Mr. Waverly has a special assignment for Napoleon and Illya.
An established relationship story.
Written: November 2014. Word count: 2,725.
Napoleon and Illya were just washing the dinner dishes when their door bell rang.
"I'll get it," Napoleon said, putting the tea towel down and striding towards the door. He wondered who might be calling given they were expecting anyone, and it was a rare occasion that someone dropped in without any warning. Maybe one of their neighbors wanted to borrow something. "Mr. Waverly!" he exclaimed, as he discovered their boss standing outside. "Is something the matter, sir?"
Mr. Waverly looked at him. "May I come in, Mr. Solo?"
Napoleon stepped quickly away from the door. "Yes, of course." Mr. Waverly went inside and Napoleon closed the door. "Illya," he called. "It's -"
"Yes, I heard, Napoleon. Good evening, Mr. Waverly. Please do sit down. May I offer you a drink?"
"Yes, please, Mr. Kuryakin. Do you happen to have whisky? Scotch if you have it, please?" As he spoke, he took off his hat and overcoat and handed them to Napoleon.
"We do, sir." Illya hurried off to pour drinks for all of them. He handed them out and sat down on the couch next to Napoleon, opposite Mr. Waverly.
"Well," he said, taking a sip of his drink and nodding appreciatively. "You must wonder why I am here."
"Yes, sir," Napoleon said. He did wonder; the idea that Alexander Waverly would visit them at home was extremely surprising. Then he suddenly had a thought, maybe their boss had had a change of heart about Illya and he not only being involved in a relationship that went beyond friendship, but also living together.
Proving, as he had done more times than Napoleon could count, that he seemed able to read Napoleon's mind, Alexander Waverly looked at him. "No, Mr. Solo, it is not that. I do not go back on my word. No, the reason I am here is that it is currently not necessarily safe to talk about certain matters within U.N.C.L.E.'s buildings.
"Sir?" Illya's surprised tone echoed the surprise Napoleon felt.
"We have a traitor in our midst, Mr. Kuryakin."
"A traitor? Within U.N.C.L.E.?"
Mr. Waverly nodded. "Yes, Mr. Solo. And the reason I am here is that I am assigning you and Mr. Kuryakin to find him or her."
Napoleon and Illya glanced at one another and Illya gave a small nod. Napoleon looked back at his boss. "If you don't mind my asking, sir, how exactly are we to achieve this?"
"Operation Vigilance Downtime." Mr. Waverly reached for his briefcase which he had placed on the floor next to the arm chair he sat in. He took out a slim folder and handed it over to Napoleon.
Illya moved a little nearer to Napoleon, near enough for Napoleon to be able to smell the last traces of Illya's cologne as well as feel his thigh brushing against him. Together they glanced through the contents of the folder, as Mr. Waverly sat and sipped his drink
Vigilance was U.N.C.L.E.'s new security system. It had been installed at an astronomical cost less than two weeks ago, and now it appeared it was going to go down and leave U.N.C.L.E.'s Head Quarters unprotected.
Illya was nodding as he read the details. "Clever," he said, looking up at Mr. Waverly who gave him a faint smile. Illya turned to Napoleon. "New security systems fail all of the time. They are at their most vulnerable during the first few weeks after they have been installed. No one will suspect anything when Vigilance goes down."
"That is quite correct, Mr. Kuryakin. I shall arrange for mis-information concerning a top secret document, to circle around U.N.C.L.E.; our traitor will no doubt pass that on to whoever he or she is working for."
"And you think they are just going to waltz into U.N.C.L.E. and try to steal it?" Napoleon asked, somewhat skeptically. "I know they'll also know about Vigilance being down, but will they really be so foolish?"
"If the bait is good enough then, yes, Mr. Solo, I believe the trap will be tripped."
"Beside, Napoleon, they - whoever they are, do you suspect anyone in particular, Mr. Waverly?"
"Oh, I strongly suspect Thrush is involved in some way." Mr. Waverly finished his drink and Napoleon stood up and went to refresh the glass for him.
Illya nodded. "That is logical." He waited for Napoleon to return and sit back down. "As I was saying they do not need to 'waltz'," he gave Napoleon a slightly old-fashioned look, which led Napoleon to believe it was a term he hadn't come across before, "into U.N.C.L.E., do they? They will simply get the traitor to attempt to steal the document. That is what I would do."
Napoleon smiled at his partner. "Ah," he said, not bothering to disguise his fond tone. "The difference is you would manage to steal the top secret document." Illya gave him a half-smile and his cheeks colored just a little.
"Whereas," Mr. Waverly said, "we hope our traitor will not. That is what I am relying on you gentlemen to prevent. Now do you have any other questions?"
"Yes, sir. Do you have any suspicions as to who the traitor might be?" Napoleon asked.
For a moment Mr. Waverly was silent then he sighed softly. "I do, Mr. Solo. However, I do not wish to color your and Mr. Kuryakin's judgment."
Napoleon glanced at Illya and then back at his boss. "But, sir, surely -"
"No, Mr. Solo. You have your assignment. Vigilance will go down in three days time. Of course, if you manage to ascertain who the traitor is before then, it would save a great deal of time and effort."
"So it's really going to go down?"
"It needs to look as real as possible, Napoleon," Illya said.
Mr. Waverly nodded. "Again you are quite correct, Mr. Kuryakin. The traitor is U.N.C.L.E. trained; he or she is not going to be fooled by someone simply pulling the plug or flipping a switch, are they?"
Both Napoleon and Illya shook their heads. "No, sir." Napoleon said. Suddenly he saw Illya frown.
"Mr. Waverly, sir?"
"Yes, Mr. Kuryakin?"
"I have a question."
"Then ask it, Mr. Kuryakin."
"Who exactly are you going to trust to ensure Vigilance goes down? You cannot ask the people who installed it in case they have in any way been corrupted, and you cannot ask any computer or electronics expert within U.N.C.L.E. in case the person you ask is the traitor."
Alexander Waverly smiled in his paternal way. A way which always made Napoleon feel uneasy. "An excellent observation, Mr. Kuryakin. As you so rightly say I cannot do either of those things. So . . ." He trailed off and simply stared at Illya.
For a moment Illya just frowned as he stared back at Mr. Waverly. After a moment or two understanding crossed his face. "You wish me to bring the system down?" he asked, his voice just a little higher than it usually was.
"Yes, Mr. Kuryakin. You are the only person I am able to trust who has anything like the relevant qualifications and experience. Mr. Solo is, of course, permitted to assist you if you think he could be of any help. You can do it, can you not?"
"He can always resort to blowing it up," Napoleon quipped. He instantly regretted speaking when both Illya and Mr. Waverly turned to look at him - neither look was friendly nor was it kind. "Sorry," he said quickly. "Of course he can do it."
"You can do it, Illya. You know you can." He gazed at Illya, and for a moment they had a silent conversation which mostly consisted of him letting Illya know quite how much faith he had in him.
Finally, Illya sighed and turned back to look at Alexander Waverly. "Da," he said and quickly shook his head. "I mean yes. Yes, sir, I believe I will be able to accomplish what you need me to do."
"That's excellent, Mr. Kuryakin. If you need any special tools or whatever, just let me know and I will authorize their purchase immediately."
"Thank you, sir. There is just one other thing."
"Well, whereas I should be able to crash the system, I am not confident I can do so in a way which will allow me to bring it back on-line."
"You don't have to worry about that, Mr. Kuryakin. That will be up to the people who installed it to sort out. Just . . . Well, just try not to damage it too much, if you can avoid it. It was a very expensive system and I might have a degree of trouble explaining quite why I have had to authorize a costly repair so soon after its installation."
"I shall do my best, sir." Illya said cautiously.
Mr. Waverly nodded. "I know you will, Mr. Kuryakin. I know you will. Now I shall leave you gentlemen. Thank you for the drinks. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening." He picked his briefcase back up and waited while Napoleon fetched his hat and overcoat for him. "Good evening," he said, once he had put his overcoat on.
"Good evening, sir," Illya said.
"Good evening, sir," Napoleon echoed as he showed Mr. Waverly to the front door. He closed it behind him and rebolted it before he turned back to Illya who was pouring them both another drink. "Do you think it will work?" He went towards Illya, took the glass Illya offered him and put his arm around Illya's shoulders.
"I believe we should spend some time tomorrow wandering around - you can think of a good reason, I have no doubt - just to see if we are able to find out who the traitor is before I have to spend time ensuring our security system is brought down."
Napoleon frowned. "That doesn't quite answer my question."
Illya sipped his vodka. "I think it will depend on quite who the traitor is."
"It isn't you, is it?" At the look on Illya's face Napoleon, for the second time regretted his joviality. "Sorry," he said, putting his glass down and taking Illya's from his hand and putting it down as well. Then he put his arms around Illya and pulled him into an embrace.
He was a little surprised but also relieved when Illya only tried to hold his ground for a moment before he sighed and moved into Napoleon's embrace; he put his arms around Napoleon's neck. "I think there will be those who would be happy to believe it is me."
"Nonsense," Napoleon said.
Illya merely sighed again and shot him a look. "We both know it is not nonsense, Napoleon."
"Well, Mr. Waverly doesn't think it's you."
"Does he not?"
Napoleon blinked. "No, of course not. If he did he'd hardly come here and tell us about the trap, would he?"
Illya gave him a partly pitying, partly rueful smile. "Ah, Pasha," he said, leaning in to lightly kiss Napoleon. "There are occasions when I do have to wonder quite how you achieved the role you currently occupy. There are times when your innocence surprises me."
Napoleon raised an eyebrow. "I'm not sure I understand."
"Mr. Waverly is a very clever and a very shrewd man; he would make an excellent poker player. We both know he has no sensibilities about toying with agents and even playing both sides if he believes it necessary. I firmly believe that if he did consider the traitor might be me, that he would come here, as he did tonight, tell us about it and ask me to bring Vigilance down."
Napoleon frowned. "But surely if he's that smart, he would know you wouldn't rise to the bait and incriminate yourself."
Illya glanced away from him for a moment before saying softly, his voice flat and completely free from intonation. "Everyone, everyone, Napoleon, has his price. Now set the security system and let us go to bed." He kissed Napoleon again with just enough of a hint of passion for Napoleon to forget about traitors and security systems and what the next few days might bring.
THE NEXT DAY
Napoleon and Illya spent most of the day wandering around U.N.C.L.E., talking to people, in Napoleon's case flirting with anything in a skirt, asking innocently probing questions, and just watching some people. By the time the day came to and end, Illya had a low level headache and even Napoleon seemed to have lost some of his overt charm.
Without talking about it they remained silent until the reached their home. Once they reached it, Illya went into full paranoid mode and swept the entire apartment for bugs or anything else that might be out of place, before pouring himself a glass of vodka and Napoleon a whiskey.
Napoleon loosened his tie and slumped down onto the couch. "I can't believe it," he said, downing half of the contents of his glass in one swallow.
"You do not want to believe it," Illya said softly, as he sat down next to Napoleon.
Napoleon glanced at him. "Do you believe it?"
Illya shrugged. "It is possible."
Napoleon shook his head. "No. It's not possible. This is Mark we're talking about, Illya. Mark. I've worked with him; you've worked with him; he's an established and highly regarded agent. He has to be above suspicion."
Illya sighed. "No one has to be above suspicion, Napoleon." He paused for a moment and stared at the man he loved. He softened his tone and touched Napoleon's hand. "For what it is worth, I do not believe Mark is involved. However, I believe Mr. Waverly at the very least considers it a possibility."
Napoleon shot him a hard look. Then he sighed and drained his glass. "Well, we'll just have to prove him wrong, won't we? I'm going to have a shower; come with me."
Illya let Napoleon pull him to his feet. "Napoleon?" he said quietly, once they reached their bedroom and had begun to undress.
"What if . . ." For once he couldn't complete his sentence.
"Mark is involved?"
Illya pulled his turtle neck sweater off and tossed it onto the bed. "Yes," he said softly.
Napoleon undid his belt. "Then we toss as to who gets to shot him once Mr. Waverly has finished with him." He pulled off his trousers and shorts, grabbed Illya's hand and led him into the bathroom.
TWO DAYS LATER
Operation Vigilance Downtime went off without a hitch. Illya crashed the entire system with a flair that made Napoleon glad (not for the first time) that he was on their side, leaving U.N.C.L.E. effectively vulnerable. The news that a vital top secret document was being held in U.N.C.L.E.'s safe, which was no longer protected by Vigilance, was spread throughout the organization and no doubt beyond.
The only surprise was that the attack, when it came, didn't just come from inside U.N.C.L.E. Clearly Thrush, for that's who it turned out to be, didn't necessarily trust their inside man to obtain the document.
However, given they had the element of surprise, Napoleon and Illya dealt with the three-man outside team and Frank Carter, a long-standing employee who was months away from retirement, quickly and efficiently. As he handed Carter over to Mr. Waverly, Napoleon realized it gave him no pleasure at all.
"Thank you, Mr. Solo. Thank you, Mr. Kuryakin," Alexander Waverly said calmly - he didn't seem at all surprised by Carter's presence in the holding cell. Napoleon realized as well as he thought he knew his boss, in truth he didn't know him at all. "I'll take that," he said, holding out his hand to Illya who held the document Thrush had wanted to obtain at any cost.
Illya frowned slightly as he handed it over. "It is real," he said - it wasn't a question.
Mr. Waverly gave him a small smile. "Of course it is, Mr. Kuryakin. It, like the system going down, had to be real. Now I suggest you both take the rest of the day off."
Napoleon stared from his partner to his boss. "But, sir, what if -"
"Go home, Mr. Solo." And with those words Alexander Waverly turned and made his way into the holding cell.
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