The thug was drawing his arm back to punch Illya, when he unexpectedly found himself lying on his back, with a heavily bleeding nose. Illya glared down at him.
“Next time, I suggest you accept the replacement drink when it is offered.”
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(sorry about this one. It wrote itself. I couldn't resist)
“Are you sure about this Napoleon?”
Illya was clearly unsure. Napoleon grinned impishly.
“Absolutely, nothing to worry about. I come here all the time. It’s a great way to relax after a heavy workout.”
“Napoleon, I’d sooner shower. What is so great about a sauna? I dislike hot temperatures.”
Napoleon opened a door and shoved his partner through.
“Through that other door there. Trust me, Illya. Have I ever steered you wrong?”
“Frequently!” Illya stepped through the door. He was met with a bevy of elderly ladies with easels. The teacher steered him to a chair.
“Welcome to our life-drawing class!”
It was a sultry, firefly filled evening as Solo and Kuryakin sat out in the backyard of the safehouse in which they’d taken up residence. Their car was in need of repair and since there was no urgency in returning to New York, Waverly approved their stay.
Rather than a hotel, the unoccupied house would be more cost effective, much to the approval of Accounting.
After taking a taxi to a small grocery store for some supplies, the partners headed home and settled in, barbecuing burgers and kabobs outside on the grill.
Laying in a pair chaise lounges, they sipped beer to the sounds of chirping crickets.
“Isn’t this the life tovarish?” Napoleon blew a smoke ring from the large cigar he was smoking.
“If you call perspiring while being bitten by mosquitos the life, then your standards have been lowered.”
Napoleon clicked his tongue.”I meant the peace and quiet, as well as the fact that no one is trying to kill us.”
“Oh, then in that case I do agree...this is the life,” Illya swallowed the last of his beer. “In the meantime I am going inside to escape the blood sucking bugs.”
“Suit yourself tovarisch.”
Illya barely glanced up as his partner entered their office.
“There’s a letter for you on the cabinet.” He said, threading a fresh sheet of paper into his typewriter and winding it on. He heard a sharp intake of breath and glanced up. Napoleon was staring at the open letter in his hand as though hypnotized, a look of shock on his face. Alarm bells rang.
“Are you alright, my friend? Can I do anything?”
Wordlessly, Napoleon shook his head and left the room. Illya watched him go, full of concern. Whatever was wrong with Napoleon? What could have happened?
Illya Kuryakin glared balefully at the tall pile of paperwork sitting on his desk. Napoleon’s paperwork. Now he was stuck with his partner’s job until Solo got back from his refresher course with Cutter on Survival Island. He silently cursed Napoleon Solo for getting him into this.
He grinned suddenly to himself. Napoleon had been planning to take Lovely Lucy to the theatre Saturday evening. The tickets and dinner reservations had been paid for. Solo had implored him to take her out in his stead.
“Enjoy your holiday with Cutter, Napoleon!” he smiled to himself, picking up his pen.
Napoleon moaned. Picking himself up from the ground; he did so gingerly, mind you.
“You all right mate?” Mark Slate asked.
“Bruised but nothing’s broken. I must have hit a bit of ice.”
“Ice? Are you daft Napoleon? It’s 90˚ and sweltering.”
Solo checked his noggin, feeling a sizeable lump on the top of his head.
“How’d I hit myself there,” he winced.
“Napoleon, you were in an accident; we’re taking you back to headquarters to be checked.”
“Oh? I don’t remember that Illya.”
“It’s Mark, Napoleon.”
“Oh hi, what are you doing here?”
“Taking you to...oh never mind mate.”
“What is that?” Napoleon asked.”That music’s not right is it?”
Kuryakin cocked an eyebrow as he turned his head to one side, carefully listening.
“They are doing something different from the sound of it. Not our usually jazzy accompaniment.”
“True, it’s but not ‘our’ theme music...it belongs to someone else,”Solo was now annoyed. He groaned, “Now I recognize it. It belongs to that bumbling idiot.”
“And which bumbling idiot is that, there are quite a few out there in the world of espionage are there not?”
“It’s that Smart guy’s.”
“Napoleon you just said he was an idiot...”
Kuryakin walked along the grey corridors of headquarters, his nose buried in folder. Wearing his tinted glasses, they kept slipping down his nose; without thinking about it, he pushed them back in place every few minutes.
“Psssst,” It came from a nearby utility closet.
Napoleon peeked out, pulling Illya inside.
“What is going on?”
“They’re back,” Napoleon whispered.
“They as in…?”