Thanks to yelizaveta52 for her Beta Work on such short notice.
Illya, who was walking into Del Floria with his partner, could see that Napoleon’s mood hadn’t improved. The CEA’s disposition was becoming increasingly darker daily. He was quicker to anger and sulking over the littlest things.
As they approached the reception desk, the secretary stood to place Napoleon’s badge on him but he held out his hand for it. Walking through the door to the hallways of UNCLE, Illya saw the pout from the receptionist. Greetings were called to the two as they walked down the hall but ignored by the American. One secretary rounded the corner spilling coffee on Napoleon’s jacket.
“Oh for goodness sake, be more careful,” he said angrily as he walked away from her.
It was all Illya could do to assure her that it was all right before heading after his partner.
Once they entered their shared office, Illya decided it was time to put a stop to this.
“Just call her for goodness sake. Jo would be happy to hear from you especially since you cannot be together for Valentine Day.”
“She could call me.”
“What reason would she give? You are the CEA and can check to see when your agent is due back so you can put her on the active roster.”
Three months ago, Napoleon and Illya had been on on assignment for weeks when Jo Kuryakin was released by medical for a few months of desk duty before being allowed to go back into the field. The doctor had explained to Waverly that if she was allowed to go back early, any injury to her recovering legs could be permanent.
As London was ready to set up the new computer system that New York had piloted, Waverly sent her as his expert to oversee the installation knowing it would at least give her something to do and keeping her from trying to become involved in things she shouldn’t.
Illya knew Napoleon was trying to keep his promise to Jo that he wouldn’t sleep around, but after this length of time even the most celebrate man would be having urges. Napoleon wasn’t a celebrate man.
“What if she decides she likes it there and doesn’t want to come back? Or found someone else?”
That was the cruses of the matter. Illya had talked to his sister a number of times over the last three months but Napoleon had kept his distance explaining ‘to give her a time away from me to make sure this relationship is what she wants.’
“I have a fast appointment before the Section Two meeting, so I meet you there,” Napoleon said as he left the office and the discussion behind.
Illya sat looking over the papers on his desk and trying to decide how to help Napoleon when the phone rang informing him Mr. Waverly wanted to see him.
As he entered Waverly office, he saw the man standing at the only window in UNCLE. “Join me, Mr. Kuryakin.”
Illya stood beside his boss wondering what it was he wanted.
“I understand partner loyalty but I need to know what is going on with Mr. Solo. I’ve had complains and concerns about his change in personality. If I didn’t know you would recognize a replacement, I’d wonder if Thrush has sent us a double again.”
How far should Illya go? What he said might help his partner or what was that American saying—when he was crossed the line?
Waverly turned quickly toward his Russian agent. “Come on now Mr. Kuryakin. What has caused Mr. Solo to change his personality? I even had a secretary crying because he yelled at her for spilling coffee.”
Illya knew that Waverly was aware of Napoleon and Jo’s relationship but had warned both of them not to allow it to interfere with their duty. Although Napoleon’s temperament had changed, the assignments they had handled were all successful as normal.
“He is lonely,” Illya finally said.
“Lonely with all the women here who would come if he called?”
Illya looked down at the floor but remained silent.
“I see. This has to do with Miss Kuryakin.”
“He is trying to keep his word to her, sir.”
“Thank you Mr. Kuryakin. I need to think about this,” he said turning back to the window.
Illya started to leave knowing he was dismissed when he heard, “When was the last time you and Mr. Solo did a security check of another office?”
Unsure where this was going, Illya answered. “About a year ago sir.”
“Thank you. You’re dismissed.”
“I can’t believe this. We’re going to do a security check of one of our offices. I don’t believe he gave us a rookie assignment,” Napoleon complained plopping down into his chair.
“He did say he felt it would do us good to have an assignment where no one was shooting at us,” Illya responded.
“Knowing the Old Man it probably will be some small office out in the middle of no place. I don’t understand why he didn’t tell us where we’re going immediately. ” Napoleon began pulling things out of his desk he knew he would need for the assignment.
“Probably still making arrangements. Come on Napoleon, we can use some downtime before we start the evaluation. Waverly said to head out the jet and the information would be waiting for us.”
“Well at least he’s letting us take the new plane. Illya, you’re completely checked out on it right?”
“Yes mother. I have all my flight time logged.” Illya started out the door hoping that Waverly’s idea to return Napoleon to normal worked.
Arriving at the airport, Illya headed toward the cockpit while Napoleon stored their gear. Napoleon joined him after the Russian had received clearance to taxi out. Not even asking where they might be going, the American slumped down in the chair closing his eyes.
“Let’s go. The sooner we get where ever we’re going the sooner we can get home,” frustration could be heard in the CEA’s voice.
Napoleon was in the back when Illya had received permission to land. It was dark and the name of the airport was not visible. It bothered him that Napoleon hadn’t once asked where they were going. He knew he could count on him if he needed too but Napoleon’s current mood was disturbing.
As they entered the UNCLE hanger, a Russian voice ran out.
“Hey guys looking for a ride?”
Napoleon head snapped up, “Jo?”
It was then that Napoleon realized that his current mood was dangerous for both him and his partner. He hadn’t been paying attention to where they were and what was going on around them.
Jo Kuryakin hurried up to the men cane in hand, hugging her brother and the CEA. A man appeared behind her.
“Oh sorry Charles. Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, this is Charles Abble. He is the head of the computer division and offered to drive so I could meet you. I still have a week before I can drive.”
After shaking hands, the three headed toward the car. Illya climbed in front with Charles while Napoleon joined Jo in the back. Because of Charles present, he couldn’t kiss Jo as he would have liked. She didn’t move too close to him but placed her hand in his. As he closed his hand over her’s, he felt an empty place where her promise ring should be. Looking at her hand, he confirmed it was missing.
He removed his hand causing Jo to look at him. Giving a glance toward the driver, it seemed he was giving her that as a reason for his action.
“So I hear you chaps are checking our security,” Charles said. “I know a lot of the blokes are thrilled that Mr. Kuryakin is coming back for a visit.”
“Illya is fine. Yes it has been a while since I was here.”
Charles and Illya talked about places they were both familiar with while they headed toward headquarters. Once there Charles left them while Jo spoke to them for a few minutes.
After which she told them, “I need to check on some of my computer runs, I will see you two later.” She left the them as they headed to the section chief’s office. Illya realized his partner was too silent especially after the seeing Jo.
“What is the problem my friend? I thought you would be thrilled to see Jo.”
“She isn’t wearing the ring,” simply said but the sadness coming through made Illya stop and face him.
“I am sure there is a reason. Napoleon wait till you can talk to her before jumping to conclusions.”
Without another word, the CEA entered Brian Morton’s office.
After their meeting and going over the agenda for the next few days, the men headed toward Jo’s temporary office. They reached the doorway of the computer lab just as Jo threw her arms around Charles giving him a kiss.
Napoleon turned heading away from the lab.
“Wait, where are you going? I am sure there was a good reason for her actions.” Illya demanded of him as he caught up to him.
“I’ll wait for you in the car.” Napoleon replied leaving his partner standing in the hall alone.
Illya returned to the computer lab and found his sister at a desk behind a large pile of printouts.
“Where Napoleon?” she asked looked toward the door.
“He saw you kissing Charles and left. What is going on Jo?”
Although he loved his sister, his partner’s heart seemed to be tearing and this worried him.
“Charles was just returning my ring. I had spilled some material from the lab and thought I lost it. He cleaned it up and had just handled it back to me.”
She looked at her brother, “I love that American and he should know it. Here is my key.” She handed it over. “Give me about thirty minutes.”
Illya led his sulking partner to the apartment door. London had arranged a place for them outside of headquarters while they were conducting the security check. Unlocking the door, Illya stepped back allowing his partner to enter first.
Napoleon stopped and looked around the room. No lights were on but candles were flickering throughout the apartment. On the table, a champagne bottle was on ice, and food was spread on out. He could see the shrimp he loved decorating the sides of a bowl filled with ice.
Napoleon was so engrossed in what was in front of him that he didn’t see his partner wave to the person on the couch or leaving the apartment. As he turned toward the couch, he saw Jo reclining on it. .
“Would you like to unwrap your Valentine present?” She asked him.
“That is your problem Mr. Solo, you think too much. I had messed up my ring and Charles took care of it for me.”
“For me?” Napoleon asked waving his hand toward everything.
“Well it was for my boyfriend but he could not make it. So I guess you will have to do,” she said smiling. “Would you care to join me?” She asked lifting her blanket in invitation revealing a sexy negligee.
“I understand you have a day before you need to start the security check. Illya will meet us for bunch tomorrow around twelve. So unless you have a better idea?”
Napoleon didn’t waste another minute before removing his jacket, gun and holster and hurried toward the couch.
Illya, who was walking into Del Floria's with his partner, could see that Napoleon’s mood had improved. The CEA’s was whistling a happy tone, smiling happily.
As they approached the reception desk, the secretary went to hand Napoleon his badge, but he leaned over allowing her to place it then kissed her on the nose.
As they walked through the door to the hallways of UNCLE, Illya saw the receptionist smiling happily. Greetings were called to the two as they walked down the hall and more than once Illya had to stop allowing his partner to share a joke or comment with someone.
The same secretary, who had spilled coffee on Napoleon earlier, quickly rounded the corner spilling her tea on Napoleon’s jacket.
“Oh Mr. Solo I’m so sorry. I’ll clean it for you,” she was nearly in tears.
“Don’t worry about it dear, compared to what Thrush does to my clothes a little tea is nothing.” He said giving her a comforting hug.
Just as they reached their office, Waverly met them. “Gentlemen it seems your assignment went well.”
“Very well sir,” Napoleon agreed.
“Mr. Kuryakin everything was achieved?”
Illya grinned, “Yes sir, everything was achieved.”
“Good, good. Gentlemen my office in ten minutes. You’re heading toward Brazil.”
As Waverly walked away, Napoleon looked at his partner.
“What was that all about partner?”
“His comment to you,”
Illya ignored the question walking into their office. Suddenly Napoleon realized what Waverly meant.
Entering the office, the CEA stared his partner.
“You two set me up, you sneaky Russian” he accused.
“I do not know what you are talking about. We better get going. Mr. Waverly does not like waiting.
Illya walked out the door leaving Napoleon with his mouth open.
Napoleon quickly followed him out. “Illya!” he yelled heading quickly toward the Russian.
Illya continued to walk toward the conference room with a smirk on his face. Everything was back to normal.