FOR THE WANT OF A NAIL
Mr. Waverly asks Illya to do something unusual.
An established relationship story.
Written: August 2009. Word count: 500.
"Mr. Kuryakin, I have a special assignment for you."
"I wish you to collect my wife's umbrella."
"Your wife's umbrella, sir?" Illya wondered if his English had failed him suddenly.
Mr. Waverly nodded. "Yes, Mr. Kuryakin. You heard me correctly. You are to collect it from this place," he handed Illya a piece of paper. "Do not leave it behind, no matter what happens. I expect to see you and it in," he looked at his watch, "two hours."
After a second or two, Illya tuned on his heel, murmured, "Yes, sir," and left the office.
"Yes. His wife's."
Napoleon smiled. "What, partner mine," he said, "have you been up to?"
Illya frowned. "I have been up to nothing, Napoleon. I have barely left your side day or," he lowered his voice, "night, for five days now. I have not had time to 'get up to anything'."
Napoleon acknowledged the words with a faint nod. "It's quiet here, I'll come with you."
"Napoleon, one agent collecting an umbrella is a waste of time, but two . . ." Illya trailed off under Napoleon's firm stare. "Very well. You may accompany me."
"Illya Kuryakin. I have come to collect an umbrella for Alexander Waverly."
"Ah, yes, Mr. Kuryakin. Mr. Waverly let us know to expect you. Here it is." The man handed over a furled, blue umbrella.
Illya took it. "Thank you."
Napoleon bent his head and put his mouth close to Illya's ear. "It matches your eyes."
Because, as Napoleon had pointed out, it was a quiet day, together with the fact they were ahead of Mr. Waverly's 'schedule', they stopped for coffee. Suddenly Napoleon put his hand on Illya's.
Illya saw, to his surprise, a man U.N.C.L.E. had been trying to find for some time. They waited until the man left and then followed him through the streets until he entered a shabby building.
Napoleon was about to follow the man inside, when Illya caught his arm. "Mrs. Waverly's umbrella!" he exclaimed. "I have left it in the café."
"Forget it. Mr. Waverly, will understand. Franz is -"
"Nyet. You were not there. You did not hear him say that I must not leave it behind. Come, call U.N.C.L.E. and report Franz." Illya turned and began to head back to the café.
"Well done, Mr. Kuryakin. I am pleased you took such good care of it." Mr. Waverly then, to Illya's surprise, unscrewed the tip of the umbrella and pulled out a rolled up piece of paper.
"Then it was not . . ." Illya trailed off.
"Napoleon. Come to bed. It is late."
Napoleon turned to face Illya. "I keep thinking; if I hadn't listened to you, then -"
"But you did listen to me. And we are safe. Once more we are safe." Before they'd left Alexander Waverly's office, he had told them that the building they'd followed Franz to, had exploded, mere minutes after they'd left to return to the café. "Now come to bed. That, Napoleon, is an order."
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