Revving Your Motor
Illya jerked his head quickly to avoid the drip. There was nothing that was quite as messy, in his opinion, as a face full of oil. Flat on his back, under the car, he felt at home for the first time since arriving in America. The car didn't care about his political views or heritage. It didn't judge, it was just a hunk of metal waiting to be told what to do.
A little like me, actually. Illya thought as he reached for a spanner... no, here it's called a wrench. He was still struggling to purge his speech of the colloquialisms he'd picked up in England. Now, in America, he must speak the way they did here. There was already enough ammunition for his co-workers to take aim at him without adding Briticisms into it as well.
Illya had spent a lot of time under cars, for one reason or another. He'd learned the mechanics at an early age when he'd helped older boys boost the headmaster's car out for a joyride. Being an underclassman, he'd not been permitted to go along for the fun, nor did he suffer the punishment when it came down. That didn't stop him; it merely made him more careful. By the time he was fifteen he'd mastered the internal combustion engine and had gone on to bigger fish. He'd learned how to plant explosives under a car so they were almost invisible to detection. He'd learned how to sabotage an engine, the gas tank, just about any part of a vehicle; he could break it or repair it. Breaking it was a lot easier.
He loosened the 'o' ring and eased the mouth of the rubber tube off. It had cracked and been dripping oil for a month. Some might scoff that letting him work on a car was a waste of valuable resources, but it was his day off and he had no desire to sit around his apartment or haunt the streets of Little Russia. While he needed to submerge himself as much as possible into American culture, assimilate and store, use it to hide in plain sight, he also needed time alone. Being holed up in his apartment was counterproductive. At least down here, the time passed quickly.
He heard the footsteps even while they were still some distance away. Two people, one taking even steady strides, the second person's footsteps sounding more like a deranged woodpecker. As they drew closer, he saw why. A man and a woman. The woman was balanced on these open toed, fuchsia colored monstrosities. Illya shuddered—talk about insult to injury, poor feet.
How can women walk in those things? he thought as he continued along with his task. Beneath the car, he wasn't visible.
"Napoleon, the motor pool? How positively classy."
Ah, Napoleon, what a surprise. Illya had been partnered with the man for a couple of months now. Napoleon was a good man to have at your back. He was competent, intelligent and easy going. A little too easy going when it came to women, Illya decided after their first assignment. Still Napoleon also readily acknowledged Illya's abilities and offered him his friendship—something no one else had been eager to do.
Illya glanced over at the two pair of feet and nearly snickered. Napoleon must have gotten dressed in a hurry. He had on one black and one blue sock. That was very odd for him, considering how impeccable the American was about his fashion.
"You said you wanted some place quiet to talk. On a Sunday morning, this is about as quiet as it's likely to get here."
Illya was immediately torn. He should make his presence known, but how? To pop out from underneath a car would likely draw some sort of attack from his partner. They were trained to react first and ask questions afterwards. He could drop a tool or he could just go about his business and not worry about it.
There was a sigh—obviously, the woman had to think about it. "Fine."
"What did you want to talk about, Crissy?"
Ah, Crissy, so this is the infamous woman. Napoleon had mentioned her on their last mission. A lovely girl, but one who was getting too serious too quickly. UNCLE employees should know better than to expect a Section Two to settle down, especially one like Napoleon. He was on the fast track. In fact, word had it that he'd make CEA in the next year. The youngest one to ever achieve such a distinction and he was dragging his partner along with him. This didn't sit well with some of the senior agents, but as far as Illya was concerned, that wasn't his fault.
"Us? What do you mean us?" Napoleon's voice sounded strained.
Illya grinned. Oops, it sounded like Napoleon had painted himself into a corner. He shook his head and reached for his rag.
"I want a ring."
"You heard me. I want a ring, Napoleon Solo. Or I will tell everyone just what sort of man you are!"
"And that would be?"
"A dirty low down snake!"
He's been called far wors,. Illya thought as he struggled to undo the other end of the hose.
"Crissy, I never promised... I thought we were just friends."
"We're a lot more than that, mister! I want a ring and I want it now."
"I do that and I'm out of the field. Waverly will never stand for it."
"You're telling me your career means more to you than I do?"
"You'll regret this, Napoleon Solo. I will make you crawl to me."
The woman hurried off and Illya shook his head. Napoleon followed a moment later, still offering platitudes. Illya made a mental note to call his partner later tonight and see if Napoleon wanted to go get a drink and commiserate. Until then, he had a car to fix.
Still, he could see the attraction. Napoleon was polished, satin on silk, his small talk smooth and effortless. Illya, when the chance woman looked at him, did his best to crawl into the woodwork. He'd been raised in a male dominated society, first school, then the Navy. He was comfortable with men, was able to read them and knew when to respond and, more importantly, when not to. Women were as much a mystery to him as the New York subway system had initially been. It wasn't that Illya didn't like women, he just preferred the company of men.
Napoleon slowly began to walk away, then his feet stopped and Illya froze. After a moment, Napoleon continued on his way.
A month slid by, then two. They were starting to really work as a team now. Illya found himself liking Napoleon and more importantly, trusting him, more than he had anyone else. Napoleon was a good leader and Illya was willing to follow to a certain point. And Napoleon picked up on that. He knew how far he could push his partner and then backed off. Illya liked that even more until now.
He had no idea what he was doing and Napoleon was of no help at all. They'd gone in, half expecting it to be a trap, but they'd had no idea in their wildest dreams the extent of the trap. Someone at THRUSH had taken serious issue with their last assignment. Napoleon and Illya were starting to attract the wrong kind of attention.
He'd seen the trip wire a split second before Napoleon triggered it. Enough time to bark out a warning, but not much else. Chaos, hell, Illya didn't know exactly what to call the resulting blast, but it had been an experience. And yet they walked through it unscathed, short of a few cuts and bruises. Illya had to hand it to Napoleon—the man had incredible luck.
They'd gotten in, retrieved the blueprints and headed back out when the next contingency arrived. This time they weren't quite as lucky.
Illya pulled Napoleon closer to him as they huddled in the ditch, the rain that pelted down making life a little more miserable. Of course, it was also a blessing. It washed away the blood the second it hit the ground. No blood meant they were almost impossible to trail and Illya took a chance and holed them up close to the building. With any luck, THRUSH would think they'd headed for higher ground.
Napoleon groaned, coming back awake and Illya clamped a hand over his mouth, his lips against Napoleon's ear. "Be still, my friend."
The man's skin was ice cold and Illya wished there was something more he could do. They didn't have anything in the way of medical supplies and his call for back up may or may not have gotten through. He tugged off his jacket and wrapped it around Napoleon protectively, ignoring the bite of the wind. He was a good Soviet, what was a little cold to him?
Illya coughed and scrunched his eyes shut in pain. His whole body ached from coughing and everything else just went along for the ride. He set one hand on his side and tried to keep the pressure off his fractured ribs. He didn't even remember breaking them during the escape. Too much adrenaline in his body, he supposed.
Worst of all was his being barred from Napoleon's room. He'd been there when Napoleon came to and they'd talked for a few minutes. A nurse came in, took one look at him and whisked Illya away to a room of his own.
A good Soviet indeed," he thought, trying not to coughing again. Good Soviets don't get pneumonia from crouching in the rain for a couple of hours. His bunkmates back in Siberia would have been laughing their asses off at him by now. Life in America was making him soft.
Illya resisted the urge to pull the oxygen mask from his face, it was easier to breathe with it than without and he was alone. There was no one to be brave for. He longed to know how Napoleon was doing, but no one would say anything to him. Waverly had been by briefly to give him a "good job, Agent Kuryakin," but he'd been the only person Illya had seen outside of medical staff. It was as if the world had abandoned him.
Oh, good , I am sick and feeling sorry for myself. Comrade General would have had me pulling a second shift for this, he thought, staring at the wall. He was too sore to sleep, too tired to move much from the bed. A trip to the bathroom with the help of an orderly had left him feeling as weak as a newborn colt.
The door opened, but he didn't bother to look. It was the nurse. He didn't know her name; he didn't care what her name was. All he knew was that she stood between him and freedom.
"How are you feeling today, Agent Kuryakin?"
Illya rolled his head towards her and she stuck a thermometer in his mouth. He'd protest, but, first he knew it would do no good, and second, he was too tired to fight it.
She fussed around his bed, taking his blood pressure, adjusting his bed clothing. At least the catheter was gone so he was spared that humiliation.
She plucked the thermometer from his mouth and smiled. "Your temperature is down again. I do believe, Agent, that you are on the mend." He started to cough just then and she helped him sit up. "Bet it doesn't feel like it though." She patted his back as he rode out the spasm and eased him back down.
"Napoleon?" he asked as soon as he had enough air in his lungs to talk again. He wiped the tears off his face with a trembling hand.
"Napoleon was discharged three days ago." She retrieved a washcloth from a service tray and disappeared into the bathroom.
Huh, well imagine that. Napoleon out on his own for three days and hadn't even made the effort. Perhaps we aren't as good friends as I'd thougth. Probably busy with the ladies, Illya thought as he watched her move.
"And you have to give him credit. He's used just about every trick in the book to try and get in here to see you." She handed it to him.
Or perhaps we are. That was of some comfort to him and Illya managed a small smile. "He wasn't as badly hurt as I feared."
"Oh, he was pretty bad, but I don't think you have an inkling of how sick you've been."
"What? I've only been in here for a few days."
"More like two weeks. You've just become aware of things the last couple of days. After you broke your ribs coughing, the doctors decided to sedate you for awhile." She took the cloth back from him. "Now that your fever's down, you can start to get back on track. How would you like a bath?"
He shook his head wearily. "No more sponge baths."
"No, I meant, a real one." At his lack of enthusiasm, she added. "A shower?"
"As nice as that sounds, I fear..."
"You couldn't do it on your own, I know. I could help —"
"Or I could," said a familiar voice from the door. Napoleon stood there, still looking a bit pale, but much better than the last time Illya had seen him.
"Why would you do that, Napoleon?" Illya studied him closely.
"Why wouldn't I? You gave me the coat off your back, why wouldn't I help you wash it now? And it's not like you have anything I haven't seen."
And even though it was only about ten minutes long, it was the best shower Illya had had in quite some time.
He sat quietly at his desk, supposedly studying a file, when in fact he was wool gathering. The time was coming when he was going to have to make some tough decisions, none of which he particularly liked or celebrated. He was starting to recognize a sense of infatuation between himself and his partner. He'd seen other officers succumb to it. The price of homosexuality in the USSR wasn't a pretty one and even though it was rampant, it was also kept quiet.
He wasn't really sure how Americans felt about homosexuality, but he doubted it was much better. Illya sighed and flipped a page in the report. The technical jargon was wearing thin, especially when he couldn't keep his thoughts focused above the waist. If it got much worse, he'd have to resort to that old school boy trick of carrying a book with him everywhere.
Illya counseled his thoughts, reprimanded them when they strayed too far into the realm of 'what if.' However, one thing he knew for certain. If Napoleon didn't stop randomly touching him, the man was going to find himself against the wall and on the receiving end of some of the USSR's finest.
"Hey, Illya." Napoleon walked into the room and immediately stopped. "What's wrong?"
"You had the oddest expression on your face. If I was a girl, I'd be scared for my virtue." He chuckled at his joke and Illya merely dropped his gaze to the desk.
"That's if you had any virtue left to worry about," Illya managed to throw back at him, while thinking vile thoughts in an attempt to make his libido back away from the edge.
"No, I'm serious. What's been going on with you lately? You've seemed a little distracted since you got out of Medical. And now this." Napoleon tossed a file onto Illya's desk.
Illya opened it. His range scores. "So I had an off day."
"We're UNCLE agents, we don't get the luxury of having off days. You need to fix this."
"Fix what, Napoleon? Those scores are still higher than most of our agents."
"But low for you. What's going on inside that shaggy mop head of yours? Do I need to take you out into the shed and beat it out of you?"
Illya came as close to blushing as he had in a very long time. The thought of Napoleon beating anything was just wrong... and right at the same time. His inner voice was screaming, "Oh yes, please!!" while his common sense looked around for its last Will and Testament.
"It's nothing," Illya managed to choke out after a moment.
"Yes, well, that nothing is about to make you pop. Either you talk to me or you talk to the shrinks. You're too distracted to be in the field and I, quite frankly, don't relish the thought of being out there without you."
That was a good question and then Illya had a brainstorm. "There's a bar, down on 53rd. It's called the Rusty Wheel. Meet me there at seven and we can talk."
Illya sat at a table towards the back of the room. It was his favorite table. His back was to the wall and he could see anyone who came in or out. No one could approach him without them seeing and that made the cautious part of his nature happy.
There was a water glass and a bottle on the table, although Illya was being careful tonight. The last thing he wanted Napoleon to think was that he was talking out of drunkenness.
"You're early tonight." Illya glanced over at the waiter, Neil, as he paused by the table to set down a bowl of bar nuts. He was dark haired and had a polished look about him. Illya had spent more than a few hours with Neil trying to free himself of a personal demon. Now he was going to take the demon by the tail, in a manner of speaking.
"For a reason."
"You're meeting the someone I remind you of... pity that."
"What do you mean?"
"Ah, it was easy to tell I wasn't the one you were fucking."
"Why, I'm not. Envious, perhaps, but definitely not sorry. Good luck."
Illya's attention suddenly focused on the door as Napoleon stepped in. As was their practice, he surveyed the room without moving from the safety of the door, not even stopping as he momentarily locked eyes with his partner. It was just what they did.
"I don't believe it," Neil said, shaking his head. "You and the Duke? Incredible... you are going to break Dickie's heart."
Illya frowned at that, automatically looking back at the bar where Dickie sat, nursing a Scotch on the rocks. The blond saw Napoleon as well and slouched a bit, trying to look... smaller? He smiled as Napoleon began to move through the crowd and then the smile faded as Napoleon veered off towards a table in the back. Dickie followed his path and saw Illya. For a moment, he engaged in a bit of a stare down, but he couldn't stay the course. The man shook his head, raised his glass in a salute and returned his attention to the bartender.
Neil disappeared before Napoleon reached the table and sank into a chair.
"So tell me," Napoleon began without preamble. "What is this big burden you're shouldering?" He smiled as a glass of Scotch appeared. "Thank you."
"No problem, you lucky dog," Neil said, winking, as he slid away.
"Do you know what this place is?" Illya mumbled as he lifted his glass in a toast.
"I was wondering if you did." Napoleon tinked his glass against Illya's and sipped. "So, Neil, huh?" He watched the waiter thread his way through the crowd. "You could do better."
"I was thinking the same thing." Illya nodded towards the blond at the bar.
"With your eyes closed, does it really matter?"
"I would like to think so." Illya dropped his gaze to the table, then flicked his eyes up to study Napoleon. "I'd like to prove that it does."
Napoleon drained his glass and smiled. "And I wouldn't mind one bit. Shall we leave?" He stood and held out a hand. "Are you coming?"
Illya smiled a sly feral smile. "One can only hope."
Illya walked slowly into his office and sank into his chair, albeit with extreme caution. They had retired to Napoleon's apartment and his partner had permitted Illya all of two steps into the entryway before slamming him against the wall and kissing him. After that, it was a free for all - the hallway, the living room, twice on the dining room table, it would be a very long time before Illya would be able to eat there again without getting an erection. Finally, around three, they'd actually made it to the bedroom, their passion spent, if only for a few hours. In the morning, they had begun again. Illya had to give Napoleon credit - the man had extreme capacity. No wonder the women loved him.
"You wonder what, partner of mine?" Napoleon asked as he came through the door. He wasn't moving as stiffly as Illya, but there was a measured hitch in his gait.
"Why they call it sleeping together when no actual sleeping occurs?"
"Just something that doesn't shock society as much as calling it 'having sex' might, I would guess." Napoleon carefully hung up his jacket and flexed a shoulder. "This is probably the first time I'm glad for a day of nothing more strenuous than staff meetings. Damn, Kuryakin, you're hard on a man." He reached out a hand to touch Illya's arm.
Illya sat back out of reach. "Not as hard as I would be if you touch me. Not at work, Napoleon, don't make me choose."
"There's a choice to be made?" Napoleon pulled back and walked instead to his desk and sighed. "I wonder if I just put my trash can in the 'in' box, would they get the message?"
"I tried," Illya said. "It didn't help." After a moment, he added. "Work must be work, Napoleon. As long as we are here or on assignment, all must be as it was. We must be partners, nothing more. I will not be able to perform my duties otherwise."
"Okay, I can respect that," Napoleon admitted, nodding slowly. "Respect, but not like."
There was a knock on the door and Illya frowned. Knocking? Here? That was odd, he thought, getting up to open the door and stare down at a Walther pointed at his chest by a Section Three agent. "Excuse me?"
"We're here for your partner and were told to deal with you appropriately if you protested."
Napoleon had appeared at Illya's elbow. "What's going on, gentlemen?"
"You're under arrest, Napoleon. Sorry, but you have to come with us."
"I don't think —" Illya started, but Napoleon settled a hand on his arm and shook his head.
"Always pick your battles, partner. What's happening, Sam?" The agent shot a look at Illya. "You can say anything you need to in front of him."
"We have an employee accusing you of rape, Napoleon."
"What?" Illya moved almost too fast and both Section Threes reacted instinctively. Sam pulled a hand back to cuff him, but Napoleon caught the hand.
"Let's keep the violence to a minimum, shall we?" Napoleon smiled and lowered the arm.
"I wouldn't have hurt him... much."
"You wouldn't have hurt him at all," Napoleon corrected. "Rather, I was protecting you from him." Sam's face darkened, but Napoleon just continued to smile. "Let's go talk with Waverly, shall we?"
Illya took a step towards the door and again the Section Three agents went on the offensive. "Just Napoleon."
"It'll be fine, Illya. I'm sure we'll get this straightened out with no problem." Napoleon reached for his jacket and slipped it on. "If not, the files for the Section Two staff meeting are in my right hand top drawer." He shot his cuffs and straightened his lapels, the epitome of cool.
"I'd almost accuse you of setting all this up just to get out of that meeting."
"It will be our secret. Gentlemen, shall we?"
Morning crawled into afternoon and Illya's mood went from suspicious to downright angry. He'd been on the tail end of this sort of thing before and it never ended well. Sent to Siberia for a few months to 'think about things'—that was close to a death sentence elsewhere. Thankfully, Illya had his brains and the ability to survive, along with information about a certain admiral that had, in the end, made all the difference in the world.
Illya stared at the phone, almost willing it to ring. Finally he came to a decision and reached for the receiver. Just then the phone rang. Illya nearly shot it in response; his nerves were wound that tight.
"Kuryakin," he said into the instrument.
"Mr. Kuryakin, would you please come to Mr. Waverly's office?"
"I'm on my way." He grabbed his coat and practically ran to the elevator. This could be anything, from the news that Napoleon was 'resigning' to an assignment.
He walked into Waverly's office and almost immediately stopped. Napoleon was sitting at the table, cuffed and flanked by Section Three boys. Coatless and tieless, Napoleon looked as if he'd been at the receiving end of some of UNCLE's more basic interrogation techinques; he looked limp and exhausted.
As much as he wanted to draw his weapon and shoot the Section Threes where they stood, he knew better than that. Still that didn't stop him from entertaining the thought for a second or two. Instead, he spoke directly to Waverly. "You wanted to see me, sir."
"Yes, Mr. Kuryakin; would you be capable of assuming your partner's responsibilities?"
"I'm resigning, Illya, I've got no choice." Napoleon voice sounded reedy, as if he'd been given something.
"Mr. Solo has refused to counter the charges brought against him. I have been assured that no further action will be leveled against him if he resigns from this agency. He has chosen to do so."
"No." Illya went to Napoleon and glared at the Section Three agents until they backed off. "What are you doing, Napoleon?"
"The best I can do, partner; now just leave it."
"Not in my nature, Napoleon, you should know that by now." Illya returned to Waverly. "Sir, even in my country, the accused is permitted to face his accuser."
"She chooses not to."
"It's Christine Wrightman, isn't it?"
"How did you...?" Waverly snapped a fast look at Napoleon, but the dark-haired agent wore a look of similar surprise.
"About three months ago, I was working in the motor pool, replacing the hoses on that '57 Chevy. Napoleon and Miss Wrightman did not know I was there. They exchanged words and at the end, Miss Wrightman swore she would make Napoleon pay for leading her on. You can check the log book if you don't believe me."
"That is all well and fine, but that doesn't exonerate Mr. Solo from the charges of rape."
"She claims that he grabbed her last night -
"Last night?" Illya interrupted.
"And forced her to have sexual intercourse with him."
"That's not true, sir," Illya said, directly to Waverly. He'd be damned if he'd let Napoleon be part of a witch hunt, but Napoleon cut him off.
"Illya, don't... just leave it."
Waverly took command of the situation again. "Mr. Kuryakin, if you know something pertinent to this investigation, I would ask you to be forthcoming with that information."
"No, Illya, that's an order." Napoleon's voice was stronger now.
Illya smiled slightly and dropped his gaze to the carpet for a moment. "I'm sorry, Napoleon, but you've resigned. You're not my superior any longer." He looked back up, directly at Waverly. "However, I will not speak until Miss Wrightman joins us."
The woman was doing the very best she could to make the floor open up and swallow her. That was good, Illya thought. She was going to want it to do much more than that in a few minutes.
"Miss Wrightman, do you wish to amend your charges against Mr. Solo?" Waverly asked gently.
"No, sir." She was busy wringing a handkerchief, sniffling, and dabbing her eyes.
"You still maintain Napoleon... did what you said?" Illya wasn't quite as blunt as he wanted to be, but for the moment, it worked in his favor.
"He held you against your will and repeatedly forced you to have sex with him last night?"
She started crying and Waverly frowned. "Mr. Kuryakin, a bit more concern on your part would be appreciated."
"I have great concern, Mr. Waverly, but only to see that justice is done. I would very much like to know how Napoleon could be in two places at the same time."
"Illya..." Napoleon's protest was half hearted now, as if knowing Illya had made up his mind.
Illya flashed Napoleon a look and an apologetic smile as he approached the woman. He leaned forward and murmured, "Then let's go down to Medical, you and I. I can prove Napoleon was with me last night. Can you?"
"He wore protection...," she blurted out loudly and all the men stared at her. All except Napoleon who was shaking his head.
"How considerate of you, Napoleon." Illya turned back to her. "But I will not permit this... creature to rob you of your career or sully your name. It's true you are a womanizer and perhaps even a bit of a cad, but you are not a rapist. When I came to America I thought it was free of such things. It is no different here than at home."
"Miss Wrightman, do you have something to say that can counter my claim?" Illya now turned back to Waverly. "We met at the Rusty Wheel last night and stayed there until about eight when we returned to Napoleon's apartment and did not leave until this morning at nine. I am sure the lock registry will verify that."
"Those records were accidently destroyed last night," one of the Section Three agents muttered.
"How convenient," Illya murmured, rubbing the fingertips of one hand together. "And equally convenient that Miss Wrightman happens to work in the agent's monitoring center. No one thought to question that?"
Waverly glanced over at the Section Three men who had become intensely interested in the décor of the room. "Apparently not, Mr. Kuryakin. Yet again, that's hardly proof."
"Then we shall do as I suggested to Miss Wrightman. An examination from Medical would be able to ascertain the truth."
"I've already been to my doctor," she protested, just a bit too quickly.
Illya gestured towards the door. "Then you won't have any problem with seeing one of ours. Shall we?"
At that point she broke, and Illya inwardly sighed. The story came out in fits and starts, but in the end, she was the one being taken away, not Napoleon.
"How did you know, Mr. Kuryakin?" Waverly asked, tearing up Napoleon's resignation
"How did you know she was lying?"
"Napoleon had told her that his career came first and that if he married, he'd be pulled from the field. I surmised this was her way of getting back at him. Certainly he wouldn't marry her after this, but he also would be denied the one thing he valued more than her. A fitting revenge."
"You were just very lucky she didn't call your bluff, Mr. Kuryakin." Waverly gestured to the door. "Now if the two of you would get back to your jobs, that would be more than adequate."
"But, sir —" Illya tried as Napoleon shoved him towards the door.
"Shut it, partner," he hissed and Illya frowned. However, he waited until they got out into the corridor. Yet again Napoleon didn't give him a chance to speak. "What the hell were you doing in there? Do you know what could have happened to you if Waverly had believed you for even a second?"
Illya smiled. "Napoleon, Waverly already knows. It's in my file." He waited until they entered the elevator to continue. "You were willing to sacrifice your career for what? My good name? My reputation? Neither are worth very much I'm afraid and certainly not the price you were willing to pay."
"I was afraid if it got out, you'd be sent back to the USSR and we know how much they adore homosexuals back there."
"Or at least those who aren't a benefit to the country and government. Please, Napoleon, in the future, do not be heroic on my behalf. That was a senseless show of loyalty and commitment."
"You'd expect less of me?"
"No... What will happen to the woman?"
"She'll be deprogrammed, settled somewhere else, away from here, away from UNCLE."
"Pity that she couldn't take no for an answer."
"You want to know the funny part?"
"I could. She said no and I stopped. I would never force a woman or a man, for that matter, into having sex with me. There are far too many other opportunities." The elevator stopped and they stepped out, allowing others to enter. "I was just lucky you were there in the motor pool."
"Not so much luck as just coincidence. By the way, you were mismatched that morning."
"What do you mean?"
"My view was rather limited at that point, but you were wearing a blue sock and a black one."
"Thank the heavens you didn't mention that. Being falsely accused of being a masher I can take, being accused of being anything less than a fashion plate," Napoleon shuddered delicately, "the blow would have been too much."
"I'm feeling the need to get away from here tonight. Go get your jacket and let's go home. .. partner ."