Just before leaving home, Mama took me aside for 'The Talk'—you know the one. it's when she dispense all the common sense knowledge that you've had for years, but that your parents still think they are the holder of the secrets to. You know what I mean—wear clean underwear in case you get struck down by a street car—a street car? Oh, Mama! Some of it is sound, some of it is silly, but one piece of advice she just plain forgot to add—what to do when you're suddenly caught on the elevator with a Section Two agent.
Okay, in all fairness, she didn't...doesn't know about UNCLE. They recruited me right out of school and she would wet her pants if she knew I was working for an organization like UNCLE. At first it seemed all very exciting—the training, the hidden entrances, all the subterfuge and the like, but after a while, it's just a job. Granted, it's a job with some drop-dead gorgeous guys with very short life expectancies, but good with the bad, as my Grandma used to say. Sure the pay was awful, but the benefits...
Nothing could prepare you for the Section Two boys, not really. They were the Rock Gods of the organization. They got away with just about everything and all they had to do was to be willing to die at a moment's notice. Somehow, I think I'm happier with the medical insurance and a pension plan. At first you just want to run and hide when you see them coming and believe me you can see them coming. All your senses go on high alert and you want to run screaming from the area. And worse, they know it. Some of them play at it, arrogant, even cruel games with us. They're also the ones who can't figure out why their reports are always late, lost, suddenly turning up in the wrong place...silly boys, don't mess with the support staff.
Then there are others, guys you would think would have an ego the size of all outdoors, but then you catch them feeding a stray or helping an old lady across the street. They're just doing a job, same as the rest of us and they knew it. These are the ones to watch out for.
Anyhow, I was just standing on the elevator, taking some files down to Medical when two of UNCLE's finest get on board. Yup, you guessed it—UNCLE's two Golden Boys, Solo and Kuryakin. If the Serpent had really wanted to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden, he would have tossed the apple and used one of these guys.
Napoleon Solo looked just like any other joe on the street, until you got to his face—that was when time stopped. He had eyes, velvet brown eyes that went on forever. His smile is warm and kind and so, so sweet. When he smiled, and he did smile a lot, it went all the way up into his eyes and they glowed. Mr. S had a way of making you feel like you were the most beautiful woman in the world whether he was dictating a report or merely saying good morning. I usually had to pinch myself just to keep from stammering when he was around.
His partner, on the other hand, was an opposite in every way. Fair where Mr. S is dark, blond longish hair that the girls in the secretarial pool go on about ad nausea. It is pretty seductive, especially up close even that I will confess to. His eyes are blue, but changeable from a deep robin blue to almost steel, depending upon the circumstances. He was always polite with us, as if knowing instinctively how scary a Section Two can be. Or maybe it was just his way. He is Russian, after all, and that's when we have to acknowledge his accent—it's enough to warm you from the tip of your toes up to your eyebrows. All in all, a sweet drink of water—again, Grandma...
UNCLE's two Golden boys, except they weren't looking very golden at the moment. Poor Napoleon...I mean, Mr. S was just about every color except that. It looked like someone had taken an ink pad to his face, it was so purple and blue and one of his eyes was nearly swollen shut. He was holding one of his arms at a funny angle, which told me it was injured in some way, especially since the handkerchief he'd wrapped around the hand was stained pink. He was not having a good day.
But it was admittedly better than his partner's. Kuryakin, or The Ice Prince as he was generally known around the place, had avoided Napoleon's color pallet and gone with a solid red, blood red. It stained his clothes, his hair, and almost every available bit of skin I could see—and there was a lot of it at the moment. His clothes were closer to shredded wheat than actual cloth. They literally hung from him, exposing bits of him that a regular girl like me seldom saw.
I didn't have to ask where they were headed; I was just hoping we'd get to Medical before either of them died. My knees were knocking when they'd gotten into the elevator, now they were performing a samba, each to their own individual rhythm, and I was working really hard not to hyperventilate.
This was the closest I've ever been to both of them and within the confined space of the elevator, there was no place to hide, nowhere to keep from the sickly sweet smell of blood, their blood. I pressed back against the wall and prayed to God that he make me invisible just until we reached Medical. Instead, in his infinite wisdom, he stopped the elevator instead. Never let it be said that God doesn't have a sense of humor—it's dark, but he's got one.
Napoleon looked around as folks are wont to do when an elevator suddenly stops and reached into his jacket pocket for his communicator. It took him a minute to get it opened one handed.
"This is Solo. What's going on?"
"Power outage. Should have the generators on line in a few minutes."
"We don't have a few minutes." Mr. S.'s attention was fixed on his partner. "Call medical and have a gurney standing by."
"You're always coddling yourself, Napoleon." Kuryakin mumbled.
"It isn't for me."
Kuryakin's head bobbed in my direction, raking me over with half-opened eyes. "She's looks fine."
Instead, Napoleon managed a half-hearted smile. "Yes, she's does. It's Rose, isn't it?" He was standing there, looking like Hell warmed over, propping his partner up, blood trickling from a handkerchief wrapped around his hand and he still remembered my name. I made a mental note to make sure I typed up his report first from now on, no matter what. "Yes...um, that's right, Mr. S...olo." Okay, so I couldn't avoid the obvious question. "Are you okay?"
"Just a minor...mishap with a few fellows." Those warm chocolate eyes drifted from me to Kuryakin and he adjusted the arm that was around the Russian's waist. "You'll have to excuse my partner. He's a little drugged."
"I'm not drugged, Napoleon," Kuryakin protested, but there was something wrong with his voice, with his eyes. You didn't need to be a doctor to see that there was going to be some serious down time following this affair. "I just need to sit down for a minute."
Kuryakin's legs buckled and Napoleon suddenly barked, "Grab him!" and I suddenly had my arms full of wonderfully hard Russian delight. No one at HQ, with the exception of Mr. S, of course, usually touched Kuryakin.
Now I was closer to him than I was to my underwear, which for some reason I was trying really hard to remember whether my bra and panties matched today or not—anything to keep from thinking about the warm stickiness that was creeping through my clothes to my skin, the fever-hot flesh that pressed against mine.
With Napoleon's help, we lowered him to the floor and I looked away as Napoleon, swearing softly, began to root through Mr. K's clothes. When he pulled a wad of red/brown something from Mr. K's side, I just about lost my lunch. Napoleon couldn't help but notice. "Sorry, kid," he apologized, trying to smile sympathetically. His split bottom lip must have made that hell and the smile came across half twisted. "Bad day at the office."
"My bad day at the office is not being able to find a new sheet of carbon paper or having my typewriter ribbon break." I was babbling, I knew it, but it didn't matter. Napoleon was pulling off his jacket awkwardly. "Need a hand?"
"No, you keep him from falling over." Napoleon managed to get out of his jacket, holster and shirt before I'd even managed to form a comeback. Hmm, now I'm stuck in an elevator with an unconscious Russian in my arms and a half naked Napoleon Solo. I couldn't wait for someone to ask me how my day was going when I got back to my desk.
Even in the dim half light of the elevator, I could see that Napoleon was pale and his skin was sweaty. His shoulder looked very weird all twisted around and swollen. If I didn't miss my guess, he was close to passing out as well. He wadded up his shirt and pressed it against Kuryakin's side.
The body in my arms stirred, half moaned and tried to push the material away.
"Hold this there," Napoleon instructed me. There was no arguing with that tone. I reluctantly took hold of the material and Napoleon covered my hand with his, a slender, well manicured, but deadly hand. "Press it hard. He won't like it, but don't stop."
"Are you...?" I got out and Napoleon slumped to the floor beside his partner. Oh goodie, two unconscious agents now and me stuck in an elevator, could my day get any better?
There was a huff of breath against my neck and I suddenly realized I was being studied by a pair of the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. They immediately took in the situation and Kuryakin straighten, wincing. "Napoleon?" His voice sounded more normal, but still weak.
"About time." He reached up, his hand covering mine and I realized with a shock just how big it was. Kuryakin isn't that much taller than me, just an inch of so, but his hands belonged to a larger man. Then I remember a casual conversation we'd had in the locker room one day about how you could tell the size of a man's...um...you-know...from the size of his hands. If that was the case, my eyes dropped to Kuryakin's crotch and I hoped the low light hid most of my blush from him. He increased the pressure against my hand. "Harder, like that." He grunted as I complied.
He reached over and dragged Napoleon closer towards him, blood-stained fingers searching Napoleon's neck for a pulse. Whatever he found must have satisfied him. One handed, he pulled Napoleon even closer until the man was practically on top of him. "Hold on, old friend," Kuryakin said, softly, stroking Napoleon's head in what I could only described as a caress. "We've got things to take care of after this." I think he either forgot I was there or didn't care.
Of course, I'd heard the rumors,—who hadn't? About these two being closer than just regular partners, but I found myself wondering how they couldn't be. How could they do the job they had to do, pay the price they had to pay and just be partners?
Then there was a jerk and the elevator started moving. I was torn between being delighted to escape this scene of blood and sweat and reluctant to leave the intimacy I'd shared. The elevator doors opened and we were swarmed by Medical. Once they ascertained that I was fine, I was shoved aside and forgotten. And believe me that was okay with me. After this little adventure, I was ready to escape back to the sanity of my desk and well-ordered if boring life.
I was coming in a few mornings later and Carol caught my hand.
"Rose, they're gorgeous! Who are they from?"
"What?" Sure enough, on the corner of my desk was a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I'd only received flowers a couple of times in my life and the other arrangements paled in comparison to these. I opened the card, but didn't recognize the handwriting. The card merely read, 'For services rendered'. Then I glanced up and saw Napoleon, smiling at me. His right arm was immobilized in a dashing black sling and I knew he was on his way to see his still-recovering partner. "I have no idea," I heard myself saying, dropping my eyes back down to the flowers.
From that day on, I had a new respect for the Section Two boys, but they didn't scare me anymore. I was just thankful they did a job few other people cared enough to risk their lives for and kept the world safe for the rest of us. And thankful for brief shared moments in the elevator.