Genre: Man from UNCLE - slash
Prompt: I would like a creepy, angsty, slashy Napoleon and Illya story please....original characters. I found this picture after last year's story request was closed and saved it!
Bonnie, I hope you have a Happy Halloween and enjoy your treat! My thanks for your participating and to sparky955 for her beta.
When I came to this Order, we were told that to serve God, we had to have a quiet heart and, more importantly, a quiet mind. It was easy enough to quiet my heart, but my mind. That was an entirely different matter. Outwardly, though, I learned to fake it. Some of my brothers grew so quiet that you would swear they’d turned to stone. They could sit for hours, head bent in silent prayer, motionless. I would try. The sitting still was easy, but my mind was always somewhere else, celebrating and questioning what God’s plan was for us.
I was sitting alone in the garden, it was only a garden by name. Nothing grew there but weeds now. Brother Thaddeus was the last one to tend it and now he spent his days in the pews, draped with robes and still as a rock.
A moan drew my attention and I slowly got up. Years of inactivity had stiffened my joints somewhat.
“Hello?” I nearly jumped at the sound of my own voice. We were a silent order large and by far. Our monsignor decried speech as distracting us from prayer. Well, all, except his speech, of course. He used to be speak long and loud, but even he’d grown quiet these days.
“Help… help me.”
I followed the voice to a weed-riddled corner and there was a figure prone on the ground. Flies buzzed around the blood that congealed on the ground and on him.
“Oh my.” My first impulse was to pray, but even I could tell this man needed more than prayers. Somehow, I managed to get him into the sanctuary and onto a pew. Aside from a few hisses and moans, he reminded quiet. I looked around, but no one else seemed to notice. They were all lost in religious contemplation. I wish I could find the peace to join them.
I cleaned him up the best I could, exchanged his blood and filthy-ruined clothes for a clean robe and then made sure he was resting comfortably. He roused a few times, but for the most part he was quiet.
When he was asleep, I went to get my special rosary. There was no doubt I’d soon be saying last rites for him. However, if he lived, perhaps there would be room for him in this Order. It had been a long time since we’d had a new brother join us. My mind happily raced at the thought of a novice joining us.
I was walking along the north corridor, an open air area and one whose view that I was particularly fond of when I heard a noise, an explosion of sorts. There was a showering down of stone dust and debris just above my head and something tackled me.
“Get down.” The man pushed me down, covering me with his own body. I pulled my robe down over my head and silently began to pray. For what, I wasn’t sure, but it was my standard fall back.
There were more explosions, gunfire, I now knew. There were distant shouts that faded eventually.
“Okay, they’ve given up for the moment. You are safe now, Father.”
“Brother,” I corrected as he moved off me. He gave me a lopsided smile as he helped me to my feet.
“My mistake. Are you all right?”
“Why were those men shooting at you?”
“They had something I wanted, but I was too late.” He sighed and I was struck by the profound sadness in his eyes.
“It sounds like whatever they took, it was something very precious.”
“I just didn’t realize it until it was too late. Now I’ll never have the chance to tell him…” A noise made his head jerk with instant awareness. “We need to get inside. They may be coming back.”
“Come with me.” I walked to a stone wall and pressed a stone. The door, cleverly hidden, moved back to reveal a hidden corridor. Once we passed through it and replaced it, it would again be invisible. I wondered how many other passages I still had left to discover.
I took his hand, much as a mother would a child and was strangely pleased to feel his fingers tighten upon mine as I led him into the darkness. It made my heart sing that he immediately placed such faith in me. He trusted me. Trust was hard to come by.
“You are a religious man, my friend?”
“Not as a rule, but I’ve seen too many things in life to discredit anything.” His voice floated back to me in the darkness. “Where are we going?”
“The chapel. We will be safe there. It has been fortified against attacks.” And it was true. There was only one door in or out of our main chapel, well, one that most people knew about at least.
We came out in the transept chapel, a small room set back from the transept. It was used for private prayer, but there were so few of us, it was rarely used. Dust and debris seemed to cling to every surface. I wanted to make a joke about the maid being on strike, but humor had no place in chapel.
“Stay here and I will make sure the coast is clear.” I’d waited years to use that phrase. I’d heard it once on a radio program when I was but a child. It seemed like a lifetime ago, now.
He nodded and stood quietly in the shadows. I walked quickly through the transept into the nave, pausing only briefly to check upon my guest. He was still sleeping and his breathing seemed easier. I hoped the peace and serenity of the chapel was calming him.
I looked to Brother Frances as I passed. “Watch over him, my friend. We have been charged with his safety.” And that of the other one as well, I added mentally. After so many years of pious solitude, I felt invigorated that I was actually doing the Lord’s bidding.
I shut the chapel’s main and only door and dropped the bar in place. No one would come through it now. There were tall windows on each side, but there was also a sheer drop beneath them. Why anyone would build a church as a fortress seemed an oxymoron. However, I suppose even a sanctuary needed to be able to defend itself.
I walked back up the side aisle to where my ambulatory guest waited. I could tell he was anxious and more than a bit nervous. He seemed relieved upon seeing me.
“Here, come and rest for a moment.” I gestured him out of the shadows and to a pew. He looked back at the other monks, robe shrouded and heads bent in silent prayer.
“I don’t want to disturb-” he started in a hushed voice, but I held up a hand..
“You can’t. Their contemplation is such that very little will disturb them. And considering their temper when they are disturbed, it was just as well, I thought. “Tell me more about your quest.”
“Quest?” He seemed openly puzzled. “Oh, I see.” He looked down at his hands, studying them. Well, they say that confession is good for the soul, such as mine is. When is love wrong, Father?”
I didn’t correct him as his distress was palatable. I thought for a moment and smiled sadly. Although I’d never known physical love, I knew the books in our library sang of it and its glories. “Never. Love is never wrong.”
There was a long pause and I began to fear he’d lapsed into one of my brothers’ prayer states. When his answer came, I barely heard it. “Even when it’s between two men?”
I smiled at that. It wasn’t the official stance of the church, but it didn’t matter. They didn’t even remember us these days. The head clergy gave us a wide berth and for good reason, considering what had happened the last time one of them tried to close us. I did try to warn them, so my soul was clear of any sin. “Yes, even when it’s between two men or two women. Why do you ask?”
“There is someone… my partner.”
“We’ve worked together for many years. He’s always been more than just a friend or just a colleague. He would tease me, then steal my girlfriend out from under my nose.” My friend paused to sigh. “I always thought that he was just trying to best me.”
“What changed your mind?”
“Truth serum. They were trying to make him talk, but I think even they were surprised at what he had to say.” His chuckle became a choked breath. “Then they decided that I was the best way to make him talk. They told him terrible things, all untrue, and forced me to watch what it did to him.”
“Could he have been acting?”
“Not a chance. Even he’s not that good.” His head bobbed. “He’d been trying to tell me for so long and I wouldn’t listen.”
“Why did he simply tell them what they wanted to know?”
“Thousands of innocent lives were at stake. In the big picture, we didn’t matter. They did. We would have happily both died before risking their lives.”
“We escaped, or rather I did. He was too badly injured, so I found a safe spot for him. When I went back with help, he was gone and there was sign of a struggle. We stormed their location, but nothing. Now… now, he’s gone and he’ll never know what he meant to me.”
“What did he mean?”
“Everything. He was my world.”
“Perhaps he escaped them.”
“He couldn’t have.”
“Do you believe in miracles, my friend?”
I saw movement behind him and knew that my previous guest had regained consciousness. I prayed that my supposition was a correct one. “Even so, I believe he can hear you. If you could tell him, what would you say?”
“The three most important words in life.”
“Let us pray?” I teased and he smiled at that.
“I suppose to you, yes, but to me, it’s, I love you. I’ve said it a dozen times before and never meant it. Now, it means something and fate steps in to make sure he’ll never know how I feel.”
“And that is?
“All these years, I’ve felt the same way. It would break me just a little when I watched him leave, a woman on each arm. All the time I wasted and I can never get it back.”
Over his shoulder, my wounded warrior nodded to me, a faint smile on his dry lips. “Sure you can, Illya, just turn around.”
“Napoleon?” I found myself grinning at the pleasure splashed across his face… Illya’s face and he spun. He looked to his robed partner, then back to me. “But how?”
“He came looking for sanctuary only an hour ago.”
“You’re not the only one who’s hard to kill.” Napoleon’s knees buckled and Illya caught him, guiding him back down to the hard wooden surface, holding onto him as if he was afraid his once-lost partner would evaporate.
“Knucklehead.” An insult, but said with such love that I couldn’t help but smile again.
“You need medical attention, Napoleon.” It felt odd to know their names and that’s when I remembered that none of us had introduced ourselves.
“Is there a town or village close by? Could I bring the doctor here?”
“Unwise. We are a closed cloister. They bring us food and drink as offerings, but they may never enter our walls. I can show you a short cut to the village. There is a doctor who can --”
The chapel suddenly shook and dust fell from the rafters. The motion knocked me from my feet and Illya was immediately there to help me back up. He muttered something about birds, thrushes, I think he said and began to pull his weapon. I detected slightly movement from my brothers and caught his arm, slipping the pistol from his grasp.
“Not here, please, not in the House of the Lord.”
He looked torn, obviously desperate to save us, but also respectful of my wishes. “Then what…?”
I gathered up my robes and ran, a painful process when you aren’t used to it, and pointed. “Back into the transept chapel. Can you find the door again?”
“I think so.” The chapel shook again.
“Go, hurry. I will do my best to delay them.”
He pulled Napoleon to his feet, draped Napoleon’s arm over his shoulders and wrapped an arm around his waist. “But you?”
“Don’t worry about me for an instant. I have my brothers and I have the Lord. I will be fine.”
They disappeared and the chapel door, which had stood firm through countless centuries and numerous assaults buckled and splintered inward. I didn’t realize such power existed. A group of men ran in, looking around wildly, their guns waving “Where are they?”
“Please put your weapons away. You are in the House of our Lord.”
“Where are they?” There was a noise and the floor in front of me exploded in a cloud of cement dust. “The next one will go through your head if you don’t tell me where they are!”
“Whom are you seeking, my son?” I was amazed I kept my voice steady. I could see movement beneath the robes and took a step back.
“Knock it off!” He raised his pistol and I found that my mind, usually teeming with thoughts and images, had gone blank. After so many years, I’d finally achieved the final step to truly becoming a brother in this order.
“Calm yourself, Drake. You can’t threatened a monk like that.” A man wearing all black stepped forward. “Forgive him, Father, he’s an idiot.”
I nodded slowly. My limbs felt heavy, but my heart and mind were light. They soared even as my body began to crumple down onto a pew.
“You shot him? You fool!” The leader pulled out a weapon and fired point blank at Drake. The gunshot echoed inside the chapel, reverberating against the stone walls and rotting tapestries. Almost as a unity, I saw the heads of my brothers move and I closed my eyes. I knew the spectacle that waited.
“You’ve disturbed them. I’m sorry.”
“What are you sorry about? This fool? It’s not worth the effort.”
“No, I’m sorry about what they are going to do to you.”
That’s when the screaming started as flesh and bones were devoured. My head bowed in thanksgiving as I passed from what was to what I would now be as a member of Ordo quo vescitur. I wondered, just for a second, when I would take part in my own feasting, but until then, I would take solace in the peace and reverence of prayer. A Month Later
“Are you sure you are up to this?” Illya watched Napoleon carefully navigate the stony and slippery path. Winter came early in this part of the world.
“I have to know. From what the villagers told us, I can’t believe it’s the same place. I mean, cannibalistic monks? Eating people seems an odd way of finding a Divine Path.” While Napoleon was all bravado on the outside, it was all he could do to move forward. He was still so tired. He held his parcel to his chest and drew upon what little inner strength he still had left.
Illya noticed, but did nothing, trusting that Napoleon would ask for help if he needed it. Their partnership had taken on subtle differences as of late. “As I told the brother, I’ve seen and heard too many things to outwardly dismiss anything anymore.” He stopped before a formidable-looking structure. “Looks more like a fortress than a chapel.”
“They often had to be both back then. I was told by the doctor’s assistant that the last member of this order was believed to have died two centuries ago.”
“Then who did we talk to? Who bound your wounds and gave you water?” Illya asked.
“And yet another reason why I wanted to see this for myself. My memories are very foggy.”
Illya stopped before the shattered door. “I suspect THRUSH has been here.” He automatically reached for his P-38 and made a face. “And hopefully I can find my gun.”
“I can’t believe you dropped it.” Napoleon offered him the replacement firearm he’d gotten from one of their fellow agents. Illya shook his head.
“I didn’t. The brother took it from me. Do you remember what his name was?” Illya pushed aside some debris to make their passage easier for Napoleon.
“No idea. We were never introduced. I was too busy bleeding and being unconscious.” Napoleon carefully maneuvered the rock and splintered wood. “Oh my…”
“What--?” Illya didn’t finish. . The rate of decomposition had been slowed by the weather, but the gristly remains of a half dozen bodies still perfumed the air. “Stay here.”
Illya negotiated the path of strewn bones and torn fabric. He recognized the tattered remains of the head THRUSH’s leather jacket, the THRUSH symbol stark against the dusting of snow. He looked back at Napoleon and gave him a thumb’s up. He waited for Napoleon’s response before continuing.
The monks sat quietly in their pews, oblivious as to their presence. Illya kept an eye out for any sense of movement, but only the sound of late afternoon punctuated the stillness.
He stopped at the first pew and frowned. It had been empty when he was here. Now there was a monk, hooded and still sitting there. Beside him was a P-38, the K still visible.
“It’s you,” Illya murmured and he reached out a hand. The shoulder was cold, rock hard and unyielding. It wasn’t a person. It was a statue. They were all statues. Confused, Illya reached for the weapon and slid it into his holster. “I don’t understand what has passed, but thank you, my friend.”
It was probably a trick of the light just then, but Illya could have sworn he saw the head nod, ever so slightly and, no, thank you, my friend popped into his mind.
Illya gasped slightly and retreated back to Napoleon’s side.
“Illya, I think the marks on these bones, they’re human.”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
“What’s the hurry?” Napoleon dropped the bone and started for the door.
“It’s getting late and I don’t want to be here for Evening Song.”