Word Count: 982
Prompts: Obligation and Obsession.
Napoleon Solo traced a gouge in the table top. Someone in the distant past had carved out an initial. Now Napoleon picked at it with his fingernail. For seven hours he’d been held at this police station. The interrogation room smelled of stale coffee and sweat. Napoleon was fairly sure this was the stink of desperation.
He’d spotted his fellow UNCLE agent, Jack Sprat, only once as he was being dragged into a different interrogation room. Napoleon wondered if he was seated at a similar table, listening to an annoying buzz of a fluorescent light ballast, feeling the minutes stretch to hours as their partners remained without back up. He’d felt more at ease in a THRUSH cell. At least those captors believed him when he talked.
Napoleon looked down at his neatly trimmed fingernail. Just hours earlier he’d dragged that fingernail along Illya’s side, feeling the man’s body respond to his touch. God help these officers if anything happened to Illya while Napoleon was being held. He wasn’t about to lose his partner, not when he’d just really found him.
The door opened and a man entered, his tie was askew and his shirt was stained with old coffee spots and fresh sweat. This was the man who had been interrogating him for what seemed the last day and he presently looked as if he’d been ridden hard and put away wet, as Napoleon’s grandfather used to say. He tossed a folder down on the desk and sat down.
“Let’s start again, shall we?” He didn’t wait for Napoleon to respond. “Who are you?”
“I’m Napoleon Solo and I work for UNCLE.” Napoleon was careful to keep his temper in check and his voice even and calm. He’d repeated this a dozen times already this evening.
“I don’t believe you.”
“I’m sorry, but it’s true.”
The detective opened a file and found an eight by ten photo. He flipped it around so Napoleon could see it. “And I say you work for this man.”
The arrogance in Delno Vickrey’s eyes taunted Napoleon. “Work for him? No likely, but I do have unfinished business with him.”
“The last time I saw him, he tried to kill me. The only thing that prevented me from becoming a corpse was the timely arrive of my partner, a man whom I was backing up when your officers arrested us. He’s inside and without help.”
“And you feel an obligation to him.”
“Obligation?” This time Napoleon’s temper got the better of him and he slammed his hand against the table. “He’s my partner, he’s my friend and one of the best agents we have. If something happens to him because of this fiasco, there will be nowhere for the guilty parties to hide. UNCLE will see to that.”
“Are you threatening me, Solo?”
“I don't make idle threats, Detective, just a solemn promise.”
“I don’t like—“ The door opened then and two other men entered. One Napoleon recognized as the arresting officer, but the other man was a stranger.
“Let it go, Ed.”
“We just got confirmation on both him and the other guy. You have yourself a genuine international espionage agent sitting there.” He held out a plastic bag with Napoleon’s ID and Walther P-38 in it. “I’m Captain Liveredge. I apologize for any inconvenience.”
“A what?” Ed was obviously confused.
“I’m a spy,” Napoleon said. “Think James Bond but without the glamor. I’ve been chasing Delno Vickrey around the globe trying to bring him to justice for a dozen different charges.” Sprat entered then. “You okay, Jack?”
“Probably a lot better than Kevin and Illya.”
“What is this obsession with your partners?” Ed asked, his voice still carrying the brittle edge of anger with it.
“Do you have a partner, Ed?” Napoleon asked.
“Then I can’t hope to explain the connection.” Napoleon spoke directly to the captain. “I am rather interested in why Ed here has a file on an international terrorist.”
“We’ve been watching Down the Rabbit’s Hole for a few months now. People have been disappearing from there at an alarming rate and we suspect foul play,” Liveredge said. Napoleon’s eyes flicked up at the unconscious mention of his enemy. “We managed to get one of our men inside, but the reports have been few and far between. In the hopes of spotting something, we decided to stake the place out.”
“That’s when you saw us.” Sprat was busy returning his ID to his jacket pocket. “Although how you made the connection between us and Vickrey is beyond me.”
“You didn’t belong there. You stuck out like a sore thumb. We thought you might be white slavers.”
“In America in this day and age?” Napoleon started to laugh, then trailed off at the captain’s expression. “You’re serious?”
“For a spy, you sure don’t know much,” Ed said, smirking.
“I know we need to get back there and try to check in with our partners. If you gentlemen will be good enough to excuse us?”
“Your partners? Man, the way you carry on, people would think you were in love with him.”
Napoleon leveled a tight-lipped glare at him. “Come on, Jack, let’s get out of here.”
“I’m more than ready.”
“Do you gentlemen need any help?”
“Thank you, Captain. I think we’ve had as much help as we can stand at the moment.” With that, Napoleon spun and headed out of the room, keeping his pace just short of running. He didn’t care about a one-finger salute Ed shot at Napoleon’s back. He didn’t care about the look of resentment on the Captain’s face. All he cared about was saving the lives of two very good men.