Two years after the Transformation affair.
Napoleon and Illya received a summons to their superior's chambers. They walked down the hall, Illya just a shade behind and to the right, always ready to back his partner up. They made quite a pair, one tall, dark and handsome, the other light, mysterious and deadly. They were the top team in UNCLE but took pains not to show it. It showed itself in the field and in the supposed ease they did their job. Together they marched to their bosses office pausing a moment to allow Lisa Rogers their bosses secretary to open the door for them. They stepped through and took their normal places. Alexander Waverly didn't look up as his agents entered instead concentrating on a file in front of him. He ignored his agents for five minutes before closing the file and scowling down at it. Finally he looked up and if anything scowled even harder at his agents. The pair did not look at each other but were thinking heavily about what they could have done, this time. Clearing his throat he address his agents.
"Gentlemen I have received some disturbing news. It seems Thrush is reorganizing themselves and becoming stronger. They have detected and killed every agent we have sent in." He stood up and went to pack his pipe. "We need to find out what they are up to and get as much information about this restructure. You are my best agents. I want you to look over these files and give me your recommendations. It includes a list of some of the officials we know are responsible for the restructure." He sat down and looked at his agents, they looked at each other then Illya opened the file, Napoleon looking over his shoulder. They sat for some time trying to find a way to get the information they needed. Napoleon spoke up.
"Sir it looks like we are going to need to send somebody into deep cover. It looks to be the only way."
"Yes Mr. Solo, I know that. Can you think of anyone who you would recommend?"
"I can Sir."
Both men looked to the blond, one with impatience and the other with surprise.
"Would you care to elaborate on that Mr. Kuryakin?"
"Yes sir. I recommend myself." The eyebrows of both men rose up to meet hairlines.
"Again would you like to elaborate?"
"Well sir I think our best plan is to try and get someone close to this man. His name is Douglas Andrews." He was pointing to a picture of a man in the file. "He is in the upper echelons of Thrush but he has only been seen once for we really haven't looked for him. I have a feeling I could get very close to him and get the information that we need."
"Alright and how would you do that?"
"Actually sir it would probably be better that no one knew. I am going to have to affect a disguise no one would be able to penetrate. I trust you and Mr. Solo but my plan requires absolute secrecy."
"Young man I do not like the idea of you going in without knowing at least some details."
"Sir I've heard an obscure fact about the man that we can use but only if I go in. Also it will take a long time. I would need to go in and stay that way. I wouldn't be able to report in very often."
"Mr. Kuryakin I want to know what you are planning a little more then what you are telling us!" He scowled down at his Russian spy letting him know he wasn't going if he didn't tell.
"Sir." Illya slumped his shoulders; he hated passing news that was little more then office gossip. "He likes exotic animals I heard. I don't know that for sure. I was hoping I could use the time I spent with My Lady to get to know Mr. Andrews."
"Illya I doubt that your spending time with a wild animal is going to help get close to him."
"Napoleon I know what I'm doing. I have a plan but for my own security I need you to trust me." The younger spy sent him a look that asked him to trust him. Like always Napoleon did. Mr. Waverly looked between the two then made a decision.
"Alright Mr. Kuryakin we will do as you ask." He threw him a look that said if he screwed up; he would be in the doghouse for life. Illya outwardly kept his calm but inside he flinched.
"You may do as you wish but I will want as much information as quickly as possible. I don't want you in there for very long."
"Don't worry sir. If my idea works we should get more information then we even dream possible."
"Dismissed gentlemen." He turned his attention back to a file on his desk. Napoleon and Illya rose and walked out of the inner sanctum. Napoleon was shooting his partner questioning looks which the smaller man ignored. When they reached their shared office Illya sat at his desk cleaning up and Napoleon sat at his own, his fingers steepled staring at his partner.
"Napoleon don't worry. I am fully trained and capable of working on my own."
"That's what I'm afraid of. What are you going to do? I don't like the idea of you going without a backup."
"Napoleon will you worry less if I tell you that more then likely no one will ever recognized me?"
"No but you can tell me anyway. How are you going to do it? We're the most highly recognized uncle agents around."
"I know and if not for my idea I wouldn't even be thinking about going this deep. Too risky. Now I asked you to trust me so please do so." Illya raised his eyes to his partner showing both humor and seriousness at the same time. "Help me get a handle on this guy. I want to know what area he is going to be in so that I can meet him."
"Fine but promise me if you need help, you'll call me no matter what."
"I promise my friend."
For two weeks the dynamic duo assigned, scoured and hunted down any leads for Douglas Andrews. The break finally came when a junior agent walking at a warehouse on some docks in Germany spotted him. Illya and Napoleon boarded a plane and headed to Germany Uncle. They were escorted to the head of the Germany office.
Peter Von krunder was a large man. Standing over 6.6 weighing 250 lbs. he looked like a line backer for your favorite football team. Under his sharply cut black hair and behind his brown eyes lived a mind that was lighting quick and missed nothing. He watched as the pair walked into his office and studied the blond minutely. He wondered how this small man was going to be able to infiltrate Thrush so well no one would be able to tell who he was. "Her Solo and Her Kuryakin so glad to meet you at last. Please have a seat and we can discuss the details of this mission."
"Well sir there isn't much to it. But what I need is to create a situation where he will stumble across me and take me home with him."
"Oh and how do you plan on doing that?"
"That's the tricky part. I am hoping to appeal to a part of his nature but I am going to need to catch his attention. I'm going to need a few supplies and I'm going to need a list of specialty shops."
"Alright that should be easy enough. What else is needed?"
"Not much else until I get those supplies. If possible could we stay here until all is ready. I'm a little tired and have a long job ahead of me.'
"Of course please feel free to use whatever you need."
"Thank you sir." Illya stood and looked at his partner. Napoleon looked at him then also stood. He hadn't said a thing during the meeting. Together they left and went to the agents quarters. Illya had only one small bag with him making Napoleon suspicious. He set it down on the table and then plopped down on the bed. He started rubbing his head as if he had a headache.
"Napoleon please. I know what I'm doing and I really need your support."
Napoleon sighed then sat down in the only chair available. "Illya I'm just worried about you. Can you trust me just a little with what you're doing?'
Illya looked at his partner and his body language. He was worried and frustrated that he wouldn't be able to help. He came to a decision and held his breath. "Alright Napoleon I will tell you a little about what I'm doing. Remember when two years ago when I was changed into that cat?"
Napoleon couldn't forget it; his partner moved and acted more like a cat then ever before. Including when he was in a particular happy or mischievous mood. He liked to hone his friend's reflexes by pouncing on him from behind while yelling his name. Napoleon also could no longer hear his partner sneaking up on him unless he wanted him too. He moved just like a cat. His reflexes became faster and he was able to complete some missions without getting hurt as often. Oh yes Napoleon remembered. "Yes I remember, what about it?"
"Well something I never told you about was one of the side effects of that change. It seems it left me with the ability to communicate with animals. Cats are the strongest talkers while other animals are only dimly heard."
Napoleon could only stare at his partner like he had grown another head... he scrutinized him with his eyes and started to add some things up in his head. "That's why on that one encounter at the zoo, when they dumped me in that pit the animals didn't eat me."
"Part of it yes." He sighed and looked away. "With anything but members of the feline race it cost me to much effort to talk to them. When they dumped you in the polar bear pit, I had to use a lot of will to make those bears obey me. They were hungry."
"Now I understand why you had a headache for days afterward. You stayed in your apartment for three nights and wouldn't leave."
"Yes it hurt so much that I could only play some of my music and I kept all the lights down to try and get better. It was three days before I could really move again." Illya rubbed his hand along his forehead in remembered pain.
"So what do you plan on doing to get Mr. Andrews attention?"
"I am going to display some of the best control a person can have over an animal. He won't know what hit him."
"Are you up to this? If not tell me now and we can stop it all and go to a different plan."
"No, no I will be fine. I know exactly what I want to do and this will be the best way possible."
The two men sat silent then; enjoying each other's company knowing it would be a long time before they would see each other again. Many hours later they were called back to the front office. Illya's needs had been taken care of. All that was left was the part he would play. Napoleon drove his partner to the spot he wanted to be dropped off at. Together they opened the doors and stepped out. They went to the front and just looked at each other. Finally sensing his partner's need he stepped forward and gave him a hug.
"Don't worry my friend, I'll be fine. Just be ready to act with the information I give you when you get it."
"I will be careful." They gave each other one last hug then Illya stepped away. Grabbing the one tiny bag he needed he slipped into the night. Napoleon looked where his partner had been and wished him luck. Turning he went back to the car and drove to headquarters. It would be a long time before he heard from his partner again.
Four months later found Napoleon at his desk working on paper work. Normally he could fob it off on his partner but he was far away now. He knew he could do the job but it still made him worry. In the time being Mr. Waverly had decided to start training him for his eventual succession to the chair. It was still a good many years away but it kept him busy. He didn't go out on to many missions now, for both he and Waverly wanted him ready to go at a moment's notice.
"Mr. Solo report to my office immediate!" snapped the intercom next to his elbow.
He jumped up, grabbed his jacket and walked out the door quickly. He marched up to his superiors office not looking left or right. Lisa opened the door for him while he was sill moving. Alexander Waverly waved him to a seat and came right to the point. "Mr. Solo have you heard from your partner at all?" he asked with a frown.
"No Sir, not since he went under cover four months ago."
"Well we have."
"Sir?" Napoleon felt relief at finally hearing from his partner.
"We just received a brief message from him. He also included a list of names and addresses of about 200 low to mid level thrush personal."
Napoleon was excited about the news, sounded like he was finally going to be able to help.
"I want you to track them down and put them under observation. This will give us a chance to find out where some projects are." He passed over a list to his CEA and dismissed him. Napoleon walked down the hall with the list thinking about his partner. When he reached his desk he laid out the folder and began flipping the through. At the bottom of the stack he found the note. Picking it up he immediately recognized his partner's attitude.
Well Napoleon I did it. I'm so close to this guy I can smell his breath. I think he dresses better then you as well. He loves me so much he won't let me leave his side. No one recognizes me here and I doubt they will. Don't worry I'm not cocky like you. I actually have a plan. I'll give you more info later once I figure out the pattern here. By the way enjoy the list while I just lay around looking pretty.
Napoleon was touched and irritated at the same time. Touched he had written, irritated he wrote to gloat about his success. He started to go through the list and assign agents.
Two more months passed before they heard from the agent again. The list he sent was a surprise to everyone. It was a complete list of Thrush safe houses and who was staying at them. Mr. Waverly was very pleased with the list. He immediately dispatched agents to pick the various people up and to shut the places down; it even included people Uncle had been hunting for years. A couple of weeks after the round ups had started UNCLE received news that Thrush was aware of a leak and was trying to find it. Napoleon took it in stride and hoped they wouldn't catch his partner. The prisoners they had picked up were giving them a whole treasure trove of information, allowing Uncle and other agencies to start shutting down satraps around the world.
It was eight months into the affair when they received a very short message. It was the account numbers of a very seldom-used reserve account that normally only held about 10,000 dollars in it. The note advised them to check it in three days. Mr. Waverly put a secretary on 24 watch to see what happened. He was summoned when the watcher noticed a change in deposits. Where once there was only 10,000 dollars there now was 10 million. He ordered that the money be immediately transferred to a more secure account, then he summoned Solo.
"Mr. Solo I am most pleased with how your partner is working. The money and the people are both a major blow to Thrush, which is to our benefit."
"I just hope he can keep this up and more importantly not get caught. They definitely won't be happy about this latest development."
"I'm sure they won't be. Illya can take of himself." Waverly dismissed him and set about distributing the money they now had.
Thrush was not pleased it was learned. They had launched an all out search and destroy mission trying to find the leak.
"Well?! Have you made any progress?" Snarled Douglas Andrews. He was an older gentleman in his mid 50's. He had dark brown hair with piercing blue eyes. He stood straight at 6.6 and dressed conservatively. He was also brilliant when it came to organizing and money. That was why he was Chief of Housing and Finance.
"We're working on it. The money is gone sir. Uncle had it in and out of that account before we were able to stop it." Said a tech.
"Morons!" He seethed. "Must I do everything myself?" He stood up and glared at the screen that used to show various accounts holding up to 10 million dollars.
"Mr. Andrews please sit down. We will find the leak. I already have people working on what agents are capable of it and when they were last seen." His very capable and very annoyed assistant asked.
Her name was Cynthia Fairchild; she stood one inch over five feet with dark red hair and emerald green eyes. She was amply endowed and was very clever. What Mr. Andrews respected most with her was her loyalty to smart bosses and the fact she was not impressed when he threw a fit. She respected him but didn't take crap off of him.
"I know Ms. Fairchild. It is just so maddening having a leak this high up." They walked into his private office to talk among themselves. "I just don't understand it, the people we have this high up have all been screened over and over again. I trust their loyalty especially after the screening we all get put through."
"Yes but one of them has to be it. There are no bugs and no traces on the computers. I would like to know how he got our finance codes and sent it to Uncle. That takes quite a bit of skill to hack in and send it."
"So would I, but I do trust you to find him, your more then capable of the task."
"Thank you sir."
"Now I'm going for a walk in the menagerie, please let me know if you find anything."
"Yes sir as soon as we find out anything."
"Come Major, let us go and visit your friends." Douglas rose from behind his desk and walked to a hidden door and pulled a concealed switch. A black shadow appeared at his knee. Together they went to visit his other pets.
Illya looked around at all the animals in Douglas Andrews's collection. As he thought, he collected mostly cats but there were a few wolves and bears as well. He got along with most of them just fine. He looked up when he heard footsteps.
"Ah Dr Kiloski, how are my pets doing today?"
"Just fine, Mr. Andrews. The female tiger Tika is responding well to treatment. She actually was able to kill her food this morning."
"That's wonderful. I was worried about her quite a bit. Come Major we should see how she is doing. Doctor come with us please."
Illya didn't have much choice in the matter so he followed obediently behind him. They stopped in front of a cage that held the sick tigress. She would be returned to her den once she was better.
"Yes I see she is doing better. That's wonderful I can't wait to get her back into her home. Then she can be with Bruno again."
"That is the goal. Maybe another week or so and she'll be good as new."
"Well I'm going to stroll around for a while. This business with the leak has me awfully stressed."
I've no doubt of that. Illya smirked to himself but kept it off his face. This was a dangerous game he was playing. He studied his boss for a moment and wondered if he would figure out where the leak was coming from. He hoped not, for he would truly be in bigger trouble then he ever had been before. They strolled together with Douglas commenting and questioning about his various pets. He spent a leisurely two hours in his private zoo. Nearing the end of his tour, his own communicator rang for him. Illya looked up for a moment but pretended disinterest. "Sir we have found some information that you may want to review immediately." His secretary's voice rang out.
"Very well, I was almost done here anyway." Putting his communicator away he addressed the doctor. "Well Doc. Looks like we both have work to do."
Turning he went back to his office, a black shadow at his side. Illya turned one last time to watch the man behind him. A very dangerous man he was playing with.
"Well Miss Fairchild, what have you found?" he asked while sitting at his desk. He signaled for his pet to lie in his corner.
"We made a list of possible agents but I think that only one is really probable." She handed him a list and waited for him to read it. It didn't take long.
"ILLYA KURYAKIN!" he roared.
"Yes, he has not been seen for nearly eight months. No one knows where he disappeared to but he has. He is the only one I would think capable of this deep of cover." She stated calmly.
"We need to find him and execute him! He is the biggest thorn in our side!"
"I know sir. As of this moment I am changing all clearances and codes for the high security areas.
Also places that were more generally open then probably should have been are again being closed to those not authorized."
"Some of the staff won't like that."
"I know, I let them know it was temporary. This will give them incentive to find the spy and go back to normal."
"Well we need to do this sooner rather then later. Have all guards search people coming both in and out. Have all stations lock themselves after five minutes. Also have the guards more randomize their patrols. I want him caught!"
"Don't worry we will find him. No disguise he wears will last long."
Illya listened near the doorway and made note of the different security measures being put into place. It would be tricky but he thought he could still work. He turned and quickly went back to studying some plans.
Two more weeks had gone by and Thrush still had not found the leak. Illya had been able to send the security plans of some low-level satraps. Uncle took the plans and started extraction and demolition. More effort was put into trying to find the spy, to no avail.
"We have to find that blond bastard. He is ruining years worth of hard work."
"We are going through all the personal records trying to find men and women who were hired when he disappeared. It is a very long process."
Mr. Andrews paced the confines of his office getting angrier and angrier. In the corner sprawled on a velvet bed lay a black form. It stood for a moment to stretch reveling lethal fangs and claws. It was a 200-lbs. Jungle cat that moved with extreme grace. It watched the man pacing the length of the room and decided it was time for his walk. He stepped off his bed and stopped in front of his master.
"What? Oh sorry Major. Yes I guess it's time for your walk. Miss Fairchild please do what you can to find him. Come Major." He walked out of his office followed by his pet. As he walked the halls of his domain people stepped aside to let the man and cat through. More then once the order to attack had been given to the large cat to people who displeased the chief. They reached an outdoor garden and Douglas watched as his pet set about studying his territory. It always fascinated him how the cat species could move and react. He was proud of this creature for he seemed more intelligent for his breed. He actually obeyed commands without too much fuss. He had been a gift from an associate months ago and he admired him immensely.
"Major come here. Time for your brushing." The cat emerged at his right elbow making him start a little. "You ornery creature. You did that on purpose." The cat only looked at him innocently. "Well stand here and I'll brush you." The cat stood where he was told and leaned into the brush strokes. They both took their time enjoying their time together. All to soon their time came to an end and they returned to his office. When they returned they were alone. Douglas decided to study the problem from another angle. How could they get Kuryakin if he couldn't be found? He was going through a list of photos and dossiers at the same time.
"Oh my god! Why didn't we think of this before." Pressing a button on his desk, he called for his secretary. When she came in, as cool as usual, and took her accustomed seat on the chair opposite of him, he spoke.
"Miss Fairchild. I want an APB put out for Napoleon Solo. If we can't figure out who Kuryakin is, he should know. Put one out of Waverly as well. If we get him great if not we are not out anything. But I want Solo!"
"Yes Sir." She rose to start his bidding. Illya listening at the door bit his lip wondering if he could get a message out in time. It was pretty close the last time. The guards changed their pattern mid patrol and they had almost caught him. He would plan a message and try to send it out tonight.
Unfortunately he was not able to send a message. His duties and the enhanced security left him little time to send it. Four days later he was witness to his partner being dragged in and dumped into an interrogation room. He worried about him but there was nothing he could do.
Douglas Andrews was ecstatic that they had captured the senior agent. Eagerly he went to the room he was staying in. At the door he stopped to straighten his suit then stepped in.
Agent Napoleon Solo was not happy with the situation. He had been planning a date with a girl from communications, now he was stuck here.
Probably pissed about the information Illya is passing us. Wonder what the urchin is doing now? Hope he can get me out of here.
The door opened and walked in Douglas Andrews. Napoleon looked up at the sight of him with a charming smile on his face.
"Ah Mr. Solo so good of you to join us. We are going to have so much fun together."
"Well as long as this doesn't take to long. I have a date tonight."
"I am sorry, but you are going to be missing that. We have too many questions for you."
"Well if there is anything I can help you with I am more then willing."
"That's good. Now the most important question I have for you is, WHERE IS YOUR PARTNER?" He snarled at the agent. His eyes blazing while he stood over Napoleon sitting in front of him.
"Well I would love to help you with that but I truly don't know where he is. He disappeared months ago and we haven't seen him since." He smiled a feral smile at his questioner.
"Yes well I'm sure you will tell us more in time. I'm going to leave you in Ivan and Michael's capable hands. Sort of a tenderizing game. We will speak more about this tomorrow." He closed the room leaving the Uncle agent to his fate.
The next day Mr. Andrews gave orders to Miss Fairchild, because of the compromised security. He decided to move the more sensitive information to his South American office. She immediately began the orders that would send them all south. One of the hardest moves was taking his animals with him; he only had a dozen with him. His main collection being in his South American office. For this he would need Dr Kiloski's help. So he went to the man he could trust without question with his pets.
"Dr Kiloski how is the move going with the animals?"
Illya looked up at the sound that amounted to his master's voice. He carefully schooled his features so not to give himself away.
"The move is going well. The wolves have been sent down along with the bears and wild dogs. The only ones left are the two tigers and your panther." He looked down on the creature that stared back with no emotion.
"Do you want me to stick him in a crate and send him down as well?" Douglas laughed at the idea before replying.
"No, that's alright. The one and only time I tried to pack him into a crate he had a fit. Growling, roaring and systematically tearing apart his cage. And it was steel! As soon as I let him out he calmed down and gave me the most disgusted snarl I have ever heard." He reached down and fondly petted the black head causing a rumbling sound that was similar to purring.
"If that is your wish, how are you going to move him?"
"Same way as always. Have him ride on the plane with me. He behaves remarkable well." He paused to give his favorite pet one last pat then continued. "I'm having one other creature sent down as well. That Uncle agent, He has been particularly annoying in not telling us where his partner is. He will be in baggage along with the rest of the creatures. I'll have four guards make sure he is comfortable along the way. See you on the plane." Then he walked off to finish his moves.
Illya watched him go and was secretly glad he had told no one about his disguise. It saved them and him in the long run. Hopefully. One day later and the final move was under way. The animals were loaded into the cargo hold along with Napoleon. He was tied hand and foot with a gag in his mouth. He was not pleased. They had stripped him down to his skin and given nothing but shorts and a t-shirt to wear and ugly ones at that.
"Well Mr. Solo I do hope you are going to enjoy the trip. It's going to be a nice 15 hour flight." Andrews gloated at the trussed up agent before going through the door to the cabin. The black cat walked calmly beside him.
It was seven hours into the trip when Napoleon was awakened. He had no idea how he had fallen asleep tied up the way he was but it happened. He looked around trying to find the source of his unease. He knew someone was watching him. Turning his head all he could see were the sleeping forms of the tigers and a pair of glowing eyes. He met the challenge in those eyes waiting to see what happened next. The eyes came forward reveling a black head then a black body. It was the faithful companion of Douglas Andrews. It studied him sniffing the air and softly growling at him, it stepped forward until he was almost touching the bars.
Hey kitty kitty what are you doing. Napoleon thought at the beast. He couldn't say anything cause of the gag and his throat was dry. He watched as the cat rubbed against the cage almost near his hands.
Damn if only I had something to cut away these ropes with.
The cat circled the entire cage before settling down beside him. He took one last measuring look then proceeded to go to sleep. Napoleon watched and as he did he too fell asleep, strangely comforted by the unlikely companion.
The plane landing jarred Napoleon awake. He looked over his shoulder and found his strange companion still there. Once the plane stopped the door to the cabin was thrown open and the Chief of Thrush finance walked in. The black cat jumped to his feet and ran to the man, showing his pleasure as best he could to the one he called master. Douglas smiled down at the jungle cat twining about his legs.
"I see you have made a friend on this trip Mr. Solo. Pity that it won't be for much longer. I've come to see to the unloading of the animals and your one of them." He went to the back door and released the lock that would open the back doors. "Welcome to the jungles of Brazil. I do hope you enjoy your stay." He had a final laugh and walked out followed by the cat. Technicians swarmed the plane and guards came for him. He was taken to a detention cell and thrown on the bed and shackled to one of the legs. He was left with a bowl of water and a fresh loaf of bread.
"Well that's a change. Normally it's old and moldy." He hurriedly ate and drank not knowing when his next meal is going to be. He was left alone for the rest of the day.
Illya watched, as the animals were unloaded. He knew his duties would leave him little time. Once he sent his next message they would know the spy was still around. Not as many people had come over and they would know exactly who had transferred. He looked to where they had taken Solo and hoped he could last just a little longer. Illya set about studying the new complex in preparation for escape.
Douglas and Miss Fairchild spent their time at the new office making sure that all was secured. No one was allowed in or out that didn't have the proper clearance for their department, all were triple checked and confirmed in their positions. When all was working well Andrews decided to make another visit to his guest.
"Mr. Solo how are you feeling? Have you changed your mind about your partner?" he asked as guards took up position on either side of him.
"Well like I said before. I truly don't know where he is. He just disappeared one day and I haven't seen him since."
"Yes you keep saying that expecting us to believe you. But don't worry you'll tell us the truth as soon as the good doctor gets here."
Just at that moment Dr Kiloski knocked on the door. He was given permission to enter and when he did he stopped still in shock.
"What is going on here? I don't treat people! You know that Mr. Andrews."
"I know but the regular doctor who does this is out sick. I was hoping you would be able to give him a shot."
"If you wish but only in his rump. I don't want to hassle with finding a vein." He grumped.
"Certainly. Guards grab him and hold him down." When the guards had followed orders to Napoleons disgruntlement, he continued. "Doctor he is all yours. Dr Miller said 20 cc of this bottle." He informed him holding up a bottle.
Illya watched helpless as Napoleon was grabbed and bent over his bed, one guard grabbed his shorts and pulled them down. The doctor prepared the shot and the recipient. Napoleon's hands were wedged up high and he couldn't fight. Dr Kiloski shoved the syringe into his butt and pushed in the serum. He cleaned it up and instructed the guards to pull his pants up, which they did. Illya watched as the plunger went home. He may not have liked what they were doing but it was funny seeing his debonair partner get a shot in the ass.
"Hopefully you know how long this is going to take cause I don't." he cleaned his hands as he spoke. "Is there anything else I can help with?" he said with only a touch of sarcasm.
"No that should do it. Thank you." The doctor nodded once then left.
"Now Mr. Solo this is a new experimental truth drug. So far it has been very successful. I look forward to seeing the results with you. It is going to take about 20 minutes for it to work. Maybe a little longer since we had to shoot you in the ass." He smiled as he finished looking at the agent who refused to rub the spot where he was shot. "Guards watch over him. Let me know when he starts blinking rapidly." Then he left with the cat by his side.
Half an hour later word was sent that Napoleon was under the drug. Douglas walked back quickly to start questioning again. He walked in, along with his silent shadow that lay down next to his master's chair.
"Now Mr. Solo we will get some answers out of you. Where is that list of questions I made up." Andrews searched his pockets for a moment, finding what he wanted in his breast pocket. "What is your name?"
"Napoleon Anthony Solo." He spoke with no emotion.
"What is your favorite color?"
"What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"
Napeolone looked puzzled for a moment and Andrews barked out. "Well?"
"African or European?"
By then one of the guards plucked up his nerve to ask his boss a question.
"Are those the proper questions? They sound familiar some how?"
Andrews looked down and realized he was asking the wrong questions. He glared at the paper before looking in his pockets again and finding the proper sheet.
"Here we go, let's try this again. What is your rank in Uncle?"
"Chief enforcement Agent."
"Who is your partner?"
"Illya Nickovich Kuryakin."
"What rank is he?"
"Number two Section Two."
"Where is your partner?"
"I don't know."
Douglas looked surprised at this, he knew the drug was working because of the responses he was given. Maybe he really didn't know. He started to ask more questions.
"What was the plan to insert a spy into my people?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know! Then who the hell knows? Waverly?"
"Then who does damn it?"
"Your partner is the only one who knows the plan? He didn't tell you?"
"Alright did he tell you anything that might be useful to the plan?"
Andrews was getting frustrated. The drug was good but the person under it could only answer specific questions.
"What did he tell you?"
"That you liked exotic animals. He was going to try from there."
"Damn it! That sneaky Russian bastard, can't even be trusted to tell his people what he is up to." Disgruntled he paced the floor. Everyone in the room except for Solo, who was waiting for his next question, ignored him.
"Alright so you don't know where he is. Tell us then the locations of all the agents working under cover that you know of."
Just before he could start a black blur launched himself at Solo. He bit down onto Solo's left hand, making him drop something. He continued to snarl at the agent and attack him.
"MAJOR NO! STOP THAT!" The cat wouldn't listen.
"MAJOR ATTEN HUT!" At that the cat stood in mid lunge and landed heavily on his feet. "Major what do you think your doing?" the cat simply picked up something in his mouth and carried it to his master. Douglas dropped his hand and accepted the offering. " Why where ever did you get this Mr. Solo?" he was looking at a small knife that could fit in the palm of his hand.
"I don't know?"
"You don't know? Must have picked it up from a careless guard. No matter we are done for the day." He signaled for the guards to take him back to a holding cell. "Good job my pet." He stroked the sleek head. "Now we just need to find Kuryakin." The animal just purred.
Illya bided his time. He had created a virus he thought Thrush might enjoy but he had to plan it well. He had to get the list of Thrush Satrap major installations and send it out, along with a request for backup. He had found a list of plans for various projects and memorized them. All he had to do was wait for the perfect opportunity. After this message they would know he was here and start the search again. Most definitely he didn't want to get caught in this disguise.
Two days after his little romp with experimental truth drugs Napoleon wasn't feeling to good. He was sick to his stomach and had a horrible headache. He had been questioned again but the first time with the drug had left his mind confused and he couldn't answer any more questions. Illya had only seen him that once so close but he did watch as he was taken to and from the interrogation room. He watched with sympathy as they beat him and subjected him to whatever drugs they wished.
Just a little longer Napoleon. Hold on my friend.
The opportunity came four days later. It was decided that Napoleon be moved to another location so he could be questioned more. Illya already had a place deep in the jungle that should be safe for them. He just had to cross miles of jungle with a drugged up, beaten up, half confused partner. No problem.
"Well Mr. Solo, I'm sad to see you go. I'm sure though your new owners will be more then pleased to have you."
"I'm sure." He said with disgust.
Just as they were to load him into the car, Miss Fairchild came running out. "Sir! The Spy! Kuryakin has struck again. He has sent more plans to Uncle." She shouted to her superior.
"In broad daylight? Never has he done that before. Quickly shut down all communications. Blanket the area with guards." He kept shouting commands and only noticed Solo missing when he looked and found him not in the car. "Damn it! Find Solo! He couldn't be very far." He yelled at the guards. Next to him a black blur took off into the jungle as well. "Major follow Major. He'll get him." Some of the guards took after the cat but he was long gone, swallowed up by the jungle.
Napoleon woke slowly and groaning. He didn't know where he was but he felt something cool and soft under him. He opened blurry eyes and noticed the soft fire shinning in the back of the cave. On his head lay a cool compress and he was wearing clean clothes again. He looked around and found himself alone. Too tired to care he slipped back into sleep. Hours later he woke again to see a familiar face frowning down on him.
"Yes my friend. Don't worry your safe. Thrush right now is trying to find me and I made sure to lead them in a direction away from us."
"How? Where have you been?"
"Hush now. You need sleep more then you need answers. Just rest and I'll explain later."
Napoleon struggled but couldn't fight that soothing voice, soon he was asleep again. Illya puttered around the fire and his friend a few minutes then went out to guard. There were still searchers out there looking for the both of them.
When Napoleon woke this time he felt much better. The long sleeps and feeling of safety had done wonders for him. He looked for his friend but didn't see him. Instead near the entrance he spotted a familiar form. It was the Black Panther that had attacked him earlier. He looked around for a weapon and accidentally knocked over a mug filled with water. It was just enough to wake the sleeping cat. It looked over its shoulder and then stood when he saw Napoleon looking at him. Napoleon tensed for a fight then was surprised when he calmly sat down and looked at him. Napoleon looked into the beast's eyes and found nothing but humor there.
"What the hell?" he exclaimed.
In answer the cat backed up a few steps and put his head between his front legs. Napoleon heard a faint growling noise and noticed the cat had his eyes closed tightly. He watched as it looked like the fur was getting lighter, the bones more delicate. Then he saw the head changing; in fact the whole body was changing. Napoleon couldn't believe what he was seeing. In just a few moments his partner was looking at him with an enormous grin on his face.
Napoleon took a good long look at his friend said "OH HELL!" then promptly passed out.
He came around a few hours later, looking around for his partner to see him watching him carefully.
"Welcome back. I let you sleep since you need it. How do you feel?" he asked concern and amusement and something else in his voice.
"Fine, never better. What in hell is going on Illya?"
"You don't like my disguise? I'm hurt." He faked a pout.
"You know what I am talking about. Now explain yourself!" He was growing angry with his partner and didn't even know why.
"Alright, but I don't have much time. I stayed this way waiting for you to wake up. I'm not used to this form any longer."
"Alright. Remember I said I had a plan to get close, well this was it. I pretended to be Douglas Andrews most prized pet and obtain all sorts of useful information."
"Who cares about that, what did you do?"
"I didn't do anything. This was done to me."
"What are you not saying? How long have you been able to do this?"
Illya looked at him before answering. He was growing tired and would have to change forms again soon.
"I've been able to change now for about three years."
"Napoleon I know you have lots of questions but I need to change back. My body is used to my other form and it's going to take time for me to wean myself into this one again." Then closing his eyes and growling he began to revert back to his cat form. It took just a few seconds unlike when he was turning human. Napoleon watched fascinated as he changed. When it was done he lay down and sunk into a deep sleep. Napoleon watched as his transformed friend slept. Trying to understand what had happened to his partner.
Illya slept throughout the night. As dawn was breaking Illya began to stir. He raised his head and looked over at his partner. He stretched leisurely then walked over to where his partner was watching him. He scratched in the dirt two words.
Napoleon just nodded, Illya gave him a strange-worried look but left. He came back an hour later with a small rodent type animal in his mouth. He put it down near the fire then stepped back. Napoleon watched as he began to change again. It took the same amount of time as before but it didn't look like it took as much concentration. When he was done he looked at his partner. Napoleon looked at him hard for another moment then made his decision. "Well what are you waiting for, you killed it you cook it." He then grinned. Illya breathed a sigh of relief then annoyance. Napoleon accepted him as he always did but then made him do all the work. He set about cooking the small animal and waited for the questions to start again.
"So I would say this is a side affect of the antidote you were given?"
"I would guess. You remember I had a pretty bad reaction to it. I always have bad reactions to Thrush drugs!" He half snarled.
"Don't worry about it. Does anyone know about this?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No just you. Well My Lady knows but she can't say anything."
"And what are we going to tell Waverly in our report? He is going to want to know about this."
"I don't know. I don't want a lot of people to know otherwise I would never get out of medical."
"True. Now you said something about weaning. What is that about?"
"Well I found out the hard way it hurts to stay in one form for too long without going back to the old form. It took me two months to get used to the cat form enough where I could stay in it all the time. I've been in this form for nearly 10 months now. I only changed to human form when I was sending you information."
"I see. How long do you think it will take you to get used to being human again?" Then with a crooked smile. "Well as human as you normally are."
"Well I am naturally human and I have been using this form more often now so probably two, three weeks." He checked on his roast and considered it done enough for him. He handed part of it to Napoleon and then set about munching on it.
Napoleon finally asked when he was done. "How are we going to get out of here. I don't see a radio or anything. Also what about our little friends, they should still be looking for us. Shouldn't they?"
Illya gave him a thin smile. "I don't think they are too worried about us. I left a nasty surprise behind in their computers. I timed it to go off the same time we were making our escape."
"Oh do I want to know?"
"It wasn't anything special, I just sent some more plans and locations of Thrush buildings. The virus I had setup when we were in Germany and had it sent to any Thrush office they communicated with. Then when we wanted to leave I just sent the codes to activate it. It partially destroys some data. Fully destroys other types. It also scrambles everything it touches so no one can tell what was destroyed fully and the other partially." Illya was very smug with his accomplishments.
"My God It will take them months if not years to recover from that." Napoleon was suitably impressed.
"Yeah and I have a bunch of accounts and plans in my head that if possible might let us create a little havoc later."
"That's great. Now how do you plan on getting us out of here?"
"I sent a message asking for backup. I made sure Thrush wouldn't be able to trace it and so have my homing device turned on. They hopefully will be here for us in another day or two."
"That's good. Then I guess we just rest and recover here huh?"
"You do anyway I still need to guard and keep alert."
"Hey I can help."
"I'm sure you can but this is a wild jungle and this is the heart of leopard territory. If I read the markings correctly there is another big male around here."
Napoleon made an "O" type face and shut his mouth.
"Don't worry Napoleon, I'll keep you safe." He kidded his partner. "Now if you wish putter around here and stay near the cave. It's well over grown and only the animals and us know about it. At least I think so. It was a bitch finding it anyway. I will go and patrol." He stood up to take care of a few things then closed his eyes.
"Illya?" His partner opened his eyes and waited.
"What does it feel like?"
Illya smiled. "It's one of the most freeing experiences I've ever had." Then he closed his eyes, started growling again and the CEA watched as he changed again, dropping to all fours. Illya opened his eyes and smiled as only a cat can, then walked out of the cave.
Napoleon didn't see him again until late afternoon. He came in clearly stressed. He paced just inside the cave snarling at something. He watched until he couldn't stand it any longer and had to speak up.
"Illya, what's wrong?"
The black head turned quickly to look at him. He shook his head and continued pacing.
"Is it Thrush?" He shook his head no again.
"Is it the male? The one you were telling me about?" This time Illya looked at him longer before nodding yes. Napoleon found the only gun Illya had brought and made sure it was loaded. This time it was filled with sleep darts. He settled down next to his friend and both waited for night to fall.
Napoleon woke to the sound of a challenging roar. Illya slipped out from under the arm thrown companionably over his shoulders. He watched as the younger agent slipped into the jungle. He listened, as there was an answering roar that could only have come from his partner. All he could do was listen as two large objects crashed through the dense jungle growth.
Illya studied the yellow form in front of him It was a large male in his prime. The strange male snarled at him and Illya again tried to talk to him. But the cat wouldn't listen, he wanted him out of his territory and he wanted him out now. Illya didn't want to force his will but he would to keep his friend safe. The cat circled around a few times and feinted at him, Illya stood ready. He was gathering his strength when he heard a noise behind him so he glanced in that direction. A female was coming out as well.
Oh crap, no wonder he's pissed he has a mate.
He didn't have a chance for further thought since the male chose to attack. He defended well not really wanting to hurt the other cat. He snarled and swatted his paws without claws trying to get him to understand. The male jumped to a branch and then leaped for his back. Illya swirled around and was able to keep him from landing. The cat reached out a paw and drew a long deep gash in Illya's left foreleg. He ignored the pain and gathered what strength he could. It was always a bitch controlling animals when they were fighting mad. Especially when he was fighting them. Thinking as hard as he could he yelled
The shout froze the other cat where he stood, Illya projected an image of him leaving in a few days. How he was not interested in the female. That he didn't want to fight. Then he gave an order that the male was forced to obey. He was told to leave and not return until he was gone. The male snarled but the command was there and could not be disobeyed. He left in one direction with the female while Illya limped back towards camp.
Napoleon waited for Illya. The fight had long since moved out of his hearing range. He had prepared some water just in case Illya needed it but didn't know what else to do. Slowly through the jungle darkness he spied a black shadow that seemed to get larger. It broke off from the jungle proper and limped it's way to the cave. Napoleon gave a cry of dismay when he realized it was his partner.
"Illya! My god! Come here lay down! Jeez you look horrible. Lay down here while I get some bandages. It looks like your still bleeding." He hurried to get his supplies, meager as they were, while the panther gingerly lowered himself near the fire. The senior agent cleaned and bandaged his wounds as best he could then helped him to drink some water. With that done he could only watch as Illya slowly fell asleep exhausted after his fight.
It was a long lonely night for Napoleon.
Illya woke at mid day to the strange noise of a thumping bird. He could barely hear it but it soon passed out of his range and he went back to sleep.
He woke again to voices faintly heard in the jungle. He looked and found Napoleon sleeping near the entrance. He stood but winced at the pain from his leg. He nudged Napoleon awake and signaled him to stay. Before he could protest Illya was lost in the jungle again.
Illya stalked the voices he heard wanting to know if they were friend or foe. It took time for he could not move quickly and he had to stay out of sight. He circled around until he was down wind of where he thought the voices were coming from. Then he came at them from behind. He was in close enough to hear them clearly but still not visually when he recognized the voices, with a snarl he slipped back into the shadows.
"Tell me again, why we are out here in the middle of no where?"
"It's because Napoleon and Illya need our help and you wouldn't desert them."
"Oh that's right." Mark Slate grimaced as another branch hit him in the face. His partner April Dancer smirked just before getting hit herself.
"That's a girl show me how it's done." He chortled
"What does the tracker say?"
"Looks like we are about 1000 yards away from the target. That could take us forever in this overgrown weed garden." At that moment a shadow stepped in front of them.
"EEEEEKKKKK." April screamed. The Shadow crouched down and put his paws over his ears. Making the most disgusted face either agent had ever seen.
"What the hell? April look." He pointed to the bandage on the leg and she noticed it as well.
"Huh what? Mark you have any clue?"
"Sorry luv no idea."
At that moment the cat stood again and came over to them fearlessly. He rubbed against April for a moment before walking back to the edge of the tiny clearing. He looked over his shoulder as if he expected something from them. They both frowned and didn't move. The cat gave them a snort, marched over was the only term to use, and deliberately closed his mouth around April's sleeve. He started yanking and dragging them where he wanted them to go.
"I guess that means he wants us to follow him."
"No really Mark. This is getting stranger and stranger."
The cat just led them deeper into the jungle.
Napoleon heard them coming and waited impatiently for Illya's return. He had his gun drawn and was waiting outside in a hidden patch. He spotted the white bandage around his partner's leg and sighed a bit. Relaxing a little he waited until his partner said it was safe to come out.
Illya looked around the clearing for his partner for he knew he wasn't in the cave. He sensed him just to the right of it and walked over. He looked up at him and snorted. He then walked back to the front of the cave. Napoleon watched as two more people emerged out of the brush.
"April, Mark. Over here." He said stepping out from behind his rock. They ran over to him and April gave him a big hug.
"Napoleon it's good to see you. How you doing?"
"Hey mates, where's your partner? I didn't see him." Napoleon smiled in a knowing way and pointed behind the pair to the waiting cat. They looked behind themselves and only saw the cat that had led them here. Napoleon grinned wider as he called out.
"Illya come here and make friend with the kids." The younger agents looked on in surprise as the cat obeyed.
"What the Hell?" they chorused.
"Yeah neat huh. Don't worry that's Illya and boy does he have an interesting story." He stroked the head between the ears bringing forth a disgusted snort. "Come on it will be more comfortable to change and talk in the cave." He led them to the entrance and back to the fire.
"Well I guess it would be easiest to show you what our friend has been up to." He sat down on his blanket and called to Illya. "Hey buddy why don't you show the kids your neat little trick." They all turned to the cat who suspiciously looked sheepish. He limped up to his partner and looked him in the eye.
"Well what's up?"
Illya just looked at him again then stretched out his wounded leg.
"What need me to look at your leg again?" Illya shook his head no and again nodded at his leg.
Light was beginning to dawn in April's eyes.
"Illya does your leg have anything to do with not being able to change?" Illya looked at her and just nodded.
"Are you saying that you can't change when you're hurt?" Illya nodded to Napoleon glad they caught on so fast.
"You know little buddy I'm thinking this changing shape thing isn't as cool as I though it would be."
Illya blinked at him then ignored him.
"Well I guess we just have to wait right now. But for you two what have you got for us?"
Mark responded first. "Well we have a chopper standing by. We just need to pack up and walk about 15 miles that way." He pointed in a vague direction outside of the cave.
"Well I guess we should get going. Help me pack up this stuff and we'll head out." Napoleon rose and started over to the packs lying at that side of the cave. Illya rose and dragged out his own pack. Napoleon made sure it was filled with light things so it wouldn't be so hard on him. April and Mark lent a hand as well and in 15 minutes they were on their way. It was a long walk back.
It was one of the longest 15 miles Illya had ever walked. After four miles he was limping heavily on his leg and after 10 he couldn't put any weight on it. Napoleon took his pack from him making it easier to walk. With two miles left Napoleon gave the packs to the younger agents. He then rigged a harness to wrap around Illya's body and helped support him the rest of the way. It was late into the evening when they finally made the helicopter. Illya flopped down at the foot of the rails, breathing heavily and closing his eyes to control the pain.
"Well we're almost home. How long till we get to HQ?"
"About three hours flight. Then we can get onto a plane and get out to New York. Waverly is looking forward to speaking to both of you." Mark said.
"Great just what I want to do first thing we get back. Oh well, no rest for the wicked. Speaking of which, Illya how you feeling?"
The cat glared at him then rose painfully to his feet and jumped into the bird. He scooted under the seat and promptly went to sleep. Napoleon watched with both amusement and concern. How would he explain this to the old man?
"Well let's go home."
Illya slept the entire way. During the trip Napoleon poked his nose into his pack and was surprised to find the collar he used to wear. Also two leashes and a muzzle. Must be a back up plan in case he needed to come in as a cat. He put the supplies away and continued to think of what he would tell their boss.
When Mark landed the chopper at the private airstrip Uncle maintained, Napoleon had part of his story straight. Illya grudgingly put on the collar muzzle and two leashes. He was led between Mark and Napoleon and limped heavily onto the airplane, putting no weight on his wounded leg. An animal crate was inside and Illya had a fit when he was told to get into it. They had to push him in, whereby he sulked the entire way home. They had received orders from Waverly to come straight to headquarters, do not pass GO do not collect 200 dollars. While sulking in the cage Illya decided to take a nap making everyone happy. Napoleon decided it would be best to take Illya through a more secure door then Del Flories so he arranged it with Waverly.
20 hours later they were landing in New York and were almost home.
Illya woke to a cover over his cage and people talking quickly around him. He thought about making his presence known but changed his mind. He knew his partner had a reason and he really didn't want any one to know about what he could do. His cage was picked up gently and placed in something, moving truck if he guessed correctly. A half-hour later the truck stopped and he was unloaded. There he couldn't follow what happened but he did hear the familiar sound of electronic doors opening and closing and he knew he was home.
Napoleon had stayed with Illya up into the unloading of the plane. Then he left him in April and Marks capable hands. He went to headquarters early and arranged a private room so there would be fewer people looking. Waverly grumped and scowled at his agent but he was secretly relieved his two best agents were coming home. He did wonder what all the secrecy was about but he could be patient if he needed to be.
Illya knew he was there when his cage was settled down and everyone shoved out the door. He waited for the sheet to be taken off but it wasn't yet. He thought about protesting but thought better of it. He trusted Napoleon and he would wait.
"Sir I would like to take you to Mr. Kuryakin now."
"What? Why not have him come here?"
"Well Sir he was hurt and he could hardly walk."
"I see very well then. I take it he is in medical being looked at?"
"Not exactly." He hedged.
"Then, blasted, where is he?" His boss was truly irritated now.
"Please sir if you would come with me. That would be easiest for everyone."
"Very well but this had better not be a waste of my time!"
"No sir it won't be, come with me and all hopefully will be explained."
Waverly grumped behind his CEA but he was now truly curious as to why his Russian agent couldn't report in one of the normal ways. He would wait and see.
Illya perked up his ears at the sound of the door opening. His partner's voice and the door closing followed it.
"Yes Napoleon. All surveillance turned off, Mark made sure they couldn't be turned on remotely to."
"Good, now Sir, I would like to introduce you to your true master of disguise." He grabbed the sheet off the cage and withdrew it with a flourish.
"Agent Illya Nickovitch Kuryakin!"
Illya had caught on quickly when he heard his partner's introduction. And unfortunately his sense of mischief got the better of him. When the sheet was whisked off he cleared his eyes of all intelligence and snarled at his partner. He paced the cage with an evil glint in his eye. Making himself look like a truly wild animal.
"What the devil? Mr. Solo in this a joke? What is the meaning of this? You better explain quickly or I see mail duty in your future."
Napoleon stood numbly, looking at the wild creature in the cage. Could some one have switched him on me? He moved to a different angle and Illya knowing no one else could see gave him a broad wink.
Why that Russian brat! He was deliberately making me look a fool in front of the old man!
"Sir I'm sorry I don't know how this happened. I'll have him immediately sedated and find a zoo to send him too. He was Douglas Andrews's favorite pet. I'm sure we will find Kuryakin." Napoleon glared at his partner and was pleased to see the shock and disgruntlement on his face.
"Mr. Solo you had better, I want to hear his report immediately." He turned to go thoroughly annoyed when he heard a strange noise behind him. Looking over his should he spotted the cat in a strange pose. His head was down and his eyes closed tightly. He appeared to be growling to himself, he went back and stood in front of the cage.
Illya was concentrating as hard as he could, the pain in his leg was distracting but he pushed it anyway. He needed all the control he had on command to push this change through. He started growling louder focusing on the sound rather then the pain.
It was hard, very hard.
Waverly watched as the form in front of him began to waver. The fur started turning lighter, the front legs changing becoming longer. He noticed the body becoming slimmer. He raised his eyes to the beast's head and was shocked to see not fangs but the pain filled eyes of his second in command of section two.
Illya looked into his boss's eye, he smiled but it didn't reach his eyes. He was in more pain then he could remember in a long time. He realized to late he should have waited until he was more healed to change. But still he had to respond to his superior.
"Ah hello Sir. It's good to be back." He gasped the last word. He looked over at his partner. "Napoleon the pain is to much, I have to change back and heal. Sorry." He closed his eyes and his body looked like it just dissolved back into his cat form. He looked at his partner one last time before passing out.
Waverly looked to his CEA then back to the black form; he shook himself and visually composed himself. Finally he spoke and he was heartened that he sounded normal. "Ah, I see, very well then. Mr. Solo attend to your partner. I will be in my office." With that he turned and left.
Napoleon nodded but was busy opening the cage and dragging his partner out. He placed him on the bed he had them set up earlier.
"Mark, April, don't just stand there help me!" They immediately set to making the form comfortable.
Napoleon put in a call for Dr Morgan to attend them, if he wasn't occupied with something else. In just a few short minutes the doctor was there looking puzzled but ready for anything.
"Napoleon, what's going on?"
"Doctor your going to find this hard to believe but I want to show you something." He pulled him over to where Illya lay.
"What? What's going on? Napoleon that's a panther."
"I know." Now he took a deep breath. "That's also my partner."
"Easy doctor, I know it sounds strange but it is." Napoleon began talking fast. "Remember about three years ago. Illya was changed into a cat. Well when we gave him the antidote he had a reaction to it. It seems one after effect was his ability to change into the beast you see before you. In typical Illya fashion he told no one about it for he didn't want to be a test subject." Napoleon stopped to take a breath and watched the doctor's reaction.
"Bloody Hell!" he finally exploded. "That little bugger is one of the most devious bastards I have come across." He took another deep breath. Napoleon sighed with relief that the doctor wasn't going to give him any problems.
"His leg was injured while defending me. We need to get it healed so he can change back."
"Alright stand near his head. I'll look at his leg." He grabbed a chair and sat down next to his unlikely patient.
Illya woke as he felt the hands on him. He smelled Napoleon near him so didn't jump. He looked out of the corner of his eye and spotted Dr. Morgan. With a grunt he let every one know he was awake.
"Dr. Kuryakin, I presume?" Morgan said with a twinkle in his eye. Illya rolled his own eyes but didn't fight what the doctor was doing to him.
"Well Illya, this leg isn't as bad as it looks. Give it a week maybe two and you'll be good as new." Illya nodded then cocked his head at Napoleon. His partner knew what he was asking.
"Waverly accepted it. He was in a daze but he will be fine." He smiled as Illya sighed and put his head back down.
"Get some sleep partner. I'm going to go talk to him again to see how he is taking it." Illya looked at him gratefully then nodded off. Napoleon left April and Mark in charge and told them to get rid of the cage now. Then he walked out to see how his boss was taking it.
He walked down the halls and received many congratulations and inquires about his partner. He answered as best he could and ignored others. When he reached his bosses door Lisa let him in right away, Napoleon knew his boss was waiting for him. Waverly was sitting puffing away not paying attention to the files in front of him.
"Mr. Solo come in, sit." Napoleon did. "Well it seems that Mr. Kuryakin has truly pulled off the bluff of the century." Napoleon just kept quiet, still trying to decide how his boss was going to take this.
"Mr. Solo how long will it be before we can truly talk to your partner?"
"Well the doctor said it could take one to two weeks for his leg to heal. Illya says there was a lot of limitations to what he can do."
"Yes. The most disturbing thought is if Thrush gets wind of his ability. Who knows about this?"
"Just you, Mark, April, Dr Morgan and myself. Illya didn't want a lot of people to know about him either. I think Thrush would definitely want to get their hands on him to study."
"Yes well as soon as he can keep his true shape we will have a little talk. For now Mr. Solo you are in charge of his safety. No information is allowed to get out about him and his condition. Make sure also he comes to no harm."
"Yes sir. Umm sir about Illya how do you feel about it?"
"He still has his mind correct? He is still on our side? He just gave us more information then we ever dreamed possible with this assignment. The only problem I see is we may have cat hair in the halls again. The boy just never stopped shedding."
Napoleon knew how that went he had too many suits with cat hair on it.
"Now go take care of him and let me get back to things that do need my attention." He then turned his attentions to the files in front of him.
Napoleon rose smiling, his boss accepted him and probable was already thinking of ways to use him. He left to look after his partner. When he reached the door he noticed Mark guarding outside. He walked passed him and found his partner's head in Mark's partners lap. He smiled to himself as April looked up to find Napoleon looking at her. She didn't move but she did removed her hand from where it was resting on his head.
"Well I see he is in good hands." April blushed slightly but didn't break eye contact as she responded.
"He was twitching and moaning in his sleep. He wouldn't wake up and wouldn't be comforted. This was the only thing I could think of." Napoleon knowing all to well that Illya just liked to sleep with his head in a lap. He had just conned her beautifully. Napoleon didn't see any reason to enlighten her. He sat down in a chair and watched the pair. Illya was sleeping peacefully, snoring softly and fluffing April's dress.
"Well the old man doesn't seem to mind Illya's little shape changing trick. Now we just have to wait for his leg to heal."
"You know Napoleon, as a child I dreamed about being able to change into some sort of animal. Like a bird or something, I thought it would be just wonderful. Now I look at Illya and think I wouldn't like being able to change. I mean he has to heal before he can go back to being normal." April went back to petting the senior agent's head.
"Yeah he was telling me some other limitations he had learned about. Just doesn't seem like a lot of fun."
"What do you think is going to happen to him?"
"What's up to Mr. Waverly."
"I don't envy him. Not one bit.
"Neither do I."
Illya drove his keepers to distraction while he was recuperating in his room. The only people allowed to see him were the doctor, his boss and his friends. He quickly grew bored of their attempts to cheer him up but he put up with it. They did bring in a surveillance kit that would allow him to see what was going on in the outside world. He did find some funny moments but mostly he just longed to leave. He couldn't even prowl at night because people were on the night shift. Today he could look forward to more poking and prodding of the doctor.
He just wanted to go home.
"Morning Illya how are you this fine day?" That was more then he could stand and he snarled loudly at the doctor.
"That good huh. Well don't worry I came to check on your leg. Give it to me please."
Grudgingly it was extended and the doctor quickly unwrapped it. He made some grunts and hums and marks on his clipboard before looking up at his charge "Well son, your leg looks fine. No swelling, the muscles have healed and you don't feel more then slight twitches from it. Correct?"
Illya nodded hope beginning to flare.
"I don't see why I can't release you now but Waverly is going to want to know." He sat back and studied the quivering form. "Yes I think you'll do fine. Just stay here a little longer. If you do you could be home tonight." He stood to go out the door. "Be good now or I'll tell him you need another week." Then smiling he left.
Illya was estastic he could go home. He just needed to wait another hour or two. He could do that, he would do that! He settled a little deeper into his bed and prepared to wait.
Two hours later his friends started to come in. He smiled as best he could at them showing his happiness. He truly became excited when the doctor showed up and right behind him strode Alexander Waverly. Illya stood up straighter as he came in.
"Well doctor, your diagnosis?" he grumped.
"As far as I can tell he should be fine. Won't know until he does whatever it is that he does."
"Very well." He turned to his four footed agent and scowled at him. "Well Mr. Kuryakin we don't have all day."
Illya nodded then settled his mind. He closed his eyes and concentrated. The group could hear a faint growling noise coming from him. They watched with amazement as he began to change in front of their eyes. Napoleon noticed he did it with a lot less pain on his face so he hoped he would be better this time. It only took a few minutes before the true shape of their friend was reveled. When he was done he raised his head and sighed.
"Finally, Finally I get to come home." He whispered before standing and presenting himself to his boss.
"Agent Kuryakin reporting for duty, Sir!" he said with a smile.
"Hump, we'll see. Dr Morgan take him down to medical and run whatever tests you want on him. Mr. Solo go and make sure he doesn't give them any trouble. Once done there take him home for a good nights rest." He paused before continuing, looking at the younger man. "Take him straight home. Thrush is looking for him and I don't want him found by himself. You are to stay with him. Mr. Kuryakin you will report back here at 10:00 tomorrow morning." He started towards the door. "You and I need to have a nice chat about certain things." He smiled just a tad making Illya cringe inside at the wrath that awaited him in the morning.
"Dismissed everyone. I'm sure you have other things to do. Mr. Solo?"
"Don't worry, I'll take care of him."
"See that you do. Now I have work to do." Turning he stomped out the door back to his office.
"Come with me Mr. Kuryakin. There are any number of tests I would like to run on you before you can escape."
Illya only groaned.
"DAMN IT THAT IS ENOUGH!" roared Illya in a true temper. Firstly he had to deal with all the nurses who wanted to make sure he was all right. Then the doctor took so many samples from him he had lost count. He had been put to every torture device a.k.a. scanning device Uncle had and he was tired of it.
"I want to go home! I am going home! If you try and stop me I will break each and every one of your noses! NOW LET ME GO!" He stood and walked; more like marched over to the closet his clothes were in and started putting them on.
"Now now Illya there is only a few more tests"
"LIKE HELL THERE IS! I am going HOME! You've done enough. Napoleon are you going to take me home or what?"
Napoleon had been highly amused at all the trouble his partner could cause just from coming home from a mission. He had helped get Illya through most of the tests but he could also tell when Illya was being pushed beyond his means. He was truly angry and would start breaking noses if he wasn't released.
"Umm doc, I know it's been fun." Illya glared pure fury at his partner. "But I think it is time to let him go." He made his way through the staff that were blocking his partners escape and grabbed his elbow.
"Maybe tomorrow we can do this again." Again daggers were directed at him. "Very well Napoleon it is late. You can go Illya but don't forget there are other things we need to test for."
"LIKE BLOODY HELL YOU DO! This is why I didn't tell anyone. I knew everybody would want to study this. Oh no doctor, you got your day and now I am going home." With that he marched right out the door. Napoleon had to run to catch up and just barely made it to the elevator doors. Illya hit the button for the parking garage and waited impatiently. When the doors opened he stomped out and headed directly for Napoleons little red convertible. He went through the security check faster then Napoleon had ever seen him do it then opened the passenger door, sliding into the seat. There he slumped as if exhausted; Napoleon slid into the driver's seat not saying a word. The drive to their apartment building took an hour with rush hour traffic but neither man said a word. Napoleon found a spot right in front and watched as Illya carefully exited and walked up the flight of steps. Some of the people from their building were out and many were surprised to see the blond Russian. Illya made his apologies saying he had been away on a trip for work and had to relocate temporally. Then he continued on, going into the elevator to the sixth floor. Napoleon followed as best he could but the Russian still beat him to the door.
"Napoleon I don't seem to have my key would you please open it?"
"Of course partner mine. It would be my pleasure." With a flourish he produced a key, opened the doors and deactivated the alarm systems. He waved his arm in an extravagant bow as he let Illya into his own apartment. Illya walked just a few steps in then he stopped and took a deep breath. He let it out in a heartfelt groan then went straight to the freezer. He grabbed a bottle of vodka and a glass, then he headed for his couch, and he sat down heavily and poured himself a generous helping. He gulped it down in one shot and then poured himself another. Napoleon helped himself to the scotch and sat opposite him in the chair. He just watched as Illya melted into his couch, eyes closed in bliss.
"It has been too long Napoleon. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight."
"I'm sure you are. What do you want for dinner?"
"Pizza, a very large pizza with everything. In fact get two, otherwise you are not going to have anything to eat."
"Alright my friend two pizza's with everything coming up." He stood and walked over to the phone to order dinner. "It should be here in about twenty minutes."
"Fine gives me a chance to take a shower, let me know when it gets here."
Illya dragged himself off the couch and went to the shower. He spent the entire time there, when Napoleon knocked on his door letting him know dinner was here.
"Thanks." He came out of the shower wearing a towel around his middle and proceeded to dismantle a pizza all by himself then helped himself to half of his partners.
"Whoa, easy there, you're going to have a stomach ache with all that."
"No I won't, but I am going to bed. If you want you can crash on the couch or pull it out."
"Thanks you're so generous."
"Aren't I now. I'm going to change then go to bed."
"Sure you do that."
Both stood to go about their business. Napoleon kept half an ear out on his partner but nothing seemed wrong. Just before he went to sleep he checked on his partner. When he opened the door he blinked in surprise, then remembered what his partner had said. Illya had snuggled down into his bed under the covers and was sound asleep. Napoleon closed the door on the sleeping cat and went to his own resting-place.
Napoleon woke with a crick in his neck and a sore back. He groaned as he stretched then went into the kitchen to make coffee. He checked the clock on the wall and noted it was only eight o'clock. Still plenty of time to get to work, He wondered what Mr. Waverly had in store for them. He went back into the living room, retrieved the newspaper from the mat and settled down to read. Half an hour later he heard grumbling stretching type noises and knew his friend was waking up. He went back into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, large egg omelet with bacon and toast. Napoleon poured some orange juice and was just setting it out on the table when Illya came walking in. He was dressed in just a pair of sweat pants, yawning and scratching the back of his head.
"Mmmm smells good." He yawned as he sat down. He picked up his fork and began inhaling his food. Napoleon had fixed twice as much for Illya as for him but he still managed to finish first and eye Napoleons plate, who immediately curled a hand around it and growled. Illya just laughed.
"I'm going to get dressed." Illya announced. "I set your spare clothes on the bed." He said while rising.
"Thanks." Was the response as Napoleon continued to protect his breakfast. A few minutes later he could hear the sounds of rushing water as Illya took another shower. He took the dirty dishes and put them in the sink, tidied up a bit while waiting his own turn in the shower.
Nine thirty saw them pulling into the parking garage and riding up the elevator to their shared office. Many people wanted to welcome the Russian home, especially the ladies, much to his embarrassment. Napoleon being the supportive partner that he was, thought it was hilarious and didn't bother keeping it off his face. Illya just glared.
His appointment with Mr. Waverly was in twenty minutes, which gave them just enough time to settle down and prepare for the day. When ten o'clock came they were standing in front of their bosses office waiting to go in. The door was opened and they sat in their accustomed places.
"Now Mr. Kuryakin, I have heard Mr. Solo's side of the story, now I would like to hear yours. From the beginning of this affair."
"Yes Sir." Illya closed his eyes for a moment composing his thoughts. "It started when Napoleon dropped me off in Germany. I prowled around and got a job as a hired hand for a few weeks while I got my form steadied. When I had it ready I smuggled myself into his menagerie. He had wanted a panther for his collection for some time so I broke in with some forged documents listing me. There was such a short turn around time in that warehouse that it would be too late to do an investigation on me if someone wanted to. Just as long as the proper papers were there no one cared." Illya took a sip of coffee. "Well Andrews was walking down the rows seeing what there was when he spotted me lying in a cage. He liked what he saw, for I am a very handsome cat."
Snort from Napoleon, glare from Waverly.
"He looked me over in the cage and wished he could look closer. He walked around me and I always kept a calm eye on him. I was waiting for just one command so I could show him what I could do. He said something; I can't remember what but he said sit so I sat up. He spotted this so called out another command to see if I would obey or not. In fifteen minutes I had him wanting me. I obeyed commands in German and by the lights in his eyes knew I would be going home with him soon. They opened the cage I had put myself in and I didn't lunge right out. When he told me to come he was semi serious but I did it. The warehouse man was amazed and wondered where I came from. He though that if I was this well trained he would want to keep me for himself. He also told me to come but when I snarled and prepared to pounce on him, he backed off. Andrews was very impressed and amused, he told the other man he was going to buy me and that was an end to it." Illya knew there was more but didn't think it worth mentioning. Waverly stated working on his pipe and when he was happy with the results started asking more questions.
"So far very impressive, how about the information you retrieved?"
"Well sir, I had found plans for restructuring but when I obtained access to the other information I couldn't help myself. I memorized as much as I could and sent Uncle the most important information possible."
"You have more information stored in your head?" Napoleon asked.
"Oh yes lots. I had to time my forays very very carefully. If I didn't I was dead. When I sent you information or the money I only had about a five-minute window. I was doing a whole lot of prep work between transmissions to make sure it took very little time to send. It was nerve wracking. I did almost get caught twice when in human form but I was able to hide and change back saving me a lot of pain."
"Now then tell me about your time when Mr. Solo easily let himself be captured by Thrush." He glared for an instant at his CEA making him squirm slightly.
"When Napoleon arrived, I wasn't too surprised because Thrush knew I was around. They tried to question him about me making me grateful I hadn't told him. At the time I didn't have a plan for getting us both out of there. Oh by the way they have a new type of truth sermon again. I have the formula for it as well."
"Very good Mr. Kuryakin. Continue."
"Well I let Napoleon answer questions that seemed safe enough, but when he was about to answer damaging questions about us, I quickly put a stop to it." He glanced over at Napoleon as he fingered the bandage under his shirtsleeve.
Waverly noticed this and raised an eyebrow but all he said was "I see."
"Then when Mr. Andrews decided to move us to his South America office, I just waited. When the time seemed right I sent my last message, along with activating a nasty virus I had made. I rescued Napoleon, managed to get to a safe place I had prepared and just waited for the backup team to arrive." He made sure not to make eye contact with his partner for he could feel how indignant he was with that summary.
"Good job gentlemen. Mr. Kuryakin especially. Now Mr. Solo if you would please return to your office, Miss Rogers will inform you of your duties for the day." He puffed few times on his pipe. "Mr. Kuryakin there are a few other questions I would like you to answer so please stay." Illya visually flinched at the tone in his boss's voice. He looked at Napoleon and found sympathy in the eyes.
"Mr. Solo if you please."
"Yes sir." Standing he picked up his few files and walked out the door. As it was closing he could heard his superior's voice. "Now my boy, tell me all about this ability of yours." Miss Rogers was waiting for Solo when he came out of the inner sanctum.
"Hello Napoleon so good of you to volunteer for Mr. Waverly." She smiled as she spoke.
"Ah yes not a problem."
"Now I am rerouting most of the calls to your office. Unless Mr. Waverly is absolutely needed. He also has the Quarterly finance and budget reports he wants you to review."
"WHAT? What is he doing?"
"He just told me he was going to be in an all day meeting and not to disturb them unless it was life threatening."
Now Napoleon felt true sympathy for his partner. He was going to have the Old Mans full attention and it looked like he would have it for many hours. He went back to his office to begin his duties.
It was close to quitting time when Illya walked into their shared office. He shakily reached for his chair and sat down heavily. Napoleon watched as he leaned on his arms, which he propped on his desk. He just sat there trying to calm himself down.
"I never want to do that again." He moaned.
"My God Napoleon he had me tell him every instance in which I changed. EVERY INSTANCE! From when I first discovered it to the end of the mission. Then he had me change over and over again to see how long it would take." He sighed again and gazed out into space.
"Sounds like he was really going after it."
"Yes he was. He also wanted to know every strength and weakness that came with changing. I told him as best I could, but even I don't know every thing about it."
"Well do you think this is permanent? I mean the doctor is running all those tests."
"Oh it's permanent. That I can feel down to my very bones. My body liked my cat form. It didn't want to let go. It finally compromised by keeping both and letting me choose at will." He leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling this time. "I told Waverly it will take me a couple of months to get used to human form again without craving my cat form. I'm restricted to the labs during that time." He noticed a small grin on his partner's face and decided to drop the other shoe. "Oh and because he said that I was restricted to the labs, I only had to do the paper work related to that." He smiled as he continued. "I quote, if Mr. Solo wishes to take over my seat, then he can get used to administration, end quote. Then he went on to say that I was not to do one single report that you are responsible for." His voice was full of smugness.
"WHAT? That's no fair. You don't really plan on not helping do you?"
"Sorry can't be helped, he said that if he sees my style on any of your reports then he is going to come down on both of us."
"Style ehh and just what style do you have?"
Illya grinned evilly at him. "Purrrfection of course."
"Come on, let's get out of here. I'm hungry and it's your turn to treat me."
"Yeah right." But he grabbed his coat and followed his partner out the door. Together they walked out of head quarters ready to face a new aspect of their friendship as they always have.