Genre: Man from UNCLE
Word Count: 1574
Prompt: Illya-centric with lots of snow
jantojones, I hope your enjoy your story. Surprisingly, this was the toughest of the batch, but I think we managed to take it out a whole new door. My thanks to you and to sparky955 for her beta and suggestions.
The wall of white came thundering down upon Illya, knocking him from his feet. With a cry, he moved with the flow, swimming as they had been taught. Then he hit the tree and the snow pounded against him, crushing the life from him.
Napoleon sat up, heart pounding and chest heaving. It took him a minute to realize that not only was he in home and in his own bed, but that it was June outside and an avalanche was not possible.
He flopped back and looked at his watch. It was early, too early to get up. He pounded his pillow into shape and went back to sleep.
The wall of white came thundering down upon Illya, knocking him from his feet. With a cry, he moved with the flow, swimming as they had been taught. Then he hit the tree and he bounced off it, but he was prone and the snow suffocated him.
This time Napoleon only opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. A quick check to his watch proved that very little time had passed. He sighed, rolled over onto his left side and went back to sleep.
The wall of white came thundering down upon Illya, knocking him from his feet. With a cry, he moved with the flow, swimming as they had been taught. Then he hit the tree and he bounced off with a moan and rolled. His position was good, but the snow still buried him.
“Illya, I’m coming!” Napoleon shouted, then woke up. “I don’t believe it.
Illya downshifted the car and pulled up in front of Napoleon’s building. Any comments from the doorman about double parking were silenced by Illya’s expression. He watched Napoleon stumble out of the front doors and exchange a few words with the doorman.
He waved and shuffled to the car, plopping into the passenger seat with a moan.
“You look awful. Coffee?” Illya passed over the paper cup and then checked his mirrors. He pulled back into traffic and concentrated upon that task. One minute stretched into two, then five.
He spared a moment and glanced over at Napoleon, but the man seemed to have eyes only for his rapidly-emptying cup. Without saying a word, he picked up his own cup and offered it to his partner.
“You seem to need it more than I do.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“Didn’t sleep well. Reoccurring dream. Work related.”
Illya didn’t press further. He’d had a few of those in his time and they were the worst to shake. Instead he focused on the traffic and they made the rest of the trip in silence. He pulled into UNCLE’s parking garage and cut the engine. “Maybe you should talk to Dr. Passeo.”
“No, thank you.” The rejection was firm.
“I didn’t think so, but I would be shirking my duties as your partner not to mention it.”
The rest of the day unfolded as they often did around HQ. Illya watched his partner trip through the day.
“He must have had quite some night.” April set down her lunch tray.
“He says bad dreams, but you can never tell.” Illya sipped his tea and made a face. “What is this?”
“What does it taste like?” April had opted for water. It was safer, usually.
Illya considered for the moment. “Dishwater.”
“That would be the tea. Their coffee tastes like grass clippings.”
Illya smiled at that. “So how goes the battle?”
“I have a courier job this afternoon, but there are a dozen other places I’d rather be. Early summer in the city should be outlawed. It would be nice to get Mark out of Medical and into the park. I think the fresh air and sun would do him a world of good.”
“I thought he was already released.”
“No, they didn’t like the way he was sleeping, so he still here for a couple of days. Sometime outside is all he needs.”
“Give it to me. The courier job.”
“Are you joking?”
“I’m going stir crazy sitting around here. Napoleon keeps looking at me and sighing.”
April tried to hide her smile. “Maybe he has a crush on you. Half the staff does, you know.”
“He’s firmly in the other half, I assure you.” Illya crumpled the paper cup and dropped it to his tray. “He said he’s been having bad dreams. Work dreams.”
“And you think they involve you?”
Illya shrugged his shoulders, wondering if he’s already said too much. “Partners. You worry.”
April nodded. “Yes, you do. Thanks, Illya. I owe you.”
Illya smiled. “Just don’t repay me in Canteen coffee… or tea.”
April watched Illya walk from the Canteen, then she pulled out her communicator. “Mark, are you there?”
“He’s on his way.”
“You are kidding? He fell for it?” There was a long pause. “He’s going to kill you when he figures it out, you realize this.”
“All’s fair in love and war, Mark. Dancer out.”
April sipped her water and smiled.
Illya resisted the urge to whistle. It was the perfect afternoon. The breeze was light and caressing, the sun warm against his skin and the prospect of an in-and-out assignment was appealing. He checked the address on the slip of paper and continued to walk. He’d parked a couple of blocks away just so that he would have an excuse to enjoy the weather. All too soon, the heat would be oppressive and nothing would be able to pry him out of an air-conditioned office. Well, nothing except Waverly or Napoleon, he added.
He double checked the address of the warehouse and went around to the west side, where a door had been left unlocked for him.
It was very dark inside and Illya stood quietly as his eyes adjusted. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a small flashlight. Illuminating the floor in front of him, he walked soundlessly through, deeper into the building.
There was a small table and on it a piece of scratch paper with gibberish written on it. Illya smiled. THRUSH’s new code and they had it. He picked up the paper, secured deep in a pocket and turned to go, only to be met by a wall of white. His eyes widened as it trembled to life and began to collapse upon him.
Napoleon’s head jerked up and he blinked. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d fallen asleep at work. He glanced over at Illya’s desk and frowned. It was odd. He remembered Illya sitting there, digging his way through their last expense vouchers. They were still there, but Illya was missing.
He picked up the phone.
“Denise, this is Napoleon. Can you tell me if Agent Kuryakin is in the building?”
“No, sir, he left about an hour ago on a courier run.”
Napoleon thought for a moment. “I gave that to Dancer.”
He let the receiver slip from his hands back onto the cradle and then started searching through the paperwork on his desk. He found the slip of paper with the address on it and his heart skipped a beat. It was in the warehouse district and there could be anything stored there.
Napoleon ran up to the door of the building and wrestled it open. A white wall momentarily confronted him, then it spilled outside to be picked up and scattered by the wind. He waded through the white and looked around.
“Here!” He followed the voice and found Illya, sitting up and rubbing his head.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I whacked my head on the coat rack.”
Napoleon looked around at the sea of white. “What is all this stuff? Snow?” He picked up a piece and studied it.
“I believe it’s something called Styrofoam packing peanuts. There’s a bill of lading back there, somewhere.” Illya made a half-hearted gesture behind him.
Napoleon just looked at him, then he started laughing, waving his arms. “It’s just like Christmas in June!” He continued to laugh collapsing to his knees. “I’d been having these terrible dreams of you being lost in an avalanche and here you are.”
“Ho, ho, ho. Now come and help me find my wallet.” Illya waded through the waist deep objects static electricity making them practically leap up to greet him. “Why do I have the strangest feeling I’ve been set up?”
“What do you mean?”
“Everything was so perfect, except that Mark is still in Medical.”
“No, he isn’t. He was discharged two days ago. I saw him and April having lunch together.”
Illya shook his head. “Just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water.
Napoleon thought for a moment. “I have an idea. It’s devious, cunning, and a bit on the daring side. You know anyone with a pickup truck?”
April laughed as Mark got out his key. “That was a great movie, Mark. Peter Sellers never gets old.”
“His comedic timing is so precise that you almost feel sorry for him.” He opened the door and an avalanche of small white Styrofoam popcorn cascaded out until he was buried up to his knees. April didn’t escape the packing peanuts either. They clung to her as if she was their long-lost mother. He looked back at her and sighed. “We are in so much trouble.”
“You’re not kidding. I think now would be a good time to request a transfer.”