Jan. 18th, 2017
“Napoleon, please be quiet while I’m thinking.”
Solo grinned as he knew he was getting under his opponent’s skin.
“What, can’t take a little pressure?”
“Oh I can take the pressure mate, just not your sound effects.”
Solo chuckled, but stopped.
“That’s checkmate...mate,” Mark Slate smiled.
Napoleon studied the board in disbelief. It was a rare occasion that anyone beat him at chess; not even Illya had the skill.
“No, something’s wrong.” He looked at the board again, seeing his pieces had been moved. “You cheated. How?”
“Just a little sleight of hand. I needed to practice.”
"I'm sorry. We couldn't save it.”
Napoleon’s brow furrowed. “How’d he take the news?”
“Not well, I think, but I don't speak Russian. Your name was mentioned.”
“No doubt. I’d like to see him now, if that's OK.”
“Just be sure he stays quiet. He needs to rest.”
Napoleon winced inwardly at his partner’s bruised and swollen face, but said dispassionately, “It's not so bad.”
Illya’s response was bitter and unintelligible.
“Hey now, Doc Allen said you're not supposed to talk.”
He turned his shoulders as a wad of bloody gauze narrowly missed his suit.
“You cracked my tooth!” Illya hissed furiously.
Napoleon shrugged. “I did tell you to duck.”
“The tough Russkie is calling for his Mommy,” jeered his tormentor. “She can’t help you now.”
“Papa,” Illya continued, carefully enunciating each word. “Baba, Mariya*, Yelena*, Napoleon.”
“Why are you saying those names?” the torturer asked. “Are you expecting them to come to your rescue?”
Another shock tore a rasping scream from Illya tortured lungs, but it didn’t stop him from repeating his litany.
“Mama, Papa, Baba, Mariya, Yelena, Napoleon.”
His voice was getting weaker with each jolt, but the names continued to spill from his lips. To the ears of his captor it was beginning to sound like a prayer.
“What does it mean?” the torturer screamed.
His confusion heightened when his prisoner ceased repeating the list and seemed to get stuck on the final name.
“Napoleon, Napoleon, Napoleon.”
His mind was suddenly drawn to the feel of a gun barrel being pressed just behind his ear.
“My partner does not have a faith in a higher being,” Napoleon explained. “Those are the people he has had, and does have belief in.”
“Must have faith in something,” Illya whispered. “Even a man who is always late.”
*In my stories, Mariya and Yelena were Illya’s sisters.