ONCE A SPY, ALWAYS A SPY
Napoleon and Illya have left U.N.C.L.E. and moved to England where they are looking for a new home.
An established relationship story.
Written: October 2007. Word count: 450.
I watched Illya look around the outside of the property and I knew at once that this was ‘it'. This would be our new home.
The modest sized house was enclosed by a high wall all the way around. Apparently the previous owner had been ‘a bit of a recluse' and hadn't ‘encouraged' visitors.
When we got inside the house it was fine, bright and modern, rather like my apartment in New York. I should really say ‘our' apartment, as Illya had been living with me for several years before we finally decided enough was enough and left U.N.C.L.E.
Illya had been contacted by an old tutor of his, and had been offered a professorship at Cambridge. I knew he wanted to accept, I'd always known he'd stayed with U.N.C.L.E. for me, more than for the job, thus I encouraged him to do so. He did. Hence the reason we were in England, house-hunting.
I'd begun to despair of ever finding anything that suited him, as property after property was dismissed because it wasn't ‘possible to secure it'. I tried to tell him we'd been out of the game for long enough, that our enemies weren't going to come looking for us, that he didn't need to keep looking over his shoulder. But . . .
But, he's Illya. That's how he is. ‘You can take the Russian out of Russia, but you can't take Russia out of the Russian'; not entirely. At least you couldn't take it out of Illya. I don't know everything about his life in Russia, not in detail, but I know enough to know that it wasn't just as an U.N.C.L.E. agent he'd had to be careful. He learned that lesson far too early in life.
So if living in a fortress would keep him happy, live in a fortress we would. I didn't mind where I lived, as long as I had Illya by my side.
"Well, Professor Kuryakin," I said, he rolled his eyes as he always did when I called him that. "Will this suit you?"
And that single word told me so much; he only ever lapses into Russian these days when he's particularly happy about something, or particularly irritated by me. And the way his eyes shone told me that, for once, it wasn't the latter.
"Oh, by the way, Mr. Solo," the, by now rather weary looking, young man who had been accompanying us on our lengthy search said. "I don't know if you noticed it on the details, but this property also has a cellar."
I looked at Illya.
He looked at me.
We both looked out at the high wall enclosing the house.
We looked back at one another.
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