Word Count: 854
Napoleon’s head jerked at the sound of the cell door being opened. He couldn’t see anything beyond the musty canvas of the bag encasing his head, but it was instinctive.
He heard scraping and then the thud of something heavy being dropped. For the last hour he’d been listening to someone being given the beating of his life. He had a bad feeling he knew just who it was.
Suddenly there were hands on him and his first reaction was to fight, but as his ankles and wrist were shackled, he fought against it and remained relaxed. Let them do all the work, he heard Cutter’s voice in his ear. Make them expend the energy, save yours for when you need it.
The hood was jerked from his face and Napoleon blinked painfully in the dim light.
“Your partner wasn’t much, Solo.” One of the guards gave the unconscious man a kick. “I’d expected more from the great Kuryakin.” He sneered. “And don’t worry. Your time is coming.”
“You can count on that.”
The voice made Napoleon’s stomach lurch, but his face remained poker calm. “Hello, Mr. Vickrey. How is life treating you?”
“I’m afraid a bit more favorably than you, Mr. Solo.” Delno Vickrey stepped from behind the guard and grinned at Napoleon. He reminded Napoleon of a cross between the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen. “Why are you here?”
“Seriously?” Napoleon hesitated. “You’re THRUSH, I’m UNCLE, isn’t that reason enough?”
“So he doesn’t know anything about the--” the guard started to say.
Vickrey’s gun silenced the guard and immediately two others appeared.
“Get rid of that filth. The man can’t keep secrets and men who can’t keep their mouths shut are not for me.” The other guards nodded and dragged the body away. Vickrey watched dispassionately. “There will be time to deal you the fate you deserve, Solo. Rest assured that you will suffer greatly.” The weapon was holstered and Napoleon felt a surge of relief. Vickrey leaned close enough that Napoleon could smell alcohol on his breath. “And it will be so much worse for Kuryakin.”
Then they were gone and for a long moment, Napoleon sat quietly, counting his breaths. He heard a faint sound on the other side of the door and smiled grimly. Now, with luck, they were alone.
As quietly as he could manage it, Napoleon shuffled from his spot against the wall to that of his partner’s side.
“Jack? Jack?” he whispered. There was a moan and Napoleon helped the man struggle into a sitting position. “Just lean back against me and rest. Why in the name of all that’s holy did you tell them you were Illya?”
“I didn’t, he just assumed I was.” Jack spit out a mouthful of blood. “Nothing personal, Napoleon, but I think I hate your partner.”
“Only mildly less than THRUSH and Vickrey does. You have to tell them the truth.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m sure that will make a huge difference in the severity of my next beating. They were trying to make you talk.”
“I know. Illya is my Achilles Heel. Everyone in THRUSH knows it, too.” He smiled slightly. “Just as I’m sure your partner is yours.”
“Not really.” Jack pulled away from Napoleon as if suddenly realizing he was shackled. “You got anything?”
“They gave me a pretty thorough going over, however…” Napoleon leaned close to Jack. “Pretend you are going to kiss me. There’s a lock pick in my shirt label.”
“Pretend?” Jack leaned forward and gave Napoleon a kiss to rival anything he’d previously received. “I’d been wanting to do that for a while now.” He surreptitiously revealed the pick and started to work on Napoleon’s wrist shackles.
“I think you sucked out one of my caps.” Napoleon’s tongue roved his mouth anxiously.
“I didn’t figure I’d get another chance. Not with you-know-who around.” One cuff snapped open and Napoleon worked the feeling back into his hand. A minute later and he was a free men, in a manner of speaking. “Now what?”
Napoleon looked around their holding cell. There were no windows and the door was metal. “Not sure.”
There was a noise and then a whispered, “Napoleon?”
“Right on time,” Napoleon murmured and gave Jack a relieved smile. “Now we’ll get out of here. We’re here, Illya.” He turned to help Jack to his feet.
There was the sound of a key in the lock and the door swung wide, but there was not the figure of his partner standing there. It was a stranger, although not exactly unknown. It was the man from Illya’s apartment. He had a gun and a business-as-usual look in his eyes.
“What the… who the hell are you?” Napoleon demanded, instinctively putting the injured agent behind him, shielding him.
Grigory Novogrotsky looked down at the two men and smiled almost cruelly. “The answer to your dreams.”