Break a Leg
"So, how do I look?" Napoleon straightened the lapels of his tux and smiled at his reflection before glancing at his partner.
"Edible." Illya spread his arms wide, an open invitation. "But I fear the water is going to have to come to the horse." He sighed and rapped his knuckles against the heavy cast on his leg. They'd long since returned from the Yukon and that adventure. Napoleon was back on active field duty, but Illya, still restricted by his broken leg, remained on the sidelines and he wasn't very happy about it. "I should be with you tonight."
He couldn't very well manage the stairs in his tenement, so he'd been relegated to one of UNCLE's small in-house apartments. Napoleon had offered his guestroom, but Waverly had insisted Illya stay put. Since Waverly had to explain himself to no one, Illya was stuck.
"This affair calls for a bit of stealth and I don't think you on crutches are exactly stealth-worthy." Napoleon leaned in to give Illya a kiss and then pulled back enough to rest their foreheads together. "For what it's worth, I wish you were going to be there as well. Henderson is an idiot. He's as likely to shoot the Premier as he is an assassin." Napoleon straightened and gave his hair one last pat.
"And why is he your backup?" Illya twisted so he could reach his crutches and leveraged himself to his feet. He moved over to the chair where Napoleon's scarf, coat, and top hat rested and collected them.
"London Section One insisted." Napoleon checked his P-38 one last time, then patted his tux pocket to check for an extra clip.
"Of course they would. Idiots..." He held the items out, in turn, to Napoleon.
"Yes, but unfortunately they are our idiots." Napoleon adjusted the white scarf around his neck, then took the coat to slide into it.
"There is a tracker in your right cuff link, just in case you decide to take the high road."
"Don't take off the scarf once you arrive." Illya adjusted it around Napoleon's neck, his fingers brushing lightly over smooth skin. "Not only does it make a fashion statement, it's made with a special synthetic explosive. Your watch will ignite it."
"I will try to remember not to wind my watch at the party or I might get a little hot under the collar." Grinning at his pun, Napoleon took the hat and settled it onto his head. "Ouch, something is sticking me." He lifted a hand and Illya smacked it down.
"There is an acetylene torch built into the band of the hat."
"For a cocktail party?"
"It's what all the best dressed spies are wearing. There is a safe and Waverly thought it might be a nice 'add-on' for the assignment."
"So I'm supposed to protect the Premier and burgle the safe in his own embassy?"
"Apparently Waverly thinks you're a man of great talents. I happen to know you are."
"Illya, you're the safecracker and the second-story man."
Illya tapped his cast. "Until I get this off, you are both." Illya moved to the door and reached for the doorknob with his free hand. "Good hunting and be careful. Remember that I won't be there with you."
"I can't promise, but I can assure you I will remember that you will be here waiting for my safe return... and will beat me to death if I don't make it back."
Illya chuckled and glanced at the industrial clock. "You are going to be late. Your car's waiting for you. It's show time."
"And that would be my exit cue." Napoleon saluted and headed out the door.
Illya almost said it, but at the last second, bit his tongue. It would have probably sounded trite coming from him anyway.
He shut the door, eyes closed as he inhaled the trace of Napoleon's aftershave in his wake.
In three more weeks, the cast would be off and then would come the annoyance of physical therapy and deskwork. Even that was sounding like paradise to Illya at this point. Better than that, he could finally properly scratch that itch just the thought of Napoleon gave him. To be able to have unencumbered sex would be cause for celebration, but until the cast came off, they would have to make do with other forms of entertainment.
With Napoleon gone, he swapped out the two crutches for just one and hobbled over to the record player. He'd sweet-talked Napoleon into picking up some records from Illya's apartment. The turntable wasn't very high quality, but it didn't matter. At least he had something to listen to besides the hum of the fluorescent lights overhead.
He turned on some Ella and went to the compact bathroom. He rummaged around in one of the drawers until he pulled out a bottle of vodka Napoleon had smuggled in. Medical didn't think Illya should be drinking while still on the prescription medicines, but he was bored, restless, and stiff. And what did they know anyway? They were only doctors, after all, not a bored field agent.
Illya hobbled back to the double bed and sat down, lifting his leg up and settling it upon the pillows, wincing as muscles protested and flesh itched. The first thing he was going to do when the cast came off was give his leg a good scratching. To take his mind off the leg, Illya drank directly from the bottle and thought about Napoleon's mission.
Even though it was Napoleon's fault that Illya was stuck on the sidelines, he didn't harbor any ill feelings towards his partner. He'd probably have done the same thing given the situation. He lifted the bottle, a silent toast to Napoleon's success, and then drank again and then again.
The dizziness crept up on him, waiting for just the right moment to nail him right between the eyes. He somehow managed to get the bottle onto the table before collapsing back against his pillow and falling into a deep sleep.
As a rule, Illya didn't remember his dreams, but tonight was the exception. He had vivid, wild dreams, familiar images juxtaposed with strange and peculiar ones. At one point he was running through a field so fast that he took flight. The freedom to soar was so invigorating, he laughed and cried at the same time. Suddenly his leg was grabbed and he was being dragged back to Earth. He fought, oh, how he fought until a voice urged.
"It's okay, Illya. Calm down."
"Mama?" he croaked and the voice laughed, so calming and achingly familiar that he got his eyelids to work. The face of his partner loomed close and the light grew bright. Illya blinked and put a hand over his eyes. "дерьмо."
"And now you know why they recommend that you don't drink while taking pain meds." Something cold and wet touched the back of Illya's hand. "Here. Drink this and you'll feel better."
Illya took the offered glass. The water slid down his throat and it was only after the glass was empty that Illya realized how thirsty he'd been.
"More?" Napoleon asked from his sitting position on the edge of the bed and Illya nodded. Napoleon took the glass and refilled it from the bedside pitcher.
As he gratefully emptied that one, Illya suddenly became aware of Napoleon's disheveled appearance. The agent looked as if he'd been dragged behind a car.
"What...?" Illya coughed and cleared his throat. "What happened?"
"Well, the mission was considered a successful, so I suppose that's the important part. We have three agents down in Medical getting fixed up -"
"Not really, just minor stuff." Napoleon placed the glass beside the nearly empty bottle of vodka and shook his head. "You really are a piece of work, do you know that? You're lucky you're not down in Medical getting your stomach pumped."
"Did you stop the assassin?"
"Oh, yes, and Henderson managed to insult an ambassador, two presidents and a whole host of guests while we were doing it. He's back on a plane to England as we speak."
"At least that part was a success, then. And the plans in the safe?"
"Torch worked like a dream. Waverly was pleased." Napoleon struggled out of his jacket, making a face at the tears and rents. "This, however, is a total loss." He tossed it over onto a chair. "Shift over."
Illya obliged, watching as Napoleon slowly stripped. He didn't ask if Napoleon was hurt; he knew the man was. Illya could tell by the tightness of his movements. Then Napoleon carefully lifted his leg up onto the bed and winced. Illya propped himself up on his elbows to stare at Napoleon's plaster-casted leg.
"We apparently have a matching set. You know I have to ask."
"Henderson, the moron, tripped me. We won't go into details. It's just a greenstick fracture. The cast will be off in a couple of weeks."
"And you are here instead of Medical because?"
"No room in the inn and we have official guests next door. I just didn't feel up to going home and Waverly didn't think you'd mind."
"My bed is yours," Illya said, sliding over even more. He waited for Napoleon to settle and then he remembered something and chuckled in spite of the pounding behind his eyes.
"When you left, I almost said it, now I wonder if I jinxed you by not saying it."
"Break a leg..."
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