By YumYumPM@ aol.com
Published in Kuryakin File 28
Continued in ‘The Better Lover’
In the Alexander the Greater Affair episode Tracy Alexander asks Illya if he's Count Kuryakin
(Reminiscent of The When in Roma Affair, Napoleon once again misplaces a vital piece of information,
and it's Count Kuryakin to the rescue)
On the surface, the mission should have been simple enough. Ridiculously easy in fact, even without his partner there to help him. A reward for suffering through several nerve-racking assignments, as Alexander Waverly had worded it. Hah! It wasn’t turning out that way. He had the document ready to deliver, and the bad guys were nipping at his heels. Sounds of heavy footsteps on the cobbled pathway behind him faded as Napoleon paused in an alley to catch his breath. He wasn’t as young as he used to be and to top it off, his partner wasn’t around to back him up. After a moment, he straightened his tie and adjusted the fit of his jacket then made one last check to make sure the coast was clear. All he needed now was to find someplace to lie low for awhile before getting back into the game.
Fortune smiled upon him and the infamous Solo’s luck was intact. Rounding the corner, he saw her. She was young and lovely, and he couldn’t help the smug smile that flitted across his face. Her blonde hair shining under the streetlights, making her standout from the crowd that surrounded her. All he had to do was make her acquaintance. Illya would not have approved, Napoleon smiled, that thought alone making the idea seem the perfect solution. But with Napoleon and a woman involved, nothing is ever simple.
The next morning he’d woken up in a hotel room…alone … with a monumental headache brought on by the bottle of champagne they had shared. On the bright side, there had been no obstacles in his path. No foreign powers to deal with. No Thrush agents to avoid, and alas, no information to pass on. Somehow, during the brief interlude, Napoleon had managed to misplace the information as well as several articles of clothing, his tie, one sock and strangely enough, his underwear. In spite of all that, he wasn’t worried. All that needed to be done was to locate and charm back the intelligence that she wasn’t even aware that she had. Simple, right? Wrong.
Feeling rumpled and untidy, Napoleon sat at the communication console in the
“Well, Mr. Solo. Your report.”
“Ummm. There’s been a slight problem.” Napoleon looked away, wanting to avoid the disapproval he knew Waverly’s face would show. A sudden rude noise caused him to glance up in time to see Illya’s head snap upward and the slight smirk on his lips, quickly suppressed. Napoleon shifted uncomfortably in his seat as a twinge of irritation flowed through him.
“Hummph. Exactly what do you call…‘slight’? Waverly leaned back in his chair, waiting expectantly. Something about the way he said it gave Napoleon the sinking feeling that Waverly already knew what his report would be.
“Well, sir, it was like this…”
When Napoleon finished giving his edited report, Waverly sat, staring into space and strummed his fingers on the computer console in an uncharacteristic manner. “And you have no idea who the young lady is?”
Napoleon shrugged. In his opinion, she had been the means to an end and he had not wanted to take it, as enjoyable as it had been, any further than that.
Waverly’s secretary came into view. She glanced up at the screen and Napoleon winked at her as she passed her boss a folder with the embossed seal of the U.N.C.L.E. After glancing through the folder, Waverly turned his back to the communication center. “Mr. Kuryakin, perhaps it would be best if you joined Mr. Solo and took charge of sorting out this mess.”
Napoleon straightened up with surprise and a slight bit of resentment. He was momentarily distracted by the fact that Waverly felt he needed the help and the thought rankled. Normally he didn’t mind having the Russian’s help, but he was number one of Section Two and perfectly capable of finding a missing document…again. When his attention returned Waverly was gone and the taciturn Russian was looking at him.
“So…what really happened?”
“Don’t you have an office of your own to work in?” Napoleon snapped. “I just reported what happened.”
Illya snorted his disbelief. “Let me reword this...what actually happened”
Napoleon was a tad indignant that his partner could read him so well. Wishing that Illya would drop it and knowing he wouldn’t, Napoleon tilted the chair back as far as it would go and closed his eyes as he reluctantly called up all the details that he’d omitted while Illya took notes.
Two-thirds the way through he opened one eye to find Illya leaning over the console. “You want intimate details?” he asked his eyes alight with devilish delight, knowing full well that that was the last thing Illya wanted.
“I think I have enough information, thank you. See you in
When the connection broke, Napoleon smiled, in a much better frame of mind then when this interview had started.
Napoleon had gathered a few of the Paris Office’s Section II agents in anticipation of Illya’s arrival. Jacque Bouche, his partner Yvette Sonnier, a red-haired pixie, and Paul Garnier, the U.N.C.L.E.’s newest member.
“What is Messieurs Kuryakin like?” The youngest member of the group asked. “Iz he as difficult to work with as they say?”
Napoleon and Jacque exchanged glances. The menacing reputation that his partner had managed to pick up over the years was a source of constant amusement to Napoleon.
“It has been awhile since I’ve work with him…” Jacque shrugged haphazardly. “But I would suggest that you not make him angry. It would be best to stay away from his bad side.”
Jacque turned away to hide his smile.
Napoleon decided it was time to change the topic. “Let’s get back to the subject at hand.”
“Bien, Napoleon', where do you suggest we start?” Jacque asked, not really paying attention to the door of the office as it swished opened.
“Finding out her name would be a nice,” Yvette threw out with a flirtatious glance Napoleon’s way.
“Tut tut, my friend, it is so unlike you to not, at the very least, have gotten her name?” Jacque Bouche teased. His partner, Yvette, giggled.
The loudness of folder slapped down on the table in front of them caught everyone’s attention.
“Her name is Nicole Jordance,” a softly spoken voice stated.
Heads turned. Everyone’s reaction a tad different toward the slender, blond-haired man, attired in a dark turtleneck underneath a gray jacket, his blue eyes hidden behind tinted glasses.
Jacque jumped up, both hands outstretched in greeting. “Bonjour! Comment allez vous, mon ami?”
“Je suis très bien, Jacque. It is good to see you again,” Illya responded, a broad grin spread across his face, as he took the hands extended and let the older man pull him into a hug along with the traditional greeting of a kiss on each cheek.
Yvette looked on enviously. She compared the two agents from the
“While you are here we must go to the…”
“Is it still there?” The two talked over each other in their enthusiasm leaving the others to wonder about what.
Napoleon curled his lip in annoyance. It was bad enough that Illya was there to bail him out; he had to steal his thunder by knowing their target’s name. When they were alone he intended to find out how. He cleared his throat in order to get his partner’s attention. “Umm, Illya? Can we get back to business? You can do the mutual admiration thing later.”
Illya smiled sheepishly as he slid into an empty chair.
“Pardon, Napoleon. It has been much too long since we’ve seen each other.” Jacque bowed to Napoleon before turning back to Illya. “May I introduce my associates? Yvette Sonnier, my partner, and Paul Garnier, our bright new star and recent graduate from
Paul looked on incredulously. Was this the same Kuryakin that he’d been told so much about? The fearsome Russian? He looked about as intimidating as a teddy bear.
Illya nodded to each in turn. “Okay, bring me up to…speed? So what is it you have got so far?”
“Not much,” Napoleon admitted.
“All we have so far is a description. Blue, blue eyes, and blonde hair.” Jacque contributed, having returned to his seat.
All eyes, except for Napoleon’s, turned to his partner. Illya Kuryakin calmly took off the dark glasses that covered his blue eyes and ran a hand through his thick blond mane. Illya’s expression grew serious as he leaned forward. “We have a name, now we need to find out more about her. Jacque, you have connections. See what you can find out.”
Jacque nodded his acceptance. “Come along, mes enfants. We have much work to do.”
A slight smile graced Illya’s face as the others left the room and he turned back to Napoleon. “What?” he asked, not that he had to. Reading Napoleon was much too easy. Napoleon obviously wanted to know how he knew Jacque. “We worked together under Harry Belden.”
“Ah.” Napoleon nodded. He tapped the folder that Illya had dropped on the table. “How did you find out the girls name.”
“Simple.” Illya shrugged. “I went to the hotel and asked.”
Shaking his head Napoleon rose from his chair, why was it he’d never thought of that. “Look, it could be awhile before they come up with something. Want to go get something to eat?”
Illya’s face lit up. “I know just the place.”
“Don’t sulk, Illya.”
“But, they used to make the best Coq au vin,” Illya complained.
“It wasn’t that bad.”
The restaurant they had stopped at had been just where Illya remembered, but the food and service had not lived up to Illya’s expectation. By the time they got back to the
Napoleon shook his head. The two agents were now ensconced in a quiet room with a very large table. There they sorted through a very large pile of photos. Photo’s of Nicole. There were quite a lot of them and she never seemed to look the same in any of them. Hair color ranged from blonde, brunet, auburn, even pink. Likewise her eyes were different shades of blue, green, hazel, brown, and in one shot completely white. How were they ever going to locate her?
“You like puzzles, Illya,”
“True. But there is a difference between a puzzle and an enigma.”
“We need something draw her out,” Napoleon Solo muttered to himself. She was obviously drawn to celebrities judging by the ones with whom she managed to get herself photographed.
The two agents requested a list of events and resorted to sorting through the vast amount of information searching for the perfect venue that would tempt the aloof maiden out. Illya Kuryakin drew a slip of paper from the pile that covered the desk. Passing the article over to his partner, he suggested, “The Cannes’s Film Festival?”
“Maybe. Maybe,” Napoleon murmured as he read over the fact sheet. “There must be a couple of hundred parties being held.”
Soon the rustle of paper was the only sound in the room while they sorted through the extensive lists provided.
“There are several parties here that might catch her attention. It’s going to take a lot of man power to cover them all,” Napoleon groaned. “I think we need something more.”
“A party so spectacular that she will not be able to resist,” Illya responded enthusiastically. He stood up and gathered a half-dozen of the sheets together. “I have an idea.”
Napoleon quirked a brow questioningly, but Illya just smiled as he headed to the door. When he reached it, he turned back. “There just might be one problem.”
Illya’s eyes brimmed with mischief. “Oui. Coming up with a good reason why they should invite you.”
The door slid shut in front of him just seconds before a hurled binder slammed up against it.
In a shorter time than Napoleon thought possible, everything was arranged. How Illya, with the help of U.N.C.L.E.’s travel section, had managed to arrange it all Napoleon couldn’t even guess. He and Illya were ensconced in one of the top hotels in
Setting aside his invitation, Napoleon turned to where his tuxedo was hanging. Adjusting the fold of the lapel, brushing imaginary lint from the shoulders, Napoleon tensed up as he heard the door behind him open. He relaxed when a quick glance over his shoulder confirmed that it was his partner entering.
Carefully shutting the door to their suite, Illya called out, “Section III has confirmed Miss Jordance’s presence in
Napoleon nodded, relieved to hear the news. He frowned as he returned to examining his tux; there had always been the chance that Nicole would not respond to the invitation. “I just hope she shows.”
With a careless shrug, Illya tossed the folder he carried on a nearby bed. “How could she not. Would you refuse an invitation from the crowned Princess of Monaco?”
Napoleon agreed. “This assignment’s as good as in the bag.”
“What makes you think you are her type?”
Napoleon ignored the jibe and jerked his head toward a garment bag that hung from the closet door. “By the way, your outfit is over there.”
Biting back a smug smile, Napoleon pretended not to show interest as Illya unzipped the black bag, revealing the waiters’ outfit inside and waited.
“Why must I always be the help? I can charm the girl just as well as you can.”
It was then that Napoleon made his mistake. He laughed.
The zipper went back up with a loud jerk and Illya glared at his partner. Before Napoleon could apologize, he moved across the room, slamming the door loudly behind him.
The ballroom glistened, the crystals from chandeliers shone brightly down on the well-dressed and bejeweled people that mingled in groups. Waiters weaved their way through the crowds with trays of hors d’Oeuvres and
Something made him look toward the entrance and there she was. The light caught her honey-color hair swept up off her elaborately made-up face. Her green eyes, matching her low-cut cocktail dress, glistened as she handed over her invitation. He watched as Nichole was quickly surrounded by a group of young men, most of whom she blew off within the first five minutes. Straightening his tie, he put a smile on his face and headed confidently her way.
Her eyes traveled up and down his tailor-made tuxedo and showed no sign of recognition.
“Do I know you?” was her bored response.
He faltered, his smile dimming. This was not the reception he’d expected.
Then she brightened. “Ah, yes.
Napoleon beamed. Things were beginning to look up, when a sudden hush descended across the room. Napoleon’s, as well as Miss Jordance’s, attention was caught by it and they automatically turned toward the entrance.
The crowd parted revealing a gentleman; his perfectly styled blond hair brushed back off his forehead, shimmered under the multitude of lights that lit the room. Even from across the room Napoleon couldn’t help but admire the faultless cut of his tuxedo which spoke of exquisite taste, and his shirt, not the usual white of everyone else, but a sophisticated tone-on-tone stripe in bold black. His lack of a tie, showed a distinct disregard for men who wore them with their formal clothing.
Familiar blue eyes caught his and Napoleon’s jaw almost dropped as he realized the man was none other than his partner. A soft smile graced Illya’s face as he strode confidently through the opening made by the other guests and handed over an invitation to the royal announcer.
All was quiet as “Count Kuryakin” was announced loud enough for everyone to hear.
Napoleon was stunned when his partner reached their host and hostess, to be greeted warmly by both, kissing cheeks continental style. Princess Grace looped her arm through Illya’s then led him around the room, introducing him to the major players.
Nicole’s eye’s glittered cat-like as she watched, all the while pretending as if she wasn’t. Napoleon frowned. Finally, the pair stood before them. Illya clicked his heels and bent from the waist; bowing over Nicole’s extended hand. He turned slightly in Napoleon’s direction, acknowledging his presence, and nodded.
“Napoleon,” he murmured politely before allowing the Princess to pull him along to introduce him to yet another group of guests.
“You know him?” Nicole pulled close to Napoleon to ask.
“I thought I did,” he muttered, more to himself then in response to her question. His eyes narrowed as he followed Illya’s progress around the room. More unsettling was knowing that Nicole was also following his partner’s moves as well.
Illya looked perfectly at ease with all the glamorous people around him. For some reason that annoyed him. Mentally shaking himself, he set his mind once more on the mission all the while wondering what Illya was playing at.
Music had been playing softly in the background, when suddenly the tempo changed. Prince Ranier was leading his Princess to the dance floor. Illya was escorting a slender brunette.
“Shall we dance?” Nicole asked eagerly. Much too eagerly for Napoleon’s frame of mind, but if there was one thing he was confident in was his dancing ability.
His arm went around her and he pulled her close. Getting back the information he’d lost was within his grasp. He whispered sweet nothings into her ears, but she didn’t seem to be listening.
There was one other problem…Nicole seemed intent on leading.
The music finally stopped and as they clapped their appreciation, Napoleon was surprised to find them standing next to Illya and his partner. He was startled when Nicole suddenly pushed between them.
“Count?” she purred, her arms raised expectantly as another song filled the air.
Napoleon watched flabbergast as Illya willing drew Nicole to him and danced away. Before he could respond there was a tap at his shoulder and he turned downward at a much bejeweled matronly lady. She fluttered her eyelashes flirtatiously at him. Napoleon glanced Illya’s way, wanting nothing more than to go after Nicole, but his ingrained courtesy got the best of him and he reluctantly took the lady in his arm. No sooner had they finished dancing, when another well-dressed matron took her place.
As the evening progressed, Napoleon grew more and more annoyed. Elderly women of all shapes and sizes seemed to make it their mission in life to entertain him. He tried to keep his eye on the couple but it didn’t work. Sometime later, the two simply…vanished.
Frustrated he returned to the hotel where he tried to get in touch with Illya on his communicator and received no response. Just as he gave up and was preparing for bed, he heard a key turning in the lock. Napoleon scrambled to get his gun just as the door opened.
Illya yawned, ignoring the fact that a gun was pointed at him and tossed a manila envelope at Napoleon while slipping out of his tuxedo jacket, letting it fall carelessly to the floor.
“How did you manage it?” Napoleon asked, having slipped the safety back on and tossed the gun down. Rummaging through the envelope, he came across his missing tie, sock, and BVD’s, not to mention the important information.
Illya sat wearily on the edge of his bed, slipping his shoes off. “You know a gentleman never tells.”
Napoleon twitched his nose, too busy redressing to answer, since it was his first priority to complete his ill-fated mission and deliver the information. He adjusted his jacket around his shoulders, patted his pocket one last time just to make sure he had everything. There were a few questions he wanted answered before he left, like what exactly was Illya’s relationship with the Prince and Princess of Monaco and what was it with this ‘Count’ business. Count Kuryakin indeed! He also wanted to know exactly what lengths Illya had gone to in order to get the information back.
When Napoleon turned from the door intent on getting answers, it became obvious that he was not going to any. Lying on his back, still clothed, Illya snored. It appeared that ‘The Count’ was out for the count.