originally written 2004
The two agents were in Illya’s office; Illya was getting a backlog of paperwork out of the way, while Napoleon stood nearby looking through a folder.
“Napoleon? I do not feel well.”
Napoleon glanced up to see his partner, his face pale, suddenly collapse. Rushing over to check on his friend, he was relieved to find a pulse, and quickly went to the phone to contact UNCLE’s medical section. In a matter of minutes a pair of orderlies arrived with a gurney. One of them observed Napoleon’s worried face and offered, “It’s probably just the flu, a lot of that is going around.”
Napoleon, much relieved, decided to help Illya finish up his paperwork figuring that if he had the flu it would be a while before he would be able to do it himself. He didn’t get much accomplished as he had trouble concentrating and kept glancing at the phone hoping medical would call with an update on Illya’s condition. After waiting several hours and not hearing anything, he decided to go the medical section and get some answers. Mr. Waverly, looking worried, was standing at the door in consultation with one of the doctors.
As Napoleon got closer to them he asked anxiously, “Is Illya all right?”
He couldn’t help but notice the glance the two men exchanged. Mr. Waverly nodded to the doctor, who turned to Napoleon and, taking a deep breath, replied, “I’m afraid it’s bad news.” He paused. “Mr. Kuryakin appears to be dying.”
Napoleon, his face pale with shock, whispered, “You must be mistaken?”
Mr. Waverly responded gravely, “I’m afraid not, Mr. Solo.”
“We’ve run dozens of test so far. I’m afraid there is no doubt,” The doctor added.
“I don’t understand. What….?”
“We don’t know. We’re continuing to run tests.”
“Can I see him?” he asked, not knowing which way to turn.
“Yes, he’s conscious now,” the doctor said.
Looking back at the doctor, Napoleon asked quietly, “Does he know?” But it was Mr. Waverly who shook his head before turning and walking away.
Napoleon entered the room to find his partner sitting up in bed, his face thunderous, looking better than he had. Illya looked up at his entrance and smiled, relieved to see him. Noticing the expression on Napoleon’s face, he frowned and asked, “What’s wrong, Napoleon?”
Never having been able to deceive his Russian partner, Napoleon took a deep breath, reached over and took Illya’s hand in his and told him. Illya closed his eyes having trouble taking it all in. Napoleon, his mind churning, was having a hard time as well. A nurse entered the room and administered a sedative, while Napoleon stood by. He stayed until Illya fell asleep, clinging to his hand in support.
The next day he headed for the medical section first thing on arrival. Catching a nurse as she was leaving Illya’s room, he asked, “How is he?” The nurse shook her head sadly before continuing down the hall.
Taking a deep breath and steeling himself, Napoleon entered the room to find Illya, sitting up in bed wearing blue pajamas that matched his eyes, glance up and take one look at Napoleons face before saying, “You look worse than I feel.”
“Hi,” Napoleon said weakly, with a drawn smile. He wanted to ask Illya how he was feeling but the words stuck in his throat.
“Who died?” Illya quipped.
Napoleon turned away, not wanting Illya to see him this close to tears.
Illya sighed. He had intended the joke to relieve the situation. “I’m sorry, Napoleon.”
Napoleon turned back to him in surprise. “You’re sorry? I’m the one who should be sorry.” Closing his eyes in pain, he continued, his voice was full of the distress he felt.
“Last night I couldn’t sleep, all I could think about is what am I going to do if...”
Illya reached out and put his hand on Napoleon’s arm to pull him closer. “Napoleon, I have a favor of you to ask.”
Napoleon nodded, waiting for him to continue.
“I want to go home,” Illya said earnestly.
“Illya, I don’t think they’ll let…” Napoleon started to say.
Reading Napoleon’s mind, something they had been able to do for years, he shook his head and continued, “Not to my apartment, Napoleon, to
Looking into those eyes, Napoleon swallowed hard. “I’ll see what I can do,” he promised.
“Thank you. That is all I can ask for.” Illya’s hand squeezed the arm he was holding as Napoleon reached over to cover it with his own.
It hadn’t been easy, Napoleon had to fight long and hard but he finally got permission as well as a special plane to take Illya home. The only concession was that a nurse had to accompany them. Them, he thought, for he wasn’t about to let Illya go without him.
They were at the airport waiting to board the special plane when he spotted her. He glanced at his partner sitting in a wheelchair, another concession. Clasping him on the shoulder he murmured, “I’ll be back.”
Illya glanced up at him and then over at her and reluctantly nodded.
“Hello, Angelique,” he said as he came up behind her, his hands in his pockets.
Turning to look at him she gave him a seductive smile. “Hello, darling.”
“What brings you here?” he asked not smiling back.
Pulling her fur stole closer around her she replied, “I heard the sad news, darling, and even though your little Russian friend and I don’t get along …” Her voice caught. “I know how much he means to you.”
He looked away unable to meet her eyes.
“Do you know what…?” she ventured softly.
He only shook his head.
“If it makes you feel any better, I can assure you that THURSH has nothing to do with this,” she stated gently.
He finally looked at her. “It doesn’t,” he said tonelessly before walking away.
When he arrived back at Illya’s wheelchair, his partner looked up. “What did the she-devil want?”
Napoleon started pushing the wheelchair out the door to the waiting plane. “She said she loved you and was just using me as an excuse to make you jealous.”
That brought a smirk to Illya’s face and by the time they got to the plane, he was laughing out loud and didn’t stop till they were safely strapped in the plane. He looked over to his friend and smiled. “Thank you. I haven’t felt much like laughing lately.”
Napoleon smiled back as he remarked, “You’re welcome.”
An hour into the flight, the nurse insisted that Illya be moved into the private bedroom at the back of the plane, with Napoleon’s help, she made sure her patient was situated on the large bed and made comfortable while she handed him his pills to help him get to sleep.
“You should let him get some rest now,” the nurse said sternly to Napoleon, as he paused at the door to look back at his friend.
“I will in a minute,” he remarked absently as he leaned against the door and watched his partner slowly close his eyes in sleep.
He jerked awake suddenly; evidently he’d gone to sleep leaning against the door, looked at his partner who was barely awake.
“What?” he asked softly.
“It must be very uncomfortable sleeping standing up. This bed is very large,” Illya replied, scooting over to make room.
Napoleon considered and relented, he didn’t really want to leave Illya alone, so he went to the bed to remove his shoes and lie back. As he turned to his side, his back to his partner, he felt Illya’s hand grab the back of his jacket and smiled before letting sleep claim him.
“Really! This is most unacceptable.”
Napoleon jolted to wakefulness, and it was a minute before he could place his surroundings as he watched the nurses retreating back before turning to his partner.
Illya was also awake. “I don’t think she quite knows what to make of us, Napoleon,” he said with a smirk.
“Who cares,” Napoleon answered as he got out of the bed, his clothing rumpled and his hair awry, and rubbed the sleep out of eyes. He looked down at his partner before going to the private bath and showering. With fresh clothes and a good meal, he was more than ready to spend the rest of the flight entertaining his friend.
On their arrival at the
The next morning over breakfast a list was made of places that Illya wished to visit and detailed plans made. Train schedules were consulted and a timetable set and the following day they started out, the nurse bringing up the rear with her medical bag full of pills. It was a wonderful change to actually enjoy seeing a country without being shot at and they took it slowly so as not to tire Illya out.
Four days later they were back at the embassy when a call came through for Napoleon.
“Angelique!” he said in surprise. “To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”
“I have some information for you, concerning your little friend,” she purred. “Could you both meet me outside the
Napoleon debated, it would be worth it to find out whatever information she might have. “Sure.”
“Ciao, Bella, till then,” she purred yet again as she rang off.
Illya who had been listening to Napoleon’s side of the conversation asked, “What does she want?” His voice dripped with sarcasm and not a little suspicion.
“I don’t know,” Napoleon said, looking thoughtful.
“Do you trust her?” Illya asked.
“Yes. I think I do,” Napoleon said with a smile, causing Illya to shake his head.
Angelique had been very busy since she had last seen Napoleon. With all the contacts at her disposal, she had worked hard to find a link to Illya’s illness for him. THRUSH was not part of whatever the problem was, she was sure. She had managed to obtain a copy of Kuryakin’s medical report, how and why would never be known, and had several THRUSH scientists look it over for any clues. She had even seduced a young computer wiz to do a search for anything even remotely similar and had finally hit pay dirt. This was not THRUSH, this was something personal. Then she had contacted Napoleon.
Angelique was waiting for them when they arrived and after greeting Napoleon with a passionate kiss. After which she gave Illya, seated in his wheelchair, a brief smile while merely glancing at the nurse who accompanied them. “Darling, I want to take both of you to see a friend of mine,” she said as she linked her arm through Napoleon’s.
“What if I say no?” Napoleon asked.
“Then I would say you will live to regret it.” Her eyes were somber.
The two men exchanged looks and Illya nodded. Whatever Angelique wanted had piqued his curiosity. With a look of delight, Angelique ushered them to an awaiting car. They were very surprised when they pulled up at the German Embassy, and Angelique rushed up the stairways to greet an elderly man wearing the usual white coat of a doctor. “Darlings, I would like you to meet Dr. Schmidt, an old and dear friend of mine.”
Napoleon was amused. “Hello, Dr. Schmidt? I take it that’s not your real name.” His mind was totally on taking in his surroundings and searching for any possible ambush.
“That is correct,” the doctor replied with a faint smile and a small bow, he led them into the building. Turning to Kuryakin, he asked politely, “Vould it be possible for me to hav a sample of your blood?”
Illya looked distinctly nervous and the nurse was all but indignant. Napoleon felt called to ask, “Is that really necessary?”
Angelique pulled him aside. “Napoleon, this is important.” Her eyes told of the magnitude of the request.
Napoleon looked back at his partner and nodded, letting him know that he should comply. Illya in turn looked at the doctor and held out his arm. The doctor went to work rolling up Illya’s sleeve in preparation for taking his sample while the nurse looked on glaring.
After Dr. Schmidt left with his sample Angelique showed them to a fashionably furnished room and offered drinks to everyone. Napoleon and Illya accepted theirs, but the nurse refused receiving a shrug from Angelique who merely said, “Suit yourself.”
An hour later the doctor returned and pulled Angelique aside. “It is positive.”
Angelique nodded and turned to the nurse. “Could I see the pills you have been giving Mr. Kuryakin?” she demanded, her voice hard.
The nurse looked resentful. “And if I refuse?”
Napoleon who was beginning to get the drift ordered, “Do it.”
The nurse with an insolent air opened her bag as if to get out the pills and pulled a gun.
“Why?” demanded Napoleon.
“I will tell you nothing,” the nurse said, her voice hard, and her eyes blazed as she turned the gun toward Illya and prepared to fire.
Angelique quickly grabbed her trying to subdue her and they were soon rolling on the floor. Napoleon started to go to her aid, but Illya held him back.
“I am sure Angelique would not appreciate your interference.”
Soon Angelique got the upper hand and pulling back her fist managed to knock the nurse out.
“Nice right hook you have there,” Napoleon said impressed.
Angelique gracefully got up, straightening her clothes and patted her hair back into place. “I think you will find this all goes back to something in your friend’s distant past,” she said glancing over at Illya. “If I were you I would get him back to
“How can I ever thank you?” Napoleon said gratefully as he nodded his agreement.
Looking at him with sultry eyes she answered, “I’ll think of something, darling. Now I must leave.” She turned and gave the doctor a peck on the cheek before giving Napoleon another passionate kiss, while Illya looked on rolling his eyes. She turned to walk away, then did an about face and going over to the wheelchair, pulled Illya’s face up for an equally ardent kiss. The stunned look on his face was worth it she thought as she left.
Three weeks later Napoleon entered Illya’s office to what seemed like déjà vu.
Illya was once again in the midst of paperwork, having fully recovered from the subtle poison that had been slowly killing him. Angelique had been right; it had been retaliation for something he’d done before joining UNCLE. He hadn’t told Napoleon anything about it and wasn’t planning to. The past was the past and he refused to dredge it up.
Illya looked up to find his partner looking at him speculatively. “What now?”
“How would you feel about coming home with me?” Seeing the look on Illya’s face he corrected himself. “Not my apartment…where I grew up. I got to see something of your past and wanted to show you something of mine.”
Illya considered it for a while before nodding with a smile. “It would be my pleasure.”
Two days later they arrived at Napoleon’s hometown. Over the course of the next few days they visited where Napoleon used to live, schools he went to, and even where he had played little league. They were now standing in front of a statue with park benches all around. Napoleon said proudly, “And this is where I stole my first kiss.”
Illya snickered and said dryly, “I see they put up a statue in honor of the event.”
Napoleon looked at him, contemplating his next action. He then stepped closer, and giving in to something he’d wanted to do for a long time, kissed him.
Illya pulled back, his eyes troubled. “Napoleon, we can not do this.” And with a sigh continued, “You are too much like Lays Potato chips to me.”
Napoleon looked at him confused.
“You know, can not eat just one?” Illya’s eyes mirrored his amusement.
Napoleon found it comical that his friend would come up with a food related analogy, but he backed up a respectable distance understanding what his friend was trying to say.
“Besides, I owe Angelique, and she would probably kill me,” Illya said, his eyes asking for understanding.
“You’re probably right,” Napoleon said a little sadly to the man he thought of as more than a brother, before coming up with an alternative. “How does blood brother sound?”
Illya perked up noticeably. “You know I’ve always wondered…”
Napoleon smiled and pulled out his penknife. Opening it, he ran it lightly across his palm, slicing it open, then taking the hand Illya held out repeated the process and clasped their hands together formally sealing the pact.
“Blood brothers,” Illya said softly with a radiant smile.
Napoleon looked at him and smiled back. Then with a slight frown of apprehension he asked, “You do know I’m not Indian, right?”