Prompt 85. Bolt
A little New Years tale
Jo and Grace sat on the floor before the fireplace in the arms of their lovers, Napoleon and Illya respectively. Wine and snacks were on a table and warmth and friendship had them all relaxing.
“Okay guys. You promised,” Grace said looking into Illya’s face with puppy dog eyes.
“Perhaps another time?” He suggested.
“Oh no you do not. You two promised us you would tell us on New Year Eve, and tonight is it, so give Napoleon.” Jo said poking him in the side.
“Wouldn’t you rather do something more exciting?” He asked raising his eyebrows suggestively.
“NO!” both women said together.
Refilling the glass, Napoleon shrugged and gave in. “Where do you want me to start?”
“Your first meeting.” Grace said smiling with victory.
“I had just returned from an assignment and entered the center hallway when this skinny guy with his nose struck into a file bumped into me.” Napoleon began pointing over his shoulder at his partner.
“Excuse me, you backed into me because you were busy watching a woman’s behind that had just passed you by.” Illya corrected moving up on his elbow to answer.
Napoleon gave him a sour look, “I was just making sure her skirt was straight. Now, if I may continue.”
Grabbing a handful of snacks, a wave of Illya’s hand gave him permission.
“There had been a message for me to report to Waverly’s office at ten. So I headed toward the cafeteria to get some coffee and overheard everyone talking about the Russian who had invaded us and how some poor shmuck was going to be his partner. Well I wasn’t sure I wanted to work with some Russian after fighting them in Korea, but I didn’t like how my agents were talking. We’re an international organization after all, so I dressed them down some and headed toward Waverly office.”
When Napoleon stopped to take a breath, Illya spoke up.
“After he bumped into me,” a soft harrumph came from the American. Ignoring it, Illya continued.
“I headed toward Mr. Waverly’s office. He had ordered me to report at ten, but I was so nervous I arrived fifteen minutes early. His secretary was very kind and showed me into the office and pointed to a chair where I sat down immediately and accepted coffee and a smile she offered me. As most of the people had ignored me in headquarters, I was surprised that she was being nice. Mr. Waverly came in reading a file, and I leaped up spilling the office over the desk.”
“So that why the table was sticky when I put my hands on it,” Napoleon smirked.
Once more ignoring him Illya went on.
“I looked around for something to clean it up but Waverly waved his hand saying that the secretary would clean it up and to take another chair. After we were seated, he told me that Mr. Solo, the CEA would be joining us in a few minutes. He then sat there reading the file. We could hear Napoleon outside flirting with the secretary, and Waverly called out for him to stop wasting time and join us.”
Hurrying to speak before Illya could, “I wasn’t flirting, I was just saying hello.”
The three others laughed at this causing Napoleon to quickly keep going.
“Imagine my surprise when I saw the skinny blonde sitting at the table. His badge was Section 2 but I didn’t know him but suspected that it was the Russian invader I had heard about. Waverly introduced Illya first, then me. After which he told us that we were to be partners. The look on your face was priceless,” he said pointing at Illya laughing.
“Yours was no better. I thought you were going to choke on the sip of coffee you had just taken,” Illya countered. “Waverly then handed each of us the other’s folders telling us to read them over, familiarize ourselves with them and he would be back after taking a call. Sneaking peeks over the files, we studied each other while reading the other’s dossier. The information available taught us about our new partner’s skills, specialties, and strengths, but not about the person himself.”
Napoleon stood to retrieve another bottle of wine and more snacks causing Illya to halt his storytelling. The previous platter had been cleared off by Illya and Jo.
“I see your appetite hasn’t changed in all these years,” Napoleon teased his partner placing the plate on the table. “It must be a Kuryakin trait. Eat continuously and not gain a pound.”
Napoleon sat back down and helped Jo snuggle into a comfortable position once again before continuing the story.
“One look at you and I wanted to bolt after Waverly and ask him if he was serious. I thought you were a small skinny kid, who looked more like a beatnik than a GRU agent or UNCLE agent. With old and faded black clothes and long hair, only your eyes gave you away.”
“Well I would not have been far behind you. I mean you looked like a playboy. That perfect tailored suit, immaculate nails and perfectly placed hair. But there was something in your eyes that told me you had seen things that others wouldn't understand. We sat there not speaking until Waverly came back.”
Napoleon took over, “Waverly told us he would be busy till one and I should show you around. I remember thinking, when I offered you a piece of paper to write what was where, that you were bragging about knowing what every door hid. The more we walked and with the little you said made me think you were a know-it-all with all those degrees and all. Guess I was right about that, wasn’t I?” Napoleon kidded the Russian.
“Funny Napoleon, just because I prefer learning to women chasing. I remember thinking you were condescending. But that really changed when we turned that next corner and the alarms going off.” He said sadness entering his eyes. “I still wish the result for Rod could have been different. He was just protecting his family.”
“I know but there really wasn’t much else Section One could do. They did give him a pension.”
“Rod?” Jo asked.
“As we turned the corner guns out because the alarms had begun to ring, we found Rod holding a bomb and screaming that Thrush had his family. I began to talk to him and was surprised to see Illya circling around the man.”
“When I was behind Rod, Napoleon nodded his head and he took him down while I grabbed the bomb. One look at it, and I knew I could deactivate it. So I yelled at everyone to clear out. Napoleon did not listen but came closer offering to help. It surprised me, in the past others would have left me on my own.”
“Well I didn’t want to explain to Waverly how my new partner managed to get himself killed when I was giving him a tour.” Napoleon reached over giving his partner a small squeeze on his shoulder and a smile of encouragement. “But really Illya’s tone of voice although it had an urgency to it also seemed to convey conference. I looked around and saw Section Three men and others were still standing around staring on Illya. I ordered everyone else out after leaving the tools.”
“After understanding that Napoleon was not leaving but was looking for my direction we began to disarm the bomb. I could not believe how well we worked together. I was not used to people working with me. I always had to do it myself.”
"I wasn't sure what made me just naturally accept that Illya knew what he was doing, but I did. He gave directions and the two of us were able to defuse the bomb. Security took Rod away, and the bomb squad took over the parts of the bomb. I remember looking at him after everything was secure and seeing a twinkle in his eyes and a small smile on his face. Then his stomach grumbled, as usual." Napoleon laughed as his partner's stomach grumbled at that moment.
"I had not eaten in over 24 hours because I was so busy trying to figure out what was going to happen to me at this post. Berlin and London had left me with a bad taste and my welcome in New York was not much better. Then you offered me a hand up and said my first name like it was the most natural thing in the world even if you pronounced it wrong. That is why I smiled. The gesture and the few words seemed so welcoming. Then I tried his name, and found it was acceptable to me."
“Then he warned me he was always hungry. After we chose our food, his dish was overflowing with different things, I felt so comfortable with him. I thought to myself maybe it would work out.”
“I was hungry and the selection was so huge. Besides that little sandwich you had would have only been a snack for me. But you are right, I knew it would be a new experience for me to have a partner but we did seem to have a rhythm.”
“I remember walking out of the cafeteria and others watching us knowing we’d fail, but we showed them haven’t we partner,” Napoleon said clapping Illya on the shoulder.
“Yes, we have. Now can we get to supper? I am hungry and the story is over.” Illya stood offering his hand to Grace.
“All these years and food still is foremost on your mind,” Napoleon said offering his hand to Jo. “Let’s feed the Russian before he fades away.”
The girls started out the door and down the stairs as Illya reached out his hand to touch Napoleon’s shoulder.
“That day was the best day of my life, Happy New Years.” Illya seriousness touched Napoleon.
“Mine too, tovarisch, Happy New Years and many more to come.”