Genre: Man from UNCLE (and guests)
Word Count: 1191
Sorry, Loxley – you know I can’t help it. I assure you no rabbit were hurt in the writing of this story…
Illya blew into his hands and hunched his shoulders against the wind. Inwardly, he chastised himself for letting the weather get to him. He knew the winters had been far harsher when he was a boy. He could remember huddling around a small fire and sharing a tattered blanket with his siblings. Yet somehow, he didn’t remember it as a hardship. It had been life; you dealt with it or you died.
Now thirty years later, he was bundled up in his warm coat, hat, gloves and boots and shivering. Of course, he did have a dozen or so bones that protested the cold weather these days. He also noticed that it took more and more effort to crawl out of bed on these wintery mornings.
A familiar shape hurried towards him, carefully balancing a dozen or so boxes.
“Finally. Are you through?” The sharp nod told Illya that perhaps the day’s hunting hadn’t been exactly positive. “Okay, I have reservations for eight. We need to hurry.” He grabbed an armful of packages and grunted. “What did you buy, rocks?”
The smile was all the answer he knew he was likely to get. This time of the year made tight-lipped agents out of them all.
Illya led the way back into UNCLE headquarters, via the parking garage entrance. It was easier and there was less foot traffic.
“I pulled a few strings and got one of the conference rooms reserved for the next couple of days. I figure you can store everything in here. Did you--?”
Illya stopped and looked around as a pair of agents approached.
“Ho, ho, ho, Illya.”
“Don’t even get me started,” Illya muttered. “This is the last time I play Santa’s helper, no matter how sweet the promise.”
“Famous last words.”
“You headed out?”
“Catching a plane to Monaco. Courier job. Wish me luck.” The agent checked his watch and was off at a trot.
“Godspeed and keep your head down.” Illya sighed. He remembered when that had would have been his assignment. Now Waverly preferred to keep his senior agents closer at hand for the major conflicts that tended to erupt after the Christmas spirit waned. By this time next week, it would be possible that he would be hip deep in conflict somewhere.
He managed to get the door open and with a sigh of relief he dropped the packages. “Tell this is it.” Illya’s nod became a solemn headshake, matching that of his partner in crime. “I was afraid of that.”
It took another three trips, but finally all the packages were neatly stacked and he was racing to the restaurant. It was only through the grace of a God he wasn’t sure of that he didn’t slip and wind up in the hospital.
“I was about to give up on you.” Napoleon was halfway through his drink. “I ordered a drink for you.”
“Me, too. Thanks.” Illya snatched up the menu and started to study it. “Remind me to not leave the room during the next section head staff meeting.”
“I warned you. Never take a call during one of those.” Napoleon tapped the menu. “The special is lemon trout almondine and our waiter recommends the house pepper steak.”
“He always does. The last time I got it, I had heartburn for a week.”
The rest of the evening devolved into small talk between good friends and when Illya finally tumbled into bed, the packages he’d delivered to the conference room were the last thought on his mind.
He was in the middle of brushing his teeth when his communicator beeped. He spit out the mouthful of toothpaste, wiped his mouth with a towel and picked up the instrument. “Kuryakin.”
“Illya, what are you doing?” There was a strange tone to Napoleon’s voice.
“Getting ready for work.”
“Get ready faster. We need you here now! No, wait, not that—don’t let it --” The communicator went dead.
Illya made the trip in record time and didn’t even acknowledge Del Floria’s wave as he rushed in through the agent’s entrance. He slammed to a stop in reception. There were bunnies everywhere.
“What in the name…?”
“That’s what we were hoping you could tell us.” The receptionist removed a bunny from her desk. “They are everywhere.”
Illya turned at the tug to his pants. Bob, the minion stood there, holding up a rabbit to him.
“Para tu!” He grinned and raced away.
“Terima kasih,” Illya murmured. “Oh, no, that must have been…”
He set the rabbit down and headed for the elevator. As the door opened, three rabbits hopped out. The receptionist started to cry.
Illya weaved his way through the multitude of bunnies that made the corridor a maze, between them and their droppings, every step was hazardous. He skidded to a stop outside the conference room. Mr. Waverly was standing in the doorway, his pipe dangling precariously from his mouth. He turned and saw Illya. For a moment, Illya experienced a ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline rush.
“Mr. Kuryakin, is this your doing?”
“Uh, to be honest, sir, I just helped carry the packages in. But there weren’t this many… how did they… You know…”
“The best we can figure, this is one of Gru’s latest weapons. The rabbits reproduce at will and they are apparently very willing… They double their number every hour…” Napoleon tried to separate two amorous rabbits. “They will soon out-number us two to one.”
“What do you propose to do, Mr. Kuryakin, as this is right up your alley, in a manner of speaking?”
“Kenny!” Illya yelled. A moment later a bunny-laden minion appeared.
“Yeah, boss. Po ka?”
“Get rid of them, now. I don’t care how.”
“Oh, poop.” Kenny’s shoulders sagged. “No ereinn?”
“Take them back to Gru with my compliments.” Illya pointed towards the exit.
Kenny sighed again and whistled. Immediately the corridor was swarming with little yellow minions. “Haiyaku adios hasenpfeffers.”
The loud chorus of ‘awwww’ nearly deafened Illya, but the minions started collecting the rabbits. By lunchtime, the corridors, reception area and the conference room were rabbit free.
“I wonder where they took them,” Illya said as he followed Napoleon to the Canteen.
“At this point, I don’t care. Just as long as the corridors are clear, that’s all the matters. I’m sure Gru will know what to do with them.” Napoleon picked up a tray and started down the hot line. “What looks good today?”
Stuart, the minion, happily waved towards the kitchen, which was overrun with rabbits. “Hasenpferrers?
Napoleon looked at Illya shocked, his mouth moving, but no words were coming. Illya looked at the minion, who shrugged his shoulders.
Illya sighed and headed for the sandwiches. Monaco was looking better all the time. He gave Napoleon a half-hearted smile. “Hoppy Christmas?”
Minion dictionary -
Para tu - for you
Terima kasih - thank you
Po ka? – what is it?
Haiyaku adios Hasenpfeffers - get rid of the rabbits
No Ereinn - no Christmas
Oh, poop – I’m sorry