if they managed to find whatever it was that the Master had left, it was too late to change people's opinion about the man that Illya was. It looked like he was going to have to come up with more than one strategy on this mission.
At the airport Napoleon turned on his charm and the two agents ended up in first class. The first class seats gave them plenty of room to review the assignment and make contingency plans. One of the stewardesses appeared to be enamored by his Russian partner and some flirting back and forth ensued, much to Napoleon's delight. It bothered him that Illya was being treated differently over something that might not even be true. He hoped whatever they found once they followed up on the clue The Master had left would help and not hurt Illya's reputation any worse than it already was. Frankly he'd always thought that Illya didn't care what people thought of him, but evidently he was wrong. It was rapidly coming to his attention that Napoleon didn't know his partner as well as he thought he did.
The mission should have gone well. Illya did his part, Napoleon executed his bit just the way it was planned. Unfortunately, the Innocent he'd recruited had other ideas. Maybe, just maybe, Napoleon might have gone overboard on the charm. In the end Illya came to his rescue and they managed to complete the assignment.
Napoleon called in the results and manage to talk Waverly into letting them have two extra days before having to come into headquarters. He wasn't going to correct Waverly's illusion that the tropical scenery was his reason for staying.
Napoleon closed off his communicator, pleased with the results. He looked up to find Illya paused in the middle of packing.
"What are you up to, Napoleon?"
"I thought a little R & R might be a good thing."
"For you, maybe. Half-naked women don't do it for me."
"Oh, and just what does turn you on?"
Illya grabbed a nearby pillow and threw it at Napoleon, muttering, "Sexist pig."
Catching the projectile, Napoleon laughed. He'd caught the twinkle in Illya's eyes, not to mention, the small smile that let him know Illya was not seriously upset. He pulled out the folded slip of paper and beckoned Illya over.
Illya shook his head. "What's the point in looking into this, Napoleon? The damage is done."
"Aren't you even curious?"
Illya took the paper from him and studied it closely. Napoleon leaned back and watched his partner fondly, taking in the delicate manner in which he held the paper. Thinking on it, there were certain other little things that should have been a clue. Mannerisms that he never really noticed before.
He'd always cared about how Illya felt, mainly because it seemed nobody else did. He waited patiently for Illya's response.
Illya looked at him. "You really want to check this out, don't you?"
"Yes, I think this is something you need. We need."
At the word we, Illya looked like he wanted to argue the point, but he shut his mouth and went back to his packing. Soon enough they were off and Waverly was none the wiser.
As soon as they checked out, they made their way to the airport and boarded a private plane, courtesy of Napoleon's connections. A short flight over the deep blue sea, over several Caribbean Islands to the land of Brazil. First off, they hired a jeep to take them into the forest, eventually they ended up riding in a donkey-drawn cart.
The cart stopped in front of an ancient building.
"Is that what I think it is?" Illya asked, as he tilted his head back to take it all in.
Before Napoleon had a chance to answer the huge door creaked open. It revealed a small man, dressed in a brown robe and the cut of his hair quickly identifying him as a monk. Without a word he beaconed them inside. They exchanged looks, remembering times when they'd dealt with monks before. But in Brazil?
Their guide led them down corridors and upstairs until they arrived at a set of double doors. He opened each door wide and gestured for them to proceed him. Reluctantly the two entered and there sitting behind a ornate wooden desk, they came face-to-face with The Master.
Clues take them to Brazil and a monastary, no less. But who and what do they find there?
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.
Napoleon ends up back in New York and Illya is missing.
Napoleon opened his eyes, surprised to find that he wasn't lying on a floor. He looked around, shocked to find himself in his own bedroom. He sat on the side of his bed and rubbed his face. He distinctly remembered being in a room full of porn with Illya and ... Just then his communicator beeped. He checked his pockets, only just noticing that he wore pajamas. His communicator was on his bedside table.
"Mr. Solo. Mr. Waverly expects you in his office at nine." The order was coldly given by one of his favorite co-workers and she did not wait for a response.
Napoleon hurriedly shower and dressed, he took time out to phone Illya and was shocked to find that his phone was disconnected. He had a very bad feeling about this.
He had to hurry to make it to headquarters in time for the meeting with Mr. Waverly. He rushed into the tailor shop and caught a sympathetic look on Del Floria's face. He turned the hook in the dressing area and was rewarded with a stern-faced receptionist, standing with his badge in hand. Rather than putting it on his lapel as others had done, she merely handed it to him and sat down, dismissing him even as she picked up her phone.
"Mr. Solo is on his way."
Napoleon paused after walking through the sliding door. He noticed that Mr. Waverly was alone.
Waverly glance up. "So nice of you to grace us with your presence."
Pausing in the act of sitting down, Napoleon countered politely. "I came as soon as I received the request, sir."
Without another word, Waverly tossed a folder on the table and sent it spinning around. Napoleon caught it as it went past and opened it. He studied the assignment and looked at his chief. "Will Mr. Kuryakin be joining me?"
"If he'd deigned to report in after his last assignment, it might have proven possible."
"Perhaps it would be better for me to find him, before leaving on this assignment."
Waverly sighed. "How many times must I remind you both that you are trained agents and perfectly capable of taking care of yourselves? You will leave on this assignment at the first opportunity."
Waverly waved him away, his attention already on other folders. Napoleon stopped at the door and turned, planning to plead his case once again. The glare Waverly gave him told him more than words how successful he would be. Even stranger, Lisa was giving him the cold shoulder and that was not like her.
Napoleon was extremely puzzled. He wasn't about to take off on another assignment without talking to someone, but he had no desire to see a shrink. There was, however, one doctor that he might be able to confide in and not seem insane.
Walking through the metal halls as if he belonged, Napoleon made his way to Dr. Edison Wilds' office. Dr. Wilds beamed at him as he came through the door.
"Solo, it's about time you made it to Medical. Where is that irascible partner of yours?"
Napoleon sank into the chair and muttered, "I wish I knew."
"You've lost him again?" Wilds leaned back in his chair and shook his head.
"The last I saw of Illya, we were losing consciousness in a monastery in Brazil." He noticed the look of incredulity on Dr. Wilds' face and couldn't blame him. "This morning I woke up in my bed with no memory of how I got there."
"I've heard some strange things from you section two people, but I've got to admit, this is a new one on me. It seems simple to me. You backtrack your movements and go rescue your partner."
"I offered. Waverly refused. Another thing, I don't remember being debriefed." Napoleon shook his head. "Nothing's making any sense."
Wilds considered then reached for the intercom. "Sara, bring me Mr. Kuryakin's file."
Napoleon wondered what Wilds was up to. Then the nurse came into the office empty handed. "I'm sorry, sir, there isn't a file for Kuryakin."
Unbeknownst to Napoleon, Illya is still in Brazil. Making his way to a port city he comes across some old friends for the YoHoHo and a Bottle of Rum Affair.
Illya woke to the sun shining in his face. The light was filtered through the branches of trees overhead. He sat up and looked around. He appeared to be in the middle of nowhere and the monastery was not in the immediate vicinity, neither was Napoleon. He searched his pockets taking stock of himself. His identification, his money, his communicator were gone.
He tried to push himself up and didn't make it. Falling back to the ground, he landed on something hard. He pulled it out from underneath himself, amazed to find the reel with Waverly and Marton's name on it. That and that alone was the proof he needed that what had happened wasn't a bad dream. He ran one hand through his hair and looked up to the sky. From the position of the sun, it appeared to be noon. Now he needed to know what happened to Napoleon.
First course of business was to figure out where he was and find civilization, just then his stomach growled, and he decided to move getting something to eat toward the top of his list. He searched the immediate area and was unable to find any trace of the monastery. He did, however find a road, actually it was nothing more than a dirt path.
He closed his eyes, centering himself and let his internal compass rule. Opening his eyes he set out, finding along the way enough fruits and nuts to assuage his appetite and assure him that he was still in Brazil.
It was confirmed as he ambled along, meeting a few natives along the way. His knowledge of the language held him in good stead and he ended up accepting local cuisine and a straw hat to keep out the sun. He managed to catch a ride on a cart and was also treated to the story of the huge explosion that had occurred the previous day deep in the jungle.
In a remarkably short time he made it to the out-skirts of the cargo port of Itaqui. He thanked the driver and tried to brush the dust and grime off his clothing. He meandered through the streets, mingling with the natives. Cats were all over the place and the sound of music floated in the air. He followed the beat and came upon a group of shabbily dressed young people playing an assortment of instruments. Flutes, horns, whistles, and rattles made happy music.
Illya stayed on the edge of the crowd watching as people moved by, some tossing money into a hat. Several were dancing and laughing when a shrill whistle sounded. "Policia" was shouted and suddenly everyone scattered. A guitar missing a few strings was thrust into his hands by one of the players trying to escape.
Hidden behind a convenient column, Illya managed to evade arrest, as did most of the band. Once things settled down, he checked the guitar. It had a string missing and was still playable. He waited around to see if the person who left it would come back. After twenty minutes he set out.
Soon he found a spot where people appeared to be more affluent. He strummed the guitar and sang Hava Nagila. People passed by, some laughed, but several dropped coins into the straw hat. When he finished with a flourish, a dock worker asked, "Nice playing. Man, you do know that the song you just sang is Jewish?"
Illya merely smiled and picked up his straw hat. The last time he's sung it in South America he's ended up arrested. Illya hoped that wouldn't happen this time, in the meantime, he'd managed to garner a few Brazilian coins, which he planned to use to contact headquarters. He found a phone booth and dialed the number for the local office only to get a dial tone for his troubles. Then using more coins he dialed the emergency number and asked for Channel D only to get the same response. Without his communicator, he would appear to be out of luck.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder, startling him.
"Mr. Kuryakin, it is you. Hey, Scotty, it is Mr. Kuryakin!"
"Hank?" The young black man was surprisingly familiar, as was the little scrubby man with him. "What are you doing here?"
"We could ask you the same thing." White teeth gleamed in the dark face. The young man had bulked up since Illya had last seen him, but his companion had changed not at all.
"Probably stowing away on the first ship out," Chief Engineer Scott commented. The last time Illya had seen both men was when he'd ended up working in the engine room to pay for his passage.
"He does look a might worse for wear," Hank agreed.
"Maybe's we best see about fattening him up," offered Scotty. They each took an arm and escorted Illya to the nearest cantina. They ordered a round of drinks and the best of local cuisine. Scotty was in a much happier mood than when Illya had last seen him. The circumstances surrounding their last meeting had changed their lives dramatically. As it turned out, once Captain Morton was exonerated and Mr. Waverly saw to it that his ship was refitted, he had made sure that several of his crew were also pardoned. "Ya gotta come onboard and see the spiffy engine room. It not be fall'n apart like the other."
The drinks tasted of fruit juice and he was so thirsty that Illya guzzled them down. Normally Illya would not do anything like that, unless Napoleon was close at hand to watch out for him, but what with the events of the last week and not being able to contact headquarters he felt it wouldn't be a problem. After a few drinks, Illya was flying a little high. The three men were joking and laughing up a storm. Before long the place was closing and Illya found himself being carried between the two men, which was an unusual sight because Scotty was so much smaller than he was.
The three men weaved and zig zaged their way to the ship. Illya knew he was being irresponsible, but he just didn't have the good sense to care. Scotty was singing something in what sounded like Welsh to Illya and Hank was humming along. They went through bulkheads until Scotty came to the end of his song and proudly spread his arms, showing off his engine room.
"Mr. Scott, I thought you were off duty," one of the engineers commented politely.
"Aye, that I am. I brought me good friend down to show him our engine room." He then proceeded to point out all the shiny new gears that graced his domain - a far cry from the engine room that Illya remembered.
"Mr. Scott, what is this I hear about a stranger on board." Captain Morton stood at the bottom of the stairs. He got a good look at Scotts' guest. "Ah, Kuryakin. Planning to stow away again?"
"That's Mr. Kuryakin," Illya corrected automatically.
"Where is the dark haired chap you were with last time?"
Illya winched, he had no idea where his partner was. "I'm afraid that Mr. Solo has fallen on hard times."
"Cap'n, his buddy is missin' and he hasn't got a way back to New York. I was thinking we that tha least we could do is give him a lift," Scotty said.
"We are not a passenger ship. You will work for your passage." Morton studied Illya before stating firmly.
Without another word he turned and left.
Hank and Scotty exchanged grins and high fived each other.
Engineer Scott talks Capt Morton into helping Illya. It takes a while, but Morton goes one better, he manages to locate Napoleon and soon the two agents will meet again.
"Wake up, Blondie. Rise and shine."
Illya groaned and rolled over, hitting the wall. He brought his arm up to cover his eyes, the bright light making him squint. "Where am I?"
"Wooboy, you were really out of it," Hank looked down at him from the top bunk. "It's time we got to work. At least the Captain isn't making you scrub the decks." He jumped down and pulled Illya out. "On the bright side, we get to eat first. I gotta hand it to UNCLE, they got us a first class cook."
Hank led until they were on the deck and Illya stopped and saw nothing but water as far as the eye could see.
"We're at sea!" Illya shouted over the noise.
Hank laughed as if Illya had said the funniest thing in the world and continued to lead them to the mess.
The food was not fancy, but it was plentiful and edible. His suspicious mind had him surreptitiously checking the other men out as they ate. Unlike his previous experience on board, this crew seemed to be content with their jobs. They teased each other and drew Illya in for his share. Illya worked hard, but most of it indoors and he enjoyed it, which was surprising since he hated the sea.
The work was hard, but mindless, so it was almost like a vacation after what he'd been through in the last six months. The crew, rather than shunning him, always seemed happy to see him. As it was, some of the crew were actually openly affectionate with each other and nobody said a word. The fact that his addition made their workload a little lighter didn't hurt either, but Illya welcomed it anyways.
Two weeks later, he'd gained weight and muscle mass. He was wearing borrowed clothing, he needed a shave and his hair was longer. Captain Morton had ordered him to get it cut several times already. He'd come aboard with nothing but the clothing on his back, the guitar and that damn reel. In short order he'd managed to barter his singing skills for things he could use.
He knew they were going to be docking in a day or so and he wasn't sure he was ready. At least the crew took him at face-value and didn't judge him. As long as he did his work and wasn't slacking off everyone was fine. He was content and he seriously considered asking Captain Morton if he could possibly stay as part of the regular crew.
He was knee-deep in grease as he cleaned the inside of one of the engines, doing maintenance when Morton ordered his immediate presence to the bridge over the loudspeaker. Cleaning up was not an option. He double timed it to the bridge, slowing down when he noticed that they had pulled alongside a cruise ship.
"Kuryakin, you need to pack up and be ready to move out," Morton ordered. "Yon ship awaits."
Hank met him at the door with a duffle bag and a big grin. Illya was led to a rope ladder hooked to the vessel. The cruise ship was several times the size of Morton's ship, which was quite large. Several of the crew where there to see him off and with great reluctance he started climbing.
He dropped his duffle once he was safely aboard and saluted the first mate. The man returned the salute and said, "Welcome aboard." Then he proceeded to escort Illya to the bridge. Illya followed along, he came to attention and saluted the Captain who moved aside and exposed the man standing behind him - Napoleon Solo.
Illya stared in shock. Napoleon grinned just before he rushed over, picking Illya up and twirling him around making him dizzy. Illya was ever more surprised when Napoleon pulled him close and planted a big kiss on his lips. Just as suddenly Napoleon pulled away and looked around to make sure no one was looking, which kind of pissed Illya off. Illya could imagine Napoleon doing what he just did to a woman, but to him? What was he thinking?
While Napoleon appeared flushed and somewhat embarrassed, it was obvious to Illya that no one seemed to find anything unusual. Illya was not too pleased when Napoleon hurriedly ushered him off the bridge and took him by the hand pulled him through the ship. The last time he'd done something like that it made sense, Illya had been drugged and didn't even know his own name. He felt like digging in his heels and demanding answers before they went any further.
Once they got to the next level and people were swirling around, Napoleon dropped Illya's hand and merely guided until they got to one of the elevators. At each level, the elevator filled and Illya was squished to the back, clinging the duffle bag tightly to his chest.
There were so many woman on board and the perfume smell was stifling in the end Illya had to hold his breath. Illya kept his eyes on Napoleon, who had somehow managed to be standing near the buttons. When Napoleon moved to step out of the elevator, Illya pushed his way through the hoard of women using his duffle as a shield. It didn't do him any good as they took advantage to pinch him on the butt.
Napoleon's look of amusement was not lost on Illya. As he left the elevator, Illya turned and glared at the giggle gaggle of women while rubbing his rear. As happy as Illya was to see Napoleon, at that moment he would have gladly hit him. He settled for following him down the hall.
Napoleon stopped in front of one of the cabins, looked both ways down the hall, then quickly unlocked the door and dragged Illya into it.
"Where have you been?" he demanded.
Illya cocked one brow. "Isn't that my line?"
Napoleon's mouth open and shut a few times. "Have you any idea what I've been going through the past few weeks?"
"Probably the same as me," Illya responded. He looked around the small cabin, tossed his duffle bag on the bed and sank down next to it.
Napoleon quickly recapped what he'd been doing starting with awaking in his bed in New York. Both of Illya's brows rose at that information, but he kept quiet until Napoleon finished. "Waverly refused to let me go hunting for you. Everyone else acted like you didn't exist, except for Mandy and Doc Wilds. He told me I should backtrack you. Oh, and by the way your medical file is missing." Napoleon paced back and forth, talking a mile a minute. "I wasn't sure if you wore dead or alive. I thought I was going crazy." Just then there was a knock on the door. Napoleon brought his finger to his lips and cautiously opened the door.
"Napoleon Solo. We were supposed to meet for lunch," a beautiful blonde complained. Then she noticed Illya. "Who's he?"
"Margo, Illya Kuryakin. An associate who will be helping with this assignment. Illya, this is Margo Lane. Waverly volunteered us to escort her on this cruise." Napoleon notice that Margo was turning her nose up at Illya's attire. In the short time he'd been on this assignment he notice that while she was lovely to look at, she was a snob. "Illya's working as part of the crew," he explained.
"In that outfit. Not on this ship. The crew on this tub have better taste." She changed the subject. "What was the hullabaloo with that tiny boat just now? This ship isn't supposed to stop until we reach Jamaica."
Napoleon ushered her to the door. "Haven't the faintest clue. Why don't we meet you for supper at the Captain's Table?"
"If you bring him, at least make sure he's suitably dress," Margo ordered as she was pushed out the door.
"I'll do that," Napoleon said as he gave her a final push and slammed the door in her face.
"Sorry to disappoint you, Napoleon, but this is all I have in the way of attire." Illya waved his hand indicating his current state of dress.
Napoleon waved that away as inconsequential. "You know what I've been up to. What about you?"
Illya started on his adventures since they last saw each other. "As much as I enjoyed your greeting, I'm still pretty much in the dark as to what is going on."
Napoleon sank onto the bed. "If I didn't know better, I'd think the Master was behind all this."
"Are we sure that he is dead. The body could have been wax for all we know."
"What about Father Peter? He seemed pretty sure."
"Are we even sure that the Master had a brother? We only have his word. The body could be padding."
Napoleon could only agree.
Illya grew thoughtful, then began digging through his duffle. "Perhaps the clue is here?" he said as he pulled the reel of film out of his pack.
Illya meets Napoleon's assignment, who tried to loosen him up by drugging him. Somehow Waverly finds out where Illya is and sends April Dancer to retrieve him.
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."
"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?"
"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.
Mark Slate figures prominently as he tries to figure out what's going on.
Meanwhile in New York, Mark Slate was shooting the breeze with a majority of Section Two and Three agents.
"I finally got that pretty little partner of yours to agree to go out with me," Carmine boasted, munching on peanuts.
"And just how, pray tell, did you manage that?" Mark drawled.
Agent Lagussa leaned in close. "I allowed her to talk me into letting her go pick up that damn Ruski." He chuckled. "Shit, I would have paid her to go in my place. It's about time they realized we need to purge ourselves of those sort of people. I use the term people loosely."
"Just what type of people are you referring to?" Mark asked amiably.
"You know." Carmine hung his wrist loosely. "Fureigners."
Mark choked on his coffee. How had this man managed to come through the ranks? He looked around the room, surprised to find that nearly half the agents seemed to agree with him. The other half were looking away. In spite of using the term foreigners they had all gotten the message of what he really meant.
"I beg your pardon, but you do realize that I'm foreign?" Mark asked.
"Yeah, but you speak English."
Mark blinked slowly. Carmine wasn't making sense. Illya spoke impeccable English, his Russian accent barely noticeable after having picked up a slight upper-crust accent while at Cambridge. His French wasn't bad either.
"And another thing - this having women working in the field." Lagussa shook his head. "That's so wrong." He tapped the table with his forefinger to make his point. "Almost as bad as that commie being Number Two when there are others more deserving of that position."
Mark bit his tongue.
"From what I understand, Mr. Kuryakin was more than qualified to be CEO if not for the fact that he's Russian," Jason, a black Section Three agent who looked like a linebacker stood up and towered over Lagussa. "What you're proposing sounds like discrimination to me."
That got Mark thinking. Was that the reason Jason was Section Three and not Section Two? Was the United Network regressing backwards. He sincerely hoped not. Jason was glaring at Carmine and Mark was trying to determine if he should come between the two men when he noticed Mandy Stephenson at the door.
Making her way to where Mark sat, she whispered the magic words. "The helicopter's landing on the roof."
Giving her a bright smile, Mark sprinted for the elevator. He couldn't wait to find out what April's plans were for Carmine. He covered his eyes as the copter settled down and waited for his partner to deplane as the blades slowed down in their turning. He fully expected to see her sexy legs and was somewhat disappointed when a pair of slack-covered legs appeared eventually followed by a blond head. At least she'd completed her assignment and brought home the prodigal son. It was still a bit confusing. He'd heard that Napoleon and Illya had left on an assignment and nobody seemed to know why Illya hadn't returned. He reached in the cockpit and pulled out a duffle bag, then was followed by another dark-haired, slack-clad body appeared.
"Where's April?" Mark shouted over the roar of the blades.
"Baby sitting," Napoleon shouted back.
Mark nodded and shrugged as if it all made sense to him.
Napoleon led the way to Waverly's office, his head held high and his attitude saying 'don't mess with me.'
Illya, a step behind and to his left, with Mark along side. They took the elevator down and got off at the floor to Mr. Waverly's office. As they got close, they found two of the hugest Section Two agents guarding the door. Illya and Mark exchanged glances. This was not normal.
"Waverly only wants to see him." The bigger of the two nodded in Illya's direction.
Keeping his voice deceptively soft, Napoleon leaned close. "I understand there are a couple of openings in Antarctica. I could make that happen for you."
The two agents exchanged looks and you could almost see them wondering if he could do that, after all Mr. Waverly was Number One, Section One.
As if he could read their mind, Mark decided to have some fun. "You do know that you'd be there six months before Mr. Waverly found out, if ever."
"Found out what, Mr. Slate?" Waverly walked up behind them, causing Mark to jump. He turned an intense gaze at Illya. "It's about time you showed up, Mr. Kuryakin. My office now," he ordered as he swept past the men blocking his door.
Napoleon confronts his boss, Alexander Waverly, about his unreasonable attitude toward Illya.
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.
Things begin to happen. Illya no longer has an apartment or banking account. Napoleon decides that Illya needs to move in with him and that he needs to confront Waverly. The results are surprising.
Napoleon turned his mind to the pile of paper work on his desk. Something nagged at the back of his mind. He'd just pulled out his communicator to give Illya a call when Mandy walked in and dropped a pile of folders in his inbox.
"Lisa asked me to drop these by," Mandy explained.
Pulling the folders out and looking through them, Napoleon did some rearranging. Most of them did not need his immediate attention. "She's really pissed at me," Napoleon said.
"Well, can you blame her?" Mandy pulled off her glasses and asked. "Now she's got no chance with Illya."
"What!" Napoleon fell back in his chair. "You mean Lisa has a crush on Illya?"
Mandy laughed and sat sexily on the edge of his desk and twirled her glasses. "Lisa! Why half the females here have a thing for your little Russian. Half are upset because you've stolen him from them and the other half are relieved because it means that their unrequited feelings are nothing personal."
"Speaking of." Napoleon adjusted his communicator and sent out a call to his partner. "Open Channel D. Come in, Illya." All he got was static. He switched channels tried again with the same results. Then he remembered that Illya didn't have a communicator at the moment. Still feeling that something was wrong, he got up and placed a kiss on Mandy's forehead before walking out the door without a goodbye.
Instead of leaving through the Agent's Entrance, Napoleon took the way to the garage. The uneasy feeling in his gut growing the closer he got to Illya's apartment building. Parking, he moved into the building and raced up the five flights of stairs and wishing his partner lived in an apartment building that had an elevator.
There blocking the door to Illya's apartment stood his landlady, her arms crossed her huge chest and Napoleon caught the tail end of their conversation. 'Tis sorry I am, Mr. Kuryakin, but we were told you wouldna be back and to rent the apartment out. Your stuff is in storage."
"What's going on, Illya?" Napoleon asked. "Who said you wouldn't be back?"
Illya turned to him, his mouth open but nothing coming out.
"I tell, Mr. Kuryakin, apartment no longer his," the landlady answered for him. "That nice Mr. Waverly."
Now it was Napoleon's turn to be speechless. He frowned, wondering what game Waverly was playing. Actually this might work out better then he hoped. He'd never enjoyed walking up all those stairs.
"You say Illya's things are in storage? Send Mr. Kuryakin's things here." He pulled out his card that had his address on it and handed to here. Then he gripped Illya by his elbow and dragged him down the stairs.
"Napoleon, what are you doing," Illya hissed.
"Cat let go of your tongue, I see." Napoleon herded him toward the car. "We need to talk and I can't think of a better place."
"Provided you still have a place," Illya muttered.
Napoleon smiled. "Thanks to my Aunt Amy, I will always have a place to lay my head."
The drive to Napoleon's apartment was made in silence. Illya was not the most communicative under normal circumstances, and these were not normal. That was why they'd developed their special style where neither needed to say a word.
Napoleon couldn't help but wonder when everyone's attitude had changed or had they always been that way and he'd only noticed because it was only recently that he was effected? They needed to come up with a game plan.
He spared a glance at Illya. He knew that he was happy to have Illya move in with him. Ever since Illya had gone missing, he'd found himself wanting him. Now he just had to convince Illya that was what he wanted as well.
On the way up in the elevator, Illya seemed resigned. Napoleon opened the door not even bothering to usher Illya in and after setting the alarm, went straight to his kitchen. Like always it was amazingly clean. He pulled out the bottle of Stoli he kept in the freezer and checked inside the refrigerator, delighted to find a tray of cold cuts that his housekeeper had left. With a bottle in one hand and tray in the other, Napoleon returned to the living room, only to find Illya standing as if ready to make a break for it.
"Make yourself at home," Napoleon suggested.
Illya slumped on the couch and his eyes lit as they followed the tray Napoleon set on the coffee table. He was attacking the bread, meat and cheese even as Napoleon was retrieving two glasses and a bottle of his drink of choice. Once Illya's appetite was satisfied, they sat for a while and said nothing.
What to say, what to say. "Did our interaction with the Master change things so much or were people always that way?"
Illya looked up startled. "I've never paid much attention."
There was a great deal of silence after that and one would have thought they were thinking about their future with U.N.C.L.E.. Au contraire, Illya was, undoubtedly, debating on what Napoleon's intentions were. Not that he minded sharing a bed with Napoleon, he just speculated about if he was expected to put out. While Napoleon, on the other hand, was no doubt wondering where they would put Illya's furniture. As it happened to Napoleon liked his apartment the way it was.
"How long may I stay here?" Illya asked.
Forever, was Napoleon's thought. "As long as you need."
Illya nodded. "I will try to get out of your way as soon as possible." He stood up and looked around the apartment. "Where do you want me to sleep?"
Napoleon cleared his throat and played with the crease of his pants. "I thought it would be safer if we slept together."
Illya hid his smile. "Perfectly logical."
The two worked in perfect synch putting away their dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Napoleon, as host, let Illya get ready for bed first. Napoleon was alternately excited and apprehensive. Excited because he was finally going to act on his untried sexual preference, yet he was also apprehensive because while he knew of the mechanics of what he was contemplating, his only experience had been with women.
He shaved, put on an adequate amount of shaving lotion, fussed over his hair and got into his silkiest pajamas. Once he was sure he was ready, he entered the bedroom, only to find Illya, lying with his back to the door and fast asleep. He sank down on the other side of the bed and sighed heavily before sliding under the covers his back to his partner, never once noticing said partner cranking one eye open and smirking before going off into dreamland.
The next morning Napoleon's nose twitched and he woke up to the smell of freshly-brewed coffee. Slipping on his robe, he headed for his living room, bed head and all. Following his nose, he ended up in the kitchen, disappointed to find Illya, fully dressed, leaning nonchalantly against the counter, and sipping a cup of coffee.
"You're up early." Napoleon poured himself a cup.
"I'm hoping we can stop by the bank. I'm a little low on cash."
Napoleon set his cup down and stifled a sigh of disappointment. As Napoleon headed to the bedroom to dress, he didn't notice Illya look into his coffee cup and try to suppress a chuckle.
In less time than you would have thought, Napoleon was ready and the two were on their way. The doorman intercepted Napoleon to ask him what he wanted done with the delivery from Illya's apartment. Surprisingly there was only a couple of suitcases and four boxes of books. As it turned out the furniture stayed with the apartment for which Napoleon was exceedingly grateful.
Napoleon came to a stop in front of the bank. He looked at his watch. "Don't take too long."
"I won't," Illya said with a smile as he slipped out of the car.
Napoleon was tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, while whistling when Illya finally returned. "Took you long enough," he said as he shifted into drive and pulled out. When Illya didn't give him a snarky answer, he glanced his way. The Russian looked like he was in shock. "Illya?"
"Somebody closed my account," Illya murmured.
Napoleon almost slammed on the brakes. "You're joking."
Illya shook his head. "No. Why do you think I was in there so long?"
Napoleon's jaw tightened. This was going too far. He knew that Mr. Waverly had a lot of pull, but never thought him capable of doing something like this. He was going to have it out with Waverly one way or another. He pulled up in front of Del Floria's and was soon standing next to his partner ready to battle the dragon within. Together they trotted down the stairs and entered the cleaners. Illya reached for the knob and letting his partner through closed the door after him. It was a ritual they had done many times before. While Illya was doing that, Napoleon was headed for the changing booth and had the curtain pulled back waiting for Illya to join him.
Del Floria cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, but Mr. Kuryakin doesn't have clearance to proceed." To his credit, Del Floria sounded sincere in his regret.
Napoleon's hand was on the coat hook ready to turn it and gain entrance into the reception's area. "This is ridicules," he muttered as he jerked the communicator out of his pocket. "Connect me to Mr. Waverly," he ordered.
"Waverly here. Mr. Solo? Is that you? Why aren't you here? We have much to discuss."
"And Mr. Kuryakin?"
"By all means, bring him along," Waverly replied dryly.
The two reentered the booth and waited for the familiar double swish of steam machine before proceeding. Napoleon was in no mood to flirt with the pretty receptionist as she settled his badge on his jacket, especially when she pulled a visitors page instead of Illya's usual number 11. He reached over to pull Illya's badge when he noticed it was no longer in its customary spot. Before he could ask about it, the door swished open and Carmine swaggered out with his gun drawn. A nasty look showed on his face as he fingered the number 11 badge on his chest. "Standing orders. Kuryakin is not welcomed."
"Mr. LaCosta, put away your gun and kindly let them pass," growled Waverly's voice over the loud speaker.
As Carmine reluctantly did as he was asked, Napoleon smiled before snatching the badge and placing it where it belonged on Illya's jacket.
The closer they got to Waverly's office, the more Napoleon's anger took hold. There were piles of folders on the round turntable desk, but Napoleon never noticed. When the door slid behind him Napoleon lashed out with all the anger and frustration in him.
If Waverly looked surprised at his ranting, Napoleon never noticed. Illya was doing his best to calm him down, but Napoleon was too incensed on his behalf to listen.
Waverly calmly set the folder he'd been perusing down and with a look of annoyance got to his feet. "Will that be all, Mr. Solo? You two come with me." His brisk tone booked no argument .
Napoleon was on the point of refusing, but Illya tapped his elbow and shrugged. Reluctantly Napoleon nodded and followed, just in time to hear the tail end of Waverly's instructions to his secretary. "... and I will need a complete list when I return, Ms. Rogers."
Then Waverly was off, striding swiftly down the hall and entering the elevator. Who would have thought he could move so fast, Napoleon thought. He watched as Waverly pulled his pipe out of his pocket and lit it, puffing strongly. No words are said as they reach the lowest level, Research and Development.
The door at the end slid open at their approach and the noise level went up. From where they stood several projects were on going. A half-dozen people were surrounding a car and the sound of blow torches and muted voices, some agreeable, some arguing, could be heard. In at least two other areas people were scurrying around.
Napoleon was having trouble deciding where to look. Waverly, on the other hand, ignored the car and led the way to another area entirely.
"Ah, Alexander! Our experiment was a success, no?" They heard over the noise and turned as one to see a short in stature man bustling excitedly over to them.
"Yes, but not in the way we intended, Andrew," Waverly agreed, dryly. "There seems to be a conflict in the personality area."
Dr. Sims, head of Research and Development, frowned. "What do you mean? We followed Dr. Pertwee's notes and even improved on them." He led them to a corner where a cabinet with a glass insert stood. Illya and Napoleon gathered around and stared in astonishment at a perfect duplicate of Mr. Waverly.
Napoleon shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He well remembered Dr. Ansell Pertwee wanting to help mankind and his desire to free men from overwork and give them back their souls. "Do you mean we have been dealing with a robot for the last month?"
Waverly actually looked amused. "I'm not as young as I used to be and when Dr. Sims suggested using the Alexander robot to give me some free time, I'm afraid I jumped at the chance. I was able to leave my desk at a decent hour. Ms. Rogers, of course, knew and I can't understand her not keeping me informed on ..." He stopped there and pondered how to question his secretary without getting her back up.
"And it was just our luck to end up dealing with your duplicate, wasn't it?" Illya reasoned.
"I'm afraid so, Mr. Kuryakin. Evidently he was working outside the parameters that I'd approved. Oddly enough nothing showed up in the reports that came across my desk or I would have noticed something was amiss earlier." He turned his attention to Dr. Sims. "Who did the personality upgrade?"
"A new transfer. She came highly recommended." Sims looked around the room. "Ah, there she is. Ms. Kline! Over here, please."
Napoleon drew in his breath. "Nurse Helga!"
The former nurse strolled over. Totally ignoring the two agents, she focused her attention on Dr. Sims and purred, "Yes, Andrew? Was there something you wanted?"
Pointing accusingly at her, Napoleon frowned. "I was in Dr. Wilds' office when he terminated your employment."
Helga glanced at the two agents, her expression one of disgust. "You must be mistaken. I know of no Dr. Wilds," she declared haughtily. Her expression changed as she turned back to her boss. "If you have nothing further, Andrew, I will return to my calculations." She marched away, without further ado.
"I swear..." Napoleon insisted.
"Quite, quite." Waverly did his best to placate his top agent. "Gather together all the pertinent people and have them meet in my office." He turned to his head of Research, not bothering to check that his orders were being obeyed, and sighed. "Until further notice I think it best that we retire my doppelganger." Before the scientist could protest, Waverly turned, shaking his head as he walked away. He was going to miss being able to leave on time.
Twenty minutes later, Waverly was lighting his pipe as he came through his door. He paused taking in the number of people sitting around his desk. He walked around and took his seat between his two top agents. Settling in, he glanced at each person in turn. Illya Kuryakin, Andrew Sims, the blonde Tech, Miss Kline?, if he was not mistaken, also someone from Personnel, someone else from Detraining, Dr. Edison Wilds from Medical and Napoleon Solo. "Mr. Solo, perhaps you would care to begin?"
Napoleon cleared his throat but before he could start, Dr. Wilds stood up. "If you don't mind, Mr. Waverly, I'd like to start."
Waverly wasn't sure he wanted everyone to know about the robot fiasco, but he nodded his head in agreement.
"After Napoleon contacted me, I did a little checking around. It seems that this all started with Helga Kline." He glance at the woman in question. You could tell that she wanted to contradict him, but only Sims' hand on her arm kept her silent. "When I found out that my head nurse was responsible for spreading malicious information regarding one of UNCLE's top agents, I insisted that she be given her walking papers. It is my opinion that bigotry, in whatever form it takes, is not advisable for a member of an organization such as ours. I requested that she not be transferred and allowed to spread her narrow-mindedness. I see my advice was ignored." He glared at the Personnel Assistant Manager sitting across from him.
"Research needed someone right away. She had the credentials." The Assistant Manager tapped the folder sitting in front of him.
Waverly spun the table around and scooped up the folder. He flicked through the pages, not once but twice. He stared off into space before reaching across Napoleon to pick up the folder that had landed in front of his agent. His brows knitted together as he perused the contents of the folder.
"Detraining was textbook. There was absolutely no reason not to use her."
Dr. Wilds rolled his eyes. He couldn't get over the stupidity of some people. "Just because they forget their jobs with this organization, it doesn't change who they are."
Ms. Kline looked puzzled. She had no clue what they were on about.
"Gentlemen, and lady, I appreciate your cooperation. I'll evaluate the data and get back with you once I've reviewed everything."
Everyone stood and were prepared to head toward the door.
"Not you, Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin." The agents exchanged glances and retook their seats. "And you, Andrew and ... er ... Miss Kline, I'd like you to stay as well." Once everyone was back in place, he gave his attention over to Helga. Her Nordic features, at the moment were weary and her blue eyes showed a certain shrewdness that indicated that there was more than met the eye. Her personnel folder showed that she, indeed, had degrees that qualified her to work in Section Seven. Oddly enough she'd been with them for fifteen years, working her way up to head nurse. In the paperwork filed there was no reason given for her termination.
He rifled through some folders and pulled one out, comparing it with the one already on the table. "Miss Kline, was there a reason for the changes you programmed into my duplicate?"
"What changes?" Andrew asked, seemingly surprised.
Waverly sent both folders around, letting the table stop in front of his head of Research and watched as he studied the two folders.
Andrew turned to his associate. "Why did you change the programming parameters?"
"It was lacking in the area of morals."
Andrew threw his hands up in the air. "That wasn't your place to make that call. My apologies,
Alexander. It would appear that the experiment was a failure."
Waverly sighed. "Not necessarily. It has pointed out a problem I wasn't aware of." He stood up and reached across to shake Andrew's hand, thereby dismissing both him and Miss Kline. "Thank you both for coming." Distressed that his pipe had gone out, Waverly relit the bowl before shaking his head. This experiment was going to cost him more time in the long run than it saved him.
Lisa Rogers walked in and set two folders on Waverly's desk. She sent an apologetic look Illya's way. Waverly opened the first folder and studied it, a frown deepening his face. He went through the pages once again, then leaned back in his chair.
"My apologies, Mr. Kuryakin. It would seem that we have done you a great disservice, which I intend to have corrected as soon as possible. While we know the who and why this happened, it will take considerable time to rectify and make sure it doesn't happen again. I fear however that your apartment is no longer available."
"There's no problem there, Mr. Waverly. Illya's moved in with me," Napoleon informed him.
Waverly nodded absently. He stared off into space. He should have known, things had been going much to smoothly. He needed to get to the bottom of this and right now he couldn't trust anyone to help him. This would take a while, a long while indeed. He reached for his phone, he might as well let his wife know he wouldn't be home for dinner. When he hung up, he realized he was alone.
Waverly goes through his files to look for answers and see how much damage there is.
Irritation set in as Alexander Waverly sat at his desk going over files that he'd previously signed off on. It was becoming increasingly obvious that certain files had been changed. He'd had a long talk with his daytime secretary, Lisa Rogers, and come to the realization that she was just as much in the dark as he was. "Please see to it that Mr. Kuryakin is reinstated and his accounts brought up to date," he requested.
From what he could tell, this all started around the time that The Master decided to have his fun with his two top agents. But the records didn't reflect that. It was after his doppelganger had been reprogrammed that things had changed. He checked their assignments since then and noticed small discrepancies from what he remembered signing off on. They were slight at first, which was why it never came to his attention. He frowned and leaned forward. “Miss Rogers, would you be good enough to page Mr. Solo and Mr. Kuryakin and have them report to me. Thank you.”
He took the folders in question and placed them in one pile. Lisa took the other pile to be refiled, and left another file on his desk. It was from Dr. Wilde and explained in detail his reasons for letting his head nurse go and his instructions to personnel. He apologized for not having written this and sending it in at the time. Reading it left Waverly wondering if the good doctor was in need of mental health intervention himself.
As for Miss Kline, it would appear that she had once been assigned to U.N.C.L.E. Northeast under Harry Beldon. It was well known that Beldon enjoyed the sensual things in life. As it turned out, once Waverly contacted his counterpart, he had her transferred to New York when she showed disapproval of his lifestyle. When Beldon came across the film taken at the Master's he'd sent it on to her knowing full well how she'd react.
Waverly looked up as the door swished open and his top agents walked in, both looking a little apprehensive, for which he couldn't blame them.
He fussed with his pipe, all the while keeping an unobtrusive eye on both agents. He sent the table top turning so that two sets of files landed in front of each agent.
Napoleon scowled as he rapidly flipped through the sheets in his file. Some of it was familiar, but the most recent pages were totally off. There was anger in his face as he flung the folder down and snatched Illya's out of his hand. For the most part Illya's matched up with his, except for the fact that Napoleon knew Illya hadn't been around for a great deal of those assignments. Napoleon glanced up at his boss.
"Had I read those reports I would have known something was up sooner." Waverly shook his head disappointed in his misplaced trust. "You, Mr. Solo, rarely do your own reports." There was a rare twinkle in his eye as he said it. He leaned back in his chair. "I'll need rewritten reports from both of you. Mr. Solo, in the meantime an oral report would be most appreciated."
Napoleon was quiet, gathering his thoughts together. Without having to check the doctored reports, he recounted the last four missions.
Some of it was new to Waverly and he was surprised at the nerve of his old friend, Percival aka the Master. It was time that he came clean.
Illya and Napoleon finally give in to what their need for each other has been leading them.
Illya was on his knees putting his books on the shelf while Napoleon hovered nervously behind him. There was a smug look on Illya's face, which fortunately Napoleon could not see. He knew exactly what Napoleon wanted, but he wasn't going to give in. At least, not yet.
Waverly's revelation had been nothing short of shocking. The fact that The Master was a friend of Waverly's and not just that, he was a legitimate employee of U.N.C.L.E.! That was the part that blew both Napoleon and Illya away.
When news of their condition had reached him following their recovery in Medical Europe, Waverly had immediately flown and had a few well-chosen words with his friend. As they pieced it together, the last time Napoleon spoke with the original Waverly was then, it appeared that all other meetings had been with the duplicate.
It was around that time that Nurse Helga was transferred to Research & Development. Waverly had shaken his head. He hadn't been pleased about letting her loose to other employment. "Perhaps I should ship her out to The Master," he had muttered, a wicked twinkle in his eye, before he dismissed the two agents. "I will expect those rewritten reports on my desk in the morning, Gentlemen."
Those thoughts were going through his head as Illya set the last book into place. Studying the arrangement of books, he wondered if staying with Napoleon was the right thing to do. He had to admit that he was pleased that Napoleon decided to turn the spare room into a library, where he could store all his books. Just then his ears picked up the shuffling of feet behind him. A sense of mischief hit him and he waited for the right moment before standing up suddenly, knocking Napoleon to the floor. Pretending surprise, Illya turned and looked down. "What are you doing down there?"
Napoleon looked up from where he was sprawled on the floor and scowled. "I'm pretty sure you know exactly what I'm doing down here." He raised his hand, silently asking for help. "Does this mean you plan to stay?"
"Maybe. It depends."
"On whether you write the reports or not." Illya hid his smile while stepping over Napoleon's prone form.
Napoleon fell back flat on the carpet. This was not how he expected things to go. He thought turning the spare bedroom into a place for Illya's books was a nice gesture on his part. He'd been looking forward to getting closer to his partner, even though he hadn't a clue as to how.
Napoleon settled down in the living room and reviewed the reports as they were written. It didn't take long to make the needed corrections to his reports. As for what Illya had experienced, he was going to have to write his own reports.
Halfway through his rewrites, Napoleon decided it was time to take a break. He fixed himself a drink, then he thought that a fire might be a good distraction. He made sure the damper was open and the wood laid properly, then struck the match against the brick hearth and lit the kindling.
The words startled him, but no more so than the view of his partner standing in the hallway, a skimpy towel draping his thin hips while using another towel to wipe down his damp hair. Napoleon managed to keep his jaw from dropping as he slowly rose from his stooped position.
"That's not how you normally dress at home?"
A wicked smile flashed just before the towel dropped to the floor.
Napoleon's breath caught and he muttered, "Holy shit." His jaw did drop as Illya ran his hand down his taut stomach and through the blond curls that covered the base of his shaft before gripping the slender penis that, even now, was slowly lengthening and rising. His tongue traced his lips, his body reacting, as he fought to control a groan. "Wicked, wicked, dirty little boy," Napoleon growled.
All movement stopped. Illya frowned and crossed his arms. "I am not little."
Napoleon walked over and took the slender body into his arms. "No, not little at all," he murmured into Illya's ear before nipping it. His hands roamed down Illya's surprisingly soft back to cup the roundness of his ass, one finger delving into the crease.
Illya tensed and pushed Napoleon away. "Do you know what you're doing?"
"Ah... not exactly. Do you?"
Illya snorted then turned to walk away. He returned with a large book and shoved it into Napoleon's arms.
Napoleon looked at the book, not recognizing it. He went and sat on the edge of his desk and leafed through it, his eyes widening with each turn of the page. The pictures were very detailed. "Where did you get this?" He couldn't keep his eyes off the acts depicted on the pages. His stomach churned while his pants grew tighter.
Illya took the book away. "See this one?"
Napoleon nodded. It showed two men, both face down, the one on top inserting an overlarge penis into the other. He was torn between wanting to try it and afraid that he'd hurt Illya.
"You will not be the one on top," Illya firmly informed him.
Now Napoleon's back side was aching, "Ah, could we take this slow?"
"I think that would be advisable." Illya drew close and started by unbuttoning and unzipping Napoleon's slacks. His first touch was an eye-opener. When Napoleon found Illya's hands on his stiff cock, he was unaware the Illya was focused on the fact that Napoleon's aroused cock was much thicker than his own. He felt blissful as Illya's fist gripped the hard shaft and slid up and down the smooth surface. He looked down and caught sight of Illya's hand seeing how pale it looked next to his darker skin.
Napoleon let out a hiss, which had Illya looking up and he noticed that Napoleon's eyes were squeezed tightly shut in what looked to be pain. Illya quickly pulled his hand away almost as if he feared he'd done something wrong.
"Don't," Napoleon gasped, unaware of how his face had looked.
Napoleon eyes opened and he looked puzzled. "Why did you stop?"
"You said to." Now Illya looked confused.
Napoleon shook his head and replaced Illya's hand on his dick.
Napoleon watched as Illya looked down at the dusky-colored head in his hand, unaware of Illya's thoughts. He didn't know that it occurred to Illya that it wasn't fair that Napoleon was fully clothed while he was completely nude. That he wanted bare skin against bare skin. Napoleon shouldn't have been surprise, since he had a firm grip on Napoleon, when Illya decided to lead him into the bedroom. A much more sensible place to continue this.
Getting Napoleon's clothes off proved difficult since Illya was finding areas that had Napoleon wiggling. Before Napoleon knew what was happening Illya, with one hefty shove, had Napoleon sprawled across the bed. Napoleon looked up as he stood at the side of the bed and could almost see Illya letting his analytical brain take in his partner's body. Napoleon had him by twenty pounds. His chest was nice and broad with just enough hair, his waistline was a bit thicker, but his stomach was flat, which Napoleon was particularly proud of. Then Illya did something Napoleon hadn't thought he'd do ... he backed off. Napoleon could read his thoughts. Was he seriously thinking of having sex with Napoleon?
Napoleon lifted his head off the bed, his expression one of disbelief. It was enough to bring the devilment out in Illya once again. Illya pounced on top of Napoleon rubbing their lower extremities together, doing a little frottage. The friction felt delicious and Napoleon must have enjoyed it too, he matched Illya rut for rut.
Much too soon, Napoleon's body arched as his sperm shot all over his chest. Illya was somewhat disappointed, since he was still hard as a rock. That didn't last long as Napoleon, once he came down from his high, leaned over and practically swallowed Illya's cock. In spite of his never having done this before, Napoleon did a commendable job. In the aftermath's glow, they lay sprawled on the bed The Master's book forgotten on the living room floor.
Illya decides it's time to get down to the nitty gritty.
As fate would have it, nothing was ever resolved. The man responsible for violating Illya was never brought to justice. The Master was to remain forever a mystery, by Royal decree no less. On a more positive note, the personnel who had given Illya a hard time were no longer employed by U.N.C.L.E.
As for their behavior at work, it was no different than before they moved in together. There were those who kept expecting to find the two in clinches and were much disappointed when they could not. Alone and behind closed doors it wasn't all peaches and cream. Illya would play his jazz records deep into the night. Napoleon was fanatically about his wardrobe and spent an excessive amount of time in the bathroom getting ready. It was a good thing his apartment had two bathrooms. The two had the squabbles and often bickered.
On the whole they got along well together and it was nice to know at the end of the day that the other was still alive and kicking.
One night, Illya was settled, his back resting against the headboard, in Napoleon's large bed. His knees drawn up to support the large book resting on his lap. Napoleon exited the bathroom, stopping in front of the dresser to check himself in the mirror. Illya's eyes twinkled in amusement at the sight. Napoleon moved around the bed, kicking off his slippers and draping his robe over a nearby chair before slipping into the bed.
Napoleon scooted his bare body closer to his partner with something akin contentment. "Finding anything interesting?" he asked as he nuzzled upon the closest ear.
"As a matter of fact..." Illya tilted the book so Napoleon could see.
"Rimming?" The book Illya held was a virtual encyclopedia of all things sexual and erotic, especially Homoerotic.
"I think I'd like to try it," Illya informed him.
Their experiments into man on man sex had been considerable. Some things come quite naturally. Licking someone's asshole didn't seem all that appealing. "Looks nasty." Napoleon scrunched up his nose.
In the months that they'd been together, Illya had been satisfied, but recently he'd shown an interest in trying intercourse. Napoleon had been more than willing, until he found out that Illya was determined to be the one topping.
"You did follow directions?" Illya asked. The book was very explicate. It had recommended that first time sexual partners start with an enema to clean out the anal cavity.
"Yes," Napoleon answered somewhat unenthusiastically.
"Then turn over," Illya ordered. He pushed the book aside before opening the nightstand draw, making sure they had all the requisite supplies.
Napoleon reluctantly turned over, careful to stay under the covers, and buried his face into the pillow.
Illya looked over and shook his head with amusement. He pulled the sheet down Napoleon body, slapping him on the butt and straddled his thighs. They'd discovered that spanking was an enjoyable bit of foreplay.
He lifted up and gripped Napoleon's hips pulling his rear back, then settling back down on his lower leg. He rubbed the muscles that made up Napoleon's gluteus muscles in the hope of relaxing him. It didn't work.
Illya parted Napoleon's cheeks and just looked at the anus, then looked down at his growing cock. It looked awfully tight, and he would have had his doubts if he hadn't known it was possible. He leaned in and sniffed. Surprisingly, the smell was like Lifeboy soap with a tint of musk. Tentatively he licked and found it not bad. He did it again and sat back when Napoleon involuntary jerked.
Illya slapped Napoleon's ass cheek to get him to settle down, leaving a red imprint on the surface before diving back in. Napoleon smelled good and Illya couldn't help licking him from behind his balls all the way up his backbone. Napoleon was making soft mewling sounds.
Illya leaned over and retrieved the huge tube of KY jelly that they had snuck out of the medical section.
Illya coated his fingers and parted Napoleon's ass cheeks once again. He rubbed the jelly around the anus and his eyes popped when it winked at him, opening and closing. Gingerly, he inserted one finger inside. Napoleon squirmed and Illya had to smack him on the butt again. There was a slight contraction of muscle, at least he hoped it was. The tip of his finger searched for and found a tiny bulge and he tapped it causing Napoleon to yelp.
Napoleon seemed to like it, so he repeated his action. Napoleon wiggled, he sighed and moaned. Eventually his muscles loosened up. "Do that again!"
Illya put on a condom and made sure there was plenty of KY covering not only his penis, but inside of Napoleon. The object was not to cause too much pain, though some was unavoidable.
Illya lined himself up with the hole and pushed in, not getting very fair. The muscles so tight around the head of his cock that he found it hard to move either in or out.
Napoleon's eyes were closed, his hands gripping his pillow as he muttered, "Shit, shit, shit."
Just as Illya was beginning to panic, the muscles loosened and he slipped all the way in, falling across Napoleon's back.
Pausing, Illya squirmed until he was back in position. He started to withdraw and Napoleon whimpered. He pushed back in nudging the lump and was almost thrown off for his troubles. Illya was beginning to wonder if this was worth all the trouble, when Napoleon wiggled and he moved against that one spot that Napoleon liked and the muscles inside Napoleon began milking him.
At this point Illya gasped with pleasure and began moving faster in and out, although not all the way. Whether Napoleon was enjoying it or not, at this point Illya didn't care. His climax hit him
When Illya regained consciousness, he was lying on his back and the two were no longer joined together. Napoleon was lying flat on his stomach, his face, turned toward Illya, was serene. Napoleon's eyes drifted open and he smiled.
Turning over so he was lying on his back, Napoleon asked jokingly. "Was it good for you?"
Illya had no choice but to pinch his nipple.
"Oww. That hurt," Napoleon glared. They'd found that Napoleon's nipples were extra sensitive. "I hope you're happy."
Making himself more comfortable, Illya purred. "Exceedingly."
Shaking his head, Napoleon moved to get out of bed and hissed.
"Napoleon!" Illya sat up guiltily.
"It's not so bad." Napoleon winked. "In fact I wouldn't mind a repeat in the future." He hobbled to the bathroom. "Perhaps after I stop walking bowlegged," he muttered.
Illya chuckled and went to find the book, he thought there might be a recipe for a cream to alleviate poor Napoleon's problem, only to find the book had vanished.
I miscounted by chapters and had to write one more. Hope you enjoy this unbeta'd ending. Who knew when I started this in 2003 that it would take this long to finish. LOL.
Pulling his black turtleneck down over his head, Illya then shook his head to settle his hair as he wandered into the living room and found Napoleon sitting at the small desk. He gathered up his holster and gun and moved closer. "What are you doing?"
Napoleon leaned back allowing Illya to read what he'd written. Illya adjusted the fit of his holster and added his gun as he skimmed through what Napoleon had thus for written. "You cannot be planning on sending a thank you to HIM? Where would you send it, we don't know if he's dead or alive?"
Illya was right of course.
Any doubts Napoleon might have had about being partnered with a Russian had long since been forgotten. He wasn't even sure when they'd started caring about each other. If not for the Master he would never have had the nerve to push for the next step. Unable to resist, Napoleon slipped one finger into the neck of Illya's top and pulled it down to admire the hickey he had left on Illya's throat the night before only to have his hand slapped away.
Illya glared, though he couldn't keep a sly smile from sneaking up on his face. "Mr. Waverly is expecting us." Illya reminded him.
Napoleon set down his pen. "We're needed to save the world, yet again?"
"Something like that, I'm sure," Illya affirmed as he pushed Napoleon toward the door.
They neither saw the note slowly vanish nor heard the maniacal laughter that followed it.
Three days later the key turned in the lock and Illya much the worse for wear pushed the door open then moved aside to let Napoleon hobble in on crutches.
"How is it you manage to return fairly unscathed from our mission only to trip over the office cat ... again?"
Illya asked. He disengaged the key with the hand not in a sling, then grabbed their suitcases one by one and tossing them into the apartment before closing the door.
"I didn't do it on purpose. The damn cat hates me," Napoleon griped. He'd fallen on the same knee that he'd damaged the last time this happened and the good doctor informed him that he'd not be able to partake in any extracurricular activities.
The mission hadn't been dangerous until Illya had been caught. His arm was wrenched out of its socket before Napoleon was able to rescue him and he had received the same prognosis. You'd think by now that Thrush would know that the faster way to anger Napoleon was to hurt Illya.
People thought of Illya as the stoic one, but they never heard him whine when his head hurt, or he'd cut his finger, or, heaven forbid, they are out at sea and the waves get a little rough. Which, when you consider it, is funny because Illya can swim like a fish.
Napoleon hobbled around the sofa, then froze. He sensed that something was not right.
Illya came around the other side of the sofa and pulled his gun out of his sling. "You did not have that look on your face before. What is wrong?"
"I'm not sure." Napoleon narrowed his eyes and scanned the room, while Illya did the same thing from his side. Both men's eyes lit on the small desk at the same time.
"Did you throw the letter away?"
"When did I have a chance?" Illya snorted even as he looked under the desk. "Maybe the housekeeper threw it away."
"I don't have one," Napoleon growled.
"Oh," Illya was impressed in spite of himself and he looked around. Napoleon's apartment always looked neat and he'd just assumed that was due to his housekeeper. He turned his eye back to his partner. It had been three days and he had better things to think about... his free hand deftly moved to undo Napoleon's belt buckle.
Napoleon looked down. "Uh... Illya, Wilds said we couldn't."
Illya's eyes crinkled with mischief. "Ve have vays." he said, thickening his accent.
Napoleon smiled and leaned in close. "Planning on torturing me, huh?" As much as he would enjoy whatever it was Illya had in mind, he couldn't help sending a final glance at his desk.
"Forget the Master," Illya growled as he backed away, pulling Napoleon along by his belt.
And so they did.