EVERYTHING HAS A FIRST TIME
Mr. Waverly sends Napoleon on an undercover mission where he is about to run into trouble. However, a stranger comes to his assistance and they both walk away relatively unharmed. They both succumb to the need to work off the operation. Napoleon knows it will be all right because he'll never see the man again.
A first time story.
Written: May 2015. Word count: 3,635.
Napoleon knocked on his boss's office and waited until he was told to enter before going in.
"Ah, Mr. Solo. Come in and sit down." Alexander Waverly smiled at him.
"Thank you, sir."
Mr. Waverly waited until Napoleon had sat down before he folded his hands together in front of him, looked at Napoleon and said, "I have an assignment for you, Mr. Solo. An undercover assignment."
Napoleon nodded. "Yes, sir."
"Tonight, at nine o'clock, you will take this case," he reached down and picked up a fairly small briefcase and handed it to Napoleon, "to Harrison's Bar. There you will be met by a man; his name is Gerald Harper. He will give you a hundred thousand dollars for the case and offer you another fifty thousand if you agree to deliver it to someone else. You will accept the offer. Your name is Charles Miller and Harper will approach you and ask you for the time."
Napoleon nodded. "What exactly is in the case, sir?"
"Plans of a weapon, a highly dangerous, highly coveted secret weapon, along with plans of the secret military facility which is working on it."
"We're giving secret plans away now, are we, sir?" Napoleon said lightly.
Mr. Waverly chuckled softly. "Very funny, Mr. Solo. The plans, of course, are inaccurate. However, it is your job to spend the afternoon familiarizing yourself with every aspect of them - every aspect - just in case Harper or the person to whom you will be delivering them questions you on them. You are an expert; you drew the plans and you know all about the secret weapon. You must know them intimately, do you understand, Mr. Solo?"
Napoleon nodded. "Yes, sir. Are we after Harper?"
Mr. Waverly nodded and then shook his head. "We are far more interested in the person for whom Harper is working. You see over the last few months quite a few important plans have fallen into the wrong hands. It is our belief they are being procured by the same person; however, so far we have absolutely no idea who that person is. The only link to him or indeed her, is Gerald Harper. Yes, we would of course like Harper, but only after we have the person for whom he is working."
"May I ask why I, as a loyal citizen, would be selling secret weapon plans?" Napoleon asked.
Mr. Waverly stared at him. "You have a serious gambling habit, one you are unable and indeed unwilling to break. You need money; quite a lot of money and you need it quickly."
Napoleon nodded. It was a nice, simple cover; the best kind really. "Yes, sir."
"Oh, and you should know that the briefcase has a very sophisticated bug embedded in it. It is undetectable to the eye or the touch and also to any bug detection machine about which we know. Your job is not to capture Gerald Harper's employer; your job is simply to deliver the briefcase and walk away. Do you understand, Mr. Solo?"
Napoleon nodded. He was a little surprised. Although it wouldn't be the first time the operative going undercover wasn't involved in the capture, it didn't happen very often. "Yes, sir," he said.
"Good. Now take the briefcase to your office and spend the rest of the afternoon familiarizing yourself with the plans. Get to know them in intricate detail."
Napoleon took the briefcase and stood up. "Yes, sir."
"Good. And good luck, Mr. Solo."
"Thank you, sir."
Napoleon spent the afternoon doing as he had been told to do, pouring over the plans, studying them from all angles, learning all about the very deadly sounding weapon. The more he learned about it, the more he was glad they had the plans. In the hands of Thrush or any of their other enemies, the world could be dominated by evil. He actually shuddered at the thought before deciding he had studied them for long enough; that he did know them well enough to convince anyone who might question him about them; that he had been the man to draw them; that he knew all about the secret weapon. He glanced at his watch and decided to go out for an early dinner then go home and decide what to wear that would fit with his image of a man with a serious gambling habit who needed money.
He arrived some ten minutes before the set time at Harrison's Bar, went inside and glanced around in the way anyone might. To an outside observer it would appear he wasn't paying any particular attention to anyone in the bar. However, he was studying each one of them in detail, imprinting them in his memory as well as checking to see if anyone was familiar. The bar was actually fairly empty, and for a moment Napoleon wondered if that was Mr. Waverly's doing or if it wasn't a very popular bar during the week. It certainly wasn't one he had ever been to.
In one corner reading a newspaper sat a blond haired man; his hair was fairly long, far longer than Napoleon would consider wearing his, far longer than he had ever considered wearing his. From the quick but detailed appraisal he guessed the blond man to be several years younger than he was. On the table in front of the man was a glass of colorless liquid. Gin or vodka, Napoleon guessed.
A couple of tables down from the young blond sat two dark haired men in smart suits and ties; they appeared to be involved in a very animated conversation. Napoleon judged them to be several years older than he was and they were drinking what appeared to be whiskey.
A few other couples were dotted around the place. However, there was only one another lone man, who sat on the opposite side of the room from the blond man. He appeared to be about thirty-five, had an extreme receding hairline, wore glasses and had an air of authority about him. He too appeared to be drinking whiskey. Napoleon guessed that either he or the blond man was Gerald Harper. If he had been asked to put a bet on it, he would have put it on the prematurely balding man; the blond looked too young to be trusted with something so serious.
However, Napoleon wasn't about to make snap judgments; the blond man might look rather young, but age didn't always guarantee experience or ability. He made his way over to the bar and ordered a whiskey. He noticed as he walked by the blond that he, for the first time, glanced up from his newspaper and for a moment stared directly at Napoleon. His eyes were a piercing blue, his face very pale and for a moment as he met and held the gaze, to his amazement, Napoleon felt a shiver pass through him. The second later, the blond had glanced away and returned his attention to his newspaper.
Napoleon took his drink across to a well positioned table, one where he could sit with his back to the wall and keep an eye on the rest of the bar, put the briefcase down on the seat next to him and sipped his drink. He had chosen his table well; it allowed him to keep an eye on both the blond and the prematurely balding man as well as on the clock. The blond was still reading his newspaper; prematurely balding had taken a notebook out together with a small pen and was making a note.
As the hands on the clock slipped up to the hour, the blond folded his newspaper in half before putting it down. Napoleon allowed himself a moment of surprise. However, rather than get up and go across to Napoleon the blond merely picked his drink up and sipped it. The next moment prematurely balding put the notebook back into his pocket, looked at his watch, frowned, picked up his briefcase, stood up and went over to Napoleon.
"Please forgive me for disturbing you. However, my watch seems to have stopped; do you have the time, please?"
Napoleon looked at his watch, even though he had no need to so do. "Nine o'clock," he said.
The man nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Miller," he said quietly. "You are Mr. Charles Miller, are you not?"
Napoleon nodded. "Yes."
"May I?" Harper indicated the chair opposite to Napoleon.
Napoleon nodded. "Please do."
Harper sat down. "I am, as you are probably aware, Gerald Harper. I believe you may have something in which I will be interested." Napoleon tried, but he couldn't quite place Harper's accent.
Napoleon took another sip of whiskey and once again nodded. "I may have."
"Come now, Mr. Miller, let us not play games, either you have or you haven't."
Napoleon held his gaze for a moment and then with a shrug said, "Yes, I have. In my briefcase."
Harper gave him what was a rather chilling smile. "May I?" he asked.
Napoleon hesitated for a second. "Do you have the money?"
Harper sneered. "Oh, yes, the money. The money you badly need. Oh, I know all about you, Mr. Miller. You are the kind of man I despise; you are willing to sell your country's secrets simply to get yourself out of trouble. Trouble that you got yourself into. You are a weak man, Mr. Miller. Yes, I despise you."
For a moment Napoleon allowed his gaze to flicker away from Harper as if he was considering what to say next. He saw the blond had once more picked up his paper. "You're willing to buy my country's secrets, Mr. Harper; doesn't that make you less than honorable as well?"
Harper's eyes flashed. "I am not buying them, Mr. Miller. I am merely the middle man, shall we say. Now, may I see them?"
Napoleon passed the briefcase over; to his surprise Harper didn't immediately open it. Instead he spent a good five minutes running his hands over it, feeling every inch of the case, examining the lock in intimate detail before finally opening it. However, even then he didn't take the plans out, instead he once more turned his attention to running his hands over the inside of the case and examining it in even more intimate detail than he had examined the outside.
As he watched him, Napoleon hoped dearly that Mr. Waverly had been correct when he had said the bug was undetectable. Apparently it was because after a final examination of the outside of the case, Harper seemed satisfied and took the plans out. He spent the next ten minutes looking through them before he turned his attention back to Napoleon and began to question him in depth about them.
Half an hour later he nodded and once again closed the briefcase. "Well, Mr. Miller, you certainly know the plans well. I believe you are who you say you are; one cannot be too careful, you understand."
"Oh, I understand. Mr. Harper. And now that you are satisfied, may I have my payment, please?"
Harper stared at him. "A hundred thousand dollars, I believe was what was agreed." Napoleon nodded. "How would you like to make another fifty thousand?"
Deciding that he shouldn't appear to be too eager, Napoleon was silent for a moment as he stared at Harper. "What exactly would I have to do?"
Harper shrugged. "Simply deliver the briefcase to an address I will give you."
"That's all?" The two dark haired men who had been involved in the animated conversation walked by at that moment, they still appeared to be talking animatedly, and left the bar.
"Yes. Fifty thousand dollars for merely delivering the plans. After all if you can appropriate them, surely you can deliver them. And in case you are wondering, the address is within the city; it won't take you long."
Napoleon appeared to consider the offer for a minute or two, before shrugging and saying, his tone, light, "Why not? I could certainly use the extra money."
Harper gave him another sneering look. "Of that I am quite aware." Alexander Waverly had indeed done a good job of setting up Napoleon's undercover character. He stood up; instantly Napoleon tensed and pulled the briefcase nearer to him. "Oh, do not worry, Mr. Miller, I am not about to grab the briefcase and make off with it without paying you. I merely wish to get the key to my own briefcase, in order to be able to pay you." He took the key from his trouser pocket, took his briefcase from the floor and opened it. He took out a white envelope and held it out to Napoleon. "One hundred and fifty thousand dollars; it is all there. I give you my word."
Napoleon held his gaze for a moment and then nodded curtly. "I accept your word." He took the envelope and said, "Where am I to take the briefcase to?"
Harper put his hand into his coat pocket and took out a piece of paper which he handed to Napoleon. "It is on the paper. Wait for ten minutes after I have left the bar and then get a cab and deliver the briefcase."
"What if I don't? I mean I could keep the plans and the money," Napoleon said.
Harper gave him a cold smile. "You could, Mr. Miller. But not if you wish to be alive this time tomorrow. Now I bid you a good evening." He nodded, stood up and turned around and left the bar.
So far; so good. Napoleon settled back in his seat, picked his drink up and sipped it as he waited for the clock to tick down ten minutes. The blond man was still reading his paper, however, after a moment or two, he put it down, stood up and to Napoleon's surprise went across to him and sat down.
"It is a trap," he said, in a heavily accented voice. Napoleon thought the accent was Russian.
"Those two dark haired men who left the bar before the man who was sitting here will be waiting for you to leave. They will take the briefcase and the envelope, which I imagine contains money. They will then kill you."
Napoleon stared at the blond man; looking at him; really looking at him. Could he be telling the truth? He didn't have long to make his mind up; he had to leave in four minutes. "How do you know?"
The blond shrugged. "I have exceptionally good hearing. They were fools to talk about their plans in a public place. You will allow me to assist you?" he asked.
"Assist me in doing what?"
The blond rolled his eyes. "Staying alive; there is no other way out of this bar, you have to go out of the door you came in by. I am Nickovetch Kuznetsov." He held out his hand.
After a moment Napoleon took it. The same shiver that had flashed through him when they had locked gazes for a moment went through him, along with a long forgotten flash of desire. "Charles Miller," he said. "Why should you want to help me?"
Nickovetch shrugged. "I am a good citizen," he said, and then before Napoleon could question his claim he said, "I am an American citizen; despite being Russian."
So Napoleon had been correct. For a moment he considered telling Nickovetch who, now that he was nearer to Napoleon, actually looked even younger and somewhat fragile, he was certain he wasn't used to fighting, that he didn't need his help. However, something, some instinct he hadn't known he had, made him change his mind.
"Very well," he said. "You may help me. Thank you."
An hour and a half later two dark haired men had been picked up by the police following an anonymous call, the briefcase had been delivered, and Napoleon and Nickovetch were outside the apartment where they had delivered the briefcase to on the sidewalk.
Feeling somewhat bruised, battered and more than a little unkempt, Napoleon gazed at Nickovetch and wondered if what he was about to suggest would get him punched. Contrary to appearances, Nickovetch Kuznetsov was actually a very apt, very good, clearly very experienced, if somewhat unconventional fighter. Napoleon had been very glad to have him by his side - to have him on his side.
He wanted him; he wanted to be inside him. It was something he hadn't done for years; something he had told himself upon joining U.N.C.L.E. that he would never do again; that part of his life was over. But lust now clouded his mind and he remembered the sheer joy of being buried inside another man.
He swallowed; they were standing outside a small hotel. He mentally crossed his fingers and braced himself for the punch he all but expected to follow his words. "We could get a room," he said.
Nickovetch smiled. "We could." And with those two words he turned and walked into the hotel.
As he tangled his hands in Nickovetch's hair and pushed himself inside him, Napoleon realized just how much he had missed this sensation; just how wonderful it was. Why had he ever given it up?
They parted with a handshake and a smile. "Thank you again, Nickovetch," Napoleon said. And then added softly with another smile, "For everything."
For a moment Nickovetch just stared at him. Then he smiled again and said, "You are very welcome, Charles." He then let go of Napoleon's hand, Napoleon only became aware at that moment that they had still being holding hands, pushed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and strode off.
As he watched him go Napoleon felt more than a little guilty and even a little worried. Then he told himself he would never see Nickovetch again; he hadn't given him his real name and Nickovetch had no idea who he worked for. He also felt more than a little regretful and stood staring after Nickovetch even after he was out of sight. If only . . .
When he got to the office the next day there was a message telling him to go straight to Alexander Waverly's office. Pausing only to grab the money from his briefcase, he did as he was bid.
He knocked and was told to go in. He did and had to call on all his experience not to actually gasp aloud when he saw who was sitting in front of Mr. Waverly's desk. As Napoleon went into the room, Nickovetch Kuznetsov stood up. Dressed now as he was in a black suit, a white shirt, a black tie and polished black shoes, with his hair somewhat shorter (but still longer than Napoleon would wear his) he looked a little older than he had done on the previous evening when he had been dressed in a black turtleneck sweater, black jeans, black boots and a black leather jacket.
"Ah, Mr. Solo," Mr. Waverly said. "Come in; come in." He didn't seem to be angry or displeased; in fact he seemed quite the opposite; he was beaming. So maybe Nickovetch hadn't reported Napoleon. There was a very faint smile on Nickovetch's face as he looked at Napoleon.
"Now, Mr. Solo. I would like you to meet Mr. Illya Kuryakin," Mr. Waverly said. "He is to be your partner."
Illya held out his hand and Napoleon took it. "Hello, Mr. Solo," he said and smiled. His voice contained only the faintest hint of the strong Russian accent it had displayed the previous evening.
"Napoleon. It is nice to meet you properly Mr. Illya Kuryakin." He smiled.
Illya shrugged. "Nickovetch is my middle name; Kuznetsov is my maternal grandfather's name."
Napoleon nodded. "At least your name had meaning, unlike Charles Miller." He held Illya's gaze.
A moment later Mr. Waverly cleared his throat. "Do sit down, gentleman. Now, Mr. Solo, Mr. Kuryakin has recently transferred to this office. I thought you and he might make a fine team. However, I thought it would be apposite to test you to see if what I thought was in fact accurate. So I set up last night."
Napoleon stared at his boss. "Harper's one of us?"
Mr. Waverly nodded. "As are the two poor unfortunate men who came up against you and Mr. Kuryakin - they will, I believe, make a full recovery - as well as the gentleman to whom you delivered the briefcase. I also believe you have something for me," he held out his hand.
Napoleon handed over the money; for the first time he saw the briefcase he had handed over last night was on Mr. Waverly's desk. "That's ours as well, I take it?"
Mr. Waverly smiled. "Yes, Mr. Solo. Now I suggest you take Mr. Kuryakin back to your office, make a pot of tea and get to know one another somewhat more. You are, after all, going to be working very closely with one another. You will have to learn to trust one another completely. Good day, gentlemen." And with that, he turned his full attention to a file.
Napoleon and Illya left the office and Napoleon led the way back to his office. "Partners, eh?" he said, glancing at Illya.
Illya looked at him and smiled. "Yes, Napoleon. Partners. I do believe I am looking forward to getting to know you even more intimately." And with those words he turned away from Napoleon and walked the rest of the way in silence.
Ah, well, Napoleon told himself, self-made vows could be unmade. And for Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin it would be worth unmaking them. He too was looking forward to getting to know his partner even more intimately.
Feedback is always appreciated
Go to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Fiction Page
Go to Home Page