Word Count: 1155
Illya and Kevin attempt to rescue Napoleon and Jack... except they've already been rescued and things are not as they seemed.
“How can one sewer have so many twists and turns? Are we even still in San Francisco?” Kevin Lean, UNCLE agent and pseudo THRUSH captive, grumbled quietly. They had been walking a long time, taking first this tunnel, then another in a vain search for their partners and Delno Vickrey.
“You tell me. I’m from New York.” Illya Kuryakin adjusted the beret on his head. “How do people wear these things?”
“It’s easier when you aren’t sporting a Beatle’s haircut. Maybe I should be the guard for a while and you can be my captive.”
“That sounds like some sort of twisted role playing game--” Illya held up his hand. “Someone is coming.”
Kevin frowned, his eyes shut in an attempt to focus his attention. After a long moment, he heard the whisper of footsteps. “Two? Three?”
Illya nodded and jerked his head to one side towards the shadows. Without another word, they both hugged the wall, ignoring the wetness and slime of them.
“But what about…”
“That’s not your concern.”
Three men rounded the bend. One was being supported by the other and the third brought up the rear, gun in hand.
They passed Kevin’s and Illya’s hiding spot so closely Illya could hear breathing. As soon as the third man cleared them, Illya stepped out and brought his rifle down hard on the gunman’s back. He crumbled and the pair turned.
“Jack!” Kevin was delighted, then horrified. “What the hell happened to you?”
“Vickrey thought I was Illya,” Jack mumbled, his lips split and swollen. “Thanks a heap, Kuryakin.”
“Sorry.” Illya scanned Napoleon and gave him a relieved smile. “You look uninjured. Should I ask how?”
“They were trying to make me talk.”
“They don’t know you very well, do they?” Illya knelt down and turned over the THRUSH gunman. “Grigory,” he hissed. He pulled back his fist, ready to give the man the beating he deserved, but his hand was caught. Illya looked over his shoulder at Napoleon, a question in his eyes.
“He’s not the traitor you think he is. He helped us to escape,” Napoleon explained as he lowered Illya’s fist. “We need to get out of here.”
Illya took a deep breath and passed his rifle over to Kevin. “Looks like I’m your prisoner now.”
Kevin chuckled evilly. “Move it, THRUSH scum.”
“Don’t overplay your part,” Napoleon advised as he helped Illya drag Grigory to his feet. “Illya has a bad habit of getting back at you, don’t you, poosy cat.”
Illya tried for his best sneer, but it fell short of his eyes.
He sat quietly, staring at the man he’d considered his friend. Now Illya wasn’t sure what Grigory was, except possibly dangerous. They had holed up in Kevin’s apartment again. Jack, having received some medical care was sleeping and Napoleon was making a report back to HQ. Kevin paced from room to room as if not able to relax.
“What’s wrong?” Illya asked as the man entered for the fifth time. “Is there something you haven’t told us?”
“What? No, nothing like that.” Kevin sat, then stood, then sat again.
“You are exhausting me, Kevin. You are agitated and distracted. Your partner, while bruised, is recovered, we apparently have captured one of Vickrey’s top flunkies. What is wrong?”
“Why did he help them escape?”
“I am hoping he can tell us that when he wakes up.”
“What if he doesn’t wake up? You hit him pretty hard.”
“Nonsense, he’s been awake for the past five minute, haven’t you, Grigory or whoever the hell you are?”
“Was I that obvious?” Grigory’s eyes opened and he spoke slowly, his words slurred. “Do you have anything to drink, tovarisch?”
“Don’t call me that. You gave up that right after you joined THRUSH.” Illya resisted the urge again to punch the man, but Napoleon had given him strict orders. “Once we turn you over to UNCLE, then we will decide then what to call you.”
“Liveredge.” Grigory’s Russian accent vanished.
“That’s your name?” Kevin asked. He looked at Illya. “I thought you said you knew him.”
“Don’t be hard on Illya. Even he has a soft spot for the old country.” Illya’s expression was unchanged.
“You were the one the Captain was talking about. He said he had someone deep undercover,” Napoleon said as he entered. He handed Illya a cup of coffee and dropped his hand to squeeze Illya’s shoulder.
“I’m confused,” Kevin said. “Wait, I don’t get one?”
“As agitated as you are?” Napoleon shook his head as he moved to the couch. “I thought better of giving you caffeine.”
“I am equally confused,” Grigory said, rubbing his neck. “How did you know about me?”
“Your captain had us arrested.” Napoleon helped Grigory to sit up. “He thought we were white slavers that had fallen in with Vickrey. He told us he had a man on the inside.”
“I recognized you from Illya’s apartment. When you showed up as a captive, I knew something was wrong.” Grigory gave him a slight smile. “Always looking out for my friends, even the ones who don’t trust me.”
“What will you do now?” Napoleon asked.
“If I go back, Vickrey will have me killed.”
“Even if you don’t go back, I suspect your life expectancy will be short. THRUSH doesn’t have much of a sense of humor about such things,” Kevin said, standing up again. He headed for the kitchen.
“So I have discovered. He’s insane, you know.”
Grigory made a circular motion by the side of his head, the message clear. “Wears his own hats, in a manner of speaking.” He made air quotes, “In this size, 10/6.”
“Mercury poisoning?” Illya broke his silence.
“Mood swings, memory loss, rashes, it would explain a lot.” Napoleon sat down on the couch beside Grigory.
“He’s also developing tremors to go along with his insomnia, headaches, and twitching.” Grigory reached out, took Illya’s cup away from him and drained it. “He truly believes he’s taking people to Wonderland. At first I thought he was talking in a metaphorical sense.”
“And now?” Kevin reappeared with his own mug of coffee. He took a long drink from it and smiled at Napoleon.
Grigory sighed. “I’m not as sure. He was getting ready to close up shop here anyway in the next month. He might just move up his deadline and do it now.”
“How does THRUSH fit in with all of this?” Jack asked and the other men looked over at him. He was supporting himself on the door frame and Kevin quickly moved to his side to help him sit at the spot Napoleon vacated.
Napoleon shook his head. “I know that THRUSH will dabble in just about everything, but up to now white slavery wasn’t part of it.”
“Could it be that THRUSH doesn’t know?” Illya’s question was quiet, but it shouted volumes.