Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, leave Illya confessing what he feel about Napoleon's and his relationship. An answer to the 2014 Valentine Challenge on Scrapbook
Illya walked alone into the abandon diner, leaning heavily on a cane and ignoring the sounds of broken glass and splinters of wood under his feet. The counter was broken and empty dishes covered it, the aftermath of the ambush. A bottle set in the middle of the destruction, untouched, reminding those seeing it of happier times.
Why did this happen? It wasn’t even Thrush. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A gang war and they ended up in the middle of it.
He sat on a stool, closing his eyes to gather his strength and thoughts. Medical would have notified Waverly of his absence and an alert would have been sent out to find him. He needed to make sense of what happened before they found him and took him back to share the room with his comatose partner.
As his mind relaxed, he began to relive the night.
They were prepared for the meet. Napoleon and he walked into the diner, a dozen yellow roses in Napoleon’s arms.
“With Angelique I would have expected red roses,” Illya had kidded him about the color.
Napoleon explained. “Yellow roses are often associated with warmth, happiness and friendship.”
“You associate her with friendship? Surely even you know she is not your friend.”
Sighing the American said, “No not friendship but she does give me temporary warmth and happiness.”
Napoleon took one rose out and handed it to Illya causing him to raise his eyes.
“You, however, are a true friend. And besides if I truly wanted her to know how much I treasured her friendship, I would have a dozen of irises, the symbol of cherished friendships.”
Napoleon had headed toward a back table while Illya headed toward the far end of the counter.
Soon the smell of Channel Number 5 drifted into the area and Angelique stood there her platinum blonde hair shining in the light. She slinked across the floor in her fur and tight fitting dress. Illya wasn’t sure what his partner saw in the woman and their complex, romantic relationship, but knew he would not win the argument against trusting her.
Standing up to pull out a seat for the Thrush agent, Napoleon kissed her neck as he helped her into the chair.
“Darling,” she purred her off-kilter smile greeting him. “I see your watchdog has come with you. Are you sure he wouldn’t be more comfortable at the table with us? After all he can’t protect you from way over there against what he thinks I plan to do with you.”
“Now Angelique, you know how he is. I’m his partner, and he doesn’t want to have to train another one.”
Illya rolled his eyes turning to face away from the couple he was watching from a more comfortable position. He would never understand this desire of his partner.
Napoleon and Angelique traded the information that each had brought to the table and were just finishing up when an unexpected shout interrupted them.
“We told you old man not to open this diner on our turf.” A voice called out followed by bullets taking out the counter man and waitress.
The UNCLE agents pulled their guns and began to get up only to have bullets coming from all directions. Napoleon pushed Angelique down and covered her with his body as he was aiming at one of the intruders. Illya quickly pushed the few other customers behind the counter before sliding next to his partner covering the part of Angelique still in the open. The bullets continued to fly hitting both men but not before they were able to take out four gunmen.
After the shooting stopped, Angelique felt Illya trying to pull his communicator out of his pocket but the hiss of pain and uselessness of his arm prevented him from doing so. She extricated herself out from under the agents and took the communicator opening it and said, “Open Channel D.”
“Who is this and what are you doing with Kuryakin’s communicator? Where’s Mr. Kuryakin?” Demanded a female voice.
“This is Angelique LeChien, just listen Solo and Kuryakin are injured and need help immediately at the meeting point. There also a lot of other people who are dead and dying. Send some help now.” Then closed the device.
Kneeling between the men she saw blood coming from Napoleon’s back in a number of places and from the side of his head while Kuryakin’s leg and side were bleeding.
“Is he alive?” Kuryakin’s soft voice asked trying to get his partner to check for a sign he was alive.
Angelique checked for a pulse and nodded then moved Napoleon's hand closer to Illya. He reached for it and relaxed when he felt the pulse beating slowly but steady.
While he was checking, the Thrush agent tore her dress and wrapped the strips around Kuryakin’s leg and tied strips of dish towels she had found on his side. She then placed more towels at various spots on Napoleon’s back but due to the wide area wasn’t able to wrap. Finally she added one towel to his head securing it there.
“Help is on the way,” she said more to herself, but Illya heard her.
“You’re arm is bleeding,” he said.
She looked at it surprised to see she had been hit. “It is only a flesh wound. Help is coming. I need to leave before I’m held up in an investigation that might be uncomfortable for me. I knew nothing of this attack.”
“I believe you this time. They are wearing gang jackets. Thank you for what you’ve done for us.” The comment caught her off guard.
“This changes nothing you know,” she said unable to comprehend how this man was willing to protect her at the risk of his own life.
Illya tried to smile, “We will still be enemies do not worry. Go now before the police and UNCLE arrive.”
Angelique headed toward the door looking back once more, “Take care of him for me. Although he’ll never truly love me, I do care.” And was gone into the night.
A hand on Illya’s shoulder brought his attention back to the present. The smell of Channel #5 overwhelmed him. How had she approached him without him knowing? He quickly turned his gun aiming at the stomach of the woman behind him. Her arm in a sling.
“I’m not here to hurt you, just warn you.” The statement threw him seeming so out of character. The woman before him usually only care about herself.
“Why would you warn about me?” He demanded still holding the gun on her.
“Will you put that thing down? Some of my colleagues have found out that you skipped out of medical in a weakened condition. An order has gone out to find you and bring you in.”
“And you would care about my safety why?”
“You helped save my life, you unappreciated Russian. Napoleon would never forgive me if I allowed my associates to torture and kill you when he isn’t here to back you up.”
“Isn’t that what Thrush want? Our deaths?” He asked lowering the gun but not putting it away.
“Actually they want the information you two hold which will help us win.” She shrugged her shoulders.
“And they think they can destroy the world?” He was so tired but couldn’t believe she would come just to warn him.
“We want to rule the world not destroy it. There are some who don’t know the difference. ”
Illya had to agree there was a difference, but he couldn’t see what she would get from her actions and Angelique never did anything without a reason.
“And you would warn me because of this, why?”
“Napoleon cares deeply for you and you don’t seem to see it. He wouldn’t be the man he is without you. If Thrush kills you, I could lose what I have with him. Now will you please put the gun down and go back to UNCLE and medical. I’d rather fight you when you’re 100%.” She admitted.
Illya replaced his gun and stared at the women in front of him. What was she saying? He and Napoleon were partners, friends, and brothers. Yes Napoleon would miss him if he died but what was she suggesting? He was too tired to think about this now.
April entered the dinner a few minutes later and found Illya sitting on a stool head on the counter and Angelique next to him. She pulled her gun and walked toward the two of them.
“Move away from him, Angelique. Illya, are you okay?” She called out.
Surprised again that someone had entered and he hadn’t known caused him to realize how badly he was still injured. He lifted his head quickly causing dizziness almost sending him off the stool.
“How did you find me?” He asked.
“We received a call from someone telling us where to find you, gov and that you were in danger,” Mark explained as he followed April into the diner.
Illya glanced up at Angelique a question in his eyes.
“He needs to be in medical” Angelique informed them as she ignored the question.
“There is no problem. She was just making sure I was okay.” Illya said waving April’s gun away.
“Illya?” April was surprised to hear Illya actually defending the woman.
“Hey gov, you don’t look well.” Mark remarked.
“I am fine!” Illya insisted.
“Medical has an alert out for you. Napoleon has become very restless and calling out for you. Come on man, let us take you back.”
“Remember what I said,” Angelique said as she limped away. “I’ll see you again. And thank you for what you did.”
As they watched the woman leave, Illya stood and weakly walked toward the door.
“Why did you come back here?” April asked.
“I cannot explain it. I just had to see man’s humanity to man. This,” he said waving his arm around the diner, “Was a death trap because of a little piece of land. Are we doing any good when innocents die just for a diner stool?”
“We do what we can,” April said understanding how at times their fight felt useless. “Come on, let’s get you home.” She gently took his arm to offer support without seeming to and led him to the car.
“Stop,” Illya called out as they were going down a street filled with small businesses.
Mark pulled the car to curb. “What is it mate?”
Illya hurried to the florist shop on the corner and brought a dozen Irises.
Arriving back at headquarters Illya headed straight to medical and Napoleon’s bed, stopping only to ask April to put the flowers into a vase and bring them in the CEA’s room.
Placing his hand on Napoleon’s fever ridden brow, he began to speak softly to his partner but was interrupted by the doctor.
“Mr. Kuryakin, do you realize how sick you still are? You should still be in bed.”
Illya turned shooting him a glare that dared the man to attempt moving him from the spot.
“Get into bed and don’t leave the building again or I’ll go to Mr. Waverly about it.” The doctor demanded as he moved out of the room.
Tired and in pain, the Russian laid down beside his partner.
A slight movement from Napoleon encouraged Illya and he whispering into Napoleon’s ear.
“You will not die my friend. No one has ever taken the darkness out of my life like you. You have filled that empty life, making me feel like someone. I did not live but existed before meeting you and becoming your partner. I have never met anyone whom I could trust as I trust you. Or share my troubles and concerns without the fear that they would be used against me. I never let anyone know the real me taking the step to call someone a friend. You are the man who is my true friend and there will never be another like you. So just wake up and let me know you will continue to be there with me.”***
Looking into the eyes of his partner and friend, Illya saw them open slowly with a smile trying to form on the face before him.
“You’re getting soft talking like that,” Napoleon croaked out.
“Not soft, I just do not want to have to train a new partner.” A rare smile forming on his face.
Napoleon noticed the Irises on his table and turned toward Illya.
A nod of his head and Illya laid back down sharing Napoleon’s pillow. “Sleep Napoleon. The doctor did have one good idea ordering me to bed.”
A little while later April, Mark and the doctor entered the room to see the two agents sleeping on the shared bed.
“Let them sleep,” April said pushing the doctor and Mark back out the door.
“But that arrangement is unacceptable,” the doctor complained. “After all, they are both injured and the rumors. I mean after all they are men and agents.”
“Doctor, they are partners and brothers. That is all you need to be concerned about. They have dealt with rumors before and will again. They will heal better knowing the other is safe,” April tried to explain what only a partner understood.
“Besides gov, I wouldn’t want to be the one who tells those two they need to move,” Mark said as he and April moved down the hall. They knew the doctor would never understand what it was like to have a true partner.
***Inspired by the song “Till Him” words and music by Mel Brooks.